2020 was a trying year for everyone. Thanks to the commitment of NOHVCC’s Board of Directors, staff, and partners, NOHVCC was able to navigate the myriad challenges of 2020 and be prepared for a strong reentry to normalcy once the time comes.
As everyone is well-aware, in-person conferences, meetings and workshops have been nearly completely halted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. NOHVCC staff has leaned into this challenge and aggressively pursued other ways to interact and continue our mission of creating a positive future for OHV recreation. Outlined below are the results achieved in 2020 as well as steps taken to prepare NOHVCC for the upcoming “new normal.”
Communications and Website
In 2020 NOHVCC continued to move forward with the communications strategy originally implemented in 2018. This included continuing to provide frequent communications through a blog-style format on the new site. NOHVCC continues to average nearly 2 communications per week (including communication directly to Partners). Increased communication has shown results as engagement by the NOHVCC network is steadily increasing.
COVID-19 Pandemic Response
NOHVCC used its existing and well-honed communications strategy to communicate best practices for OHV recreation during a pandemic directly to OHV land managers and enthusiasts. A few of the NOHVCC-prepared communications that were provided as examples of best practices include:
For Those Who Choose to Ride During “Social Distancing” – Some Guidelines – These were the first guidelines directed at OHV enthusiasts dealing with recreation during a pandemic of which NOHVCC is aware. The article is among the most-read ever produced by NOHVCC. The guidelines were developed using industry, US Forest Service, Centers for Disease Control and other existing guidelines with NOHVCC staff focusing on how to apply them into a cohesive set of recommendations for OHV enthusiasts.
Oregon Motorcycle Riders Association Develops Waiver and Protocol for Volunteering During COVID-19 – Shared to Help Other Clubs Develop Similar Documents – NOHVCC shared documents created by the Oregon Motorcycle Riders Association (OMRA) related to OHV volunteer efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. We recognized that there are many variables in play when organizations seek to develop COVID-19 protocols including variance in state and local restrictions, public versus private lands, local area risk assessments, and many other factors. Despite this, the documents created by OMRA would be helpful for OHV enthusiasts to understand how other organizations have tackled these difficult issues.
How One Private OHV Area Has Responded To COVID-19 – NOHVCC shared a letter from Windrock Park, a private riding area in TN that details how its managers initially dealt with providing for recreation during the pandemic. Windrock Park is a partner with NOHVCC and host of NOHVCC’s in-person mobile workshop in conjunction with our next Annual Conference.
Pandemic Response in Conjunction with MIC/SVIA/ROHVA
Help Us Understand Which OHV Areas Have Been Closed As A Result Of COVID-19 – NOHVCC worked in partnership with the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) to collect as much information as possible related to closures of OHV areas as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. NOHVCC State Partners and extended community responded by providing a tremendous amount of information.
Motorcycle Industry Council Maintains Website With COVID-19 Updates (How The Industry Is Impacted, Resources Available, And Status Of OHV Areas) – NOHVCC reached out to its State Partners and requested information about the open or closed status of OHV riding areas. As usual, the NOHVCC family responded. The Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) compiled the provided information (and combined it with information MIC collected) to create an OHV component on their interactive COVID-19 State Resources Map.
Joint Letter from AMA, MIC and MSF Urges “Let’s Prepare Now to Ride Again Soon” – NOHVCC shared a joint public letter from the American Motorcyclist Association, the Motorcycle Industry Council and the Motorcycle Safety Foundation on preparing now to ride again soon.
For a review of articles presenting best practices read Reengage With Some Of The Best Practices Shared By NOHVCC In 2020 – If You Missed Any Of NOHVCC’s Articles And Recommendations, Now Is The Time To Take A Look.
NOHVCC’s Annual Conference, originally scheduled for August 2020 was postponed until August 2021. The Conference will be held in Knoxville, TN and the Mobile Workshop will be held at nearby Windrock OHV Park.
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 in 2020 with requests for over 1,000 electronic copies. 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’s Great Trails Workshops were also hit hard by the pandemic, as gatherings and travel were severely limited. Despite an inability to move forward with in-person Workshops, NOHVCC is working with COHVCO and Colorado Parks and Wildlife to create a virtual workshop so that Great Trails messaging can continue to be delivered when meeting in person is not possible.
