To help eliminate all-terrain vehicle traffic in local parks, North Huntingdon's police department is purchasing two dirt bikes for police officers to use to patrol in the parks, starting at the end of this month.
Officers will patrol the parks several times a month and during the weekends, said police Chief Andrew Lisiecki.
"The problem we have is when we get complaints, the riders are already in the woods. Obviously, we can't take the police cars in there," Chief Lisiecki said.
The department has received several complaints from residents about motorized vehicle traffic in all of the township's 11 community parks, but most involve Braddock's Trail Park and Oak Hollow Park, said Dan Miller, director of parks and recreation for the township.
"The residents are upset that when they try to walk in the parks, these vehicles are there," Chief Lisiecki said. One resident claimed to nearly be hit by an ATV, he said.
The ATVs also have caused damage to walking trails and the parks' numerous varieties of wildflowers. The township hosts organized wildflower walks twice a day on Wednesdays and Saturdays with groups of about 20 people in Braddock Trails Park, Mr. Miller said. "There is a noise factor for nearby neighborhoods as well," he said.
"Now that the weather is breaking, the trails are becoming wet. When [ATV riders] ride, it causes two to three ruts on the trails that are hard to fix," Chief Lisiecki said.
A township ordinance includes fines for motor vehicles on township property illegally. Fines for first and second violations are $100 and $200, respectively. The fine jumps to $1,000 for the third violation.
Chief Lisiecki said more signs will be placed within the parks about the ATV ban, and it will be stated on the community and police websites.
Laurie Bailey, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.