NOHVCC Newsletter - March 2017 edition

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Canada’s Newest ATV Federation Has Big Success Story To Tell

by Dave Halsey, NOHVCC Contributing Writer

 

It’s been just over a year since the Prince Edward Island ATV Federation (PEIATVF) held its first official meeting. Since then, it has brought together five off-highway vehicle (OHV) clubs, created 100 kilometers (62 miles) of signed trails, and by the end of this year will add another 100 kilometers.

 

Prince Edward Island OHV Trail Permit“For a small Province, that’s monumental,” said Paul Wilbert, Federation President. “All of our trails are developed on private land. Ninety percent of it is agricultural. So we’re getting bikes out of farmers’ fields, and getting them on a new trail through the woods. And we’re trimming hedgerows so we can get bikes closer to the hedgerows, and in some cases the farmers gain 4 to 6 feet of their fields to put crop in again.”

 

Prince Edward Island is just over 2,000 square miles in size. It has no national forests or crown land, and is best known for its red-sand beaches, lighthouses and fertile farmland. To build trails on private property, the Federation must get written permission from landowners, as well as have liability insurance to protect them. Clubs must also install signs and markers to make sure riders stay on trails. Raising necessary funds required the Federation to create a trail pass. “The clubs all had different membership amounts,” said Wilbert. “We agreed to a single trail pass that’s been adopted by all of them. It’s a $50 trail pass; $23 stays with the club of your choice, just like other Provinces and States; $20 goes back to the Federation for insurance; $7 goes to the Province for taxes. Our trails are multi-use, so hikers, snowshoers, dog sleds and skiers can use them. The only people that get charged for a trail sticker are motorized users, on ATVs, dirt bikes and side-by-sides.”

 

The island’s sandy soils make building trails easy, Wilbert adds. The clubs’ major challenge is acquiring permits for stream crossings. “We had 150 telephone poles donated,” he said. “We use three poles per bridge, crossing small streams. We just have to deck them with 2-by-6’s. You can build a bridge in 2 hours and cross it. But every time we come to water, it’s $100 to get an environmental permit. We have to respect the environment, so we spent $1,000 on printed maps that show watershed layers and wetland buffers. All that is on there, so the government can see it before they approve our trail. To get across the stream, you pay the $100 fee, you build it and you go.”

 

Retired from the Navy as a Boatswain, with leg and lower back injuries, Wilbert, 41, has been the prime organizer of the Federation and its progress. “The passion for me was to be able to drive legally on Prince Edward Island, and not have to go to New Brunswick or Nova Scotia on their trail systems. The biggest goal I have this year is to get more rural businesses online. Yesterday, we found out we have two more restaurants that have signed off on the trails. If we can give bikes a destination, that’s the key. If people can go ride for 5 or 6 hours, they’re spending money on food and fuel, and that’s your rural economic stimulus.

 

“Right now, PEI is the talk all across Canada for what we’re doing, because this has never been done here before, and we’re getting it all legal.”

 

Here is more of what the PEI ATV Federation has accomplishedBuilding a bridge over a trail in its first year, from a recent newsletter to members:

  • Adopted a single Provincial federation trail pass that is recognized in New Brunswick. Their pass is recognized in PEI as well. Local ATV Dealers now sell trail passes.
  • All clubs belonging to PEIATVF have complete insurance coverage.
  • All landowners that sign a land-use form will be protected with trail insurance.
  • Received the first grant monies from COHV (Canadian OHV Distributors Council) in over 6 years. (A previous Federation had dissolved.)
  • Has re-established membership with AQCC (All Terrain Quad Council of Canada).
  • Working with various Provincial Government Departments, including the Departments of Justice & Public Safety, Agriculture, Enforcement, Highway Safety, PEI Federation of Agriculture and the PEI Snowmobile Association, a first for PEI.
  • Each of the Island’s clubs received approximately $2,000 worth of trail signs and stakes to distribute on their trails.
  • Received Government approval to cross the Confederation Trail, and permits for building bridges over streams.
  • Attendance at the Quad Council’s Annual General Meeting in Nova Scotia.
  • Successfully held a charity run for a local family, raising over $7,500.
  • Launched the new PEIATVF website.

 

ATV clubs on PEI include the Tignish Sportsman Riders, the Evangeline ATV Club, the Queens County Trail Blazers, the Eastern Kings ATV Club, and the East Prince Quad Tracks ATV Club. More info can be found on PEIATVF and its club members on the Federation’s Facebook page, and its website: http://www.peiatvfederation.ca/.

 


 

 

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“Story Maps” Use Technology To Create New Tool Promoting OHV Recreation

by Dave Halsey, NOHVCC Contributing Writer

 

Trail riding, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, hot springs, hiking, fishing, hunting, rock climbing...

