Those who have never been to the area may not be familiar with snowmobiles other than in James Bond movies. However, there are quite a few of them running around in NH. I was reading the online version of the Manchester paper (www.theunionleader.com
), and happened upon this article about another stupid lawsuit:Jefferson family sues over son's snowmobile death
Now, I don't know the details of the case, and it sounds like B.S., but what was more interesting, beyond the obvious stupid implications if the suit succeeds, was information in the last paragraph:
Snowmobiling, according to the latest figures from the Institute of New Hampshire Studies at Plymouth State University, contributed $1.2 billion to the stateâ€™s economy last season. A law passed last year requires snowmobilers registering their machines to join a local club. Local clubs, assisted by grants from the state, maintain thousands of miles of trails. With a few exceptions, groomers are mostly volunteers.
Interesting wording. A law requires "snowmobilers registering the machines." That makes it sound like registration is optional? That doesn't sound very likely. I wasn't surprised when visiting Minnesota a couple years back to find dirt bikes required registration. Yes, the $200 machine that you drive in your backyard required registration. But could that be the case in "free" NH?
So, I headed on over the the NH General Statues online
and searched for snow mobiles. Uh oh. 75 hits.
FISH AND GAME CHAPTER 215-A
OFF HIGHWAY RECREATIONAL VEHICLES AND TRAILS Section 215-A:23 215-A:23 Registration Fees. â€” The fees to be collected under this chapter are as follows:
I. Individual resident registration- $42 for each 2-wheeled trail bike registration, $75 for each snow traveling vehicle registration, or $51 for each other OHRV registration upon presentation of a resident tax receipt, or a valid driver's license issued to a New Hampshire resident 18 years of age or older. An individual resident registering a snow traveling vehicle who provides proof, at the time of registration, that the individual is a member of an organized New Hampshire nonprofit snowmobile club which is a member of the New Hampshire Snowmobile Association shall pay $45 for each snow traveling vehicle.
So, it's state-sponsored bribery. I did find an exception for registration if you operate the vehicle on your own property, which is good, but find it very odd that I cannot drive my unregistered snowmobile on my friend's property (with their permission). I also cannot find the penalty for operating a snowmobile without a registration.
But why the $30 discount if you join a club? Strangely enough, the laws do not show any hits to a search for snowmobile club.
However, the money at least goes to something important (or that's what the opposition will say): "shall be appropriated to the department of resources and economic development for the bureau's grant-in-aid program pursuant to paragraph VI" and "shall be appropriated to the department of fish and game for the purposes listed in paragraph VIII"
But still, why require registration? If people want to donate money to create and maintain trails, can't they do it on their own? I know I would likely also give MORE! If I didn't have to register, I'd like give $100 a year to an organization that creates and maintains trails for me!
So, any opinions on this one as a target for "early" removal from the books? It might be an under-the-radar item that could be used to show further success.