7 arrested in illegal ATV use on state land

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A crackdown by state DEC forest rangers on illegal all-terrain-vehicle use on state parkland in Edgewood led to the recent arrests of seven people, officials said Wednesday.

All of the arrests were made Jan. 12 and 13 at the Oak Brush Plains Preserve, a 813-acre parkland area in Babylon, Huntington and Islip, state Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Ranger Capt. Tim Byrnes said in a statement. Fifteen tickets were issued to ATV and off-road-vehicle operators for riding in the preserve and on the privately owned commercial Heartland Industrial Complex that abuts Oak Brush.

Two of the vehicles stopped were also impounded, Byrnes said, noting that impound fees can cost up to $650 for the release of the vehicle to its owner.

Those vehicles were impounded, Byrnes said, for failure to register and insure.

Cited were:

Joseph Bauer, 20, of Islip; Alec C. Longo, 19, of Smithtown; Robert McCormack, 37, of Lindenhurst; Benjamin Karen, 33, of Sound Beach; Nicholas J. Ferraro, 38, of Deer Park; Joseph N. Vallianos, 26, of Lindenhurst; and Adam Sivon, 34, of Lindenhurst.

Bauer and Longo were charged with operating an unauthorized motor vehicle on state land, operating an unauthorized ATV on private land, trespassing and having an uninsured and unregistered ATV.

McCormack, Karen, Vallianos and Sivon all were cited with operating a motor vehicle off-road on private property. Ferraro was cited with operating an ATV on private property.

All tickets are returnable Feb. 6 to First District Court in Central Islip, officials said.

"Illegal off-roading on unsuitable properties not only damages valuable natural resources and important wildlife habitat, but can put other individuals legally utilizing the property in harm's way," Byrnes said in a statement. He added: "DEC forest rangers are always on the watch to ensure speeding vehicles and ATVs do not take away hikers', runners', bird watchers', dog walkers' and other recreationalists' rights to safely enjoy these properties."

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