 

Chaffee County website story map page Chaffee County, Colorado, has just about every type of outdoor recreation there is. And thanks to its Visitors Bureau adding new technology to its website, families planning to visit the area can get a virtual tour of the experiences they’ll have during their stay.

 

The County’s new tourism tool is called a “Story Map.” As defined on the website of Esri, an international supplier of Global Information System (GIS) software:

 

Esri Story Maps are web applications that let authors combine beautiful maps with narrative text, striking images, and multimedia, including video. They make it easy to harness the power of maps and geography to tell your story. The applications are designed to be attractive and usable by anyone, which makes them great for education and outreach, either to the general public or to a specific audience.

 

Esri is the ‘go-to’ company for commercial and government mapping software,” said Drew Stoll, Executive Director of Great Outdoors Consultants, the company that created the Story Maps for Chaffee County. “They have 20 different tools to allow you to do that, including GPS maps to desktop software to navigation.” Great Outdoors Consultants provides inventory, analysis, planning and design for OHV recreation and Travel Management, and other forms of outdoor recreation. It works with local, state and federal agencies, as well as OHV organizations.

 

The Story Map it created for Chaffee County brings together all forms of recreation, greatly enhancing trip planning. “Maps are very abstract,” said Stoll. “They can show you what the landscape is and where things connect. But you really can’t visualize what the experience is.

 

“Fundamentally, a Story Map provides better information for people to choose where they want to visit, for all kinds of recreation. For trail riding, a Story Map can use photos and videos of a trail ride from the rider’s point of view. It lets you visualize what the experience will be like.” Terrain type, trail difficulty levels, scenery, all come together, viewed on a computer anywhere in the world. 

 

Based in Fort Collins, Colorado, Great Outdoors Consultants hadImage of Chaffee County website showing OHV trails previously done all the road and trail inventory in Chaffee County for the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), and created thousands of Geo-Tagged photos of the area. For the County project, it collected all kinds of additional information on trail riding and other types of outdoor fun, from local agencies, clubs and recreation groups. “It’s bringing the myriad of puzzle pieces together in one place,” said Stoll. “The other advantage is that the Story Maps are scalable, and work across all mobile devices.”

 

Stoll and Jim Brewer, also with Great Outdoors Consultants, demonstrated the Chaffee County Story Map at the annual conference of the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC), held last fall in Great Falls, Montana. Zooming into the Story Map, they showed a fly-over above the trail on Google Earth, spliced in with on-the-ground video shot from a dirt bike with a GoPro camera.

 

Families looking at the Visitors Bureau website can decide if the trail system is what they are looking for in terms of excitement, challenge and scenery. They can then switch to additional Story Maps to visualize the experience of other types of outdoor recreation. Pop-ups show various locations to visit, with links to more information on the websites of the National Forest, recreation groups, and social media pages describing the area.

 

“We have an entry point for all the recreation themes at the top of the screen,” said Brewer. “Going to the OHV Story Map, it shows riders what the wow factor is before they get there. The idea is, people can see the trail, where it is and what kind of experience they might have, and the difficulty level. This trail is at 13,000 ft. elevation. And the video shows coming up to a ridge and what you see at the top; there’s your wow factor.

 

“Everything that Esri Story Maps do is interactive online. This is a tool to help you decide where you want to go on vacation, and plan that vacation online with your computer.”

 

There are many sources of information that can be added to a Story Map, but always use a certain amount of caution, said Stoll. “We do have connections to other videos that people have produced. We can include links to those videos and photos. We’re not only creating a map, we’re connecting it to all these other information sources, about all the trails and recreation opportunities in the county. If an OHV club has content, and has a Youtube channel, we can create a link to it, connect to their web page, or have a window redirecting the user to those photos. That’s a deep well to go to for local details. But you have to know the content you are linking to, so you know the source is providing good information and proper trail management.”

 

Wow image of mountains as viewed from an OHV on a trailAnother key to a successful Story Map is making sure you have approval from all stakeholders. Said Stoll, “We told the Visitors Bureau, we’d like to publish the map when we get buy-in from the BLM (Bureau of Land Management), U.S. Forest Service and Colorado Parks and Wildlife. We set a professional standard, to assure quality and accuracy. It’s very important to manage all stakeholder relationships, so everyone can celebrate and use the maps.”

 

OHV clubs, state OHV programs, federal land managers and others could make use of Story Map technology. For now, however, tourism offices have the most to gain. “The most likely candidates for doing high quality maps online and printed, are people or groups that are motivated to promote use. That’s going to be people interested in tourism. Businesses and tourism bureaus that have some money to spend. Clubs and cities, they could also get into this, with grants from their State OHV programs, or from manufacturers with grant programs, like Polaris and Yamaha.”

