NOHVCC Newsletter - January 2015 edition

Read the other NOHVCC newsletter issues


This year is our 25th Anniversary at NOHVCC and we are celebrating all year!


In this Issue:




25 Years Ago, Honda’s Vision Became NOHVCC’s Mission

by Dave Halsey, NOHVCC Contributing Writer


This year, the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC) celebrates its 25th Anniversary. Throughout 2015, we’ll be including articles in this newsletter about the history of NOHVCC, its challenges and accomplishments, leading up to the annual conference in late October. 


Group photoThis month, we’re taking a look back at how NOHVCC was originally created, visiting with Paul Slavik, the current NOHVCC California State Partner, who pulled together OHV leaders from around the country to attend the very first organizational meeting. At the time, Salvik worked for Honda USA.


When did NOHVCC get started?
“The first planning meeting was in July of 1990. It was held at Lake Arrowhead Resort in the San Bernardino National Forest in southern California. We were trying to get people involved and we wanted them to do more than just sit in meetings, so I showed up with a bunch of bikes for a ride. We have tried to include rides at meetings throughout the years.”


What’s the backstory behind that first meeting?
“Silvio Carrara was a vice president at Honda. Bob Clever was a senior manager. I worked for them. We wanted to do something to protect OHV (off-highway vehicle) recreation on a national scale. My job was to contact people who were leaders in their particular OHV communities, and convince them to come to California to start a new organization. It wasn’t easy. Most of them were busy, involved in their own states and organizations, and didn’t all see the need to start a new kind of national organization.”


Who attended the first meeting?
“People from Honda who were there were myself, Silvio, Bob, and Steve Ellis.

The other people there were:

  • Clark Collins, who started the Blue Ribbon Coalition (BRC);
  • Steve Gunderson (with the Idaho Trail Machine Association);
  • Tom Crimmins, who was the California OHV coordinator for the Forest Service;
  • Randy Harden, who was the president the first years and was active in Wisconsin;
  • Howard Johnson of Battle Creek, Michigan;
  • Lloyd Liebetrau was a Honda dealer in Denver and a very active off-road guy;
  • Eric Lundquist was an AMA (American Motorcyclist Association) rep at the time;
  • Ryck Lydecker, who was with MIC (Motorcycle Industry Council);
  • Ron Morgenthaller, he was active in Washington state OHV issues;
  • Susan Halbert, she was hired by Honda as a consultant. She was the brains behind the organizational structure and the guiding force to help us get it started. 


“That was the original group of people that was brought together at Lake Arrowhead.”  


Did the ATV Consent Decree of 1988 play a role in the creation of NOHVCC?
“The Consent Decree did play a role. It had a big impact on the industry. Honda saw that OHV users weren’t organized to work together. I was interested in land use in a broad term, protecting our rights, getting new trails and keeping existing riding opportunities that we had. The whole land use agenda was developed from the grass roots of the individuals involved.”  

 two riders pushing bike along a difficult trail

Why did Honda take on this responsibility?
“From my perspective, at the time Honda was by far the leader in safety education for motorcycles and ATVs. We sold the most product, a third or half of all the OHVs in the marketplace. Honda was a leader from the very beginning. We built OHV education centers around the country, there were five of them.” 


What was involved in acquiring initial funding for the new organization from Honda?
“The Japanese didn’t understand American politics and land use very well back then. In 1990, they didn’t understand that a couple little old ladies could stop a new OHV park or shut down a park. Silvio and Bob went to Japan and made a presentation to them. They got their buy-in to start an organization that could empower OHV enthusiasts around the country to start talking to each other, and working together for a common cause.”


How big a commitment was it?
“It was a multi-year commitment. Honda provided significant funding to bring this organization to reality. We were going to have two meetings a year for the first couple years. Honda paid for the hotels, meetings, food, and transportation. Honda really wasn’t controlling the reins. We actually took a very hands-off approach. I helped get people together and watched it. Truly, the organization formed itself with the guidance of Susan Halbert, and was started in a very unique manner.” 


