NOHVCC Newsletter - July 2010 edition

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2010 NOHVCC/NAOPM Conferences

by Jack Terrell, NOHVCC Senior Project Coordinator

Outdoor workshop gatheringHave you registered for the 2010 National Association of OHV Program Managers (NAOPM) Conference and the 2010 National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC) Conference scheduled for August 26-29 in Great Falls, Montana?

 

Need to register?
Register here if you are using a NOHVCC grant
Register here if you are a NOHVCC Partner and are not using a NOHVCC grant
Register here if you are an enthusiast or a related business or organization not using a NOHVCC grant
Register here if Government Agency personnel

 

The NAOPM Conference begins on Thursday, August 26th. It will include morning conference sessions in Great Falls and afternoon field sessions at Bull Run Guest Ranch. The field sessions will include equipment demonstrations and trail construction workshops. The NOHVCC Conference begins Thursday evening with an orientation for new partners and associate partners followed by a reception/dinner for NOHVCC and NAOPM attendees.

 

Go to conference packet for the agendas for both conferences.

 

No conference would be complete without pre-conference activities. This year we invite you to come early to enjoy off-highway riding at Bull Run Guest Ranch, spectacular dual-sport riding opportunities for hundreds of miles around Great Falls, not to mention all the non-riding possibilities. There is river rafting, fishing and hiking throughout the area. In Great Falls you can visit the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center and the C M Russell Museum. Within a few hours' drive you will find Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park. Check out all the possibilities at: the Great Falls conference page..

 

Plan your vacation around the conference. Bring the family with you. It will be an enjoyable and educational experience for everyone.

 

 

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Federal Judge Reopens Motorized Trails in MT

by Jack Terrell, NOHVCC Senior Project Coordinator

 

OHMs on Montana Single TrackOn July 2nd, the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana directed the U.S. Forest Service to reopen 40 motorized trails and roads in the Lewis and Clark National Forest in north-central Montana. U.S. District Judge Sam Haddon's ruling also lifted seasonal restrictions and restored dispersed camping opportunities. Earlier this year the Court ruled that the 2007 Travel Management Plan issued by the Lewis and Clark National Forest violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Montana Wilderness Study Act (MWSA). The Forest has announced that it will implement the Court's ruling and is developing a new travel map showing the changes.

 

The Lewis and Clark National Forest's Travel Management Plan had been developed as part of the U.S. Forest Service Travel Management Rule which requires each National Forest to follow a process to designate roads, trails and areas that are open to motor vehicles.

 

A coalition of 9 local and national recreation groups filed a lawsuit in 2008 claiming violations of environmental law and Forest Service procedural requirements. The coalition included the Russell Country Sportsmen, Montana Trail Vehicle Riders Association, Great Falls Trail Bike Riders Association, Great Falls Snowmobile Club, Meagher County Little Belters, Treasure State Alliance, Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (SVIA), and BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC).

 

SVIA and MIC General Counsel Paul Vitrano commented: "This is a very positive remedy for ATV and motorcycle riders in Montana as it restores riding opportunities on many of the routes and trails that were closed by the final Travel Plan issued by the Forest. The remedy is also positive as it shows that when agencies issue decisions through a flawed process, off-highway vehicle enthusiasts and industry can work together to get trails reopened."

 

Kathy Van Kleeck, MIC and SVIA Senior Vice President for Government Relations, said: "We applaud the Court for restoring many of the opportunities that would have been lost, and it is our hope that this positive result encourages OHV enthusiasts across the country to get or stay involved in the Travel Management processes on the local Forests."

 

NOHVCC Executive Director Russ Ehnes noted: "For several years NOHVCC has conducted dozens of Route Designation Workshops across the country to educate OHV enthusiasts on the requirements of the USFS Travel Management Rule. We also produced our Public Land Advocacy DVD to allow persons who were unable to attend these workshops to become informed regarding the process. The central theme of the workshops and the DVD is that you must be informed regarding the process, you must be involved at every stage of the process, you must make written input at designated times, and you must do everything required to establish and maintain your appeal and litigation rights. The Montana enthusiasts did all of this, and they have achieved a victory that can be duplicated everywhere in the country."

