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Serving the communities of Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis counties, New York
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Policy honks

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The Barnes Corners Sno-Pals snowmobile club recently resolved a major issue upholding authority to hold its annual Snirt Run.

One of the requirements that members of the Lewis County Board of Legislators made was that the club demonstrate it had proper insurance to cover liability issues stemming from the all-terrain vehicle poker run. The club finally presented documents last week that appear to meet the county’s demands.

Gary R. Stinson, president of the snowmobile club, previously said the group had obtained a rider of its insurance policy covering the Snirt Run, scheduled for April 12. But the club’s policy, held by the New York State Snowmobile Association, excluded coverage of anything resulting from the use of ATVs. So merely obtaining a rider of the club’s existing policy without specific changes would not provide coverage for ATVs.

The insurance documents received by club members last week, however, indicated that ATVs would be covered during the Snirt Run provided drivers do not stray from the established route. The policy also requires Snirt Run participants to sign a waiver absolving the club of any liability.

Mr. Stinson announced March 13 that the Snirt Run was being canceled for this year. He said the county had made too many demands on the club, although club members had agreed to virtually everything county officials had required.

But board members of the club overruled Mr. Stinson’s decision during a special meeting held March 14 and declared the event would go on as planned. Mr. Stinson’s decision to scuttle the Snirt Run was more likely driven by the fact that he hadn’t yet secured the appropriate insurance policy for the event.

The County Board’s Economic Development Committee met Thursday to discuss the insurance matter as well as which roads should be opened or closed. Committee members agreed to move forward with the event, pending approval by the full County Board.

Members of the board are scheduled to vote April 1 on a resolution authorizing the Snirt Run. While there may be some loose ends to tie up in the interim, the Barnes Corners Sno-Pals snowmobile club has addressed the major problems presented by county officials.

The county raised valid points about some unresolved concerns, which the club has acted upon in good faith. The County Board should give its stamp of approval for the Snirt Run and work with club members to ensure the event proceeds as safely as possible for everyone involved.

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