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Snirt Run insurance OKed; mapping and waiver issues remain

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LOWVILLE — The on-again, off-again Snirt Run appears a step closer to being on again, as Lewis County’s Economic Development Committee agreed Thursday morning to open county roads for the April 12 all-terrain poker run.

The committee was satisfied that the event’s insurance policy, delivered the previous day, would adequately cover ATV operators, other participants and affected municipalities.

Some loose ends, however, must be addressed before the board of legislators is expected to approve the resolution April 1.

Heath L. Ash, a Barnes Corners Sno-Pals snowmobile club member who attended the meeting, said the club was eager to continue the event and agreed to the final suggestions.

“Last year was an anomaly,” Mr. Ash said. A high volume of snow in 2013 stranded numerous ATV operators, requiring emergency crews to intervene hours after the event ended.

To avoid similar situations this year, the committee requested that the route include Lyman Road in Turin and West Turin to ease traffic on Gomer Hill Road.

“That’s nothing but a trap,” said Committee Chairman and Legislator Lawrence L. Dolhof, R- Lyons Falls, referring to Gomer Hill Road, described as ravine-like and snow-covered.

Besides adding Lyman Road to the map, the inclusion of The Edge Hotel in Lyons Falls was unclear.

Last year, a section of property along Route 12 suffered considerable damage and was later repaired by Sno-Pals. Event organizers decided to remove The Edge as a stop on the run this year.

At a subsequent Economic Development Committee meeting, Michael Hurilla, the hotel’s owner, volunteered to provide signage, fencing and barricades to alleviate damage along Route 12, and The Edge was added to the list of stops.

Thursday morning the committee noted that The Edge did not appear as a stop in online advertising. “It makes sense for us to include The Edge Hotel in this,” Mr. Ash insisted, saying the club would make sure The Edge is included.

The board also asked Mr. Ash to convey to Gary R. Stinson, club president and Snirt Run organizer, that the liability waiver offered on the club’s website did not name the county or any municipalities in which the event will take place.

The Lowville Town Council also met Thursday morning, addressing Snirt Run concerns before agreeing to open Bardo Road for the event. Sno-Pals did not send representatives to the public meeting.

Discussion focused on the recent insurance policy. “It does not cover property damage if someone goes off the road,” town attorney Raymond A. Meier said, though the town’s general liability insurance would cover other personal liability.

Mr. Meier said he spoke with the town’s insurance agent, William H. Schaab. “In his opinion, it’s as good as it’s going to get,” Mr. Meier said.

For Councilman Stephen L. Farney, that wasn’t enough. “If you open roads, you are implying it’s safe for travel,” he said.

Mr. Farney noted dangerous conditions last year on Bardo Road after ATV operators left, bringing mud onto the roads from a nearby field. “The use rendered the road unsafe for vehicular traffic,” he said. The board discussed closing the road to vehicular traffic, lowering the speed limit or closing the road to the event, but no action was taken.

Mr. Farney also voiced concerns over damage to adjacent properties, as his field, he said, was damaged last year. Mr. Stinson, disagreed, saying the field was not damaged.

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” Mr. Farney said. “So is damage. They did not remediate all of the damage last year.”

Mr. Farney was the only member to vote against opening the roads. Supervisor Randall A. Schell, and council members Paul R. Virkler, Bob J. Mullin and Ruth Laribee approved the road opening.

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