 

Great Outdoors Consultants is now introducing other tourism bureaus to Story Maps. Its team, all experienced in GIS, and OHV recreation, is open to talking to OHV organizations about how Story Maps work, to deliver a visual experience for trip planners. “We’re happy to give advice and direction, and help groups figure out what the strengths and weaknesses are,” said Stoll.

 

For a detailed look at the Chaffee County Visitors Bureau Story Map, go to: http://www.colorfulcolorado.com/vacation/map/.

 

For more information on Great Outdoors Consultants, its team and services, visit:  http://www.greatoutdoorsconsultants.com.

 

 

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Partnership Innovation: Colorado ATV Club Loans Its Trail Dozers To Federal Agencies

by Dave Halsey, NOHVCC Contributing Writer

 

Not many off-highway vehicle (OHV) groups can say their capital equipment list includes a trail dozer. In Colorado, the Western Slope ATV Association (WSATVA) has two of them, and loans them to federal agencies for 8 months of the year.

 

A trail dozer and a skid steer performing trail maintenance“Back in 1995, we applied for a State grant to buy our first dozer, through the OHV registration fund, and got it,” said Steve Chapel, Association President. “That’s when the Forest Service started operating them. The original contract was set up that we would lease it to the them for a dollar a month, but we haven’t held them to that.”

 

Today, WSATVA has two trail dozers, used to build and maintain over 300 miles of 50-inch wide trails in the Grand Mesa and Uncompahgre National Forests. A couple of its members are certified to operate them, but most of the work is done by the federal agencies. The trailer dozers, a Sweco and a Sutter, are used nonstop from April through November, weather permitting. Through volunteer agreements, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) uses them in the spring and late fall, and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) uses them during the summer months. The agencies transport the dozers to work sites, provide the operators, and help pay for dozer maintenance. The Association works with the agencies in setting priorities on which trails the dozers work on. Dozer work is allowed on OHV trails and Forest Roads open to OHVs, but not allowed on non-motorized trails. “The Forest Service will set up a base camp at a trailhead, and they may be camped in that spot for several weeks. The dozer will progress through the trail, some are 10 miles long,” said Chapel.

 

In addition to putting the dozers to work on trails and staging areas, the WSATVA has used them on many bridge projects, for approaches and abutments, going back to the first bridge it built in 1997. In 2014, the Association built and installed a 60-foot bridge in a remote location of the National Forest, over Leon Creek. It’s used by those recreating on ATVs, dirt bikes and ROVs (Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles, or Side-by-Sides) up to 60 inches in width, as well as on horses and mountain bikes. (See article on the Leon Bridge project in the August 2014 NOHVCC newsletter.) 

 

Each year, WSATVA members volunteer about 7,000 hours of their time working on local trail projects, most of it in cooperation with the USFS. Last year, they removed over 500 trees off roads and trails. “As soon as trails are accessible in summer, we start riding. It’s not uncommon for one trail to have 40 to 50 trees down across it when the snow melts,” said Chapel. “After storms, there’s always more. They come down year-round. We repair mud holes, and fill them in when they’re deep enough to be a danger or hazard. We haul a lot of rock behind ATVs. The trail dozers have repaired some of those.”

 

High cost of liability insurance has halted club’s dozer work

 

Dozer work by the agencies will be starting up againTrail dozer performing trail maintenance this spring, but for now is on hold if used by the Association. It’s waiting to hear if a bill passes in the Colorado Legislature, written to adjust the State’s policy regarding non-profit groups and their ability to obtain liability insurance, required in order to get grant funding. “Up until this year, we paid $500 a year for insurance, using funds from the State grant program,” said Chapel. “Now, to get insurance, it’s in the neighborhood of $20,000. If the bill is approved, the situation will improve and we can continue to get grants. If it’s not approved, our grant days may be over. It would be catastrophic for the public, because things won’t be maintained the way they have been, and everything will go downhill.”

 

WSATVA is also hoping to use grant funds to replace one of the dozers with a new one. In the meantime, it experimented with overhauling the other dozer. “It will come out of the shop in a few weeks. We had major components replaced on it, for about $47,000, versus $65,000 to replace it,” said Chapel.

 

Key to group’s success is long-term relationship with agencies

 

“A lot of our success can be attributed to the people with the Forest Service and BLM,” said Chapel. “If they weren’t willing to work with us, then it wouldn’t happen. That’s why things have improved on our projects. A previous field manager had no interest in making and maintaining OHV routes, and was more interested in closing them. Today, the field manager wants to work with the OHV community. And therefore they are.”

 

The WSATVA, located in Grand Junction, Colorado, is one of the largest ATV organizations on the Western Slope. With over 300 members, it was formed in 1987, with 33 hearty outdoor enthusiasts wishing to explore the wonders of the outstanding terrain in the area. The WSATVA was founded on the principle of promoting ATV use as a legitimate family recreational activity on public lands. For more information on the organization, and the latest news on the pending bill regarding liability insurance required by non-profit groups in Colorado, visit www.wsatva.org. The group’s Facebook page is at: www.facebook.com/wsatva.

