The reservoir's historic structures & ecosystems are an opportunity to create a unique environmental education center for our children & their future.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

ATVs at the reservoir

I went over to the reservoir early this morning to stretch my legs, take some photos and meet Sam. At 11:50AM, while I was walking along the jogging path parallel to Vermont Place, 2 ATVs drove up to the path from the parking lot. I had to get out of their way as they sped passed. Then I called 311, who transferred me to the 911 operator. She said that a patrol car would be dispatched. While I was waiting for them I decided to look for the ATVs.

I followed the noise of their engines and found them on the hillside across from Lower Highland Park, up from Forcetube Avenue. They were tearing up the turf in that area, they would also speed up the hillside and jump the sidewalk near the top of the stairs. When they were at the top of the hill they would do the same in the natural areas at the south end of basin #2. It didn't matter to them if people were on the pathways, they'd just blast by assuming that people would move out of the way.

I didn't hide the fact that I was photographing them and they left the area at approximately 12:25PM. No officers showed up, so I walked back towards the parking lot. At 12:39PM a patrol car turned on to Vermont Place as the two guys on the ATVs were tearing up the grass at the base of the hill in that spot. One guy actually flipped over in front of the police, who pulled over in front of the ATVs. About a minute later another patrol car pulled up.

They talked to the two guys for a long time. I planned to stay as long as necessary to see what the officers from the 104th precinct would do to the guys. From where I stood on the running path, they just seemed to be talking. Two of the officers walked back to the ATV that had flipped and looked it over like a car in a used car lot. Finally, at 1:29PM, one of the officers mounted the red ATV, drove it to the opening in the guardrail at the crosswalk, down Vermont Place, then made a right turn onto Highland Blvd. The patrol cars left, the second ATV owner drove his machine to his truck in the parking lot and the guy who just lost his ATV flipped off Sam and I and yelled, "Thanks a lot."

I can't say for certain if they really confiscated his ATV or they were putting on a show for our benefit. If the red ATV shows up at the reservoir again, we'll know because I've posted their photos for comparison.

This satellite image from Google Earth shows, very clearly, the extent of the damage to the habitat by ATVs at the Ridgewood Reservoir. I'll post images later that show the tracks within Highland Park.


Unknown said...

Good work, Rob. I'm surprised the officers showed up. I've seen ATV jerks and paintball jerks wreak havoc at the Salt Marsh Nature Center in Brooklyn on several occasions, and can't even get the park rangers who are stationed there to do anything. These vehicles should be BANNED from the five boroughs.Then again, they should be banned period.

Ridgewood said...

ATVs are illegal to ride on NYC streets, in the parks, on sidewalks and on running paths. Find out the precinct involved and the commanding officer. Next time call 311, they'll transfer you to 911, because it is "criminal mischief". Document everything (including photos) then send them with a letter to the captain and Commissioner Kelly. They don't like bad PR.