2018 NOHVCC Year in Review
2018 has been a great year for NOHVCC! Thanks to our partners we had an outstanding conference in Grand Rapids, we have a new website and have updated our communications, and of course NOHVCC staff and Partners have been busy on many projects. Take a look below to get a better picture of some of the things NOHVCC was up to in 2018.
NOHVCC hired Geoff Chain as Project Coordinator/Communications Specialist in June.
Geoff graduated from Northern Arizona University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Geographic Information Sciences in 2012. Since that time, he worked for the U.S. Geological Survey and Northern Arizona University as a Research Specialist and consulted for Great Outdoors Consultants as a GIS and OHV Specialist. He also has an extensive background in trail design, analysis, construction, and maintenance. This includes leading crews of volunteers during trail projects in cooperation with personnel from the U.S. Forest Service.
The NOHVCC Board of Directors and staff participated in a face-to-face meeting in Minneapolis in February 2018 to discuss organizational structure. This conversation had started prior to the change of Executive Director and is intended to ensure that NOHVCC communicates with its Partners and Associate Partners as efficiently and effectively as possible. More specific information about the restructuring can be found here.
Communications and Website
Early in 2018, NOHVCC contracted Trailhead Consultants to begin a comprehensive review of NOHVCC’s communications in conjunction with NOHVCC staff. The review consisted of identifying all the ways NOHVCC communicates to OHV enthusiasts, land managers, other stakeholders and the public at large. The review included an expansive survey of NOHVCC’s “customers” to determine which communications channels function most effectively, those that are lacking and those that need to be created. The results of the survey were used to create archetypes that NOHVCC staff can use to target communications to particular audiences and reach new and/or underserved audiences.
The NOHVCC website is a primary means of communication both to and from NOHVCC’s customers. The communications review informed a complete redesign of NOHVCC’s website to better communicate NOHVCC’s mission, initiatives to achieve its mission and provide tools and resources to OHV stakeholders.
The communications review found that another primary communications tool utilized by NOHVCC’s customers is NOHVCC’s monthly newsletter. Redesign of the website also resulted in a complete refresh of the “look and feel” of the monthly newsletter. Additionally, NOHVCC staff has focused on providing frequent updates to NOHVCC customers between monthly newsletters by sending out nearly twice-weekly updates and alerts through the newsletter process.
This year NOHVCC and INOHVAA held joint annual conferences in Grand Rapids, Michigan on August 14-18. After INOHVAA preliminary activities on the 14th, the conference began sessions on the 15th, with a mobile field workshop for attendees of both conferences on Thursday, August 16, joint INOHVAA/NOHVCC sessions on Friday, August 17, and finally, the NOHVCC conference concluded with sessions on Saturday and a banquet on Saturday evening.
The theme of the 2018 NOHVCC Annual Conference was Building on Success! Everyone in the OHV community has faced adversity – restrictions, closures, lost opportunities, etc. But it is important to remember that progress has been and is being made towards NOHVCC’s goal of “Creating a Positive Future for Responsible OHV Recreation.” Michigan was the perfect state to showcase the theme of Building on Success. Michigan features nearly 4,000 miles of trails and routes for OHV use plus many other opportunities – some of which were sampled during the Mobile Workshop.
Planning for the 2019 Annual Conference in Reno, Nevada has already begun.
The Great Trails guidebook, authored by Dick Dufourd and published by NOHVCC has been internationally recognized as the must-have guidebook for OHV trails. Demand continued to grow in 2018 with requests for over 1,000 electronic copies and shipment of 290 printed versions. The book provides the curriculum for NOHVCC’s Great Trails workshops, and in conjunction with North Idaho College, we now offer Continuing Education Units (CEU) credits to workshop attendees.
Great Trails Workshops
NOHVCC continued its Great Trails Workshop series with four events in 2018 – Cave Creek, Arizona: March 2018, Biwabik, Minnesota: April 2018, Canon City, Colorado: June 2018 and Breckenridge, Colorado: July 2018. These workshops focus on the design, layout, construction, maintenance and management of fun and sustainable off-highway vehicle (OHV) trails. Hands-on field training is emphasized. The intended audience is trail managers; trail construction and maintenance supervisors and crews; engineering staff involved in trail planning, design, maintenance and construction; trail contractors; OHV club trail volunteers; and other interested stakeholders. For each of the workshops NOHVCC staff worked with local representatives from federal and state agencies, local OHV clubs and associations, and other interested stakeholders.
National Motorized Recreation Strategy (BLM)
NOHVCC continues to partner with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and OHV enthusiasts to inform the BLM on how it can better provide access to high quality OHV recreation experiences on BLM lands. NOHVCC and the BLM have partnered to develop a National Motorized Recreation Strategy that will help the BLM develop individual state strategies for providing high quality OHV opportunities and develop partnerships to help maintain those opportunities. The strategies will guide the BLM in future Resource Management Plans (RMP) and Travel Management Plans (TMP).