Was it a non-profit from the start?
“Yes. We had to go through a bunch of hoops to get our 501(c)(3) status, that took a while. One of the problems was that to get it, you had to have multiple funding sources. At that time Honda was the only funding source.”


Who were the other initial sponsors?
“For several years after starting NOHVCC, I was trying to convince other manufacturers to chip in. And it took several years to get MIC involved. It wasn’t an automatic deal. I’d go to meetings and explain that this is a new organization called NOHVCC, not a Honda organization. This is to protect our riding opportunities, in order to sell our products across the country. Eventually, MIC became the funding source. That’s when Honda withdrew as the primary funding source.”  


NOHVCC logoWhen did you land on the name “National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council”?
For the first meeting in July of 1990, the working name was the ‘off-road club support design team.’ We threw out a bunch of names for the organization. I had a list of names, and went back to Honda and we played with those names and we came up with the name NOHVCC. We had the name by September.”   


Was there something unique about the name NOHVCC?
“My idea was that this organization was unlike anything else that had come along. Most organizations have an initial crisis to deal with, and then people get involved. This organization was created from the beginning to do a job, as guided by Susan Halbert.  My idea was this was not a president-top-down approach but a council of OHV leaders all at the same level.” 


This year the NOHVCC annual conference will be held in California, where it all began. Looking back over 25 years, what comes to mind about the organization?
“I have been riding dirt bikes since the early ‘60s. Things have changed dramatically from those early days, when you could take off on a noisy dirt bike and ride to the horizon and back. We thought no one cared, but how wrong we were! We have come a long way since President Nixon’s Executive Order instructing the agencies to manage OHV.


“I’m really proud of what NOHVCC has become! The fundamental basis for the organization and the quality of the partners who have dedicated so much of their time over the years really shines through. In the 1990s, the agencies didn’t really consider OHV recreation a viable use of public land and, consequently, we were not taken seriously. Now, when Russ Ehnes (NOHVCC executive director) or other partners make presentations, people listen.


“We have stayed true to our values and kept the high ground when faced with vociferous opposition. During all that time, my two main themes have been a constant: Education and Sound. Keep up the good work!”




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Top 10 Ways Your Club Can “Create A Positive Future For OHV Recreation”

by Dave Halsey, NOHVCC Contributing Writer


“NOVAK? What’s NOVAK?”


Have you heard that before? When you meet riders out on the trail in your riding area and mention NOHVCC, what percentage of them know what it stands for, both as an acronym and as a national organization?  100%?  50%?  1%?


First Webinar DVD Front CoverIt wasn’t until I started an OHV club and joined my state’s ATV association that I learned about the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council. I discovered that across the country, the “boots on the ground” that are building new trails, maintaining existing trails, and promoting safe, responsible OHV recreation, are worn by members of OHV clubs and state associations. And, in every way imaginable, when it comes to providing the “tools” they need, NOHVCC has their back.


It’s part of the NOHVCC mission: 
“NOHVCC, as a national body of OHV recreation enthusiasts, develops and provides a wide spectrum of programs, materials and information, or “tools”, to individuals, clubs, associations, and agencies in order to further a positive future for responsible OHV recreation.”


For 25 years, NOHVCC has helped people start OHV clubs and associations across the U.S. and Canada. Here’s what the New Mexico OHV Alliance -- which celebrated its 10th Anniversary in 2014 -- recently posted on the NOHVCC Facebook page: “NMOHVA would not be where we are today if it wasn't for assistance from NOHVCC as our organization was forming.”


NOHVCC and its broad network of OHV trail-building, network-creating and partnership-forming experts have all the tools you need. All you have to do is pick them up.


