Mountain Fest proposed ATV day currently not permitted under state law

Brian Stockman
Staff Writer

At a Ridgway Borough Council meeting on Nov. 19, Chamber of Commerce President T.O. Fitch submitted a request for the council to open borough streets to ATVs to support the inaugural Winter Mountain Fest, planned for January. Opening borough streets to ATVs has been an ongoing topic at council meetings for well over a year.
The biggest hurdle is that the main arteries into and through town are PennDOT roads rather than borough streets. These include Main Street, West Main, Front Street, Depot Street, North Broad Street, Mill Street, South Street west of Mill, State Street, Allenhurst, Montmorenci, Bootjack, etc. All of the major bridges in town are also controlled by PennDOT. Therefore, Ridgway Borough has no authority to open these roads and bridges to ATVS. PennDOT does offer a special event permit that, if granted, would allow event organizers to open all or some of these roads and bridges to ATVs. The Elk County Wilds Mountain Fest never applied for such a permit, and instead, petitioned the borough to open its streets so ATVs could access the festival, to be held off of Gillis Avenue in the old Motion Control parking lot.
Council President Sam MacDonald questioned how opening borough streets would offer access to the festival. Unless PennDOT roads and bridges were opened as well, he said, no ATV could legally travel through town to Gillis Avenue. MacDonald pointed out the bridge over the Clarion River as a particular concern.

For more on this story, see today's print edition of The Daily Press.