 

Copies of the Land Advocacy DVD can be ordered from trailhead@nohvcc.org

 

Additional links:
MIC Press Release
Great Falls Tribune article July 3, 2010

 

 

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COHVCO Workshop

by Jack Terrell, NOHVCC Senior Project Coordinator
photo by Corey Corbett, COHVCO Manager of Operations and OHV Workshop Coordinator

 

Over 125 attendees participated in the Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition (COHVCO) 10th Annual OHV Management Workshop in Gunnison, Colorado on June 17-20. Participants included the US Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service, Colorado State Parks, NOHVCC, local government and tourism representatives, and OHV enthusiasts from all over Colorado. NOHVCC consultant Tom Crimmins acted as facilitator of the workshop, and he and Jack Terrell, NOHVCC Senior Project Coordinator, presented many of the workshop sessions.

COHVCO Workshop 2010
 Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) enthusiasts discuss issues with BLM and USFS Land Managers. Pictured are: Dudley Fecht, David McDaniel and Carl Bauer speaking with John Murphy, USFS District Ranger and Brian St. George, BLM Gunnison Field Office Mgr.

 

 

With a theme of "Making It Work: Where Do We Go From Here?", the workshop focused on maintaining and expanding OHV recreation opportunities through partnerships between government agencies, local elected officials, tourism and economic development entities, OHV clubs, and OHV enthusiasts. Corey Corbett, COHVCO Manager of Operations, stated that: "The participation and enthusiasm of all presenters and attendees demonstrates a willingness of public agencies, civic organizations, the business community, and OHV enthusiasts to work together to achieve a bright future for OHV recreation".

 

One of the most productive sessions of the workshop, "Sustainable Recreation & Tourism: Partnerships with Agencies, Local Governments and Gateway Communities", featured a panel discussion with John Murphy, USFS Gunnison Ranger District; Brian St. George, BLM Gunnison Field Office Manager; Jim Bensberg, El Paso County Commissioner; Joellen Fonken, Gunnison Trails Commission; Tammy Scott, Director of the Gunnison Chamber of Commerce; and Jane Chaney, Executive Director of the Gunnnison-Crested Butte Tourism Association. Tom Crimmins observed that: "This session provided so many opportunities to work toward common objectives that I believe we will see numerous partnerships developing to bridge the gap between declining agency budgets and increasing public demand for OHV riding opportunities".

 

The workshop concluded with a Saturday afternoon tour and Sunday ride at the Hartman Rocks trail system, a cooperative federal-local project, where the trailhead and close-in trails are managed by Gunnison County, and the outlying trail system is managed by BLM.

 

 

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Agassiz Trail CRT award

by Karen Umphress, NOHVCC Project Coordinator

 

Continuing with the coverage of the 2010 CRT awards which include motorized recreation or groups, this issue will highlight thCRT 2010 Awarde Agassiz Recreational Trail.

 

 Marianne Fowler, CRT Co-Chair; Rep Jim Oberstar (D-MN); Gordy Gudvangen, Agassiz Trail Administrator; Derek Crandall, CRT Co-Chair

 

The Agassiz Recreational Trail (ART) is a rail corridor that has been acquired and converted to a natural surface multiuse trail. Fifty-two miles in length, it runs from Ulen to Crookston in Northwestern Minnesota. The trail runs through scenic farmland and the design included construction and/or refurbishing of 11 impressive bridges, the largest of which is 300 feet long at a 55 foot height over the Wild Rice River near Twin Valley. The grand opening for the three newest bridges is on July 17, 2010.

 

The Agassiz Recreational Trail is a cooperative of three Minnesota Counties (Norman, Clay, and Polk), plus the cities along the trail (Fertile, Ulen, Crookston, and Twin Valley) as well as community members. The Trail project is a great example of trail sharing, as the trails are used in the summer by equestrians, hikers, mountain bikers, and ATVs. Winter use is mostly snowmobiles.