Here are the Top 10 ways you can create a positive future for OHV recreation in your riding area, with NOHVCC’s help:


Number 10 - Get on the NOHVCC email list to receive theCooperation in maintaining a sustainable trail with rock free monthly e-newsletter, and encourage all your club members to do the same. Each month, it presents valuable information and OHV success stories from across the country. Get on the NOHVCC email list by clicking on the box in the upper right corner of the NOHVCC home page at


Number 9 - Reprint NOHVCC newsletter articles in your club's newsletter, or mention them on your club website with a link to the NOHVCC newsletter website: And consider submitting articles that cover OHV issues in your state to local newspapers.


Number 8 - Find out who your NOHVCC state partners are, contact them, get to know them and use them as a resource to build your club and promote OHV recreation in your area, positively and professionally. Consider applying to become a NOHVCC state partner or associate state partner, especially if your state has none. They are the key to NOHVCC’s success, acting as a liaison between NOHVCC and the OHV communities in their states. See the state-by-state list of NOHVCC partners at


Number 7 -  Order copies of the free NOHVCC “Public Land Advocacy Workshops Series DVD.” It’s free and it's designed to be used by clubs, OHV associations and agency land managers, so everyone is working together to build sustainable trails. Introduced in 2009, it has 14 chapters, ranging in length from 7 to 33 minutes each. Show a chapter or two at your club meetings. Topics include: understanding the agency designation process, how to get involved and save trails, and how to plan, design, manage and maintain trail systems. The chapter titled “Success Stories” highlights four of the country’s best OHV trail systems -- the Paiute ATV Trail in Utah, the Rock Run Recreation Area in Pennsylvania, the Hatfield-McCoy Trails in West Virginia, and the Highwood Mountains Trail System in Montana. All four were designed, planned, constructed and maintained using the management techniques from NOHVCC workshops. To order copies of the new DVD for yourself, your club or agency trail planners in your area, send an email to or call 800-348-6487.


Number 6 - Attend the annual NOHVCC conference. Each fall, the best of the best OHV advocates gather for 4 or 5 days. They have fun attending a mobile workshop (i.e. trail ride with field demonstrations), tackling important OHV issues, and watching outstanding presentations from OHV leaders, and agency profess2 people showing group how to do hand trail maintenanceionals. Look over the presentations from last year’s conference to get an idea of what it’s all about, at this link:


Number 5 - Attend a NOHVCC OHV Workshop when one is held in your area. Or consider contacting NOHVCC to help you organize one. These 2 or 3-day events are outstanding, bringing together riders, and folks from local, state and federal agencies to learn how to advance responsible OHV recreation in their areas. NOHVCC is also able to do webinars on trail building that are customized for individual OHV clubs.


Number 4 - Check out the NOHVCC web site at, especially the headings “Resources,” “Education,” and “Materials,” where you’ll find an OHV resource library, club start-up kit, trail-building information, “Adventure Trail” coloring books and crayons you can order free (just pay shipping) to promote safe, responsible riding to area youth, and much more.  Put a link to NOHVCC’s website on your local and state clubs and associations.


Number 3 - See the list of OHV clubs and state associations for your state on the NOHVCC website: add your club if it’s not listed, or update the contact information for your OHV club or state association if it’s changed, by sending an email to


Number 2 - Learn more about the five hard-working NOHVCC Teams and what they do. the Clubs and Associations Team, Network Development Team, Private Lands Team, Public Lands Team, and Youth and Education Team. Get the details at this link: Better yet, join one of these teams at the annual conference, and put your expertise to work to the betterment of OHV recreation.


And the Number 1 way you can create a positive future for OHV recreation in your area - Get involved, stay informed, ride with us and work with us to spread the NOHVCC Mission, and have fun in the process.



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Paper, Smartphone Or Tablet: Montana Club Has Trail Maps Covered

by Dave Halsey, NOHVCC Contributing Writer


The Great Falls Trail Bike Riders Association (GFTBRA) has done it again!


