NOHVCC Newsletter - August 2014 edition

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In this Issue:




Colorado OHV Group Perseveres, Builds A Safer Water Crossing For All User Groups

by Dave Halsey, NOHVCC Contributing Writer and Steve Chapel, WSATVA


The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) was reluctant to build it. Colorado State Parks at first refused to fund it. A freak snowstorm and a federal government shutdown delayed it. But last month, after more than 10 years of complications, delays, hurdles and red tape, the Western Slope ATV Association (WSATVA) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a bridge that creates a safer water crossing for motorized and non-motorized recreation in the Grand Mesa National Forest.


This is a story of incredible dedication and perseverance by many members of the WSATVA, located in Grand Junction, Colorado. The article below, written by club president Steve Chapel, tells how they did it, and gives credit to those who worked tirelessly to complete this important bridge project. 


The Leon Creek Bridge Project


Side view of bridge with a bow and a bottle of champagneFinally, on July 12, 2014, a new 60-foot bridge over Leon Creek was christened with champagne and a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The location is remote, approximately 9 miles south of Vega State Park, where Forest Road 262 intersects with Forest Road 260. The majority of visitors to this area are on ATVs. However, many others access it on larger UTVs, motorcycles, horses, bicycles, and full-size 4-by-4s.


More than 10 years ago, the Western Slope ATV Association (WSATVA) began trying to persuade the Forest Service to install a bridge at this location. But because there was already a full-size vehicle road crossing the creek, the Forest Service saw little need for a bridge for smaller vehicles. The problem not recognized by the Forest Service was that in high run-off years no one could safely cross the creek unless they were in a full-size vehicle. Many ATVs were washed downstream by the swift, deep water. The members of the WSATVA wanted a safer crossing.


Finally, in early 2011, then District Ranger Connie Clementson agreed it was time to act, before someone was seriously injured or perhaps killed. The WSATVA applied for a grant from the OHV Registration fund and encountered reluctance from the Colorado State Parks Committee, again, because of the existing road crossing the creek.


Eventually, the club managed to persuade the grant committee, and in 2012 was awarded funding for the bridge. By now it became evident that more Forest Service regulations would apply, with more red tape and, as a result, the price escalated. The regulations made it impossible for the club to construct the bridge themselves as it had done in the past, so Big R Bridge Company in Greeley, Colorado, was contracted to build and deliver the 16,000 lb. bridge to Collbran in two 30 ft. sections. Due to construction delays, an early snow storm and the government shutdown, the installation was delayed until the summer of 2014.


In late 2013, the WSATVA set aside the week of July 6th to 13th of 2014 for installation of the bridge. The club had spent $36,000 on the bridge and was now left without any grant funds for installation, so it would now come down to the talent within the organization to make it happen.


After many meetings and a month to go until the lowering a bridge into place with a back hoebig project, everything began falling into place. It appeared the club had commitments on donated equipment, and on July 6th, club member Mark Green set things in motion by leaving his home in the Fruita area with a semi from M.A. Construction, loaded with a huge Cat 330 excavator from River Bend Machinery. He met up with pilot car services after leaving I-70 and proceeded to the south side of Vega State Park, where he unloaded the big hoe. He then turned around and headed back to Palisade to load the 24,000 lbs. of precast bridge abutments the club had made in 2013 and stored at G A Western Construction Company.


Meanwhile, club member Dan Erickson (Erickson Brothers Construction Company) had hauled a Bobcat skid-steer loader and tool trailer to the club’s camp 3 miles south of Vega. Local businessman and rancher Andy Kelley delivered another skid steer to the camp, and member Dennis Phillips brought up a mini-excavator and compacting machine. The Forest Service arrived with one of the club’s donated Sutter trail dozers and a second large track hoe. Last but certainly not least, club member and vacationing Mesa County employee Paul Popish received permission to bring up a big front-end loader from the county shops at Collbran.


