NOHVCC Newsletter - March 2018 edition


In this Issue:

Scholarships Available For 2018 NOHVCC/INOHVAA Annual Conference

New Partnership Results in Annual Great Trails Workshop In Idaho

Learning About (And Landing) A Job In OHV Recreation

Five Ways To Add Challenge To OHV Trail Systems

Yamaha Celebrates A Milestone Supporting Public-Lands Access

Scholarships Available for 2018 NOHVCC/INOHVAA Annual Conferences in Grand Rapids!

The National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council will award scholarships for a limited number of qualified individuals to attend the NOHVCC and/or International Off-Highway Vehicle Administrators Association Annual Conferences in Grand Rapids, Michigan, August 14-18.  We recognize that attending the Conferences is an expensive proposition, so we want to make sure we have the best and brightest from the OHV community participate.  These scholarships will cover the cost of travel, lodging, registration and most meals of awardees.  

Invited to apply are active Associate State Partners, agency personnel (particularly those who cannot receive reimbursement for out-of-state travel) and others interested in attending.

To receive a copy of the scholarship application send an email to  Applications are due May 4, 2018.


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New Partnership Results in Annual Great Trails Workshop in Idaho
By Marc Hildesheim, NOHVCC Project Manager

Inaugural Workshop May 8-10!

NOHVCC is excited to announce a new partnership with North Idaho College Workforce Training Center which has resulted in the establishment of an annual Great Trails Workshop to be held in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. These recurring workshops will provide Great Trails training for those who otherwise may not have the opportunity to participate in regional workshops. The Workforce Training Center is a branch of North Idaho College offering lifelong-learning to increase the economic self-sufficiency, business productivity, and quality of life for citizens in their community.  These workshops will also receive support from the Idaho Parks and Recreation Off-Highway Vehicle Program.

The inaugural Great Trails workshop was held in 2014 in Southern Idaho. Since then, NOHVCC has conducted more than a dozen of these workshops across the country.  The workshops focus on the design, layout, construction, maintenance and management of sustainable Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) trails. Hands-on field training is emphasized. Participants include 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. The workshop series was created as a hands-on companion to “Great Trails: Providing Quality OHV Trails and Experiences,” which was published by NOHVCC in 2015. You can download a free copy of Great Trails or order a hard copy for $30 by visiting

The first NIC workshop will take place May 8-10, 2018. The classroom portion of the workshop will be held at the Workforce Training Center in Post Falls, ID. The field portion of the workshop will be held on the Canfield Mountain Trail System on the Coeur d’Alene River Ranger District of the Idaho Panhandle National Forest. The workshop will cost $695.00 per person for the full three-day workshop including lunch each day and transportation to and from field locations. Registration opens on April 1, but you can learn more now by visiting the Workforce Training Center course catalog at

North Idaho College currently offers continuing education units (CEUs) for those who participate in any Great Trails Workshop across the country. Additionally, NOHVCC and NIC are in the process of incorporating the Great Trails skillset into the Idaho SkillStack Badging System. SkillStack is a searchable database that serves to document, assess, and validate student skills using industry and disciplinary defined standards. Acquiring SkillStack badges will allow workshop participants to demonstrate the achievement of benchmarks related to providing quality OHV trails to current or potential employers. Find out more by visiting


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Learning About (And Landing) A Job In OHV Recreation
By Dave Halsey, NOHVCC Contributing Writer

Reid Brown and Jaydon Mead got their college degrees in Recreation Resource Management. Kerry Wood’s was in Recreation Administration and Forestry. Dave Claycomb: Natural Resource Management. Rob Katona: Fisheries & Wildlife Management.


These and thousands of other men and women are involved in off-highway vehicle (OHV) recreation, as land managers, recreation planners, OHV program managers and other positions with state or federal agencies. Their education and career paths vary widely. Some found their calling early on. Some learned about jobs in OHV recreation in college. Others didn’t learn their current jobs existed until they were out of college. Many believe there is a greater need for informing high school and college counselors about career opportunities in OHV recreation. 


Reid Brown, an OHV Specialist in Oregon’s Tillamook State Forest, grew up 45 minutes from the trail system he manages today. He started riding motorcycles at age 3, helped his parents on trail projects early in life, and later raced motorcycles. He didn’t know a job like his existed until he met his predecessor, Dave Hiatt. “I learned about this job in college and figured it would be pretty much my dream job,” said Brown. “Right after that, I changed my major at Oregon State University. I started with the Department of Forestry in April 2013, in the forest roads engineering unit. When Dave retired, I was fortunate enough to be able to transfer over; that was December 2014.”


Jaydon Mead also learned about his current job with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) while in college. “I grew up riding OHVs and have always enjoyed it. I didn't know a job like this was available until I started working with the BLM,” said Mead. After jumping back and forth between seasonal firefighting with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and temporary recreation jobs with the BLM, Mead landed an internship in the recreation program at the BLM Price Field Office. “The internship allowed me to work year-round in the OHV/Volunteer Coordinator position while I attended school at Utah State University Eastern, where I got a Bachelor’s Degree in Recreation Resource Management. Once I graduated, I converted into the permanent Recreation Technician job, where I got to continue working with many user groups, improving the trails and recreation opportunities in and around the San Rafael Swell. I have now moved into a Lands and Realty position, where I play a major role in Travel Management planning, work with the local counties on projects, and process land-use applications for energy development and rights-of-ways for multiple uses on public lands.”   


