NOHVCC Newsletter - July 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:
Colorado ATV Club Provides Search & Rescue Assistance To Sheriff’s Department
by Dave Halsey, NOHVCC Contributing Writer
The Western Slope ATV Association (WSATVA) provides search and rescue assistance to Mesa County, Colorado. And has since shortly after it was formed back in 1987.
“Some of the original members had been in river dive units,” said Ken Sanders, club vice president. “They were instrumental in starting both groups. In fact, part of the bylaws for the ATV club included the fact that WSATVA would provide an ATV Team to Mesa County Sheriff’s Department for the purpose of Search & Rescue.”
According to its web site, the Mesa County Search and Rescue Control (SARC) was organized 50 years ago in 1966, with a few Sheriff Posse members and citizen band radio operators. Today, it has 9 volunteer teams on call for the 3,300 acre county, each training in its unique specialty: horseback, rope climbing, ground search, dive, boat, snowmobile, K-9, communications and ATV.
About 35 members of WSATVA belong to the SARC ATV Team. Sanders joined the club 7 years ago as vice president and team leader of the ATV Team. The next year he became president of SARC. Last year, SARC conducted 100 missions. The ATV Team was involved in 15 of them.
“The call comes into 911, or to the county or city dispatch. If it’s a call that somebody is lost, the Sheriff’s Deputies go out and look,” said Sanders. “If it requires a mission, they call SARC. We have a mission coordinator on call 24 hours a day. They may call the mission coordinator and say ‘I need the Ground Team, the ATV Team and Comm Team.’ We have a text messaging system and all the teams are on it. Usually within 30 minutes we have people on the road going out. Everyone is on call. For the ATV Team, there are three of us that can send a call out.
“Most of the time our missions involve finding someone. If it’s a bad one, we call the St. Mary’s helicopter. The ATV Team has found several people who may not have made it had we not been there on time. One elderly lady was missing. We had looked all day and night and found her the next morning. We caught her tracks on the road along a fence and found her out in sagebrush laying on the ground, conscious but unable to move. We got her warmed up and out of there into another vehicle to get her back, she was all right. But it was late fall. She would have never made it if we hadn’t found her then.”
Each SARC Team trains on a regular basis, and follows a full set of operating procedures created by the Sheriff. Mock missions are also held that involve all SARC Teams. When called on a real mission, the ATV Team goes out in two, three or four person groups. “Every team has an equipment list we carry,” said Sanders. “Everybody keeps up first aid and CPR and we’re really specific as to what we can do, following state laws, on first aid.
“The Sheriff is extremely supportive of Search & Rescue for all the teams. He always says how appreciative he is. We got an award from the county for the amount of work we do, an outstanding recognition award for service, trail work and Search and Rescue.”
For more information on Mesa County SARC, visit: http://sheriff.mesacounty.us/volunteer/template.aspx?id=5323. To learn more about WSATVA, including a 30-minute documentary on the club’s many trail projects, go to: http://wsatva.org/.
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The State of OHV State Associations
by Dave Halsey, NOHVCC Contributing Writer
Why are some off-highway vehicle (OHV) State Associations vibrant, active and growing? Why are other State Associations struggling with membership and participation? Why have some folded altogether?
What is the state of OHV State Associations?
This is the first in a series of articles on that topic. It’s a big topic. And we’d like your help to get a clear picture of it. We want to hear from NOHVCC State Partners, individual riders, OHV clubs, current and past leaders of State Associations, and state and federal OHV land managers and program managers who work with them. What is the state of the State Associations in your area? They may be Associations with member clubs and/or individuals that ride off-highway motorcycles, ATVs, ROVs or 4WD trucks, or any combination of those vehicles. What are the factors that are contributing to their success or decline?
To get us started, here are some thoughts from Jack Terrell, NOHVCC Senior Project Manager:
“There is no doubt that strong State Associations are still the key to effective OHV programs in every state. Unfortunately, right now the network of State Associations is in serious decline.
