North Dakota Parks & Recre­ation

Sno-Dak News - - Region Reports - Matt Gard­ner

The 64th leg­isla­tive ses­sion is now in full swing and the snow­mo­bil­ers or “snow­mopeo­ple” as re­ferred to by Sen­a­tor Oelke from Devils Lake, are be­com­ing rec­og­niz­able faces at the capi­tol. The North Dakota snow­mo­bile pro­gram has a large leg­isla­tive agenda this ses­sion and has seen fa­vor­able sup­port from the snow­mo­bil­ing com­mu­nity and leg­is­la­tors. All hear­ings have a strong snow­mo­bile en­thu­si­ast pres­ence which has shown fa­vor­ably to North Dakota de­ci­sion mak­ers.

The North Dakota Parks and Recre­ation Depart­ment (NDPRD) is in­volved in some ca­pac­ity with all the snow­mo­bile leg­is­la­tion but the bill that most af­fects the agency is Sen­ate Bill 2139. This bill would trans­fer what agency li­censes snow­mo­biles, from North Dakota Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion (NDDOT) to NDPRD. This change makes sense to NDDOT, NDPRD, Snow­mo­bile North Dakota (SND) and leg­is­la­tors be­cause it is a nat­u­ral fit, given our agen­cies cur­rent in­volve­ment in the snow­mo­bile pro­gram. We have the abil­ity to de­velop our snow­mo­bile li­cens­ing process to bet­ter serve the snow­mo­bil­ing com­mu­nity and adapt to any trends. Our cur­rent method­ol­ogy is to model the li­cens­ing process sim­i­lar to North Dakota Game and Fish and their li­cens­ing of boats.

This bill will also re­move the ti­tling re­quire­ment for snow­mo­biles; which should make the trans­fer of own­er­ship eas­ier, es­pe­cially across state lines. We have heard from many snow­mo­bil­ers dur­ing the de­vel­op­ment of the 20132017 Snow­mo­bile Pro­gram Strate­gic Plan of their de­sire to re­move the ti­tling re­quire­ment. This will also keep North Dakota cur­rent with na­tional prac­tices for not ti­tling snow­mo­biles.

The cur­rent sta­tus of this bill saw a unan­i­mous pass in the Sen­ate (47 yeas, 0 nays) and the bill was sent to the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives. If this bill passes the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and is signed into law by the Gover­nor it will be­come ef­fec­tive July 1, 2016. This de­layed ef­fec­tive date will give NDPRD time to de­velop the com­puter sys­tem to ad­min­is­ter snow­mo­bile li­cens­ing and to in­form the pub­lic of this change. We will also be work­ing closely with Snow­mo­bile North Dakota dur­ing this time to de­velop best prac­tices for snow­mo­bile li­cens­ing.

Fi­nally, I want to thank SND and the vol­un­teers who make the North Dakota Snow­mo­bile Pro­gram a suc­cess. It is great to know there is a ded­i­cated group of en­thu­si­asts that make the state snow­mo­bile trail sys­tem pos­si­ble.

Matt Gard­ner

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