Kerry Wood is the Wilderness & Trails Program Manager on the Sandia District of the Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands, in New Mexico. He got his undergraduate degree in Recreation Administration from Texas State University, and a Master’s Degree in Forestry, with a concentration in Public Lands Recreation Management, from Virginia Tech. Following his undergraduate work, he did a summer internship at Grand Teton National Park, saying “that solidified my interest in the land management side of things.” He worked seasonally for the USFS for another two seasons on a fire crew, before heading to graduate school. While in graduate school, Wood volunteered on the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. After finishing his Master’s Degree, he went to work as the Regional Trails Manager for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

Dave Claycomb, Recreation Resources Bureau Chief with the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, started riding motorcycles in grade school. He learned about a Trail Ranger job while studying Natural Resource Management at the University of Idaho. “It sounded like the best thing ever, to ride motorcycles and clear trails,” he said. Claycomb tested with the Department, and says he made it by the skin of his teeth. “I was probably the worst rider ever, but I was good with a chainsaw and worked my tail off with the Pulaski, so they hired me.” He later worked as a Sweco Trail Cat Operator, a Regional Trails Specialist, and OHV Program Manager, before taking his current job. 

Like many of those working in OHV recreation, Rob Katona took a winding path to his job as a Trails Specialist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. He grew up in a rural area near Marquette, Michigan, hunting, fishing and riding snowmobiles, dirt bikes and four-wheelers. He attended Lake Superior State University, where he majored in Fisheries and Wildlife Management. Fresh out of college, he went to work for a federal agency. “I started working in lower Michigan for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as a technician and biologist,” Katona said. “Then I moved out west to Oregon for a year with the Army Corps of Engineers, then to Seattle with Fisheries, then back to Marquette and started working for the Michigan DNR, in the UP (Upper Peninsula).”


How to find a college program and a job in OHV recreation:

Many colleges offer degrees in natural resource management, outdoor recreation, or similar, related programs. An internet search will reveal some of the most popular. In addition to those listed above -- Oregon, Utah, Texas, Idaho and Virginia Tech -- they include the University of Minnesota, University of Alaska, Ohio State University and others.


As far as finding a job goes, some of the land managers and OHV program managers we talked with started as interns, or were hired as equipment operators, trail technicians or other entry-level positions. Volunteering is also an option right out of college. “A lot of it is starting as a volunteer and being in touch with agency staff on projects you’d like to see done or help on to demonstrate your skills in that capacity,” said Reid Brown. “When a position does come over, you’re not a stranger.”


Many colleges have job placement programs, assisting new graduates in search of their first full-time position. In addition, American Trails, a national, nonprofit organization working on behalf of all trail interests, has a job listing on its website. Over 50 jobs have been posted since January 1, 2018. They include a wide variety of positions in motorized and non-motorized recreation. As stated on the website: “Trails and greenways employment, careers and seasonal work for conservation corps, trail organizations, state parks and federal agencies.” For more information, go to and click on “Trail Jobs.”


If you know of a high school or college student interested in learning more about careers in public land management and OHV recreation, please forward this article to them, as well as to the school counselors in your area.



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Five Ways To Add Challenge To OHV Trail Systems
By Dave Halsey, NOHVCC Contributing Writer

“If you build it, they will come.” While overused and slightly altered, that line from the 1989 movie Field of Dreams certainly applies to adding challenge areas and skills courses to off-highway vehicle (OHV) trails in order to attract new and repeat riders. 

Across the country, trail designers are adding higher levels of challenge to trail systems, and doing it in a sustainable manner. Some are challenge loops built off existing trails. Others are stand-alone skills areas in re-claimed sand pits or mines located next to trails.


In the past few years, this newsletter has reported on a number of new challenge areas built by agencies at the county, state and federal level.


The Axtell Technical Riding Area near McGregor, Minnesota is 40 acres of hill climbs, whoops, bowls, culvert and log crawls, cement-stair and rock crawls, and a mud pit. Built by Aitkin County, it serves as a destination for riders, accessing it from the easy-riding Soo Line North ATV Trail built on an abandoned railroad grade. (See September 2016 newsletter).


In Colorado, the Peach Valley Recreation Area north of Montrose now includes a 3-acre training area and challenge course. It is designed to improve skills of riders from beginner to expert, and introduce them to obstacles they might encounter in the area. Rocks, logs, cobbled turns, a side-hilling area and other obstacles feature easy, intermediate and advanced lanes. Built through a partnership between Colorado and the Bureau of Land Management, it was named the NOHVCC “Success Story of the Year” in 2016. (See November 2016 newsletter)


Challenge areas require quality design and materials


“Challenging trails can provide a boost of fun, excitement, extended seat time, camaraderie and self-confidence,” writes Dick Dufourd in his book “Great Trails: Providing Quality OHV Trails and Experiences”, a resource guide published in 2015 by the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC). “However, like the trail system, the development areas need to be designed correctly from the beginning, built with quality materials, and have regular maintenance.”