 

 

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U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Report Shows Continuing Decline in ATV Deaths and Injuries

 

Industry Commitment to National Safety and Training Programs Contributes to Reduced Number of Incidents

 

An instructor explaining ATV controls to a studentThe U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) 2015 Annual Report of ATV Deaths and Injuries (published January 2017) confirms that fatalities and injuries related to all-terrain vehicles (ATV) continue to decline. The Report finds a “statistically significant decreasing linear trend” in ATV-related injuries for 2007-2015.

 

For 2007 to 2012 reported ATV-related fatalities declined by 31 percent, and ATV-related fatalities involving children declined

 

“Member companies of the ATV Safety Institute (ASI) are committed to ATV safety training and education and are pleased that ATV-related fatalities and injuries continue to decline. ASI and our member companies remain committed to continuing to work to further reduce incidents on these products through rider education programs, raising awareness regarding the importance of parental supervision, and continuing to advocate for ATV safety state legislation,” said ASI President and Chief Executive Officer Tim Buche. “Since 1984, the major manufacturers and distributors of ATVs in the United States have worked closely with the CPSC to implement ongoing safety initiatives. We appreciate the CPSC’s cooperation in these safety efforts, including the agency promotion of its ATV safety website (www.atvsafety.gov) that helps increase awareness about ATV safety.”

 

The industry’s voluntary ANSI/SVIA vehicle standard was made mandatory by the U.S. Congress in 2008. Federal law also requires all ATV manufacturers and distributors, regardless of where the product is manufactured (imported or U.S.), to adhere to the same safety standards and training programs established and followed by the ASI member companies for more than two decades. All ATV manufacturers must certify that their products conform to the mandatory standards, and file safety action plans with the CPSC.

 

The ATV industry is committed to the safety of its customers and will continue to promote and enhance its multi-tiered efforts to increase awareness of the proper operation and use of ATVs. Unfortunately, more than 92 percent of ATV-related fatalities involve one or more behaviors that the industry strongly and visibly warns against in its rider education programs, in all its literature, and on the vehicles themselves.

 

ASI urges all ATV enthusiasts and their families to ATV Students receiving instructions from a coach trainerfollow the ATV Safety Institute’s Golden Rules:

  1. Always wear a DOT-compliant helmet, goggles, long sleeves, long pants, over-the-ankle boots, and gloves.
  2. Never ride on paved roads except to cross when done safely and permitted by law – another vehicle could hit you. ATVs are designed to be operated off-highway.
  3. Never ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  4. Never carry a passenger on a single-rider ATV, and no more than one passenger on an ATV specifically designed for two people.
  5. Ride an ATV that’s right for your age.
  6. Supervise riders younger than 16; ATVs are not toys.
  7. Ride only on designated trails and at a safe speed.
  8. Take a hands-on ATV RiderCourse, and the free online E-Course. Visit atvsafety.org or call 800.887.2887.

The All-Terrain Vehicle Safety Institute® develops rider training programs and promotes the safe and responsible use of ATVs. The ASI works to reduce crashes and injuries resulting from improper ATV use. Formed in 1988, the ASI is a not-for-profit division of the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America®. For safety information or to enroll in the ATV RiderCourseSM nearest you, visit atvsafety.org or call (800) 887-2887.

 

 

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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. 

 

The 2017 annual conference will be held in Manchester, New Hampshire August 22 - 27.  More details are being added to the conference page weekly.  Check back for the latest.

Scholarship applications and award nominations for the 2017 conference are due April 9, 2017.  Don't forget to send in your nomination or application.

Presentation session topic information is due on May 28, 2017.  Don't wait until the last minute or your suggested topic may not be included!

 

Separate Press Releases From Five Forest Regions Call For Input

Individualized Press Releases from five Forest Service Regions are “…inviting the public to help identify trails that will be part of a U.S. Forest Service effort with partners and volunteers to increase the pace of trail maintenance.”  The releases continue, “Nationwide, the Forest Service will select nine to 15 priority areas among its nine regions where a backlog in trail maintenance contributed to reduced access, potential harm to natural resources or trail users and/or has the potential for increased future deferred maintenance costs.”

If you are aware of trails where access has been limited as the result of lack of maintenance – now is your chance to weigh in!

Below are links to all of the USFS Region websites.  While the Alaska, Eastern, Southern and Southwestern regions have yet to post information on this initiative on their websites, ARRA encourages those of you who live or recreate in those Regions to check the websites periodically for updates.

If you are unsure which Region the Forest(s) you visit are in, click here: https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/regions/index.shtml

Click the appropriate link below to find out how to comment!

 

Destination Polaris mentioned NOHVCC in a recent episode.  Check it out.

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