 

Gordy Gundvangen, the trail administrator accepted the award. According to Gordy, "We are pleased the Coalition for Recreational Trails saw fit to award the efforts of those involved in the creation of the Agassiz Recreational Trail. These trails are important to the area communities and a lot of time and effort has gone into its creation. This type of recognition helps to make all of the work worthwhile and makes you want to continue." More information on ART can be found at www.agassiztrail.com.

 

This project won the 2010 Construction and Design Award. Congratulations to all involved.

 

The Coalition of Recreational Trails is a national organization representing the nation's major trail interests. It has been working since 1992 to build awareness and understanding of the Recreational Trails Program, to support its implementation and to help insure that it receives adequate funding. The awards are part of the Coalition's ongoing effort to promote and celebrate this highly successful program, which has greatly enhanced the quantity and quality of trail experiences available to the public. The Coalition gives out 7 project awards and 2 state awards each year. A full list of award winners can be found on their website. Get more information about the Coalition.

 

The Recreational Trails Program needs all of our help to ensure that it is included in the next transportation bill. Be sure to contact your legislators [again] and explain that this program is a pay-to-play program. The money from the Recreational Trails Program comes from the un-refunded gasoline tax used by off-highway vehicle recreation.

 

 

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Without Volunteers, You Might Not Have a Place to Ride

by Russ Ehnes, NOHVCC Executive Director 

 

Ron Larimer-2010 Outstanding Volunteer of the YearI met Ron Larimer this spring at an OHV safety and ethics education fair sponsored by the Central Oregon Combined OHV Operations (COHVOPS) that was held in conjunction with the Central Oregon Motorcycle and ATV Club (COMAC) Annual Poker Run at the East Fort Rock Trail system near Bend, Oregon.

 

Ron was the first person I met when I arrived at the site. He was setting up the training area for the motorcycle safety classes he'd be teaching the next day. Throughout the course of the day I had several chances to visit with Ron and I learned he rides bikes, ATVs and snowmobiles, and is retired from the military. He used to drag race boats and he loves working on trails and running the Sweco Trail dozer and trail rake.

 

I met a group of hard working COHVOPS folks including Vicki Ramming, COHVOPS manager, and Todd Cardin who was coordinating the event. I had a chance to talk with Vicki and I asked how long Ron had been working for COHVOPS. She explained that Ron doesn't work for COHVOPS; he's a volunteer. "But we treat him like an employee because he's here so much" she added.

 

Ron is an example of the kind of volunteerism that keeps the rest of us riding trails. Vicki explained that:  “"Ron Larimer began volunteering for COHVOPS in 2005. Over the past 5 years, he has contributed more than 3400 hours of volunteer time, with an assessed value of over $76,900. Ron began volunteering for the program as a Trail Ranger, providing visitor information and compliance checks at the OHV staging areas and on the trail. In 2006 he started volunteering in the Operations and Maintenance program, becoming certified to operate a Sweco, as well as assisting with trail grooming, facilities and other maintenance projects. He is always willing to volunteer at trade show education booths, the Oregon State Fair and the COHVOPS Education and Demo Fair.

 

Ron is an ASI ATV Instructor and a MSF Dirt Bike Coach, providing certification to agency personnel as well as instructing youth through the Central Oregon 4-H program.

 

Ron is an active member and past president of the Central Oregon Motorcycle and ATV Club (COMAC). During his presidency, he was instrumental in COMAC providing financial and volunteer support for two grant funded projects; staging area improvements and the rebuild of China Hat campground, which was slated to be closed.

 

Ron also volunteers for the Deschutes National Forest non-motorized summer and winter trails program, and for the Boy Scouts of America. Ron is certified to operate ATVs, dirt bikes, chainsaws, snowmobiles and the Sweco trail dozer for the forest service. He maintains his Wilderness First Aid certification, and is always eager to develop new skills.

 

Ron continues to be a great asset to the program working side by side with COHVOPS employees and other volunteers. He normally volunteers 3 days a week, with some vacations in the summer and dead of winter. On an average, Ron contributes approximately 80 person days of volunteer time per year.”"

 

Thanks for all the work you do Ron. Without your help COHVOPS couldn't be as successful as they are today.

 

 

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