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Letter: Cuomo is right to address snowmobile trail funding

Cuomo is right to address snowmobile trail funding

While snowmobiling is great fun in upstate New York, it also represents an $868 million boost to the upstate economy. The sport draws in thousands of tourists from outside the area, including many from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Ohio, who fill our hotels and restaurants. It has been no secret that this winter’s lack of snow has taken its toll on the snowmobile community. Many hotel rooms have gone vacant and many tables have had empty seats. This terrible winter even jeopardizes next year’s snowmobiling because it has caused a big downturn in snowmobile registrations, which are used to support the 10,500-mile New York trail system.

Recently we brought this problem to the attention of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his partners in the Legislature. The governor recognizes how this winter will jeopardize our economic contribution to the upstate economy in future years and has committed to adding funding to the Snowmobile Trail Development and Maintenance Fund, thereby mitigating the effects of this disastrous winter. The governor’s effort focuses on committing more money from what snowmobilers currently pay in registration fees to the trail fund.

His proposal is a good one and we have no reason to expect anything but support from the Legislature. This proposal will not only address our current problem but also mitigate a long-term problem of ensuring there is enough money in the trail fund to keep snowmobiling a viable economic force in our upstate communities.

Our 234 clubs across the state have built a first-class snowmobile trail system mostly with a volunteer workforce. Our trail system is open to all snowmobilers and we encourage people who have never ridden to contact a local club to learn how to ride.

James Elmore

President, New York State

Snowmobile Association