Now all of this equipment, the bridge and the abutments had to traverse the rough and rocky 9 mile route from Vega to the actual bridge site. Getting the resources to the bridge site was truly amazing. But even more remarkable was the actual preparation and installation. This was not a Forest Service project. This was a WSATVA project with a little assistance from the Forest Service. Mark Green and Ken Sanders took charge and worked with Dan Erickson and others, using laser levels, transit and tape measures to determine the exact location for the abutments.


The measurements were checked several times over and by Thursday afternoon the abutments were in the ground and the two 30-foot sections of bridge bolted together. Then, on Friday morning, after placing a few more boulders with the two big hoes, it was time to set the bridge. Would it fit? Would the gap be too large? Perhaps too small? No way. It fit perfectly! A level was placed at mid-span and it too verified a perfectly level bridge. An amazing job by a bunch of amateur volunteers that expect nothing in return.


We used about $2,000 out of club funds to pay for diesel fuel for all the equipment, hydraulic oil, and a pilot car front and back for the track hoes on the highway. If the Forest Service had wanted a bridge like this and contracted it out and paid for it, it would have approached a million dollar project.


The Leon Creek Bridge is now open to hikers, bicyclists and all modes of transportation that are 60 inches or less in width, and will ensure the safe passage of the recreating public for many years to come.


Editor’s Note: Each year, WSATVA members volunteer about 7,000 hours of their time working on local trail projects, most of it in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service. It is able to build bridges and do trail work in the National Forests because of its long-standing relationship with the Forest Service at both the district and regional levels. NOHVCC congratulates everyone at the WSATVA for their patience and perseverance on this important bridge project, and for helping create a positive future for off-highway recreation in Colorado.


For more information on the Western Slope ATV Association, visit




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Wisconsin DNR Answers OHV Questions Through On-Line “Chats”

by Dave Halsey, NOHVCC Contributing Writer


“Do you have to take a safety course before riding a UTV?”


“Are there any new rules this year for riding on the trails?” 


“How important are clubs and are you seeing more clubs form as ATV use goes up?”


Trisha NitschkeThose and two dozen more questions about off-highway vehicles (OHVs) were asked by Wisconsin residents and answered by state employees during a lunch-hour, on-line chat. It’s part of an outreach program called “Ask The Experts,” hosted twice a week on the internet by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR).


“We’ve been doing the chats for about 2 and a half years,” said Trisha Nitschke, social media and outreach coordinator with the WI DNR. “We’ve picked up on it in the last year, because we’ve seen the demand grow. We do a wide variety of topics, everything from ATV and boating safety, to wetlands and waterways. It’s become a great forum for people to get their questions answered.”


Nitschke sets up the on-line chats and serves as moderator. Last month, one of the chat topics was “ATV/UTVs.” Joining the chat on their computers from around the state were Conservation Wardens Robin Barnhardt and Kurt Haas, Administrative Warden Gary Eddy and Grants Specialist Diane Conklin. “We’re all over the state in different places,” said Nitschke. “It’s an internet-based chat, so we just log in and do a conference call. It’s a great system for us to do public outreach.”


Nitschke publicizes the topics in advance. OHV chats occur several times a year, and whenever there are major changes to state OHV regulations. The on-line chats are held on weekdays, usually during the lunch hour, which Nitschke has found gets better attendance than evening chats. Wisconsin residents access the on-line chat through the DNR web site or Facebook page. Up to seven DNR staffers also get on-line, depending on the topic. Wardens are always included, as many questions revolve around regulations. The chats last about an hour.


Attendance varies. Sixty people participated in the ATV/UTV chat held July 15th. When asked at the start of the chat if they belonged to an ATV club, 7% of the live participants said yes, 71% said no, and 21% said no but they were considering joining a club. All chats are archived for the public to view later, complete with questions and answers, expanding the public outreach. “I will often see two to three times as many people come back later and read the transcript,” said Nitschke. “It’s really fascinating.


