NOHVCC Newsletter - October 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 OHV Clubs Share Tips & Tools They Use To Grow And Prosper

by Dave Halsey, NOHVCC Contributing Writer

 

Fourth in a series. Why are some off-highway vehicle (OHV) clubs and State Associations vibrant, active and growing, while others are struggling or folding altogether? What is the state of your State Association? Send your comments to trailhead@nohvcc.org. Please include your name, address, and phone number so we can contact you and include your insights in future articles.

 

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

 

Club members give thumbs-up signThe same goes for OHV clubs and State Associations. Those that continually pound their members to work on trail project after trail project, may find themselves with fewer and fewer volunteers showing up. On the other hand, those that keep trail days fun, and hold a variety of enjoyable club rides and events throughout the year -- inviting to members of all ages -- stay active and growing. 

 

At a recent workshop held by the Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition (COHVCO), Jack Terrell, NOHVCC Senior Project Manager, led a discussion group on what OHV organizations are doing to attract, retain and motivate their members. Those attending the workshop came up with a healthy list.

 

“It’s a gathering of thoughts,” said Terrell. “And one thing that came through to me was that you have to make the whole thing social. Maybe your club’s number one goal is to open a new trail, and that was the reason the group got started in the first place. But that may not be the driving force to keep the club active. You’ve got to keep the club social and fun. Join the local chamber of commerce, partner with civic organizations on projects, ride your OHVs in local parades.

 

“The other thing that successful clubs are doing is marketing their image. It’s not just a bunch of guys that get together on Wednesday night and have pizza. They’ve created a brand and gone out and marketed it. It keeps the group in the public focus. It lets everyone know who you are, what you do, and how much fun you have. That brings in new members.”

 

Among those attending the COHVCO Workshop were membersROVs lined up for a ride of the Western Slope ATV Association (Grand Junction, CO: 200 members), and the Thunder Mountain Wheelers (Delta, CO: 250 members). Here is a list of things they and others at the COHVCO workshop came up with to maintain an active and vibrant membership. 

 

Key club considerations:

  • Have a well-defined description of the club’s makeup: machine types, member ages and demographics, types of activities, etc.
  • Define and publicize your club’s mission, objectives, goals, etc.

 

To build awareness:

  • Create an attractive website, keep it current, include a calendar of events
  • Use social media, with a club Facebook page
  • Produce an attractive newsletter, and send it out on a regular basis
  • Send out club press releases to local magazines and newspapers
  • Seek out multi-sources of “free” advertising for your club
  • Distribute freebies: discount opportunities, gas cards, etc.
  • Hold how-to clinics on machine maintenance, riding tips, use of GPS, etc.
  • Do a phone call notice to members prior to each meeting
  • Post flyers about club rides and meetings in local dealerships
  • Talk up the club with local dealers so they know what you are doing
  • Ask dealers to direct to your club the customers who want to know where to ride
  • Take the time to introduce your club to local civic and social organizations
  • Be highly visible at public gatherings and community events
  • Seek out publicity from local cable channel and local TV and radio outlets

 

To build camaraderie among members:Group Shot of Oregon Motorcycle Riders Association at their annual banquet

  • Emphasize the social aspect and make everything you do family friendly
  • Hold regular meetings, with a lot of social interaction...and food!
  • Have potluck dinners at your meetings
  • Have a wide range of activities that are attractive to young and old
  • Hold regular club rides, introduce all first-timers at the rides
  • Invite members to organize additional, informal rides
  • Participate in local parades, county fairs, etc.
  • Teach kids how to ride; that draws in parents
  • Have field days with riding-oriented, fun contests

 

Keep trail work days fun:

  • Do not make the focus doing trail work
  • During work events, set aside time to ride and socialize
  • Have four work parties per year: often multi-day, up to four days
    • “We get up to 35 or 40 people per work party.”
  • Club gets CPW grants to pay for materials for trail work; one built a substantial bridge
  • Spread the workload. Do not let one or two key people (officers) do everything
  • Identify skills of each member and assign them tasks in line with their skills
  • Provide your members with a sense of individual accomplishment