“Over the past 25 years, NOHVCC has had a very strong influence on State Associations, in terms of assisting them and educating their leaders and members on the importance of a strong State Association and working with State and Federal land managers.
“Today, lots of Associations are struggling. There are some social components to this issue. Looking at individual OHV clubs, they really are social entities, and in today’s society many social entities are in decline. It’s harder to get people involved than it was 5 or 10 years ago. People are busier than ever. Our lives have changed as far as how many hours people are putting in at work. Some members of the newer generations are not joiners, not willing to put the shoulder to the wheel. Or pick up the ball as long-time OHV leaders retire. In some states, membership in OHV clubs and State Associations increased dramatically when there was a crisis, but dropped when it subsided. And there are many other factors. It’s a complex issue, but one that needs to be addressed.”
We invite everyone to comment on this important issue. What is the current state of OHV State Associations in your area? What are the key contributing factors to their success or decline? And, in addition to offering Association Development Workshops, and many useful “tools” created over the past 25 years -- including a new club start-up kit -- how can NOHVCC help your OHV State Association be more successful in the future?
Send your comments to email@example.com. Please include your name, address, and phone number so we can contact you and include your insights in future articles. Thanks!
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Dana Bell Led The Way On Early NOHVCC Workshops And Materials
by Dave Halsey, NOHVCC Contributing Writer
Seventh in a series. 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.
This month, we visited with Dana Bell, who was on the NOHVCC staff from 1999 to 2008. In her role as project coordinator, she facilitated the development of OHV State Associations, and OHV Management Workshops. She was also instrumental in the development of many NOHVCC educational materials, including the still very popular ‘Adventure Trail’ series.
Had you been involved with NOHVCC prior to joining the staff?
“Yes, I was a State Partner for California, working with Mary Barta, helping her coordinate the conferences, and working on the Education Team, so I was already very involved with NOHVCC as a volunteer.”
Did you attend one of the early conferences?
“It was 1992. Paul Slavik told me about what was happening at NOHVCC, and said ‘you have to go to the conference.’ It was in St. Louis. I attended the conference and I was caught hook, line and sinker. Here was this group of people that was respected all over the country, sitting down and putting aside their identities to try to solve the problem of how are we going to create a positive future for OHV recreation. And then going out working state-by-state to bring people together. It was very exciting.”
Fast forward to 1999. What intrigued you about going to work for NOHVCC?
“I had been working for AMA (American Motorcyclist Association) since 1992. I was doing quite a bit of politics with AMA, working with both on-road and off-road issues. I really wanted to spend more time on the OHV aspects and education, to get at the root of the problems at the time. There was so little being done in education, and the only organization doing it was NOHVCC. In 1999, Russ called and asked if I would like a job with NOHVCC. It was amazing timing.”
What was the biggest problem OHV recreation faced in the ‘90s?
“Literally, every single State was being hit with the same attacks. So one State was doing one thing, another State was doing something else. People were making mistakes. They didn’t have the opportunity to communicate and find out what other people were doing, and know what worked and what didn’t. They couldn’t speak with a united voice. We didn’t have a strong enough voice with the real decision makers in Washington with the Forest Service and BLM (Bureau of Land Management).”
What was your first big project when you joined NOHVCC?
“Through AMA, I had started working with BLM and the Forest Service, and had made some good contacts. I had been doing some education. When Russ hired me, I focused my efforts on helping riders build State Associations. I had put some materials together and done some presentations at conferences. We started organizing and building on that material. And we created Association Development Workshops.”
Were there many State Associations at the time?
“There were some out there. Colorado was already organized for off-highway vehicles. Idaho had a State Association. In building our State Association program, we looked at what other states had done. The majority, 75% or more, were totally unorganized. Some of them had statewide clubs. California is a perfect example. We had CORVA (California Off-Road Vehicle Association) and we had the California Four-Wheel Drive Association, and a couple other very large organizations. But they weren’t working very well together, and not working with other States, and not working as well as they could with the national organizations and the Federal land managers.”