“Our most popular chat ever was on cougars, Man typing on computer2 years ago. We had 836 people online, and 36,000 people read it later. For us, it’s a great outreach opportunity to educate the public about things that are going on. On the ATV chat, it’s not just people who are active participants and already in clubs, but also people who are thinking about getting an ATV, or are intrigued and want to learn more about it. We see a lot of people who log in to the chat and sit and watch it, and see what questions are being asked.”  


During the ATV/UTV chat, a wide range of issues were covered, including rider safety, private property, invasive species, regulations regarding youths on ATVs, and violations commonly seen by wardens.


As for the question above: “How important are clubs and are you seeing more clubs form as ATV use goes up?” Warden Barnhardt answered: “ATV clubs are very important! Being a member of an ATV club gives you a voice in matters which are important to your sport. ATV clubs are instrumental in getting trails established and with keeping trails maintained. Many clubs offer ATV Safety classes and organized events.”


For more information, to read the archived ATV/UTV chat, and to sign up for notifications of future chats with the WI DNR, visit:




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At This Powersports Store, Dealer Rides Are A Top Priority

by Dave Halsey, NOHVCC Contributing Writer


Fifth 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:


Enumclaw Powersports has a reputation for holding great dealer rides. 


Clem TuchshererClem Tuchsherer started his powersports dealership in 1974, with three bikes, $700 and a small rented farmhouse.


This month, “Clem’s Enumclaw Powersports” -- located in Enumclaw, Washington -- celebrates its 40th anniversary. Tuchsherer had planned to hold a big party, but business was booming and he just didn’t get around to it. At his store, business trumps anniversary celebrations.


But no matter how busy the store gets, one thing remains a top priority -- dealer rides. Not to promote his dealership as much as getting folks out to ride...and making sure people have places to ride.


“We’ve been doing dealer rides since 1977 with snowmobiles. With the ATVs, we started those rides in 1985, when the state was going to outlaw ATVs. I formed the Washington ATV Association and, myself and some other guys, we started doing rides to raise funds to keep ATVs alive in Washington, and it worked.”


Today, Tuchsherer holds dealer rides year-round, man on ATV near viewpoint3 or 4 times a year on off-highway vehicles (OHVs), and in winters when there’s good snow, twice a week on snowmobiles. “I don’t know if I’ve got a signature deal on that with ATVs,” he said. “But with snowmobiles, you can talk to anybody in the state of Washington and they know about my snowmobile rides. When there’s snow on the ground, it’s pretty religious every Thursday and lots of Tuesdays. Riders show up in the morning and those rides get big sometimes.”


The OHV rides aren’t just day trips. They last from 4 to 5 days, with caravans leaving on a Monday and returning on Thursday or Friday. Tuchsherer leads all the rides. His favorite OHV destination is the dunes at Florence, Oregon. “We go down to Coos Bay, Sand Lake and to Winchester. Those dunes on the Oregon coast are where we like going. If it’s families, which a lot of times it is, we’ll go down to Florence.”


The OHV rides attract from a half dozen to three dozen riders, depending on the time of year and the weather. Families stay in campers and motor homes, or at local rental cabins.


Forty years after opening its doors, Enumclaw Powersports has 20 employees, and is busier than ever. And dealer rides remain a top priority for his customers, said Tuchsherer. “One, they’ve got to have a reason to come in. Two, they’ve got to have a reason to go ride. Why buy a machine if you got no place to ride.”


For more information on Clem’s dealership, visit




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A Must-See Video: “Trails Unlimited: Training The Next Generation”

by Dave Halsey, NOHVCC Contributing Writer


Did you know that Trails Unlimited -- which builds motorized and non-motorized trails across the country -- is part of the U.S. Forest Service? If not, you’re not alone. Neither do many of the over 34,000 USFS employees.


MT Trail Maintenance with Equipment“Trails Unlimited is the best kept secret in the Forest Service. Across the board, the agency as a whole doesn’t know who we are,” said Cam Lockwood, who started Trails Unlimited in 1999. To change that, Lockwood recently created a 15 minute video titled “Trails Unlimited: Training The Next Generation.” Its purpose is to explain what Trails Unlimited is and what it has to offer to recreational trail programs within the USFS, as well as the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and agencies at all levels of government. 