 

Partner with local law enforcement agencies:

  • WSATVA started a Search & Rescue ATV Team in 1987, assisting the Sheriff’s Department

 

To strengthen partnerships with land managers:  Group of riders chatting during riding stop

  • Many years of success working with BLM/USFS are attributed to continuity of contact
  • Club has purchased two trail dozers thru CPW grants; leased back to agencies
  • Agency provides operator & insurance and trail crew through an MOU
  • Define your long-term goals
  • Break down long-term trail projects into incremental steps (or projects) along the way so that you can celebrate each accomplishment as a “success.”

 

Always thank members for their efforts:

  • Go out of your way to recognize what people do for your club: in newsletter articles, at meetings and banquets, with plaques, awards, etc. 

 

Learn more about these two successful Colorado OHV clubs in Colorado, by clicking on these links to their web sites. Thunder Mountain Wheelers: http://www.tmwatv.org/. WSATVA: http://wsatva.org/.

 

Want to see more fun ideas submitted by OHV clubs? Check out these articles in past NOHVCC newsletters:

 “OHV Clubs Have Fun, Serve Communities By Thinking Outside The Cargo Box”, December 2012: http://www.nohvcc.org/Materials/Newsletter/NewsletterArchives/news12-2012

 

 “Add More Fun To Your Club With These Ideas From Around The Country”, February 2013: http://www.nohvcc.org/Materials/Newsletter/NewsletterArchives/news02-2013

 

 “More Fun Ideas To Keep Your Members Smiling, Laughing And Riding!”, March 2013: http://www.nohvcc.org/Materials/Newsletter/NewsletterArchives/news03-2013

 

 

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Pedal Power Or Horsepower, It’s All Good To These User-Friendly Land Managers

by Dave Halsey, NOHVCC Contributing Writer

 

Eighth 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. 

 

Be On The Same Level As User Groups, Says This New Mexico Program Manager.

 

Kerry Wood posing with dirt bikeKerry Wood is the Wilderness & Trails Program Manager on the Sandia District of the Cibola National Forest. When he took the job 5 years ago, he noticed some Forest Service dirt bikes gathering dust. Nobody ever rides them, he was told.   

 

That was all Wood had to hear.

 

“I went to a barbeque with the New Mexico OHV Alliance (NMOHVA),” said Wood. “I drove up to the barbeque in my Forest Service truck with a Forest Service dirt bike in the back, unloaded it and got ready to ride. There were a number of folks that were taking pictures of me with the dirt bike, because they just hadn’t seen that before. That’s too bad. Not that everybody has to be a dirt biker, but I think we make better management decisions when we’re informed by people that actually utilize the resource.

 

“When we’re out meeting with the public, on a motorized trail system, I find it advantageous to be using the same equipment that the public is. If you roll up in a truck, you’re kind of looking down on people. When you’re on a dirt bike and you manage 100 miles of dirt bike trail, you’re meeting them on the same level. Conversations are a little bit easier on resource protection and when giving them information on where to ride, when they see that you’re engaging in the same activity.”

 

Wood does the same thing when meeting with other user groups, both motorized and non-motorized. In fact, though he owns a dirt bike and occasionally rides one for work, he doesn’t identify himself as a dirt biker. His passion is mountain bikes. He started riding BMX (bicycle motocross) as a child, then graduated to mountain biking. Being able to grab the handlebars of a bike -- with pedal power or horsepower -- gives him insights he says are essential to doing his job on a National Forest with hundreds of miles of multi-use trails.

 

“I can ride the same trail with either bike,” said Wood. “They’re different experiences, but they share a lot of the same ride characteristics. We had some trail design being done. They were implementing the trail work when I got here. I saw some problems immediately. They had put in some very tight turns that also climbed. I identified that right away, that the dirt bike riders are really going to have to throttle through that turn. It’s not their fault. It’s the fault of the design. The radius should have been wider to accommodate the dirt bike, and it would be just as enjoyable on a mountain bike.”

