(Photo credit: NOHVCC)
Outdoor Enthusiasts and Agency Personnel Convene at the 2022 NOHVCC Annual Conference
After a two-year absence, outdoor enthusiasts, industry experts, and agency personnel were able to convene in person at the 2022 NOHVCC Annual Conference in Knoxville, TN. The event was kicked-off with the Mobile Workshop Presented by Yamaha Outdoor Access Initiative. Participants gathered at Windrock Park for the Mobile Workshop, where they had an opportunity to participate in a guided ride of the facility in ROVs to get a sense of what a 73,000-acre private OHV park has to offer.
Conference attendees were briefed by industry and agency personnel on many of the difficult issues facing OHV recreation as well as success stories and best practices. Some topics included a legislative update on the powersports industry, safe trailering, the Recreational Trails Program, ROV width, repurposed riding in Wisconsin, US Forest Service and National Park Service partnerships, OHV safety campaign, and BLM’s efforts on managing e-bikes.
The presenters included:
- Scott Schloegel, Senior Vice President, Government Relations MIC, SVIA and ROHVA
- Scott Crimmins, Compliance Manager, National Association of Trailer Manufacturers
- Christopher Douwes, Community Planner, Transportation Alternatives / Recreational Trails Program, Federal Highway Administration
- Bill Stanley, Campbell Outdoor Recreation Association
- JR Burke, Polaris
- Brad Colin, Bureau of Land Management
- Shawn Lindsey, Executive Director, Doe Mountain Recreation Area
- Jacqueline Peterson, MIC
There were also breakout sessions on topics ranging from OHV safety in CA to club activities benefiting veterans and the disabled individuals. Duane Taylor, Executive Director, NOHVCC, said, “There are so many people to thank. Our sponsors – special thanks to Polaris, who served as our Extreme Terrain sponsor. Several Polaris representatives participated in the Conference and helped make it a success. It is also important to note that the Mobile Workshop was presented by Yamaha Outdoor Access Initiative at a Destination Yamaha facility – Windrock Park, which served as a fantastic host for the Workshop. Finally, several long-time contributors helped make the events possible – the Motorcycle Industry Council, Specialty Vehicle Institute of America, Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association, Right Rider Access Fund, Federal Highway Administration, and Kawasaki.”
Taylor continued, “The true value of the Conference can’t be measured and won’t be felt until participants return home and share what they learned, take advantage of new relationships created, and implement tools acquired. We hope this Conference served as a chance for people to get enthused for the year ahead, and we look forward to hosting everyone again in Utah in 2023!”
CA SB 894 Headed to Governor Newsom’s Desk for his Signature
SB 894, introduced by Senator Brian Jones, was passed by the California Legislature and is headed to Governor Newsom for action. SB 894 provides a way to register off-road competition vehicles, close the gaps in the regulation of off-highway vehicles used for competitions, and create a new identification system for competition vehicles. The bill establishes a registration and identification program for certain off-highway vehicles (OHVs) intended for competition use only. SB 894 includes key safety measures requiring certain competition OHVs to be equipped with a muffler and spark arrester, which addresses fire risks and noise pollution when operating on public lands. Since the expiration of California’s Red Sticker program in 2021, OHVs have not been able to obtain registration to operate on public lands for competitions. Effective with the 2022 model year, the California Air Resources Board no longer certifies certain ATVs and off-highway motorcycles for restricted recreational use. Without a legislative fix, the loss of competition on public lands would deal a significant blow to California’s powersports community and industry, which had a retail marketplace valued at $3.7 billion in 2021.
On September 1, ARRA issued a call to action to California members to write to Governor Newsom and urge him to sign SB 894. Thank you to the ARRA members who quickly responded to the call-to-action alert, with more than 230 messages sent to the Governor’s office. The bill was sent to the Governor’s desk on August 31 while the legislature was still in session. Governor Newsom must sign or veto the legislation by September 30, or it becomes law without his signature.
$65M Investment from Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
On August 26, the Biden Administration announced more than $65 million of investments to help the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service improve water quality, roads, and trails nationwide. The investments were made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The Legacy and Trails Program will receive more than $40 million for Fiscal Year 2022 and the Collaborative Aquatic Landscape Restoration Program will receive $25.5 million over five years. The investments being announced will support projects that serve rural community needs, create jobs, and improve access to national forests and grasslands.
The Legacy Roads and Trails Program funds projects, along with other restoration and infrastructure work, to improve water quality and aquatic habitat while making transportation systems safer, more sustainable, and more durable. In addition to improving roads and trails for communities, business, and recreation, the Legacy Roads and Trails program creates jobs for contractors including those who specialize in stream restoration, environmental design, and heavy equipment operations.
