Each year at NOHVCC’s annual conference NOHVCC conference recognizes the special people and organizations that are making a positive impact on the world of OHV recreation. Leading up to the conference NOHVCC solicits nominations from NOHVCC State Partners and the many land managers and OHV stakeholders that we work with on a regular basis. We are very pleased to recognize the 2023 award winners for their outstanding contributions to OHV recreation.
Special Recognition Award: Neil Hamada
Neil Hamada works out of the El Centro Field Office for the Bureau of Land Management in California. Neil served as the longtime manager of the Imperial Sand Dunes, one of the most popular OHV destinations in the country. Neil has always promoted quality management, excellent communication, and the highest level of customer service. Thank you Neil, for all of your hard work.
Special Recognition: Chris Gamache
Chris Gamache first became involved with NOHVCC when he served as the Chief for the New Hampshire Bureau of Trails. Chris was instrumental in the development of the International Off-Highway Vehicle Administrator’s Association, serving as both chair and vice-chair. After retiring from the Bureau of Trails Chris went to work for Polaris and currently serves as the Trails Manager for Ride Command. Chris is an outstanding ambassador of OHV Recreation and has continued to support NOHVCC through all of his professional roles.
Rob Perrin Manager of the Year Award
Rob Perrin was an advocate for all types of recreation during his career at the Bureau of Land Management, and always made sure that OHV had a seat at the table. Perrin was a NOHVCC Hall of Fame Member, and ardent supporter of the organization. Upon his passing NOHVCC decided that it was only fitting to rename our Program Manager of the Year award in his honor. Each year NOHVCC recognizes an OHV manager who exemplifies Rob’s dedication to providing quality recreation experiences and strong community partnerships. In 2023 NOHVCC recognized Sky Zaffrano with the Bureau of Land Management Redding Field Office. Sky manages the Chappie Shasta OHV area where he works every day to make the area the best that it can be. Local OHV clubs and associations give glowing recommendations of Sky for his hard work, open dialogue with partners, and willingness to explore new ideas.
Club of the Year
The 2023 Club of the Year award was given to the California Off-Road Vehicle Association (CORVA). CORVA’s main purpose is to work with the land managers for responsible off-highway vehicular access and recreation opportunities. Secondarily, they educate our membership on the constantly changing rules and regulations and promote clean-up and trail maintenance projects. CORVA was instrumental in supporting the BLM OHV Action Plan for the State of California, and as always CORVA provides yearlong support for OHV access all across the State.
NOHVCC Partner of the Year
Each year NOHVCC recognizes the contributions of one of our State Partners for their contributions to NOHVCC’s mission and OHV recreation as a whole. This year NOHVCC recognizes Tasha West of Iowa. Tahsa manages the Gypsum City OHV Park in Fort Dodge, Iowa in her daily life and has served as a NOHVCC Partner since 2014. Tasha joined the board as an Issue Area Representative in 2019, but has largely found her stride in the last couple of years after assuming the role of Board Secretary. Tasha has become a leader and strong presence on the Board and is always ready to jump in and lend a hand to get things done, especially around the NOHVCC Conference.
NOHVCC Hall of Fame
Carol Smith’s contributions to OHV recreation are too numerous to count. Carol brings her Texas-sized personality to everything she does with a mix of high energy and a constant positive outlook. Carol has been instrumental in the growth and development of the Texas OHV program, but perhaps her greatest contribution to OHV recreation is training thousands of youth and beginner riders in safety and ethics with TXTEAMM, Texas Education and Motorized Management. Carol has served multiple terms on the NOHVCC board primarily focusing on youth and education efforts. We are extremely excited to welcome Carol to the NOHVCC Hall of Fame.
A few years ago several NOHVCC Board Members who had served numerous terms on the Board began to step down and make room for the next group of leaders. A few of these board members had already been inducted into the NOHVCC Hall of Fame, but we soon realized that this did not adequately acknowledge how much of themselves that they had given to the organization. A new Lifetime Achievement award was created to recognize these individuals who had gone far beyond what anyone else had contributed to NOHVCC in the past. In 2023 NOHVCC added Russ Ehnes to this list of elite NOHVCC supporters and volunteers. Russ served as Executive Director for NOHVCC for 18 years but became involved with the organization well before that. Russ kept the organization going through good years and bad, and ultimately made NOHVCC what it is today. Few have shown the dedication to NOHVCC’s mission that Russ continues to exemplify even after his retirement from NOHVCC.