 

Prior to his current position, Wood was a Trails Technician on the Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee. Originally from Austin, Texas, he got his undergraduate degree in Recreation Administration from Texas State University, and a Master’s Degree in Forestry, with concentration on Public Lands Recreation Management, from Virginia Tech. During graduate school, he worked as a trails manager for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. He has guided rock climbers and whitewater rafters, and did a summer internship at Grand Teton National Park. “That solidified my interest in the land management side of things,” he said.

 

Wood’s wide range of experience in outdoor recreation makes iMountain bike on singletrackt easier for him to educate all user groups on their outdoor opportunities...and reduce conflicts. “We had some conflict between the dirt bike riders and mountain bike riders,” he said. “A lot of people on the non-motorized side blamed the motorcycles for this or that. I’ve spent a lot of my five years trying to get people to understand that, one, the dirt bikes have been out on these trails long before mountain bikes had even been invented and, two, most of the time I don’t find it productive to point fingers at a particular user group.”

 

Wood designed and printed a District-specific map for OHV recreation to supplement the Motorized Vehicle Use Map (MVUM). He also works closely with user groups that provide extensive volunteer labor on motorized and non-motorized trail projects.

 

In his office is an award presented to him recently by NMOHVA, the same group that took photos of him unloading a dirt bike from his Forest Service truck. It reads “Outstanding OHV Supporter.” 

 

Motors, Pedals, Or Hiking Boots. The Tools Vary But The Exhilaration Is The Same, Says This Utah Rec Planner.

 

Joshua Winkler is a Recreation Planner in the Price Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). On the job, he works on Travel and Resource Management Plans. Off the job, he enjoys the outdoors with family and friends, riding mountain bikes or dirt bikes, driving 4x4 trucks, hiking, hunting or rock climbing. “For me it’s anything outside,” he said. “I can be swinging from a rope and be happy.

 

Josh Winkler posing in front of tree“I started mountain bike racing when I was 11 or 12 years old, rode at Moab when I was 14, and fell in love with it. I moved down there at 18, and did Jeeping and biking. I started riding motorcycles at 27. I had an opportunity to pick up a bike for a reasonable price and taught myself to ride. It was just a different tool to get out and explore the country.”

 

His wide range of outdoor experiences is what led Winkler to his current job, and is what he credits for being able to talk with user groups from all walks -- or rides -- of life. “One of the things that attracted me to this office, and was helpful to get the job, was the knowledge and skills I had with various types of recreation,” he said. “It is very easy for me to talk to the motorcycle community, ATV community, Jeeping community, the hikers or the climbers, because it’s all the stuff that I do. When somebody comes in and talks about a climbing route or bouldering problem, I know exactly what they are talking about because I’ve done it as part of my lifestyle.”

 

Prior to going to college, Winkler was a wildland fire fighter with the BLM. In 2007, he got a degree in Recreation Resource Management from Utah State University. He continued to fight fires, and took his current position in 2011.

 

“I’m the lead on the Travel and Transportation here. I help facilitate what’s appropriate for both motorized and non-motorized recreation, and talk about the different things that go on and how they connect and correlate together. I work primarily on the land-based recreation that we have here, and work with a lot of volunteers, both in motorized and non-motorized. We get a lot done.”

 

Winkler says conflicts between user groups occur less often in Price than in other parts of the country. “Because we do manage such a large area, we don’t have the user conflicts like I’ve seen in a lot of other areas, where you have ATVs competing for their niche or recreation opportunity,” Winkler said. “We’ve got almost 300 miles of single-track trails, but you can also mountain bike and hike on them. With that many miles of just motorcycle trails, people can go out and ride, and maybe see just two other people all day.”