Since 2008, the Legacy Roads and Trails program maintained and storm proofed more than 18,000 miles of roads, replaced more than a thousand culverts for fish habitat, restored nearly 17,000 miles of streams, and decommissioned more than 7,000 miles of roads to improve fish habitat and reduce pollution. Projects also built or repaired 137 bridges and repaired more than 5,000 miles of trails while creating between 700 and 1,100 jobs each year and reducing annual maintenance costs for project areas by $3.5 million.
The Collaborative Aquatic Landscape Restoration Program follows Secretary Vilsack’s recent direction to the Forest Service to take bold action to restore forests, make them more resilient to drought, wildfire, insects, disease, and to address the climate crisis.
Recent BLM Activity
- Vale, Oregon – Despite a late, wet spring, the risk of wildfire is increasing rapidly across eastern Oregon as hot and dry conditions continue. To reduce the risk of human-caused wildfires, the Bureau of Land Management expanded fire restrictions to include the entire Vale District starting July 29.
- Spokane, Washington – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Spokane District has added a prohibition to its existing fire restrictions order. The added prohibition is the discharge of firearms except while engaged in lawful hunt pursuant to state, federal, or tribal law and regulations, on public lands administered by the BLM and the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) in the following counties: Benton, Chelan, Douglas, Franklin, Grant, and Yakima. The temporary ban went into effect on July 29.
- Susanville, California – On Monday, August 1, BLM implemented seasonal fire restrictions to prevent wildfire risk on public lands managed by the Eagle Lake and Applegate field offices in Lassen, Modoc, Plumas, Sierra, Shasta, and Siskiyou counties in California, and in Washoe County, Nevada. These seasonal restrictions are in addition to the BLM California fire prevention order and will remain in effect until further notice.
- Mammoth Lakes, California – The Bureau of Land Management Bishop Field Office and the Mono County Public Works Department rerouted Wild Willy’s Hot Spring access road in Long Valley from August 8-10 to improve public safety and visibility. Motorists experienced delays at the entrance on August 8 and no vehicle access from August 9-10. Visitors can still enjoy access to the hot springs by foot.
- Barstow, California – The Bureau of Land Management and the Federal Highway Administration’s Federal Lands Division will begin road improvements to Dumont Dunes Road Off-Highway Vehicle area in San Bernardino County to improve public access. The road improvements are a part of the Federal Highway Administration’s transportation improvement program.
- Medford, Oregon – As a result of increased fire activity, the Bureau of Land Management Grants Pass Field Office has temporarily closed BLM-managed areas near the Rum Creek Fire for public and firefighter safety. Members of the public may not enter closed areas, and all uses—including hiking, hunting, and dispersed camping—are prohibited. The closure order encompasses a broad area west of Galice on both the south and north side of the Rogue River. Galice Road is closed north of Almeda boat ramp, as is Peavine Road. Please see the map for full closure information on the BLM website: https://www.blm.gov/programs/public-safety-and-fire/fire-and-aviation/regional-info/oregon-washington/fire-restrictions. The Galice Road is closed north of Almeda County Park to Grave Creek. The only access to Grave Creek Boat Ramp will be by Lower Rogue River permit holders and those accessing Grave Creek from Wolf Creek. The Lower Section of the Wild and Scenic Rogue River at Grave Creek is open to boaters with permits as conditions allow. Northwest Team 13 will post to Facebook at 6AM daily with the current river status at https://www.facebook.com/rumcreekfire2022.
- Winnemucca, Nevada – The Cherry Gulch Fire, located in the Pine Forest Range of the Winnemucca District has grown to 15,786 acres. The fire is 50% contained. The fire started in the Cherry Gulch near Mahogany Mountain on the north end of the Pine Forest Range (about 8 miles south of Denio, Nevada). The cause is still under investigation. Aircraft, heavy equipment, engines, and hand crews are on scene and fully engaged. Additional engines and crews have been ordered.
- Susanville, California – Motorcycle racers converged on the Bureau of Land Management’s Fort Sage Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area in Lassen County for a night race from 9 p.m. to midnight, Saturday, August 27. Trails in the racecourse beginning and ending at the Raptor Trailhead were limited to competitors only. The event featured 40 riders that formed into 20 teams for a relay-style race on a measured course. They completed as many laps as possible during the three-hour event, competing for fastest time. For safety reasons, there were no provisions for spectators along the course. Team supporters and spectators were only allowed in the pit area at the trailhead. The event organizers provided course marshals and BLM law enforcement rangers were on hand to monitor the event. The event was sponsored by the Lassen Motorcycle Club under a special recreation permit issued by the BLM Eagle Lake Field Office in Susanville. The Fort Sage OHV Area offers about 100 miles of roads and trails for dirt bikes, all-terrain vehicles, utility vehicles, and four-wheel-drive trucks. Detailed information, including directions for getting there, can be found here: https://www.blm.gov/visit/fort-sage-highway-vehicle-area.