On May 19, 2020, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn announced that May 19 was the opening day statewide for all All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) trails in state forests.
Dunn noted this is occurring several days before the start of the normal season – typically the Friday before the Memorial Day holiday – to reduce opening weekend crowding and provide more opportunities for social distancing.
“In most years, the opening weekend and other holiday weekends throughout the summer tend to draw large amounts of ATV enthusiasts to trails,” Dunn said. “While ATV riders ride on separate machines at distances farther apart than six feet, the parking areas will be crowded on the bigger weekends, including the opener.
“DCNR is opening the trails several days early to spread out the crowds and allow for greater social distancing practices as part of COVID-19 mitigation efforts,” Dunn said.
The opening date also applies to designated motorcycle trails in Bald Eagle State Forest, including a dual sport trail running through the Seven Mountains region and a trail for off-highway motorcycles on Shade Mountain.
ATV riding is only permitted on designated trails in Pennsylvania state forests. State forest roads, state parks, and state game lands are not open to ATV riding.
The DCNR website has the locations of the 11 ATV trail systems on state forest lands.
All ATVs in Pennsylvania — except ATVs used solely for business or agricultural purposes — need to be registered and titled. There are approximately 170,000 registered ATVs in Pennsylvania. All ATV registrations scheduled to expire through May 31 have been extended until June 30, 2020.
Rangers and forest district staff are actively patrolling and will enforce regulations.
People who live in areas still under stay-at-home orders should not travel long distances for outdoor recreation, and instead should look for opportunities close to home. ATV riders are encouraged to use the trail system closest to their home and to keep riding opportunities on private recreation areas in mind as well.
To help avoid exposure to COVID-19 and protect others, and still enjoy the outdoors:
- Don’t recreate in groups – go with those under the same roof, and adhere to social distancing (stay 6 feet apart)
- Wear a mask if you will encounter other people
- Take hand sanitizer with you and use it regularly
- Avoid touching your face, eyes, and nose
- Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with a tissue or flexed elbow
- If you are sick, stay home