North Dakota Parks & Recreation
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.