 

In reality, adds Winkler, he and others at the Price Field Office believe people who enjoy outdoor experiences are seeking the same thing. “We started doing recreation meetings here. At the first meetings, we invited people to talk about their experiences, what they were going after,” Winkler said. “I explained to them, everyone in this room is going for the same experience on public lands, just using a different tool to get there. If you can remember that similarity, then whatever type of vehicle or boat, or whether you’re hiking or climbing, that is the tool you’re using to get that same feeling that you’re going after. It opened the eyes to some of the folks who didn’t see it that way before.

 

“The guys I ride with a lot, we ride our motorcycles out on these trails to where the road ends, then we go and hike for 10 to 14 miles. Other times, I’ll take my family for a Jeep ride out to remote areas and explore the canyons. It’s a tool in the quiver to explore your public lands.”

 

Winkler’s broad outdoor experience also helps him with NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) and permitting processes. “When a guy is putting in for a special permit for a motorcycle race, I understand what he’s after,” he said. “When working on those documents, I can put the feelings he’s expressing on the application into my document. At the same time, being a trail user, it helps me understand what issues are on the public lands side that we need to protect and preserve.”

 

Located near Albuquerque, NM, the Sandia Ranger District has about 300 miles of designated OHV trails. According to Wood, of the District’s 100,000 acres, about 40,000 are designated Wilderness, another 20,000 acres are in Military Withdrawal. For more information on OHV riding opportunities, visit: http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/cibola/home/?cid=fsbdev3_065706.

 

To learn more about the recreational opportunities managed by the BLM’s Price Field Office, visit: http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/price.html

 

 

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Schools Have 3Rs, NOHVCC Has 4Es. Both Involve Education

by Dave Halsey, NOHVCC Contributing Writer

 

Tenth 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. 

 

Here’s something to think about 25 years later:

What if Honda hadn’t sparked the creation of NOHVCC in 1990 -- and funded it for the first 10 years?

What if the original NOHVCC “Design Team” hadn’t focused its mission on creating a strong network of State Partners and OHV clubs and State Associations?

What if NOHVCC hadn’t guided land managers on how to manage OHV recreation?

What if NOHVCC hadn’t facilitated Workshops to form partnerships between user groups, land managers and communities with OHV riding opportunities? 

 

If none of that had happened, OHV riding opportunities on public and private lands, ownership of OHVs of all kinds, and the number, size and success of OHV manufacturers would look very different today.

 

NOHVCC is an Educational Foundation. For the past 25 years, educating the riding public has been the cornerstone of its mission and its success. Education is one of the NOHVCC “4 Es” of successful and sustainable OHV trail systems. It comes right after “Engineering” and before “Enforcement” and “Evaluation.” All are equal in importance.

 

Across the U.S. and Canada, if you look closely at educational materials promoting safe, responsible OHV recreation, there’s a good chance you’ll see the NOHVCC logo and, right below it, “Creating a Positive Future for Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation.”

 

Here are four examples of those educational “tools” in use today at high-profile locations:

 

Jericho Mountain State Park, New Hampshire

Adventure Trail Posters at Jerhico Mountain Visitors Center Step inside the visitor center at the Jericho Mountain State Park, look up on the wall, and you’ll see a series of 10 Adventure Trail posters created and distributed by NOHVCC. Geared toward young riders, the posters use colorful illustrations and simple messages about riding safely and responsibly. Among them: “Always stay on the trail” and “Dress safely.”

 

Thousands of people see the posters each year at Jericho Mountain State Park. Located near Berlin, NH, it features over 50 miles of ATV trails. According to its web site, it’s the only major, State-owned ATV riding area in New Hampshire. The trail system is maintained by the Androscoggin Valley ATV Club, which also hosts the Jericho ATV Festival, drawing about 4,000 people each summer. This year, the park added a 4x4 Jeep/Truck trail. It takes 3.5 to 5 hours to complete the 2.5 mile stretch of “More Difficult” and “Most Difficult” trails. A winch is required.

