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For Release: Thursday, March 14, 2013

DEC Forest Ranger Continues Enforcement Against Illegal ATV Riders

Second ATV Bust in Two Months at Edgewood Preserve in Suffolk County

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Regional Director Peter A. Scully today commended DEC Forest Ranger Michael Burkholder for his efforts to stop illegal ATV (all-terrain vehicle) activities on state properties, which damage the sensitive properties and ruin recreational opportunities for its visitors.

In the past two months, Forest Ranger Burkholder has successfully apprehended 13 ATV operators illegally riding in DEC's 813-acre Edgewood-Oak Brush Plains Preserve, leading to the issuance of 30 tickets and the impounding of two ATVs.

"Stopping illegal ATV riding on state properties continues to be a major focus for DEC," said Director Scully. "This enforcement action by Ranger Burkholder shows how our rangers are constantly on the watch for these activities. DEC law enforcement will continue to ensure speeding vehicles and ATVs do not destroy state properties or take away enjoyment of these properties from hikers, runners, bird watchers, dog walkers and other recreationalists."

In his latest bust on Feb. 24, Ranger Burkholder was on routine patrol at the Edgewood property when he heard the sounds of several all terrain vehicles in the nearby vicinity. He quickly located six ATV operators who, upon spotting the ranger, cooperated fully.

A total of 14 Environmental Conservation Appearance Tickets (ECATs) were issued in this case including:

  • Six tickets for Operating an ATV on public land without consent in Suffolk County ($250 - $700 fine);
  • Six tickets for trespassing on posted lands ($250 maximum fine);
  • One ticket for operating an unregistered ATV ($100 maximum fine); and
  • Two tickets for operating an ATV without a helmet ($100 maximum fine).

Six individuals were ticketed including:

  • Justin Agudelo, 30, Bronx - Operating an ATV on Public Lands w/o consent in Suffolk County; Trespass on posted lands; Operating an ATV without a helmet; and operating an unregistered ATV
  • Joseph Serrao, 19, New Rochelle - Operating an ATV on Public Lands w/o consent in Suffolk County; Trespass on posted lands
  • F.B. Marignetti, 21, New Rochelle - Operating an ATV on Public Lands w/o consent in Suffolk County; Trespass on posted lands
  • James B. Reichelt Jr., 27, New Rochelle - Operating an ATV on Public Lands w/o consent in Suffolk County; Trespass on posted lands
  • Josue Irizzarry, 33, New Rochelle - Operating an ATV on Public Lands w/o consent in Suffolk County; Trespass on posted lands
  • Joseph Giordano, 23, New Rochelle - Operating an ATV on Public Lands w/o consent in Suffolk County; Trespass on posted lands

All of the tickets are returnable to Suffolk County First District Court in Central Islip on March 27, 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 off road vehicle (ORV) use. DEC Forest Rangers and Environmental Conservation Officers are fully enforced New York State police officers and have full police authority with statewide jurisdiction.

The Oak Brush Plains State Preserve at Edgewood is an 813-acre area located in the towns of Babylon, Huntington and Islip. 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 webpage.