A popular all-terrain vehicle derby in Lewis County drew criticism from the state Department of Environmental Conservation and green groups after a YouTube video showed participants driving recklessly, drinking alcohol, trespassing and disturbing wetlands.
County legislators opened portions of 12 county roads to ATVs for the eighth annual SNIRT rally, which occurred April 9.
Robert C. Diehl, Lewis County's trails coordinator, said this year's event included at least 3,000 riders.
The group asked DEC for permission to expand this year's event onto DEC roads in the Otter Creek and Brantingham Lake area, located in the southwestern Adirondacks.
But DEC's lands and forests director, Robert Davies, denied that request in a recent letter to the organization. He cited environmental and legal concerns in his decision.
Davies wrote that the use of DEC roads during mud season would cause damage. He also noted that a YouTube video clearly depicts legal violations that occurred in the past, including drinking and driving and trespassing,
The department could not adequately police these violations, Davies said.
Adirondack Council Executive Director Brian Houseal wrote to Lewis County Manager David Pendergast stating that the Council would sue to close down the event if it continued to violate state laws.
Houseal also demanded that the county conduct a required environmental review of the event.