Just a few years after printing a rider-friendly trail map for the Little Belt Mountains in Montana, GFTBRA has taken advantage of a free mobile app that shows the exact same map on a smart phone or tablet. While out on the trails, riders can zoom in on the map, see their GPS location, track rides and geo-reference photos.


“It’s an incredible new tool for off-highway vehicle (OHV) riders, and the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Russ Ehnes, GFTBRA president.


smart phone with map app on screenEach year since 2010, the club has printed a Motorized Travel Map for the Little Belt Mountains and distributed it free of charge. The map is made in partnership with the Montana Trail Vehicle Riders Association, Inc., and the Lewis and Clark National Forest. (See “Now That’s A Motorized Travel Map” September 2013 NOHVCC newsletter, at this link:


Like the black-and-white Motorized Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs) printed by the U.S. Forest Service, the club’s Little Belt map shows “Roads open to highway legal vehicles,” “Roads open to all vehicles,” and vehicle designations for trails. Unlike an MVUM, the Little Belt map is printed in 4-color and is incredibly user friendly, showing both open and closed trails and roads, with vehicle designations and seasonal restrictions much larger and differentiated by color and vehicle icons. It also adds trailheads and parking, campgrounds and picnic areas, fishing access sites, township grids, topography, towns and villages.


The next logical step for the club was to get the map on a free mobile app, says Ehnes. “The Little Belt Mountain Range is about 1 million acres. There are a lot of riding opportunities up there, but there are just too many intersections to be signed well. People get confused, and aren’t always sure what intersection they’re at. A handheld GPS is great, but often the map that’s on the screen doesn’t match the printed map that’s in your hand, and you just do your best to compare squiggly lines. By getting our printed map on a mobile app through the Avenza mapping program, it allowed us to put the printed map that’s in your hand onto your screen.”


Avenza Systems Inc. is a Canadian company that develops, markets and supports computer and mobile software products and royalty-free map data for the mapping and geographic information systems (GIS) industries. Many Forest Service MVUMs are available through the Avenza PDF Maps mobile app store.


“It does take some work to get an OHV trail map on theMan rides ATV down rocky hill with view behind Avenza system, but it’s worth the effort,” said Ehnes. “You start with a geo referenced pdf. The Forest Service provided us with that when they did the cartography for the printed map. There are some steps you go through to make it compatible with Avenza, then you sign up to become a vendor on their store. You have the option of charging for your maps or providing them free, which is what we do. Then you upload the map to Avenza. They have a quality control department that goes through your map and checks it for accuracy, functionality and their standards, then they make it available on their store. Nathan Church, one of our club members, was responsible for getting all this done for us.”


Because the Little Belt Mountains downloadable map is saved on your mobile device, and is the same as the printed map, it doesn’t require cell service to use it. It works on all Android and Apple smart phones and Android and Apple tablets that are GPS-enabled. Instead of navigating with an expensive smart phone, some riders are using tablets, which have a much larger screen and are less expensive. “There’s no subscription, and the app is free, so it’s a very viable alternative to a GPS for a lot of people,” said Ehnes. “It’s not nearly as robust as a GPS, in durability or features, but for what trail riders need, it gets the job done. People can go out, not get lost, stay on the right trails, and make the right trail choices.”


Free mobile app is big draw at club booth. 
The Avenza app is a new tool for GFTBRA to attract riders to its booth at OHV and community events. “The app draws adults into the booth just like the Honda ‘Stupid Hurts’ sticker draws kids into the booth,” said Ehnes. “It’s great to break the ice with people.” For now, many local riders who are familiar with the area are also using the app when riding on snowmobile trails, but the Forest plans to offer the snowmobile map on Avenza in the near future.


Ehnes encourages OHV clubs and state associations interested in creating a map for trails on public lands to show agency land managers the Little Belt printed map and the Avenza app. They complement the MVUM and are new tools they can use to partner with agencies, creating maps that better serve their local communities and visiting riders. “It offers a tremendous solution,” Ehnes said. 