 

Available for the cost of shipping, the NOHVCC Adventure Trail posters are used by OHV organizations, and State and Federal OHV agencies, in many ways. They’ve been laminated and attached to a flipboard for presentations at schools and youth groups. OHV dealers and land managers hang them on the walls of their stores and offices. Some groups have enlarged them and posted them on the side of their OHV education trailers (see below).

 

El Mirage OHV Training Area, California

Heading for a day ride at the El Mirage OHV Recreation Area in California? Watch for the NOHVCC “Cool Message” banners along the fence of the OHV training area. 

 

Smart enough to ride, smart enough to get trained billboard at El MirageAimed at middle school and high school students, the messages on these mini-billboards are a little more “in your face.” The message: Knowing how to make a machine go and knowing how to ride are two completely different things. And if you want to be cool, you have to know how to ride. 

 

The OHV training center at El Mirage opened to the public in February of 2014, and is managed by the Barstow Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management. The BLM set aside 54 acres to create this state-of-the-art OHV training center.  With their partners, they built a tiered training circuit to help people learn, then improve their OHV riding skills. The center includes four skill development areas: 1) a large flat training area for OHV training courses, 2) a tot lot for bikes less than 50ccs, 3) a learner loop for bikes less than 110cc, and 4) a youth trail for riders up to 15 years old, and machines less than 250cc, with stations to learn skills such as navigating hill climbs, rock fields, log crossings, tight turns, bumps, and elevated turns.

 



Public Schools, Minnesota

Motorcyclist riding through a rock canyon openingVisit one of two dozen schools in Minnesota and there, on the wall, are NOHVCC “Responsible Riding” banners. The colorful, 5 ft. by 5 ft. images include a variety of age-appropriate messages. The posters created by NOHVCC for high schools fall under the theme of responsible riding, covering everything from riding sober to staying on the trail, to wearing your gear while riding. The imagery is vibrant. The messages of the 10-banner series are clear. Among them:



  •  “Plan your ride. Ride your plan.”
  • “Set a good example for your younger siblings. Wear your gear.”
  • “Riding takes all of your wits. Don’t impair them.”

 

The poster series has been seen by tens of thousands of students, teachers and parents. It was created by the Coalition of Recreational Trail Users (CRTU) -- a non-profit educational foundation of four motorized State Associations in Minnesota. It won an award in 2013 for Education and Communication, from the Coalition for Recreational Trails (CRT), a national organization dedicated to raising the awareness of the value of the Recreational Trails Program, in Washington, D.C.

 

OHV Educational Trailers...Everywhere!

 

A Utah Education Trailer - Big Ed - being towedTraveling OHV safety education billboards. That’s the best way to describe a number of trailers displaying the NOHVCC Adventure Trail posters. NOHVCC originally created the posters for its trailers, to educate young riders at the many OHV events it attended. Later, it made them available to everyone in OHV recreation.

 

Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation (IDPR), has three such trailers. Two 26-foot enclosed tow-behind trailers, and a 32-foot enclosed gooseneck trailer appropriately named “Big Ed.” Outside and inside walls are wrapped with the Adventure Trail poster series. The three trailers average 20 to 25 events per year, and about 60,000 visitors go through the trailers each season.

 

All three trailers are used to transport OHVs, and carry a wide variety of safety education materials, including handouts published by IDPR, the Tread Lightly! program and the NOHVCC Adventure Trail activity book and crayon boxes.

 

The NOHVCC Adventure Trail posters are featured on dozens of other OHV education trailers and toy haulers, in use by NOHVCC, many State and Federal agencies, as well as OHV clubs and State Associations.  

 

To see the complete library of NOHVCC educational posters and banners, go to this page of the NOHVCC web site:  http://www.nohvcc.org/Education/schoolmedia/messagecategories.aspx. For information on ordering the various poster series, contact NOHVCC by sending an email to trailhead@nohvcc.org.

