SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. (WYTV) – Pennsylvania is the third deadliest state for ATV accidents. Ohio is tenth. That’s according to a 35-year study by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
More often, these fatal crashes happen on rural roads.
The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) awarded nearly $340,000 in grant money to six recipients. One of those is the Friends of the Bantam Jeep Association. They are planning to use their $40,000 on a feasibility study to find out if their property in Slippery Rock is suitable for ATV trails and other outdoor sports.
Nearly 175,000 ATVs are registered in the state, but finding a place to ride one legally can be difficult.
“In Pennsylvania, ATV riding and snowmobiling are just taking off,” said DCNR Press Secretary Terry Brady. “We have four or five ATV parks in the state of Pennsylvania. That’s a place where you or I could drive up the trail with our vehicles, have safe parking, and get out and ride all day and have an unlimited ability to ride – and safe riding not on township roads.”
More ATV parks could be on their way. The Friends of the Bantam Jeep Association purchased 235 acres in June for their annual festival. So far, they’ve developed the land for Jeep trails, but they have the drive to do more.
“Our grant request was to develop a land development plan so that we could really look at the property, have a consultant assist us with our expertise to determine in addition to Jeep trails are there any opportunities for us to utilize the property in different ways,” said Patti Jo Lambert, director of the Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival.
They aren’t stopping with ATVs. Other outdoors sports could benefit and be in a safer environment.
“Snowmobiles, mountain bikes, UTVs, other non-motorized activates such as cross-country running. There are many different outdoor things the property might have potential for,” Lambert said. “It would be a much safer place for everybody.
This grant program is self-funded through registration fees for ATV’s and snowmobiles.
The next Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival will be June 11 -13 in Slippery Rock.