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New York State Snowmobile Association
P.O. Box 612
Lomg Lake, NY 12847-0612
Tel: (518) 624 3849 - [email protected]

Snowmobile Rights and Responsibilities Act
Briefing Document

Why SRRA: The primary reason for this legislation is to increase club membership and therefore increase participation for trail maintenance.

Over the years clubs have had 2 issues: Lack of finances for trail maintenance and lack of volunteers to perform the trail maintenance.

Since 2003 we have had 2 fee increases that have helped considerably with the financial situation. Unfortunately these have not addressed the volunteer aspect.

In 2001 a process was started to allow clubs to gain/attract more members. We looked at the Trail Pass as a means of accomplishing this, but to do this it meant changing the NYS Trespass Laws. At about this time the New Hampshire Snowmobile Association had successfully lobbied for legislation that increased their fees but would give club members a discount. NYSSA adopted this formula.

A bill was put together that would address many issues facing clubs today. This bill became known as the Snowmobile Rights and Responsibilities Act.

Components: SRRA was first written to address the club membership issue, General Obligations Law and some common sense safety concerns.

Duties of Snowmobile Owners and Operators: This legislation explains some common sense duties for snowmobilers. Among them: Snowmobiling is a voluntary activity that could be hazardous; make sure your equipment is working properly; obey all rules and regulations. Guidelines for Responsible Snowmobilers are posted on the NYSSA Website.

Duties of Snowmobile Clubs: Please note these duties do not increase the liability for any club. Basically these are all items that clubs should be doing: Mark the trail; encourage snowmobilers to participate in safety programs, and mark the trails as their status of being open or closed.

Mandatory Insurance: Any snowmobile will now be required to be covered by liability insurance if operated off your own property.

Youthful Operation: The current law allows anyone 10 years old or older to operate a snowmobile on the trail system alone if they hold a safety certificate. Many felt that anyone under the age of 14 should not be riding the trail system without adult supervision.
Therefore, the minimum age a youth with a safety certificate can ride alone is 14. Youth's between the age of 10 and 14 can still operate a snowmobile if they are within 500' of a guardian 18 or older.

Two-Tier: This is the most important aspect of the legislation. It increases the total fee to $100 UNLESS one member of the household is a club member. If that is the case then every sled registered by that household will only pay $45/snowmobile. In other words if you are already a club member you are not impacted financially in any way by the Two-Tier language in this legislation.

Speed limit: A maximum 55 MPH speed limit will become law on public trails and lands, however safe & prudent speed for the trail and conditions prevail, but not to exceed 55 MPH. This does not include lakes unless posted locally. Speed limits in our neighboring states and Canada are all lower than 55.

Increased Club Membership: As stated earlier, New Hampshire has adopted two-tier and according to their numbers over 90% of snowmobilers in NH now belong to a club. Also according to NH volunteerism has also increased. More snowmobilers now realize that trails just don't appear out of nowhere. It takes volunteers to build and maintain these trails. By increasing club membership, NYSSA membership also increases, making our voice stronger to government, insurance and other entities associated with our sport.

Safety & Education: Studies have shown that snowmobilers who belong to clubs are more educated regarding our sport. This education allows our trails to be safer and more enjoyable for everyone.

Landowners: Through conversations with landowners it is clear landowners prefer only club members use their property to ride on.
Financial: Additional club membership will give clubs additional revenue to allow them more flexibility in their trail maintenance activities.

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