NOHVCC Newsletter - July 2016 edition

A “Great Trails” Special Edition  

Read the other NOHVCC newsletter issues



In this Issue:




Three Great Resources For Converting Old Roads To New Trails

by Dave Halsey, NOHVCC Contributing Writer


Not too long ago, there were few resources available to help state and federal land managers, off-highway vehicle (OHV) program managers, and OHV clubs successfully convert existing natural surface roads to sustainable trails.


Thankfully, that has all changed.


Now there is plenty of information, written by professional trail designers and builders, to help with that effort, benefitting both agencies and user groups. Here are three outstanding tools you can use to turn roads into trails. 


“Transforming Existing Routes Into Manageable, Enjoyable Trails for the OHV Community”  - by Margie Tatro, Reineke Construction


Margie Tatro, co-owner of Reineke Construction in Sandia Park, New Mexico, has 20 years of experience designing and building motorized and non-motorized trails. Three years ago, she saw the need for more information on road conversions, and created a powerpoint presentation on the subject.


Road that needs to be converted to a trail“It was at the 2013 American Trails Conference in Arizona, during a group discussion. Land managers said they have corridors, fire roads, logging roads and utility line easements that they are often required to use for trails, because they already have environment and wildlife clearances. Often, they are the only routes they can get accepted as trails. The land managers would say, ‘I have this resource. What can I do with it?’ That’s what sparked me to develop this presentation.


“I couldn’t find much information on the topic. But we had some experience with road conversions with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and State Parks. We collected our notes and pictures on our successful conversions and made a list of the techniques and ideas that worked best for our clients.” 


The presentation is titled “Transforming Existing Routes Into Manageable, Enjoyable Trails for the OHV Community.” Tatro presented it at the 2013 joint conference of the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC) and the International Off-Highway Vehicle Administrators Association (INOHVAA), and at last year’s Sustainable Trails Conference of the Professional TrailBuilders Association (PTBA). Tatro is a board member of PTBA. She also teamed with Drew Stoll of Great Outdoors Consultants to conduct a webinar on the topic, sponsored by the Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals.


Road after it was converted to a trailA key point to remember, said Tatro, and one that a lot of land managers, trail users and volunteer groups often don’t understand, is that roads were never designed with recreation in mind. “Roads are usually built with one purpose,” she said. “To get people from point A to Point B as quickly as possible. Rather than decommissioning roads and letting them go back to a natural state, think about making them into a trail. Don’t be satisfied that it’s got to be the road as it is. Work with professionals to figure out what modifications can be done to improve that route as a trail. Many are low cost.”


Because federal budgets are low, clubs must get involved, and partner with both state and federal land managers, Tatro adds. “Work with the agencies. Clubs that have access to grant money can hire professional trail builders. They have insurance and are accountable to get the job done by a certain date. That can be a very effective partnership.”


Tatro’s 25-slide presentation breaks down the discussion into three segments: 1) Challenges presented by “evolved rather than designed” trails, 2) Basic principles of sustainable trail design, and 3) Techniques for transformation of existing routes to enhance manageability, sustainability, and “fun factor.” It features before-and-after photos of successful road conversions.


Tatro welcomes the opportunity to walk through the presentation at OHV-related meetings and conferences, in person or through pre-arranged video conferences and webinars. See her contact information below for more details.


“Great Trails: Providing Quality OHV Trails and Experiences” - by Dick Dufourd, RecConnect LLC


Just nine months after NOHVCC released it, this new, 364-page resource guide is being used extensively by state, federal and provincial agencies, as well as OHV clubs and organizations across the U.S. and Canada. For detailed “how-to” information on converting roads to OHV trails, check out Chapter 17: “Conversion and Closure Techniques.”


Group listens to field lesson regarding signingAs stated in the chapter’s introduction: “With a little creativity, many natural surface (NS) roads and abandoned railroad grades can be converted into quality trails. Leaving roads as they are and calling them trails results in trails that are too straight, too fast, too boring (too easy) and have poor drainage and poor water management. The objective of a successful conversion is to transform those negatives into positives.”


The next 13 pages provide step-by-step instructions and detailed photographs describing effective closure and rehabilitation techniques, essential to controlling and directing the use, and providing resource protection.


The fully illustrated, spiral-bound “Great Trails” book was written by Dick Dufourd, in association with NOHVCC. Dufourd worked for the USFS for 35 years, where he gained extensive experience designing and building roads, trails, parking areas and campgrounds. He was also the Central Oregon Interagency OHV Program Manager, responsible for developing and managing summer OHV opportunities for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and USFS. When he retired in 2005, Dufourd and his wife, Joani, formed RecConnect LLC, an OHV consulting business based in Bend, Oregon. They have implemented more than 1,800 miles of OHV trails in the U.S. and Canada.


