« LEGISLATIVE ALERT | Main | MSA Alert - Annual Trails Workshop Saturday October 22 »
Wednesday
Mar082017

LEGISLATIVE ALERT

 

LEGISLATIVE ALERT
Please contact Legislators now!
Contact information at the bottom of this alert
On Thursday March 9 at 1:00 pm the Legislature's Inland Fisheries & Wildlife Committee will be holding a public hearing on two snowmobile bills. It is important that you contact Committee members and your own legislators.
SUPPORT LD-483, "An Act To Improve Enforcement of Snowmobile Noise Levels," was submitted by Rep. Jeff Timberlake at our request. It would require that any snowmobile exhaust manufactured 2007 or later be unaltered and have a SSCC seal affixed to it. Altered or exhausts without the seal would be considered to be in violation of the state's 78 db sound requirement. This would enable law enforcement to quickly determine if a sled is in compliance without using a decibel meter.
TALKING POINTS:
Noisy sleds are causing trail closures in many in-town areas across the state.
The current decibel meter enforcement is inefficient and subject to too many variables.
OPPOSE LD-506, "An Act To Allow Reciprocal Recognition of New Hampshire and Maine Snowmobile Registrations, " is sponsored by Sen. David Woodsome of York County. This bill would reinstate reciprocal registrations with New Hampshire that was eliminated by the Legislature in 2001. It would have a disastrous effect on the Snowmobile Trail Fund, Capital Equipment Program and IF&W. On average almost $300,000 of program funding per year would be lost, resulting in cuts to club and municipal grants statewide.
TALKING POINTS:
Maine’s 14,000 mile snowmobile trail system is maintained almost exclusively by volunteers.
The Maine Snowmobile Program is funded entirely by user fees – snowmobile registrations and a small portion of the state gas tax. Under the program rules, clubs can receive reimbursement for up to 70% of their allowable costs to maintain their trail systems, subject to available funding. In reality, the average reimbursement is about 50%. Clubs are required to raise the additional funds they need locally.
Registration reciprocity with New Hampshire was eliminated by the 120th Legislature in 2001. It was not a unique case. Between 1995 (when non-resident registrations were enacted) and 2001, registration reciprocity had been ended with a dozen other states.
During the winter of 2015-16 (a poor year) non-resident registrations from New Hampshire added over $263,000 to the Snowmobile Trail Fund. This is the equivalent of 60 fully-funded club trail grants. It also funded the Capital Equipment Grant Program ion the amount of $13,975 – this leveraged almost $35,000 in club equipment purchases.
New Hampshire claims 7,000 miles of snowmobile trails statewide, although the state is almost cut in half due to terrain and the White Mountain National Forest, making connectivity difficult. In fact, Maine passed special legislation to allow New Hampshire riders to use ITS-80 in Evans Notch without a registration because it is the only way they can travel south-north on the eastern border of their state.
New Hampshire only offers a season registration for $86/$116 (club member/non-member) Maine non-resident Maine offers non-residents a 3-day for $49, 10-day for $75, and a season registration for $99. Maine offers a higher quality product at a lower price. Maine residents who may wish to take a short trip to New Hampshire are forced to pay a high rate to do so.
Hundreds of businesses serve snowmobilers statewide and benefit from the terrific trails that Maine clubs produce. The businesses do a great job, but most of them realize that what is driving traffic to them is the opportunity to ride our world-class trails. If clubs were forced to club back their operations due to a lack of funding, their businesses would suffer.
Please contact members of the IF&W Committee and your own Legislators NOW and ask them to SUPPORT LD-483 and OPPOSE LD-506
Members of the Inland Fisheries & Wildlife Committee
Maine State Senators
Maine State Representatives
Or you can leave a voice mail message for your legislator toll-free:
House - 1-800-423-2900
Senate - 1-800-423-6900
Thank you in advance for your help. Keep following the alerts as we track these bills through the legislative process.