And you also created OHV Management Workshops?
“Yes. Initially, most of my work was developing OHV Management Workshops, with the emphasis on teaching land managers how to manage the activity more effectively, so the resources were protected, and so OHV enthusiasts would have a quality recreation experience and would work more effectively with land managers. That evolved into helping build the State Associations. Much of it was collaboration training and learning how to work with each other, and pulling the groups together. It helps if you have someone from the outside come in and help you work through it, rather than trying to do it internally.”
It sounds like the land managers had little to work with back then.
“There was so little knowledge of how to effectively manage OHV recreation at the time. It was almost nonexistent. Very few land management people had any exposure to the sport and so they simply didn’t know how to manage it. And it was exploding in use, we were all over the place. I’m really proud of the State Association Workshop Program we put together. We would come into a State, when invited, and set up two or three meetings on weekends, and do all the facilitation. We charged about $20 a person. We would come in and bring them together, and within 6 months they would have a working, incorporated State Association.”
Thanks to your work, the New Mexico OHV Alliance celebrated its 10th anniversary last year.
“They were so good to work with. It does make me proud. It was such an opportunity. I have been so fortunate to work with the people at NOHVCC. You walked into States with these wonderful people, who simply wanted to be able to improve their opportunities, and see the work that they put in. You walk away asking yourself ‘how can you help these people, who are working so hard and care so deeply about their recreation?’ It was a very rewarding job.”
When did you and your husband start riding?
“Sam and I started riding in 1975. We were trying to find something that we could enjoy doing together. We were both involved in our careers. Sam was working for his family’s company. He’s an industrial plater. I was working supervising an educational program on the Queen Mary. A friend of ours was an enduro rider. He said let’s go up to one of the Forest areas and ride some bikes. We went up there. It was fun. The next week we bought a little Honda MR175. We went back to the same area and just had a ball. The next week, Sam went out and bought one for himself. We rode and rode those bikes. The same friend said we should try riding an enduro out in the desert. We just absolutely loved it. We raced pretty seriously once or twice a month for the next 15 years. Sam was the mechanic and I kept him busy. I was always smashing up my bike. We bought a motorhome and took the kids and the dogs and went out every weekend, and we joined a club with a lot of other families.”
Looking back, what do you think is NOHVCC’s key accomplishment?
“I think NOHVCC has given a very responsible face to OHV recreation. It’s no longer just a bunch of people riding out there and running amok. It’s a legitimate family recreation, just like hiking and sailing. And it’s recognized by politicians and land managers from county level up to federal. We’re a legitimate recreation resource, and NOHVCC did that.”
What is the biggest challenge for OHV recreation in the future?
“I think the biggest challenge now is reaching out to that population of riders and drivers who were not brought up in a family of riders and drivers. I’m thinking of young people 18 to late 20’s, who go out and buy a bike or a Jeep and just take off and go. They don’t know where they’re supposed to go. They don’t know the rules. How do you reach those people?”
Jack Terrell, who replaced Dana as the NOHVCC Senior Project Manager, adds: “Dana Bell deserves special recognition. Not only for her years as a NOHVCC employee, but her earlier years with AMA and MIC (Motorcycle Industry Council). She was a major force behind the OHV Park Guidelines. She provided real credibility with government recreation professionals. She opened the door for government-managed OHV parks in many states. She developed and conducted Association Development Workshops that promoted OHV Associations in many States, which led to more effective presence with legislators, regulators and land managers. And Dana became the OHV community’s representative on many national and state recreation organizations.”
Dana Bell was also responsible for creating a lot of great OHV education materials for young riders, including the still popular ‘Adventure Trail’ posters, coloring books and CDs. We’ll tell that story in a future newsletter.