Dufourd is also a key presenter at NOHVCC Great Trails Workshops, where agency trail planners and OHV clubs and organizations spend time in the classroom and on public lands learning how to plan, design, construct and maintain sustainable OHV trail systems. See information below on ordering or downloading the “Great Trails” book.


“Public Land Advocacy Workshops Series DVD” - by Tom Crimmins


Created by NOHVCC in 2009, this DVD is a great resource, espeTom Crimmins, Field Democially for those new to trail design, construction and maintenance. Thousands of copies have been distributed free of charge to OHV clubs, organizations, public land managers and OHV program managers. Based on NOHVCC’s successful workshops and webinars on trail development, it includes fourteen separate videos, with over 12 hours of viewing. 


The video scripts were written by Tom Crimmins and the NOHVCC staff. Crimmins, now retired, spent many of his 32 years with the USFS as an OHV recreation program manager. The video series walks you through the fundamentals on how to create and maintain a sustainable OHV trail system. The free DVD covers a wide range of topics, including: understanding the process required for land planning; whether you are working with land managers at the county, state or federal level; how to get involved and save trails; as well as how to plan, design, manage and maintain new trail systems. The chapter titled “The 4 Es” of building trails, covers Engineering (design, mitigation, construction), Education (maps, route signs, rules, educational points of interest), Enforcement (observing, informing) and Evaluation (followup with riders, resource protection, problem solving).


Along the way, the DVD shows examples of good and bad trails, as well as effective and ineffective signage, trail hardening, wetland mitigation and other on-the-ground issues. It also highlights trail-building success stories. It was created with help from the Motorcycle Industry Council, Specialty Vehicle Institute of America, and Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association, and is distributed by NOHVCC.


Put all three resources in your toolbox and and let the road conversions begin!


Margie Tatro’s PowerPoint presentation can be downloaded and saved.  She can be contacted by phone at 505-205-0838, or by email at


You can order copies of the “Great Trails” book or download the PDF version at this link: Contact Dick Dufourd at 541-419-1979, or email him at To learn about future Great Trails Workshops being planned, and to organize one in your area, visit the NOHVCC website at


To order copies of the “Public Land Advocacy Workshops Series DVD” for yourself and your club, organization or agency, send an email to or call 800-348-6487. To see more trail-building resources and learn about the NOHVCC annual conference, held in October in Great Falls, MT, visit



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Mentoring At The Club Level Leads To A Trail Of OHV Benefits

by Dave Halsey, NOHVCC Contributing Writer


“Mentoring for non-profits”


An internet search with those words leads to a list of about 500,000 results.


Mentoring is a universal concept. Parents and teachers serve as mentors for children. Companies, government agencies and non-profit organizations create mentoring programs, offering guidance and support to help younger workers get a jump start on their careers.


Several men looking at a mapOff-highway vehicle (OHV) clubs and organizations can look at mentoring as a way to strengthen membership, participation and partnerships, and -- borrowing the NOHVCC mission statement-- “create a positive future for OHV recreation.” 


“If you’re not mentoring people, you should be,” said Karen Umphress, NOHVCC IT and Project Manager. “It’s especially important if your OHV club is going to survive long-term. The goal isn’t to build an organization that revolves around its club president or board members. The goal is to build an organization that survives after they leave.”


Mentoring is more than delegating. But mentoring can start with delegating. Assigning members to club projects and events -- and providing instruction along the way -- helps them learn how things work: how trails are built, how state and federal agencies work, how to properly partner with them, and much more. As members get more involved in club activities, they will be more successful as team leaders and board members.


Mentoring moves information to the next generation of leaders


Like many of today’s advocates of OHV recreation, Marc Hildesheim grew up in a family of OHV riders and club leaders, attending his first meeting in elementary school. “I was raised riding motorcycles and clearing trails,” he said. “My grandpa told me that I would be a club leader someday. Our family took a lot of pride in the club, and still does today.”


Hildesheim started riding dirt bikes at age 4, and rode straight to a career in OHV recreation. He has held positions of Trail Ranger and Trail Specialist in Idaho, and OHV Education Coordinator and OHV Staff Manager in New Mexico. Today he is a Project Manager with NOHVCC, returning to his roots in Idaho, and is still very involved in the OHV club started by his grandfather.


His experience makes him a mentor to everyone in his club, the Brush Bunch Motorcycle Club. Said Hildesheim, “It’s become my responsibility to communicate what’s in Forest Service Travel Management Plans, and why we should write letters during public comment periods. Things to consider when we’re entering into a challenge cost-share. What the trail standards are when we go out on a work day. Why we have to cut everything to a certain width even though dirt bikes can get through on a lot narrower trail. It’s not general knowledge. It’s things you learn along the way and pass on to future club leaders. 


