Senate Passes Snowmobile and OHRV Reciprocity Legislation
Coos County Democrat
February 22, 2012

CONCORD — The state Senate today passed Senate Bill 366, legislation granting snowmobile and OHRV registration reciprocity to riders from Maine and Vermont.

Sen. John Gallus (R-Berlin), the legislation’s prime sponsor, expects the legislation will help many North Country businesses and have a positive impact on the region’s economy.

“We are happy to open up our trails to properly registered snowmobiles from Maine and Vermont,” said Gallus. “A recent ‘reciprocity weekend’ in the North Country showed that when riders from neighboring states use our trails they are also likely to eat at our diners, shop in our stores, and fill up at our gas stations. I see no reason why New Hampshire would not welcome these visitors and the increased commerce with open arms.”

Under current law, snowmobile and OHRV registration reciprocity only extends to those states that also allow New Hampshire snowmobilers to visit under similar regulations.
Maine and Vermont currently do not, instead requiring riders registered in New Hampshire to also register their vehicle in the state they are visiting.

“We hope this legislation would encourage our neighbors to the east and west to open up their trails to our riders in the same way we have to them,” commented Gallus.

SB 366 now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.
 

Editors Note:  This bill also contains language to allow tracked ATV's to register as snowmobiles for a small additional fee.

The reciprocity under this law would only be available to legal residents of the State of Vermont or Maine.  Residents who do not live in VT or ME will still have to register as out of state residents in New Hampshire.  Even with that restriction, we see several problems with this proposal:

1) The burden of these extra riders will fall onto the local clubs with no additional revenue to help support the increased traffic or trail maintenance. 

2) Any revenue that is now being gained from out of state registrations from Vermont and Maine will be lost, reducing the total funds available for trail maintenance.

3) The State of New Hampshire will gain extra revenue through their room and meal taxes without any mechanism for supporting the extra trail work needed to handle these out of state riders.

4) Fish and Game will have to do enforcement without any visible way to tell if a rider is a legal resident of Vermont or Maine.  They cannot check everyone so there will be many out of state residents that will get a free ride.

5) We think it is great that local businesses will benefit, but they would have to pay the clubs about $1,000 per year (for each business) to make up for the lost revenue from registrations and the increased maintenance needed to handle the additional traffic.  Our past experience has shown this is more than 10 times the amount that businesses are willing to contribute and therefore this is a major losing proposition for the clubs.

Click HERE to see the text of SB 366.

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