 

 

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Virginia’s New Stone Mountain Trail Adds To OHV Success Stories On Coal Mining Lands

by Dave Halsey, NOHVCC Contributing Writer

 

On October 10th, 2015, hundreds of riders showed up with their off-highway vehicles (OHVs) for the ribbon-cutting of the new Stone Mountain trail system near Pennington Gap, Virginia. A small sign, attached to the front bumper of some of the OHVs, summed up the single-most important partnership that made the trail system possible:

 

Friends of Coal logo on and ROV“Friends of Coal”

 

“Three of our trail systems are extensively on old coal mines,” said Chris Sturgill, Field Operations Supervisor. “Some are contour mines and some are mountain-top removal mines. We’re so appreciative to have these large landowner partners, because without them it would be impossible to have the quality systems that we have.”

 

Stone Mountain offers 30 miles of challenging, intermediate to advanced level OHV trails, with nine overlooks of stunning vistas. It’s the fourth OHV trail system built by Spearhead Trails, as part of Virginia’s Southwest Regional Recreational Authority. SRRA was created in 2008 by the Virginia General Assembly, to provide new recreational opportunities, boost tourism and visitor spending, and generate new revenue for the region, while protecting natural resources.

 

Modeled after Hatfield-McCoy Trails in neighboring West Virginia, Spearhead Trails opened its first trail system in 2013. Called Mountain View, it was built on a series of contour surface mines, transformed into 80 miles of scenic multi-use routes primarily designed for ATVs and ROVs (side-by-sides). Stone Mountain brings Spearhead Trails’ total trail miles to 200.

 

Reclaimed coal mines offer win-win partnerships 

 

By partnering with large coal mining companies, stateVehicle with Spearhead Trail Wrap agencies like Spearhead Trails and Hatfield-McCoy Trails are able to have land use agreements for thousands of acres. Working together, they solve a lot of problems for the land companies, while creating new riding opportunities for the public.

 

“There were a lot of illegal outlaw trails out there,” said Sturgill, formerly an engineer and ASI Safety Instructor for the U.S. Forest Service. “We come in and develop the trails, using Forest Service standards. We also correct environmental issues, with proper drainage and sediment controls. We are able to maintain the land, and actually upgrade the quality of the land.

 

“On old contour mining land, you’re reshaping that surface bench to serve as a trail, but also serve as environmental controls. When we design the trails, we put the trails to the outside of that contour. That keeps us away from water and things that the mines liberate. It keeps the water out of the streams. And the cost of building the trail system is low. You don’t have such an extensive amount of excavation work, like you do building a brand new trail.”

 

Another benefit is improved habitat for wildlife. Spearhead’s 40-mile Coal Canyon trail system is built on a mountain-top surface mine, on land that resembles open plains. The OHV trail actually enhanced efforts to introduce an elk herd to the area. “We had elk released in an area adjacent to our trails,” said Sturgill. “Because of the reclamation that we’ve done, we’re now seeing those elk moving into our trail system to feed on the vegetation that we sow. The landowners like that.

 

“When I go in and do a reclamation, or do any earthwork whatsoever, we reclaim with a wildlife mix that benefits deer, bear, turkey, you name it. We’ve actually seen an increase in wildlife on our trails because of those mixes.” 

 

View of Stone Mountain Trail - Newest part of the Spearhead Trail systemSpearhead Trails gives riders a wide variety of difficulty levels, with scenic overlooks and the ability to experience some of the area’s mining history, including seeing mining equipment along the trails that was abandoned in the ‘40s and ‘50s. All four Spearhead Trail systems are patrolled by hired trail rangers. They serve as ambassadors, making sure the trails are family friendly, offering assistance to riders, and enforcing the system’s rules and regulations.

 

Since opening 2 years ago just outside the town of St. Paul, VA, the Mountain View trail has brought in 13 new businesses and over $2 million in private investment, reports Sturgill. Additional resorts and lodging totaling over $1 million in investments are being planned near other trail systems. 

 

The latest of many trails on coal lands..and more to come 

 

A few hours drive from Spearhead Trails into West Virginia, is the Hatfield-McCoy Trails. It has land agreements with large coal and timber companies, and many private landowners. Opened in 2000 with three trail systems, it now has eight trail systems totaling over 700 miles of OHV trails.