A map for the Whitetail-Pipestone Motorized Recreation Area near Butte, MT, is also available free on Avenza. To download the maps to your smartphone or tablet, go to the app store for your mobile device and download the free Avenza PDF Maps app. Open it, go to the Avenza map store and do a search for “Little Belt Mountains Trail Map.” Tap “List” and it will show the link to download the map. To download the Whitetail-Pipestone map, do a search for “Friends of Pipestone.” 




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Spotlighting Tasha Nielsen, Gypsum City OHV Park Trail Technician

by Dave Halsey, NOHVCC Contributing Writer


Dan Kleen and Tasha NielsenLast year was a busy one for Tasha Nielsen. A 2012 graduate of Iowa State University, she started her job as a trail technician for the Webster County Conservation Department, which manages the Gypsum City OHV Park in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Right off the bat, she was able to observe and assist a trail-building team from Trails Unlimited, working on a 35-mile expansion to the park’s trail system. She helped host an OHV Park Development Workshop, conducted at the park by the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC). She attended the annual NOHVCC Conference in Great Falls. And she was awarded a scholarship for the Marshall University On-Line Recreation Management Course. The scholarship was funded by the Right Rider Access Fund (RRAF) and administered by NOHVCC. We checked back with Tasha to find out more about her work and what she took away from the on-line course.


How long have you worked at the Gypsum City OHV Park?
“I started there 9 months ago, in April of 2014. I do trail construction and maintenance, working with mowers, chainsaws, weed eaters, skid loaders, tractors, and welders.”


What got you interested in working at an OHV park?
“I love to do anything outdoors, and I love the park atmosphere. I worked for the Iowa DNR during summers when I was going to college. I was also an AmeriCorps worker. I wanted to learn the county side of things. I like how Webster County runs and works. I enjoy working at the OHV Park and learning more about trail maintenance.”


How did you hear about the scholarship program?
“Dan Kleen (NOHVCC president and Iowa resident) told me about it. He said I should apply for it. I thought it would be great to take a class and learn more about trail construction, things that I could put to work at Gypsum City. I was so happy when I got it.”


What on-line class did you take?
“I took ELS-452 Construction of OHV Trail Systems. I took that in the fall of 2014.”


What did you get out of the class?
“All the articles that they had were great. Each week, we had to read several articles, and I got a lot of info on trail building that we can use at the park, like dealing with huge ruts, and reinforcing the ground. I saved all the articles that they gave to us. I know I’ll go back and reference them.” 


Did you get college credit for the class?
“Yes, it’s a four credit class. I think they have four different classes. I would love to take all of them.”

 Tasha Nielsen selfie on trail

Will the class help in your overall career?
“Oh definitely. It will help a lot. And I brought up some things I learned in the class to my boss. Next spring we’ll try some of these trail-building techniques.”


Would you recommend the course to others?
“I would definitely recommend it. It’s always good to keep learning. I hope to take another course through Marshall University in the future.”


What do you like most about your job?  
“I love being outside. I love working with the equipment, the skid loaders and tractors. And I get to ride an ATV every day, nothing wrong with that. I like talking to people and seeing what they like about the park. I love going to work every day. It’s always something new, and I get to make an impact on a trail system that others can enjoy.” 


Thanks Tasha!  NOHVCC and RRAF offer our congratulations and wish you the best in your career in OHV recreation.


For more information on the Gypsum City OHV Park, visit this website:


To find out more about the Right Rider Access Fund, go to their webpage at


To get more information about the Marshall On-Line OHV Recreation Management Program, go to:




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Dealer Delivers Memberships To State OHV Association

by Dave Halsey, NOHVCC Contributing Writer


Ninth in a series. Motorcycle and ATV dealers are often the first point of contact for new riders, helping them decide which vehicle to buy. Some also provide customers with information on where to ride, clubs to join and safety materials from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) and the ATV Safety Institute (ASI). What is your local dealership doing to help create a positive future for OHV recreation? Let us know by sending an email to NOHVCC at:


Sun Enterprises Shines In Post-Sale Contribution


At powersports dealerships across the country, along with a new machine, first-time buyers of off-highway vehicles (OHV) leave the store with information on safety training classes and, if the dealer is so inclined, rider information such as a state OHV regulation booklet, trail maps and a list of local clubs. 