With hopes that traditional Workshops can move forward in 2021, NOHVCC staff identified Workshop partners for 2021 including Arizona, Utah, and Alabama.
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 workshop NOHVCC staff works 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).
Awarded additional grant funding from the BLM to continue this effort over the next several years. Held in-person listening sessions in Colorado at the start of the year. Continued with virtual listening sessions after the onset of the pandemic. NOHVCC will submit its report prior to the end of 2020. NOHVCC also worked in partnership with the Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition (COHVCO) to acquire additional grant funding to make this a true statewide plan in Colorado that will not only include BLM-managed lands but USFS-managed lands and the involvement of Colorado Parks & Wildlife as well.
To view/read reports from States that have already undertaken this process click here.
NOHVCC continued its successful webinar series that began in 2019. The webinars are designed to deliver quality and helpful information on OHV safety, education, management and other issues related to motorized recreation. These webinars were particularly important after the onset of the pandemic as they provided a method to speak directly with NOHVCC’s audiences.
The 2020 series included:
- Access to Safety Training – And How to Know if Your Child is Ready To Ride an ATV
- Working With Land Managers- A Guide To Building Positive Relationships
- Analyzing Economic Impact Studies
- Utah OHV Trail Hosts – A Study of Effective Volunteerism
- Preparing for the Long Haul – Be prepared for Your Next Off-Highway Adventure
- Vehicle Spark Arresters Past, Present and Future
- Post Wildfire OHV Alliance
- Industry Update From The Motorcycle Industry Council
- USFS Risk Assessment Guidance
- Effective Grant Writing
Additionally, NOHVCC co-hosted two webinars with American Trails:
- Trails Move People – A Collaborative Webinar With American Trails!
- Introduction to Great Trails Workshops Webinar April 2 – Joint Webinar With American Trails!
Recorded versions of the webinars are available here.
Prison Hill Recreation Area: Continued ongoing efforts at Prison Hill Recreation Area in Carson City, Nevada. Despite limitations presented by the pandemic, NOHVCC was able to move forward with on-the-ground activities including fence installation, signage, creation of a tot-lot and beginner loop, route planning and drainage control.
National USFS Saw Policy: NOHVCC Project Managers previously completed USFS Saw Training Instructor Level (C) Certification. This allows NOHVCC staff to train OHV enthusiasts to receive their saw certification. While plans to fully implement the new training were scuttled by world events, NOHVCC was able to complete its first ever saw training. For more information read: NOHVCC Holds Saw Training For Washington Off-Highway Vehicle Alliance.
Assisted Prescott National Forest (PNF) and Prescott Trail Riders (PNF) with the “Greater Prescott Trails Planning” single-track project near Seven Mile Gulch. Created staging area plan, grant cost estimates, preliminary map creation, and assisted forest archaeologist with clearances. Awaiting clearance approval before construction.
Assisted the Coconino National Forest (CNF) and Coconino Trail Riders with the “Pines to Prairies Project.” Used OHV and hiking to identify new OHV routes near Flagstaff, AZ. Created GIS data and maps for the CNF use, assisted environmental consultant with NEPA planning, grant cost estimates, and conducted meetings with CNF staff. Internal review ongoing.
Tonto National Forest (TNF) and Tonto Recreation Alliance (TRAL). Worked with the TNF and TRAL to identify a new staging area, trials area, and existing staging area improvements for their NEPA analysis. NEPA ongoing.
Contracted with the Washington Off-Highway Vehicle Alliance and the Northwest Motorcycle Association to assist with heavy maintenance crew scheduling and logistics. This allows heavy tread maintenance to be conducted on single-track and two-track trails in Washington state.
As we move into 2021, NOHVCC will continue to seek innovative ways to engage our State Partners and others in the OHV community. We will move forward with our communications strategies, continue our webinar series, look to host in-person and/or virtual Great Trails Workshops, move forward with the BLM Action Plan process, find ways to host more chainsaw trainings, engage in new and existing projects, and hopefully hold an in-person Annual Conference in August.
We can also announce that we have received grant funding to create and provide equipment operator training. NOHVCC hopes to conduct the first training in Arizona in 2021 and will develop a curriculum to use in other locations moving forward. The lack of skilled knowledgeable operators for available equipment is an ongoing issue that has been identified by our State Partners, Directors and staff.