“We need to share all that institutional knowledge we’ve learned over the years, on how things get done and who you need to talk to, and how to work with our partners and stakeholders, to make sure that our trail work, agreements, and events continue to be successful.”


Consider “reverse mentoring” to attract more, younger riders to your club


The future of OHV clubs, and the trails they build and maintain,Man demonstrating hedge trimmer as tool for trail maintenance depends on club membership: building it and getting the next generation involved. Millennials recently overtook baby boomers as the largest generation at work, and by 2020 will be more than half of the nation’s workforce. They are the ones using new technology, both in powersports equipment and social media. And they can teach us senior OHV riders and club leaders a thing or two...if we give them a chance to talk and we listen to them.


In the corporate world, UnitedHealth Group, a large health care company, rolled out a reverse mentoring program. It pairs eight senior executives in its insurance division with eight millennials who were seen as “emerging leaders.” The average age gap is 25 years.


OHV clubs don’t need a mentoring program as structured as a large company. But they can use some of the same principals. Hildesheim believes inviting young riders to club meetings, then listening to them and considering their input and ideas, is critical to keeping OHV clubs active and growing. “We need to spark that conversation. We can do that by simply asking ourselves, ‘What can we do to bridge the age gap in recruiting new members?’ ” Then, as younger members do get involved and create success for the club, be sure to acknowledge them. Some clubs have gone so far as creating college scholarships for students. “Recognizing their contribution or success is an important part of mentoring,” said Hildesheim.


Mentoring by state and federal agencies also helps


Mentoring isn’t restricted to club leaders. Hildesheim encourages public land managers to also mentor OHV riders, especially those who don’t belong to a club or state association. “That’s something I’ve been pushing with land managers: mentoring the public on why it’s important to belong to a club. The trend is not to join. But people still want to volunteer. They want to do trail work. As our partners in agencies come across these folks, they have a great opportunity to explain why it’s important to belong to a club. The Forest Service and State agencies work with the clubs on just the kind of projects volunteers are looking for. That also mentors the volunteer toward being part of an organized voice.”


NOHVCC has plenty of OHV mentoring tools


NOHVCC has created and compiled materials to assist clubs in their mentoring efforts.  The NOHVCC library includes hundreds of useful documents and presentations on all things OHV related. The most common tool requested from NOHVCC is the Club Start-Up Kit. It has helped hundreds of people successfully create OHV clubs. It also provides information and samples to help you build your organizational and collaborative skills, and make the most efficient and effective use of your time. Other tools available for you to help mentor new members on planning, building and maintaining OHV trails, include NOHVCC webinars, workshops, the new Great Trails guide, and, of course, this free monthly newsletter. 


The best place to start is clicking on the topics across the top of the home page of the NOHVCC website ( “This is just the beginning,” said Umphress. “NOHVCC has mentoring tools available and people to answer your questions. Put them to work and they will trickle down to OHV state associations, clubs and their members.”



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This Club’s Safety Gear Includes AEDs And Trauma Kits

by Dave Halsey, NOHVCC Contributing Writer


Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are commonly seen in airports, restaurants, hotels, health clubs and workplaces. If you belong to the Havasu 4 WheeleAED signrs, they’re also seen in Jeep CJs, TJs and JKs...and a few rock buggies. 


“For each official club run and activity, we carry along an AED and a trauma care kit,” said John Strong, past president of the club, based in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. “We are blessed with a lot of retired nurses, firemen and policemen who are active in the Havasu 4 Wheelers. Andy Lucas, a retired doctor, set the AEDs up and holds training courses. And Willie Williams, the current president, is a retired nurse.”


An AED is a small, portable electronic device that automatically diagnoses a life-threatening cardiac arrhythmia, and treats it through the application of electrical therapy, or defibrillation, to stop it. It’s easy to use, with simple audio commands. Its use is taught in many first aid and first responder classes.


“We haven’t used one on a trail run yet,” said Strong. “But if thereJeeps and Trucks parked along-side and in trail during club ride had been situations where people fell over, we could save that person’s life. Out in the desert, an AED is the only chance you have.” A retired police officer also put together trauma kits, which include basic first aid items, cardboard splints and coagulation powder. “We sold over 50 of them last year,” said Strong. “We like to carry one in our vehicles, because you just never know. We’ve used the trauma kit in situations where people were hurt. We carry a coagulant to stop bleeding.”


