Marshall University OHV Recreation Management Program

Students and professional land managers learn current best practices about the sport; planning, design, construction, and management of OHV trails and facilities.  Courses are available on-campus and on-line.

Marshall University Statue
The Marshall University Recreation and Park Resources program, in cooperation with the Nick J. Rahall, II Appalachian Transportation Institute (RTI) and the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC), has developed a series of four off-highway vehicle courses.

The objective of these courses is to provide both university students and professional employees of planning and land management agencies with state-of-the-art courses dealing with the general aspects of OHV recreation and the planning, construction, operation and management of OHV trails and facilities. Career employees can obtain academic credit after completing the courses and students attending other colleges and universities may have these credits transferred to their own institutions.


The Recreation and Park Resources program at Marshall University offers a bachelor of science degree with an emphasis in parks and conservation. Faculty at Marshall have worked with the creators of the Hatfield-McCoy Trail System in Southern West Virginia from its inception by providing student interns and employees. Developers of the Hatfield-McCoy Trail system encouraged the creation of a series of OHV courses within the Marshall University Recreation and Parks Resources program.


Marshall University students will now be able to obtain a minor in off-highway vehicle recreation. Other students from anywhere in the world may enroll in these courses via the Internet.


Course Description and Content

There are four courses that comprise the OHV Recreation curriculum, each being 3 units. The same four that are available on campus are also available online as distance-learning courses.




PLS 450/550 - Introduction to Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation - 3 semester hours

A course designed to introduce the student to the subject of off-highway vehicle recreation in terms of areas, facilities, vehicle types, use, demand, professional organizations, legislation, and legal issues.  Principal topics will include:

  • History and Evaluation of OHV Recreation
  • Equipment and Accessories
  • Participation, Use, and Demand
  • Areas and Facilities
  • Legal, Legislative, and Use Issues
  • Conflict Resolution
  • OHV Parks

PLS: 451/551 - Planning and Design of OHV Parks - 3 semester hours

A course designed to guide students through the process of planning, designing, and construction of off-highway vehicle trails utilizing state-of-the-art procedures and technology.  Principal topics will include:

  • Planning and Design Practices
  • Design Considerations Based Upon Mode of Travel
  • Land Capability Analysis
  • Factors that Influence Design
  • OHV Parks
  • GPS and GIS Technology

PLS 452/552 - Construction of OHV Trail Systems - 3 semester hours

A course designed to instruct students in contemporary methods and techniques of constructing OHV trails and related facilities.  Principal topics will include:

  • Construction Tools and Equipment
  • Preliminary Construction Activities
  • Tread Foundation and Tread
  • Trail Reinforcement Techniques
  • Trail Construction in Wet Areas
  • Modifying and Rehabilitating Existing Trails

PLS 453/553 - Operation and Management of OHV Trail Systems - 3 semester hours

A course designed to provide participants with background, guidance, and recommended techniques for operating and managing OHV trail systems.  Principal topics will include: 

  • Organization Structure Options
  • Operational Procedures and Policies
  • Protection and Law Enforcement
  • User Conflicts
  • Liability and Risk Management
  • Trail Maintenance
  • Public Relations, Consumer Services, and Marketing
  • Special Events and Activities


An Opportunity to Join

Marshall UniversityThese courses are a great new opportunity for anyone who is considering a career in parks or recreation, and who also happens to be an OHV enthusiast. It is a dream of most of us to be able join our work and play in some capacity, and having a minor degree in OHV Recreation can do just that. With that title on a resume, you will be looked up to as an expert in that field and will likely get the position you really want.

A significant amount of effort went into developing this curricula and the NOHVCC was very involved in the process from the beginning. Our organization of course wants to see the best, most qualified individuals in charge of OHV programs throughout the country and these courses hit the bull’s-eye when it comes to achieving that goal.




Marshall University

Named after the much-heralded early American Supreme Court Justice John Marshall, this state-supported University offers 2- and 4-year degrees. The Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools accredits Marshall University as an institution of higher learning. 


Registration and admission information for the Marshall University OHV online courses on their website.  The cost of tuition can change at any time.  To the current rates are available at Marshall's bursar's office.

You may also contact:


Theresa Litteral

GIS Research/Trail System Program Manager
Rahall Transportation Institute
PO Box 5425
Huntington, WV 25703









Marshall University Affiliate, Marshall Community and Technical College, offers Continuing Education Units for the NOHVCC Public Land Advocacy Webinar series.  Check out the webinar page for more information.