From all of us at NOHVCC, thank you, Dana, for your incredible contribution in helping create a positive future for OHV recreation.
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NOHVCC Associate Partner Devotes Retirement To County Park’s ATV Trails
by Dave Halsey, NOHVCC Contributing Writer
Warfield Point Park in Greenville, Mississippi, is 80 acres of camping and picnic facilities, horseshoe pits, an 18-hole disc-golf course, a 38 ft. observation tower overlooking the Mississippi River and, thanks to Wally Morse, a fun 9-mile ATV trail.
Morse, 76, worked in food sales, and retired in 2002. “It’s great to be retired, and there’s nothing better than to follow your passion,” said Morse. “I’ve been involved in the park ever since. I saw such a need for this out there.”
With no local ATV clubs to work with him, Morse was on his own. “I devised a plan for an ATV trail, and showed it to the Washington County Board of Supervisors. They thought I lost my mind. They said it was the liability issue and this and that. I showed them the facts and figures (on other riding areas), and said it’s just a case of need. It is an absolutely beautiful park, right on the edge of the river. We need these trails.”
The County Board told Morse if he could find the money, the trail would be a go. “That was in 2008,” said Morse. “I went to work. I found out about the RTP (Recreational Trail Program) funds. I got to talking about RTP at the State level. They told me how competitive the funding was with walking trails but not competitive at all for motorized trails. I said, ‘How much money are we talking about?’ They said, ‘We have $700,000.’ I said, ‘What? How much can I get?’ They said, ‘How much do you need?’ ”
With funding secured, Morse became a one-man trail-building machine. With the County’s blessing, he funded the ATV trail system through the federal RTP program, administered by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. Matching funds were provided by the Washington County Board of Supervisors and the Yamaha OHV Access Initiative Grant.
“Then I contacted the NOHVCC (National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council) and found a contact person there to help me build the trail,” Morse said. “Glenn Myers in Alabama (NOHVCC Associate State Partner). He helped me design it. He stayed here for a week, got a bulldozer out there, and worked and sweated and made us a trail. That was in 2010. Glenn said we had to put in some ‘aha moments,’ something that makes your heart jump. If we don’t have those, the kids aren’t going to ride. They want a little excitement. So we laid it out with lots of twists and turns and bumps.”
Five years later, the ATV trail is a big success, attracting 25 to 30 riders a week, sometimes 25 a day, says Morse, when local riders plan their rides on Facebook. There is a daily fee of $5 to ride the ATV trails. Helmet rental is $3. There is an ATV cleaning station complete with a ramp.
Building the trail was just the beginning. Last year, Morse added rider safety training through the ATV Safety Institute. “We got some more money and put in a big shed,” he said. “I bought 8 ATVs and accessories to conduct training. We have a youth instructor on site.” The classes are booked up through the end of the year.
What’s this year’s project? “I’m in the park now, making an obstacle course,” Morse said. “It will have slaloms and hills and log runs in it. I just had a photo taken of me giving a Yamaha check for $7,600 to the Board of Supervisors. That’s going to our obstacle course, which I will name the Yamaha Adventure Obstacle Course. It will be fun and help everyone improve their skills. After they do the training and obstacle course, they have the opportunity to go straight to the trails.
“We want to get more people to leave the computer and cell phone at home, and come out and play.”
Wally Morse is the NOHVCC Mississippi Associate State Partner. For more information on the ATV Trail at Warfield Point Park, visit their web site: http://www.warfieldpointpark.com/admission.html
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These Life-Long Riders Are 30-Year Veterans In Trail Management And Law Enforcement
by Dave Halsey, NOHVCC Contributing Writer
Fifth in a series. Is it important for land managers, recreation planners and off-highway vehicle (OHV) program managers to know how to ride a dirt bike, ATV or ROV? How does being a rider help them in their work managing trail systems, promoting rider safety, and partnering with OHV user groups? In this article series, we’ll talk to decision makers in state and federal agencies to find out. Over two dozen people replied to our request to participate in this series and offer their views. Some are lifelong riders, some learned to ride as part of their job. We’ll hear from as many as we can in coming months.
