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Capt. Ray Keefe, who oversees many of the hardest hit areas of Vermont for the state police, took a similar view.

Braintree resident Kristie Tabor, a 21 year old clerk at a car dealership, said she's especially glad this week that ATVs are popular in her rural neighborhood.

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ATVs have been hotly debated in Vermont. Republican Gov. James Douglas' administration approved limited use of ATVs on state land, despite protests from lawmakers and environmental groups. Shumlin, his Democratic successor, has been moving to reinstate the ban on recreational uses of the machines on public lands.

Anthony Iarrapino, a lawyer with the Conservation Law Foundation and a critic of ATV abuses, said he doesn't think any positive public relations ATVs get this week will change the terms of the debate over them in Vermont.

Even those who want to limit their recreational use acknowledge that ATVs are useful in some circumstances. "There's a time and place for ATVs, and this was definitely one of them," said Deb Markowitz, secretary of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources.

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"Everyone has them around here, and they've come in really handy because we didn't have a road," she said.

killed 16.

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"Don't get me started," Trask said with a grin when asked about the bad reputation ATVs have among many environmentalists. "If people go in and start tearing up people's property, yeah, I put that down," he said. "But these things have actually been lifelines in all of this, as far as I'm concerned."

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BETHEL All terrain vehicles, reviled by environmentalists and others for their noise and the erosion they can cause in sensitive forest ecosystems, are about to be banned once more from state land by Gov. Peter Shumlin's administration. But ATVs and their riders have come to the rescue this week as Vermont struggles to recover from Tropical Storm Irene's widespread flooding.

"She's fine now," said hospital President Tom Huebner.

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´╗┐ATVs often reviled but are popular after flood

Vermont is not the first place where the machines have come in handy after a disaster. In January, ATVs were used to evacuate people from more than 30 homes left isolated during flooding on Mount Hood in Oregon. They were used last year in Arkansas to search for victims when flash flooding Air Max 2015 Anniversary

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are a really great way to get around," said Jesse Mastine, owner of Mastine Motor Sports in Bethel, which sells and services ATVs, motorcycles Nike Air Max Thea In Beige and snowmobiles. "ATVs and (off road) motorcycles have a pretty bad name in terms of the relationship with environmentalists and things like that," he said. "They don't really care for ATV'ers . but it seems like they're the only ones really saving anybody right now."

In Killington, a woman who went into respiratory distress was safely transported part of the way to Rutland Regional Medical Center by ATV. A second ambulance took her the rest of the Nike Air Max Thea Blue Trainers

"I think an ATV is much like any other piece of equipment," Keefe said. "They're invaluable in a situation like this" but can be abused. He pointed to a situation in his own neighborhood in Hartford, where a former neighbor set up an ATV and dirt bike track on his property and ended up being "charged and recharged" with violating local noise ordinances.

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"I don't accept the premise that any positive PR that ATVs get for doing a work purpose should necessarily be to the benefit of people who just want to ride them for fun in sensitive areas that have been conserved by the state," he said.

At the Bethel firehouse, resident Ron Trask, 63, stopped by with a muddy Honda Foreman 400 ATV on the back of his pickup after ferrying a man to an otherwise inaccessible house to get his pets. The two loaded four cats and two mourning doves onto the rig and made their way back down a mountain.

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Along Riford Brook Road in the hamlet of Braintree, ATVs have been the workhorses this week, ferrying food, water and medicines to residents who can't climb down and back up the ladders now placed where bridges used to be.

way to the hospital.

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