Listening sessions were held and a report which will inform a strategy was developed for Oregon/Washington in 2018. These state strategies are developed to help guide BLM decisions and provide a real opportunity for engaged public comment. NOHVCC will likely begin the process in Colorado in 2019.
- Flagstaff, AZ OHV System Proposal, 100 + mile trail proposal to the USFS. Working with Coconino Trail Riders
- Sedona, AZ OHV Map: OHV rental and tourism map, partnered with Tread Lightly to educate users on proper OHV ethics and safety
Trail Layout & Design
Lincoln Ranger District, Helena National Forest, 3 miles of trail laid out and inventoried with GPS, to be built in 2019
Shoshone OHV Project
Project management and trail system assessment, Battle Mountain Nevada, 30 miles of trail maintenance completed. Trail system assessment completed to reroute trails where needed, look for additional connector routes, and analyze trails from the original EA decision that have not been constructed or implemented. Funded by NV OHV Grant Program.
Prison Hill OHV Management Plan
NOHVCC conducted an assessment, held public meetings, and completed research necessary to create an OHV management plan. This plan was delivered to Carson
City in August 2018 and adopted by Carson City Open Space Advisory Committee in October 2018. NOHVCC and Carson City are currently pursuing grant funding for phase two of this project to implement some of the recommendations from the plan. The management plan project was funded by NV OHV Grant Program.
National USFS Saw Policy
NOHVCC has registered three staff members for a Forest Service Collaborator Workshop in January. This workshop will begin the training needed to allow these staff members to become Sawyer Trainers for OHV clubs across the country. Lack of options for obtaining this training has been a major hurdle to OHV clubs across the country.
BLM Top OHV Riding Areas Website
As a continuation of the strong existing partnership between the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and NOHVCC, the two organizations have been working cooperatively to develop a website that features the best OHV recreation areas managed by the BLM. NOHVCC worked with our State Partners to create a list of the best OHV areas managed by the BLM and to collect mapping data. This information will be used to develop an interactive website designed to ensure that OHV enthusiasts will have all the information they need to identify BLM’s top riding areas and to plan their visit. The website will have information about the individual areas including maps, pictures of the trails and trailhead facilities, and other relevant information. NOHVCC is currently working with partners to collect pictures to populate the website and working with partners to collect OHV map data.
MIC Sponsored Project
The press release from the Miles City Field Office of the BLM describes the Short Pines project that came about as a result of the Associations’ involvement in the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable:
The BLM Glendive Short Pine OHV Area is the recent recipient of a new concrete loading ramp thanks to local and national organizations willing to partner with the bureau to invest in this popular off-road destination. Thanks to a grant from the nationally-recognized Motorcycle Industry Council, which was facilitated by long-time BLM partner, the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council, and local volunteers from the “Friends of Short Pines” –technical and design talents were harnessed to produce a durably-designed structure.
Staff from the Miles City Field Office provided project oversight and ensured all aspects of the project aligned with the planning objectives and management decisions for this “Special Recreation Management Area.” Once all the federal legalities were addressed as per the BLM’s approved Resource Management Plan, construction commenced under Hill’s Earthworks, LLC from Glendive and Mando’s Concrete of Beach, ND.
“Having a safe and well-constructed loading ramp will promote positive benefits and experiences to users as well as helping users respect the main parking area and ramp in return,” said Acting Field Manager Eric Lepisto in a letter to Project Manager Marc Hildesheim of the NOHVCC.
“We look forward to continuing a long-standing partnership with NOHVCC and starting a new one with the MIC,” said Lepisto. “We support the collaborative efforts of NOHVCC and MIC to strengthen and promote relationships with agencies and public land users.”
Partnering on public land projects are the norm, rather than the exception as federal budgets fluctuate. There are no guarantees that recreation spots –like Short Pine– will have adequate funding year to year. Regardless, field offices have to take care these areas making local investment by volunteers like the Friends of Short Pine, a vital part of the solution. One thing is certain however, and that is the fact that when people band together to accomplish public land projects, everyone wins.
“We look forward to future opportunities to continue to enhance and improve the Glendive Short Pine OHV Area,” said Lepisto. “We can address some of the challenges we face by working together in this important effort.”
Much progress has been made on converting and updating the Adventure Trail game. The old game was on a CD and isn’t usable on the web or on mobile phones. The updated version will be available where most kids will want to access games. The update has required new video scenes, a refresh of the characters and a conversion to a new format. NOHVCC hopes to unveil the new game in the first quarter of 2019.