One is a Trails Coordinator in Montana. The other is a Captain with the Massachusetts Environmental Police. Between the two of them, they have 60 years of experience working with OHV user groups. Both say being a rider has been invaluable to success on the job and enjoying their careers.
In Montana, Bob Gliko has been riding and working with clubs for 30 years.
Bob Gliko was born and raised on a ranch near Belt, Montana. Located in the foothills of the Little Belt Mountain Range, it’s where he learned to ride horses, snowmobiles and off-highway vehicles. For the past 30 years, Gliko has worked for the Lewis & Clark National Forest, just up the road from where he grew up. He is a Forestry Technician and the Jefferson Division Trails Coordinator.
Gliko (pronounced GLEE-ko) says his early, well-rounded experience in motorized and non-motorized recreation has helped him throughout his career with the U.S. Forest Service. “The Lewis & Clark is about a million acres, with five mountain ranges, and they’re pretty spread out. I could jump from a horse to an ATV to a motorcycle to going on foot. When you can do that and get all over the Forest where you need to be, that was a big plus,” he said.
Looking back on three decades working for the same National Forest, Gliko believes that having a passion for riding and riding with OHV clubs makes it easier and more fun working with them, and that translates to better results on the ground. “Being a rider has helped me understand what the motorized groups are looking for,” Gliko said. “I believe that you get along better with the groups you’re working with when you participate with them. So if you are riding motorcycles or ATVs with a bunch of people who ride, they know that you know what’s going on out there, and what they want. That makes it easier for us to communicate, and get the best bang for our buck out on the ground. That’s a big plus.”
Having grown up hiking and riding horses in the mountains, Gliko also works closely with and relates to the needs of non-motorized user groups. “Yesterday, we were active on a non-motorized trail, blasting a rock shelf out for horses to cross more safely,” he said. “You have to be on a horse to feel that trail out a little bit, and know how the horse is going to respond to the trail. If you’re not on a horse, you don’t know what being on that rock shelf is all about. It’s the same with an ATV or motorcycle. Until you ride, you don’t know if that switchback is too tight or not quite sloped out enough. You’ve got to have the feel for it.”
Gliko regularly partners with the Great Falls Trail Bike Riders Association (GFTBRA) and the Back Country Horsemen of Montana, also out of Great Falls. In many cases, their members share the trails, and work on them together. You don’t see that kind of cooperation everywhere, says Gliko, but when you do it’s incredibly beneficial to the Forests and all the user groups. “Right now, with the cuts in Federal budgets, we need our volunteer groups badly. When I participate, I’m full-fledged, I’m riding with them, I’m basically helping them fight for what they want.”
Gliko also works with volunteers to get local youth involved and educated. On a weekday this summer, 16 teenagers helped on trail work in the Lewis & Clark, cleaning out rolling dips so they would drain water better. After lunch, those with motorcycles got to ride the trail they worked on that morning. “We talked about trail ethics and about our Travel Plan and what we expect of them,” said Gliko. “Many kids don’t realize it. They may ride from a ranch and go everywhere. But we told them, you can’t go up every slope that you see that looks good. You have to stay to the trails.”
Gliko is especially busy during the summer haying season, often going from working on the Lewis & Clark to working on his 4,500 acre ranch, where he has 50 head of Black Angus, and a variety of OHVs and snowmobiles for work and play. “I love being out on the trails. For me, I probably enjoy working with the clubs most of all. I enjoy getting out there with them, and looking at different things. I have enjoyed every minute of it.”
In Massachusetts, Merri Walker has changed agency perceptions of OHV recreation.
