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Board says no to trail over Schoharie Central Schools' campus

Board says no to trail over Schoharie Central Schools' campus

The district’s Board of Education on Wednesday rejected a proposal to allow snowmobiles to traverse

The district’s Board of Education on Wednesday rejected a proposal to allow snowmobiles to traverse parts of the Schoharie Central Schools’ campus.

According to Superintendent Brian Sherman, district officials received “two phone calls and numerous e-mails” prior to the board meeting, and all opposed the proposal.

Two of the e-mails objecting to the trail came from nearby property owners, he said.

Potential liability was a key concern raised by Sherman and some board members.

The request to use school grounds for part of the trail was initially raised at the school board’s Nov. 19 meeting by Schoharie High School senior Luke Aulito.

After hearing a presentation from a snowmobile club spokesman Wednesday and further discussion, the board denied permission for the trail in a 4-2 vote.

Supporting the plan were board members Pam Newell and Carol Wilber. Board member Mark Quandt was not present for the vote, and the remaining board members opposed the request to use school grounds.

In presenting the idea last month, Aulito said the trail was aimed at providing a path across the school campus to allow snowmobile riders to get fuel at the Mobil Mart and convenience store on Main Street, just south of the school’s front lawn.

Aulito said access to the ethanol-gasoline mix of fuel at the Mobil Mart would help trail riders needing to refuel.

The proposed path would have marked a route linking an existing snowmobile trail near the Schoharie Creek behind the county jail complex, down the jail access road and across Main Street, then about a quarter-mile across the edge of ball fields down a school driveway and across the school lawn area at the edge of Main Street.

The existing trail near the Schoharie Creek west of the village is part of a system of long-distance snowmobile trails that run from the Middleburgh area through Sharon Springs and beyond.

Increased insurance liability was among concerns raised by some school officials, including Sherman and the school’s lawyer, following Aulito’s initial request.

RidgeRunners Snowmobile Club representative Greg Toborg outlined the club’s goals and trail improvement and maintenance by club members, according to Sherman.

Although Sherman said Toborg described liability insurance from the New York State Snowmobile Association as providing coverage of $1 million per person or $2 million per incident to snowmobilers, it wouldn’t cover non-snowmobilers who might be injured.

The insurance also would not cover some all damage to property below a specific threshold, according to Sherman.

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