Trails Unlimited is one of 14 “Enterprise Units” within the USFS. They are considered Forest Service resources. As stated on the USFS web site, they offer “an internal choice for the accomplishment of the agency’s work...they operate as independent, financially self-sustaining units funded by the clients and customers who benefit from the products and services they offer.”


Trail Unlimited tackles about two dozen projects annually. “We do every type of trail,” said Lockwood. “We do water trails, we do hiking trails, equestrian trails, ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessible trails. All the work is done for government entities. We can’t work for private organizations. We do 80% of our work within the agency, and 20% is through external agreements with cities, counties and states.”


This year, Trails Unlimited projects include 35 miles of new trails at an off-highway vehicle (OHV) park in Iowa, a bicycle trail in Hawaii, a bridge for an equestrian trail in Alabama and rerouting a motorized trail in Utah. Trails Unlimited also trains future trail builders, passing on decades of experience with trail-building equipment, and “on the ground” problem solving of difficult trail design, construction, maintenance and reconstruction situations.


Lockwood wrote and produced the new video, Trail Building Machinewith the help of a Texas video crew. About 15 minutes long, it shows the experience and expertise of the Trails Unlimited team. In June, the video was shown at a NOHVCC ATV Park Development Workshop held in Fort Dodge, Iowa. The video, along with on-site trail-building demonstrations, gave those attending the workshop a new appreciation for what goes into building a sustainable trail system. Says Lockwood: “I’ve been in this business a long time. I’ve seen a lot of trails built by user groups. They understand the fun factor, but they don’t understand the sustainability factor. When they build trails that are straight up the fall line and it ends up being a 4 ft. rut over time, then they move over and create the same impact, that doesn’t look good for the industry, the agency or the sport. So let’s build it right.”


Lockwood says some people may see the new video as a sales tool for Trails Unlimited.  He sees it as much more. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s more informational,” he said. “No one else is providing this type of information. Trail contractors are selling trail projects. We’re not selling trail projects, we’re providing trail information. We’re trying to pass on the information to the next generation. That’s our mantra and our desire: to train the next generation through hands-on training and educational tools, to help them pass on that information.


“The second reason we did the video is to transfer this trail building information from one agency to another. We have experience with ATVs, mountain bikes, canoes, horses, hiking trails, with ADA trails. We learn from everyone who works with us and we transfer that information over to others.


“Third, it’s about sustainability and taking care of the resource and providing the recreational opportunity. The video tells how to work with us, how to find us within the agency or with another outside organization.


“We’re also the only ones that provide for the mechanized trail construction realm. The student conservation associations, the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps), the Sierra Club, Friends of the Wilderness. They all do traditional skills. What we’re trying to do is provide the mechanized trail construction elements.” 


Lockwood is planning to get the video on the internet in the near future, as well as distribute copies to all the offices of the USFS and BLM. To receive a copy of the new video, contact Lockwood at Trails Unlimited, 1026 Lockhaven Drive, Brea, CA, 92821, phone (626) 233-4309, or email  To see a list of Trails Unlimited capabilities, including 10 unique trail-building training modules, visit


In 2013, the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC) named Cam Lockwood its “Program Manager of the Year.” Trails Unlimited was named “Organization of the Year” by the International OHV Administrators Association (INOHVAA) in 2012.




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Small Trailer Tackles Big Trail-Building Jobs

by Dave Halsey, NOHVCC Contributing Writer


Third in a series. Across the country, trailers of all shapes and sizes are used for trail work and safety education by off-highway vehicle (OHV) clubs, organizations and agencies. This article series shows some of the most effective trailers in use today. If you have a trailer, we invite you to send us a few photos of it in use, along with a description of it and how you use it. Send it to


This trailer started on the Piaute Trail and just kept going.


ridge rider trailer in the field and loadedRecent articles in this series have featured big, colorful 32 ft. gooseneck trailers and toy haulers used by off-highway vehicle (OHV) clubs and state trail programs.