Two thousand miles to the east, in central Massachusetts, Merri Walker also grew up riding horses, dirt bikes and snowmobiles. She knew in the 7th grade that she wanted to be a game warden. But unlike Gliko, her riding experience didn’t play much of a role in getting hired as a Natural Resource Officer by what is today the state’s department of Environmental Police.
“No no, when I came onto the job in the mid ‘80s, they were like, ‘motors, pooh-pooh, those four-wheel enthusiasts, they are the bane of our existence.’ There was a certain amount of sentiment that those aren’t the folks we want to deal with. And I said, ‘Wait a minute. This is part of our public, this is our constituency base and our customers.’ ” Walker found an old snowmobile in storage and started using it on the job. “It was a little, vintage ‘70s Arctic Cat Lynx. I had a blast with that. I could check the ice fishermen on four or five ponds pretty quickly. The other officers would see me come back at the end of the day and that I was having fun. They were like, ‘Hey wait a minute, what’s that gig about?’ ”
Over the next 30 years, Walker would not only connect her department with OHV user groups, but would become an ASI (ATV Safety Institute) Trainer; develop OHV safety education programs for riders, officers, and other state agencies; and build a fleet of ATVs, ROVs (recreational off-highway vehicles, also called side-by-sides), and snowmobiles. She rose through the ranks of the agency, and in 2011 was appointed Captain of Special Operations with the Massachusetts Environmental Police. “We’re at about 100 officers now. We do Fish and Wildlife enforcement, all the OHV enforcement and education, which here includes ATVs and snowmobiles. We also do Boating enforcement and education, and Marine Fisheries enforcement. Our territorial limit goes out 200 miles into U.S. waters off Massachusetts. We wear a lot of hats, but we tend to focus on those activities that happen in the woods or on the water.”
Being a life-long rider, Walker echoes Gliko’s feelings about her ability to communicate with user groups. “There’s no better way to communicate with somebody than when you either have a shared endeavor or the shared passion about it. If you know their language and their concerns, it’s a lot easier to sell what you’ve got. And in our case, it’s compliance to the law.
“There’s a thousand ways to educate to create enforcement. Really, enforcement is all about ongoing and continued compliance. Sometimes you foster that through just talking to folks. Here are the rules, the expectations, and the easiest ways to meet them. Another tool you have is the formal education process, those outreach initiatives, by going to club meetings and working with the associations. That will stem down to the individuals. If that doesn’t work, you deal with the folks who are trying to get laws changed, whether it’s from the landowner perspective or the user perspective, and find out what’s going to work. From a legislative perspective, we are recipients of the law much like the user groups, and must figure out the best way to manage this enforcement program.”
Walker still rides her own snowmobiles and four-wheelers recreationally. She also oversees the hiring of new officers, and over the years has instilled into her department a new way of looking at rider experience among new hires. “The thing about being a rider is, if we get someone that has that experience, and they have that passion about riding that they want to communicate, it helps. Cultivating their skill and their willingness to contact that customer base, it just opens the doors of communication.”
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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: What year was the NOHVCC OHV Library created? Extra credit: Where is the library hosted?
Send your answers to us at firstname.lastname@example.org by August 21, 2015
(yeah, other than extra credit, only 1 entry per person)
Answer to June Trivia Question:
There were 0 people who submitted correct answers to the June trivia question.
Q: What year was the Adventure Trail series created?
A: Answer 2004.
This year's NOHVCC/INOHVAA conference
will be held in Folsom, a suburb of Sacramento the week of October 25 - November 1, 2015. The conference page
is up. Registration and agenda will be up by the end of August. We are actively seeking presentation ideas and award nominations. Oh, and we have 5 scholarships available this year for attending the conference. Send us an e-mail to email@example.com to apply.
The Great OHV Trails guidebook has been delayed, but not for a very long time. The new tentative schedule is for the published book to be available in August. We will keep you posted so you will know when they are available.
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