If your OHV organization or agency is considering building a challenge area, a good place to start your research is Chapter 14 of “Great Trails.” It is 30 pages of instruction, with 70 photos and diagrams illustrating the wide variety of challenge options to add to trail systems.


The title of Section 1 is “Challenge versus Sustainability.” It discusses five ways to create and provide challenge utilizing: 1) natural features, such as rock outcrops, boulders and slab rock; 2) design features, including grade, vertical and horizontal alignment and obstacles; 3) manufactured topographic features: rock pits, quarries, open-pit mines; 4) natural topographic features, areas where open riding is allowed, such as sand dunes, rock knobs and hills; and 5) manufactured design features, much like mountain bike groups have made, including ladder bridges, terrain parks, pump tracks and freeride facilities. 


“Look around,” said Dufourd during a discussion on challenge features at a NOHVCC conference. “Be creative. There is probably material you can use close by, such as logs, stumps, old concrete, even discarded combine or tractor tires.”


The title of Part 2 of the chapter on Challenges is “Use the trail already there or create a new one?”  Part 3 is “A different approach to challenge,” and discusses ways to remedy the problem of unskilled riders ruining or breaching technical features. They include easy-outs, technical options, and multiple lines so one challenge feature can offer several challenge experiences. Also discussed, is the importance of proper signing for rider information and risk management.


For more information on planning and designing challenge areas, see the “Great Trails” resource guide. You can order copies of the 350-page, fully illustrated “Great Trails” book for $30 each, or download the free PDF versions. To get started, go to this link:



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Yamaha Celebrates A Milestone Supporting Public-Lands Access
By Dave Halsey, NOHVCC Contributing Writer


-Bridges that create trail loops and protect streams. 

-Trail signs that direct riders and discourage off-trail riding. 

-Staging areas with ramps for safe unloading.

-Kiosks to educate user groups on responsible riding. 


These and many other examples make up a list of over 300 off-highway vehicle (OHV) projects that have been funded by the Yamaha Outdoor Access Initiative since 2008. The common thread to all of them is one word: Access. The future of OHV recreation depends on it. And, Yamaha is an industry leader in total dollars directed to support access to public lands on ATVs, Side-by-Sides, dirt bikes and snowmobiles. 


Two powerful visuals to add to your advocacy toolbox

Yamaha recently celebrated the 10th Anniversary of its generous grant program. To tell its story, the OHV manufacturer created an infographic and video that show impressive totals. Leading the list of highlights of the Outdoor Access Initiative: over $3.5 million awarded in funding and equipment, supporting projects in 44 States. 


Consider the infographic and 7-minute 10th Anniversary video — posted on the program’s website — as new tools to use in the trail advocacy work of your OHV club or state association. Feature them on your website and newsletter, and show them at your meetings. They are powerful visuals you can use to 1) educate members on the Yamaha funding program available to support access, and 2) inform your local, state and federal agency partners that funding is available for projects. The video includes some outstanding testimonials from past grant recipients.


“Funding is always one of our biggest challenges,” said Phil Wolff, recreation manager at Washington’s Capitol State Forest. “We were able to get a grant through the initiative to put in a trail bridge, so we’re not putting sediment into streams and we’re providing access for off-road vehicles and mountain bikers and hikers and runners. The funding helped us keep the trail open. It isn’t just OHV focused. The most popular running events are on motorized trails. The most popular downhill mountain bike event is on a motorized trail. It’s about access for everyone.” 


Two hundred miles to the south, the Tillamook State Forest is comprised of 375,000 acres, with 175,000 acres open to motorized recreation. “The Yamaha Outdoor Access Initiative Program has helped us out immensely, to fill in the funding gaps in our program,” said Jahmaal Rebb, OHV Program Specialist with the Oregon Department of Forestry. “A lot of it was used for bridge replacement projects.”


“The reality is that the resources available to public land managers have been dwindling for a long time,” said Lisa Spicer, grant administrator for Yamaha’s Outdoor Access Initiative. “There’s always been a pinch. It’s very much a part of why we do what we do.  The grant program exists to help ensure that there’s opportunity and access.”


Andrew McKean with Outdoor Life magazine puts it this way in the video: “I think we have to do a better job promoting the availability and possibility of public access. Go find a place you can call your own, even though everybody owns it. To me that’s the great promise of public lands.”


The next grant application deadline for the Yamaha Outdoor Access Initiative is March 31, 2018  To watch the 10th Anniversary video, and learn more about the program, grant examples, and the application process, go to : .

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Upcoming Events:

April 26-28, 2018- Minnesota Off-Highway Vehicle Great Trails Workshop
          - Minnesota Great Trails Website

August 14-18, 2018- NOHVCC and INOHVAA Annual Meeting
           - Grand Rapids, Michigan
           - Conference webpage will be available soon