This article is about a small and plain, yet rugged 5 ft. trailer that really hauls. It’s built by an ATV-riding family in Loma, Colorado, and is used by state and federal agencies, OHV clubs and associations, and farms and ranches across the country.


"I started building them in 1997," said Dan Desserich, owner of Ridge Runner ATV Trailers and Accessories. "We used them in ’97 on the Paiute Trail at the Mountain Man Ride, a 5-day trip through Utah. Before that we all packed stuff on an ATV, but you couldn’t carry enough. So that’s when the trailers came in. Since then, we’ve sent them as far away as Georgia. There’s a lot of them around.”


The trailer is built using a 1,000 lb. torsion axle with 14 inches of center clearance. The box, fenders, supports and slide-in tailgate are made of aluminum, with a sprayed-on liner. The tongue is square tubing, which allows the box to dump. The 2-inch ball coupler has a 360-degree rotation. “That’s for any upset that you might have, then you’re not damaging the coupler on the ATV or the trailer,” said Desserich. For longevity, he likes using 6-ply Maxxis Big Horn ATV tires, and can customize the trailer to the ATV that will be pulling it. “On that axle, we can change the hubbing to match the ATV. So if you have a tire go bad on your ATV, you could pull a tire off the trailer, put it on the ATV and leave the trailer.”


Just down the road, in Grand Junction, the Western Slope ATV Association, has purchased four Ridge Runner ATV trailers, three of them with a grant from the Yamaha Access Initiative. “We use them to haul hundreds of loads of rock,” said club president Steve Chapel. “The mountainous area where we are has trails with a lot of really bad mud holes. Every summer we get involved in hauling loads of rock to those places. We put down a geogrid fabric and put rock on top of it. Some of the places we did years ago are still just as good as when we built them. We don’t have to revisit them if we put enough rock down.”


Whether hauling rock or bags of concrete, Holding up Thank You Yamaha signs over Ridge Rider TralersDesserich encourages users to use common sense. “The trailer’s axle is rated at 1000 lbs. But pay attention to adverse conditions. On steep hills, they’ve all learned that you can’t haul 600 lbs. and go down a steep hill. The trailer has no brakes. But on flats, they can usually run 300 to 600 lbs. of rock or bags of concrete.”


Desserich sells a longer version of his trailer to ranchers, who use it to carry hay, grain and fencing materials. An optional trail package adds bins to the front fender supports for carrying shovels, boxes or buckets. Cross bracing on front and back will hold fence posts, keeping the box open for other equipment. Total weight is 165 to 190 lbs. depending on options added.


The trailers are priced from $1,400 to $1,850 with liner, special tires or the trail package with boxes and cross members. Shipping costs vary. If shipped on a pallet, the total weight will be 350 to 400 lbs.


Desserich doesn’t have a web site for his custom fabrication business, which he runs with his wife, Glenda, and his son, Jason. But for more information, you can visit the Ridge Runner ATV Trailer Facebook page, or contact the business by phone (970-858-3911) or email




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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 American Trails Advancing Trails Webinar Series continues.  See the list of up-coming webinars:
  • SEPTEMBER 11, 2014: How to Build Top Notch Equestrian Facilities (presented by Jan Hancock, Hancock Resources LLC) Details coming soon
  • DECEMBER 11, 2014: Towards a Mountain Trail Sustainability Ethic ~ Part 3 of 3 (presented by Hugh Duffy, National Park Service) Details coming soon


If the corner is 2015, then the American Trail's International Trail Symposium is right around the corner.  However, there are a few deadlines coming up.:

I would love to see a large number of award nominations come in for OHV recreation.  Get the word out and get those nominations in!


Is your State helping to fund the NOHVCC OHV trails guidebook?  You still have the opportunity to get your State's logo on the book and website pages.  This is eligible for RTP education funds.  Send us a message at for more details.


 The NOHVCC conference has wrapped up and we are working to wrap things up.  The presentations will be on the website shortly.


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