Established in 1993, Havasu 4 Wheelers has 225 family members, and holds over 100 4x4 runs a season, exploring the Arizona desert’s historical wagon roads, ghost towns and old mines. It also helps fence off dangerous mine shafts, removes junk cars from the desert, and checks remote water guzzlers built for big horn sheep, partnering with Arizona Game and Fish Department. As it says on the club’s website: “We do these things to give back to the desert areas we all use and enjoy. And we find it all fun and rewarding.”


To learn more about AEDs, and buy models that suit your OHV club’s needs, visit with your local fire department, or create a club safety team led by members who may be first responders in your community.



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ATV Clubs Adjusting To Influx Of Side-by-Sides

by Dave Halsey, NOHVCC Contributing Writer


Third in a series. ATV clubs are looking more and more like Side-by-Side (SxS) clubs. Photos of ATV club rides aren’t just sprinkled with SxSs anymore. Often, they are the dominant vehicle. In some parts of the country, new “SxS Clubs” are being formed. If you belong to one of them, or have thoughts on how SxSs (called recreational off-highway vehicles or ROVs by manufacturers) have changed your ATV club and its activities, we’d like to hear from you for this article series. Send your club name, contact info and comments to


North Idaho ATV Association Accommodates All ATV and SxS Riders

 Off-Highway Vehciles lined up for a club ride

When the North Idaho ATV Association was established 13 years ago, Side-by-Side vehicles were not part of the club’s trail rides. They were primarily utility vehicles used on farms and ranches, and too wide to meet the “50-inch rule” created a few years later for OHV trails on nearby National Forests.


In 2008, manufacturers started introducing 50-inch wide, trail-legal SxS machines. Before long, Side-by-Sides (also called recreational off-highway vehicles or ROVs by manufacturers) started outselling regular ATVs. Today, North Idaho ATV club members own nearly as many ROVs as ATVs, and the club has made a few adjustments to accommodate all riders. 


“When Side-by-Sides started showing up on club rides, they were treated like any other ATV,” said Frank Axtell, club president. “We have roughly 280 members, with a 60/40 split between ATVs and Side-by-Sides. We put on different rides to accommodate both.


“Due to the 50-inch rule on U.S. Forest Service (USFS) land, some of our rides are restricted to 50-inch vehicles. That still takes in the Polaris, Honda and Arctic Cat models with 50-inch widths. They can go on any of these routes. It’s the over 50-inch machines that we have to accommodate occasionally and publish in our ride descriptions.


OHVs parked along an entrance road to a look-out station“Some of our ride leaders have both machines, and some have one or the other. If we have a ride and we know there’s going to be a Y in the road or a place for those with over 50-inch machines to go on part of the route, and meet up on some part of the trail, we often have two ride leaders. One takes off with the over 50-inch machines and one with the 50-inch or less. If there’s a ride where we know the trail requirements are for 50-inch or less vehicles, we’ll publish it as a 50-inch OHVs-only ride. We do, however, have a lot of Forest Service roads where wider machines can go legally and have a great ride. And we’re not too far from some different dunes, where the larger machines work really well.”


Some clubs have changed their bylaws to include ROVs. Others have dropped the word “ATV” from their name, or changed “ATV” to “OHV” (off-highway vehicle) to sound more inclusive of machines with steering wheels and roll cages. The North Idaho ATV Association stuck with their original name. “We’ve talked about changing names, but everyone understands what our roots are, and a lot of us have both types of rigs, so it’s really not an issue,” said Axtell. “Some clubs made a bigger deal out of it than it needed to be. We welcome them all, and in fact we have a few folks with motorcycles that ride with us as well.


“One change we did make was in our monthly newsletter. It was previously called “ATV Starting Line.” We have since taken out the “ATV” and now call it the “Starting Line.”  


Axtell adds that, in some areas, clubs have asked the Forest Service for wider trails to accommodate their machines. But that’s unlikely in the Panhandle National Forest, where most of Axtell’s club rides are held. “The feedback we’re getting from the Forest Service here is they don’t have the budget to do that, and our current trail system isn’t equipped to be widened for an over 50-inch vehicle meeting another one on the trail. So we don’t see that happening in our area of the state.”


For more information on the North Idaho ATV Association, visit its Facebook page, or its website at:




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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. 

Jim Barrett and Katie Nelton networking at the NOHVCC conferenceThe 2016 annual NOHVCC conference will be in Great Falls again this year, but at a new hotel and season.  The conference will be located at the Best Western Heritage Inn Oct 11 - 16.  Of course, we will still have the riding at the ranch. The call for presentations and award nominations will be going out very, very soon.  We are putting on our creativity caps to see if we can find something new and exciting.  In the world of OHV recreation, that really isn't very hard to do.


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