 

According to a 2014 economic impact study, the operational impact of Hatfield-McCoy Trails alone equals $3.3 million. “Even more notably,” states the report,” the Hatfield-McCoy Trails bring non-local visitors to the area whose spending is estimated to generate an additional $19 million in economic activity in West Virginia. Together, the total estimated economic impact of the Hatfield-McCoy Trails is more than $22 million.”

 

Two states to the west, in Indiana, the Redbird State Recreation Area is 1,450 acres and includes 25 miles of OHV trails. The Interlake State Recreation Area is 3,500 acres with over 100 miles of OHV trails. Both systems are built on former surface and underground coal mining lands. In the early 1950s, when the coal mines closed, reclamation efforts consisted of planting pine trees, leaving behind acid lakes and extreme hills. User trails and unregulated activity flourished in the ‘70s. Decades of land acquisitions, the formation of management groups, and trail building followed. Today, both areas are popular with OHV riders. They are owned by the State and operated by the Indiana Department Of Natural Resources.

 

In rural Pennsylvania, the Northumberland County Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area (AOAA) is a 6,500 acre motorized and non-motorized recreation facility. Opened in 2014, its welcome center and parking lot are located in Coal Township. Anthracite is a high-grade coal and a big part of Pennsylvania’s mining history. For many years, the area suffered from illegal solid waste disposal. AOAA has done extensive work to make environmental improvements to the area, including installing gates to deter illegal dumping. Numerous cleanups have been conducted, making vast improvements in the property.

 

Western Maryland is also coal country. The Maryland OHV Alliance (MDOHVA) is working to create an OHV trail system in Allegheny and Garrett Counties. “We have initial support from the coal mines, they have embraced the idea,” said Ken Kyler, Alliance Secretary/Treasurer, and a NOHVCC Associate State Partner. “The businesses support it. The major issue is the management structure. We don’t have a state authority like Hatfield-McCoy. So we’re hoping the state embraces it, or we can get a change in state law.”

 

Ongoing partnerships are the key to future trails

 

Reluctant at first to have designated trails on their land, coal companies in Virginia today are working closely with Spearhead Trails to partner on more OHV trails. Spearhead Trails plans to add an additional 300 trail miles in the future. “The land companies we deal with are very good community partners,” said Sturgill. “They have become an invaluable part of our organization. We work diligently to build those relationships to get more and more areas to expand our program.” 

 

As for the new Stone Mountain trail, Sturgill reports that local businesses are especially excited about it, following the high level of interest at the grand opening. “The feedback we’re getting is unbelievable,” he said. “The town that it’s in reported they had the busiest weekend ever during the grand opening. The town officials are blown away and scrambling because of how busy it was.

 

“And the views from the system, well, they rival anything I’ve seen...and I’ve ridden all over the East Coast.”

 

For more information on Spearhead Trails, visit its Facebook page or see its website at: http://www.spearheadtrails.com/. To learn more about Hatfield-McCoy Trails, go to: http://www.trailsheaven.com/. Information on Redbird and Interlake Rec Areas in Indiana can be found at: http://www.in.gov/dnr/outdoor/8333.htm.

 

Here is a link to the 2014 Hatfield-McCoy economic impact study: http://www.trailsheaven.com/HatfieldAndMcCoyTrails/media/Content-Images/Documents/Economic_Impact_HM_14.pdf

 

“Friends of Coal” referenced at the beginning of this article is an organization that supports Virginia’s coal mining families and those whose livelihoods depend on the industry.

 

 

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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. 

 

NOHVCC Trivia
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 are the names of the three Adventure Trail characters?

Send your answers to us at trailhead@nohvcc.org by November 20, 2015

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 is open.  The registration date passed, so if you haven't registered yet, do it now.

 


The Great OHV Trails guidebook is being unveiled at the conference on October 30th.  More details will follow.




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