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For Release: Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Crackdown on Illegal Off-Road Vehicle Use at Edgewood Nets Charges for Seven

Weekend Effort by DEC Forest Rangers at DEC Oak Brush Plains Preserve Has Huge Impact

A weekend off-road and all-terrain vehicle crackdown carried out by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) forest rangers at DEC's 813 acre Edgewood-Oak Brush Plains Preserve has resulted in charges against seven people caught riding illegally at the Preserve, announced DEC Forest Ranger Captain Tim Byrnes.

"Illegal off-roading on unsuitable properties not only damages valuable natural resources and important wildlife habitat, but can put other individuals legally utilizing the property in harm's way," said Captain Byrnes. "DEC forest rangers are always on the watch to ensure speeding vehicles and ATVs do not take away hikers, runners, bird watchers, dog walkers and other recreationalists' rights to safely enjoy these properties."

According to Captain Byrnes, DEC forest rangers were on a special enforcement assignment over the weekend of January 12th and 13th after DEC became aware of heavy use of the Edgewood property by illegal all terrain vehicle (ATV) and off-road vehicle (ORV) riders in recent weeks. With careful planning of a Special Local Area Deterrent Enforcement operation (S.L.A.D.E.), seven riders were apprehended on the Edgewood property and privately owned commercial Heartland Industrial Park Complex area abutting Edgewood.

DEC reminds ATV and ORV riders that riding on private land without permission is just as illegal as riding on public land from the landowner.

A total of 15 Environmental Conservation Appearance Tickets (ECATs) were issued including:

  • Four tickets for operating a motor vehicle off-road on private property without consent ($250 - $700, first offense);
  • Three ticket for operating an ATV on private land without consent ($250 - $700, first offense);
  • Two tickets for use of an unauthorized motor vehicle on state land under DEC jurisdiction ($0 - $250);
  • Two tickets for operating an unregistered ATV ($0 - $100);
  • Two tickets for operating an uninsured ATV ($0 - $100); and
  • Two tickets for trespassing on posted lands ($0 - $250).

Two of the rider's ATVs were impounded following their apprehension under failure to register and insure the vehicles. Impound fees can cost as much as $650 for release of a vehicle.

Seven individuals were ticketed including:

  • Joseph Bauer, 20, Islip - Operating an unauthorized motor-vehicle on state land; Operating an ATV on private land; trespass; uninsured; and unregistered.
  • Alec C. Longo, 19, Smithtown - Operating an unauthorized motor-vehicle on state land; Operating an ATV on private land; trespass; uninsured; and unregistered.
  • Robert McCormack, 37, Lindenhurst - Operating a motor vehicle off-road on private property.
  • Benjamin Karen, 33, Sound Beach - Operating a motor vehicle off-road on private property.
  • Nicholas J. Ferraro, 38, Deer Park - Operating an ATV on private property.
  • Joseph N. Vallianos, 26, Lindenhurst - Operating a motor vehicle off-road on private property.
  • Adam Sivon, 34, Lindenhurst - Operating a motor vehicle off-road on private property.

All of the tickets are returnable to Suffolk County First District Court in Central Islip on February 6, 2013. Individuals spotting illegal activities are encouraged to call DEC's forest rangers at (631) 444-0291 or the DEC's environmental conservation officers at (631) 444-0250 during business hours, and (877) 457-5680 or (518) 408-5250 at all other times to report suspected illegal activities.

DEC forest rangers routinely patrol state lands as part of the DEC's efforts to control illegal ATV and ORV use.

The Oak Brush Plains State Preserve at Edgewood is an 813-acre area located in the towns of Babylon, Huntington and Islip. This land was originally acquired by the New York State Department of Mental Hygiene (DMH) in the 1930s for the purpose of constructing two psychiatric hospital facilities, the Edgewood State Hospital and the Pilgrim State Hospital.

In 1983, the Office of Mental Health (OMH) transferred 631-acres to DEC, and in 1987 that land was dedicated to the State Nature and Historic Preserve. In the mid-1990's, DEC acquired 100 acres from Multi-Town Solid Waste Management Authority for addition to the preserve, and in 1999 OMH transferred another 81 acres to DEC.

Today, the preserve is dominated by pitch pine-scrub oak barrens, interspersed with areas of grassland and stands of bigtooth aspen. The preserve is home to many common animal species including several types of warblers, red-tailed hawks, eastern cottontail, red fox and hognose snakes. In addition, several species of rare invertebrates are present including the coastal barrens buckmoth. The preserve provides many recreational opportunities to the public including hiking, bird watching, and bike riding.

The preserve is maintained and improved through the continuous efforts of the DEC, the towns of Babylon, Huntington and Islip and volunteer stewards including the Edgewood Flyers, a local model airplane club, Concerned Long Island Mountain Bicyclists (C.L.I.M.B.), and Long Island Healthy Trails and Greenways (L.I.G.H.T). Through their cooperative efforts, tons of illegally dumped waste has been removed, unlawful access routes have been blocked, and new parking facilities have been constructed. Efforts will continue to maintain and improve the preserve as well as allow access and recreation for the community.

Individuals wishing to utilize the preserve must obtain a free DEC three-year seasonal access permit. Access permits can be obtained at the DEC's Stony Brook office, or by visiting the link on the right of this page.