Thursday, October 29, 2009

Help Friends of Hawksnest Stop Illegal Off-Highway Vehicle Use

Hawksnest State Park (HSP) trails are closed to all motor vehicles except those used for management by Conservation (DCR) employees. There should be signs posted at all roads leading into the forest, and at trailheads informing the public that Hawksnest trails are closed to motorized vehicles--but at present there are only about two signs.

Off-highway vehicles (OHV) are also banned from Hawksnest Road (if they are unlicensed) because it is a county road.  Driving on the beach is illegal and especially damaging because it destroys rare plants and the vegetation essential to maintaining water quality.

Despite this, OHVs regularly enter the forest from the public roads and abutting properties. They have damaged trails intended for use by hikers, equestrians and mountain bike riders, created nuisance noise, and endangered other users. Reckless OHV riders have destroyed Plymouth gentian and caused serious erosion of a path to the beach.

Parking outside established areas, close to the beach, is one form of illegal OHV use.  Signs are needed to indicate where parking is legal.

You can help by reporting information that will be logged and used to gather evidence for identification and prosecution of OHV operators and for guiding official efforts.

 Please report the following information to Harwich Police by phone, or e-mail, or call the toll-free 24-hour of the Environmental Police Dispatch Center at 1-800-632-8075:
  1. The time, date and approximate location of the sighting as precisely as you can describe it;
  2. The number and type of OHV’s along with any descriptions of machines and operators;
  3. Direction of travel of the machines when sighted;
  4. Any other information or ideas you have which may be useful in determining where the OHV’s came from or went to;
  5. The identities of the operators, if known.  Take photos!
Please do not confront violators. We want to stress that it is the job of the DCR Rangers, Environmental Police and other law enforcement officers to confront violators.

Thank you for your help.
Friends of Hawksnest State Park

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