Trailer in front of Sun Enterprises DealershipAt Sun Enterprises, just north of Denver, there’s a good chance they’ll also leave as a member of the state’s OHV association.


For a few months each year, usually in the spring, the dealership pays for a one-year membership for its OHV customers to be part of the Colorado OHV Coalition (COHVCO), connecting them to a resource that can tell them everything they need to know about where to ride and OHV issues in the state. “Sun Enterprises has been in business for 40 years,” said Tim Greene, marketing director. “Our owner runs it with the intention that if we treat people right the first time, we’ll have a customer for life. There is a risk factor in off-roading. We want to get people out there to enjoy the sport and have a good time with the family, but be safe doing it and help us build the sport.” 


Sun Enterprises is going on its fourth year with its post-sale contributions to the Coalition. Paid memberships vary year to year but have totaled in the thousands, at $20 per membership. Many new customers aren’t aware of COHVCO at the time of purchase, says Greene. But they quickly discover they are in good hands. Throughout Colorado, COHVCO members assist, educate and empower OHV riders in the protection and promotion of responsible OHV recreation. 


Sun Enterprises also supports COHVCO in its fund-raising efforts; holds seminars on vehicle maintenance; and provides riders with trail maps, information on local OHV clubs, and Colorado’s “Stay The Trail” OHV education program. “We know where the resources are,” said Greene. “We may not have all the answers to their questions, but we know where to send people to get the information they need.”


Scott Jones, a COHVCO board member and the NOHVCC Colorado State Partner, reports that Sun Enterprises is one of a group of Colorado dealers who pull together and support the organization on a regular basis, and that it’s much appreciated. For more information on Sun Enterprises, visit its website at For more details on COHVCO, go to




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Mixed Gear Bag

You know we have to be creative in our titles.  Miscellaneous is too normal and potpourri doesn't sound very rider like.  Below are up-coming events and other assorted items of interest. 


As part of our year long celebration, each month we will be asking a NOHVCC history trivia question.  All of the correct answers received will be put into a drawing for a prize.
Q: How many states have hosted a NOHVCC annual or biannual conference?  An extra entry for those people who can correctly name all of the states.
Send your answers to us at by Feb15, 2015
(yeah, other than the extra credit, only 1 entry per person)


 There is an on-line petition to keep the Boulder-White Clouds recreation area from being turned into a national monument.  This is an area that currently has multi-use recreation, including motorized, that works well.  Sign onto the petition at:


Planning ahead for next year's NOHVCC/INOHVAA conference?  It will be held in Folsom, a suburb of Sacramento the week of October 25 - November 1, 2015; most likely using the same schedule as last year.  Details will be coming in the new year. 


Our own Russ Ehnes was part of the group that was thoroughly questioned by the Consumer Product Safety Commission's panel on ROV safety standards.  Here is the official statement:


Russ Ehnes, Executive Director of NOHVCC, gave oral testimony at the January, 7th meeting of the Consumer Product Safety Commission regarding the Proposed Rule Making for recreational off-highway vehicles (ROV’s) commonly known as side-by-sides. Ehnes was one of several witnesses representing OHV recreational groups.  Other witnesses included representatives from the Recreational OHV Association (ROHVA), Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), Polaris, the Consumer Federation of America and the American Academy of Pediatrics.  The commissioners’ questioning of the witnesses, particularly the industry representatives, was robust and protracted, indicating a very high degree of interest in the subject of ROV safety.  Comments are being accepted by the CPSC on the Proposed Rule until February 2nd, although the comment period may be extended.



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