The following article is from the NOHVCC Newsletter – January 2016 edition.  This is a great example of what we can do in Maryland too!


by Dave Halsey, NOHVCC Contributing Writer

Adventure Gallup and Beyond logoIf your town is in need of revitalization, and you need a good example to prove to your city council or county commissioners that off-highway vehicle (OHV) recreation can play a role, check out the town of Gallup, New Mexico.

Gallup, population 20,000, went from being labeled “drunktown USA” to being named “Adventure Capitol of New Mexico” by the New Mexico Legislature.

Gallup is located in the northwest corner of the state. Established in 1881, it once was a hub for the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad, had a thriving lumber industry, uranium mining, and an oil refinery. It was a popular tourist stopover on Route 66. Its motocross track hosted many qualifying races for events sanctioned by the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA).

Then, all that changed.

“From the mid-1980s to 2000, I call those the ‘Dark Ages’ for Gallup’s economic and recreational opportunities,” said Greg Kirk. “It was the demise of my hometown. We had a loss of industry and tourism. Mines closed, the lumber industry died, the railroad hub moved out. The Gallup motocross track ceased activity. Two of the three cycle shops closed their doors. Our OHV trails became a site of illegal dumping, shooting and partying. The Interstate Highway bypassed Route 66. We became the poorest county in the state of New Mexico. We were labeled ‘drunktown USA’.”

Kirk, a physical therapist and father of three, is a former racer of events including World Off-Road Championship series (WORCS), Best in the Desert (BITD), and SCORE International. He is president of the Red Rock Motorsports Club, Inc. He is also secretary of Adventure Gallup and Beyond, a not-for-profit organization that was created to market the area’s natural assets as an adventure tourist destination, and today promotes wellness and the expansion of outdoor recreation in the region. Kirk presented the story of the revitalization of Gallup at the annual conference of the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC), in October of 2015. “We’re looking at the quality of life, tourism, the economic base, and reinventing our self-image,” he said.

Here is a summary of events that took place that got Gallup out of the “Dark Ages” and serves as an example for others:

1999 – The “Adventure Gallup” (AG) concept emerged during economic develoATV trailer loaded with junk during work weekendpment planning.

2000 – A steering committee was formed, including the City of Gallup, McKinley County, Tribal Representatives, non-profit organizations, and the private sector. McKinley County obtained a block grant from the State to study the feasibility of developing adventure tourism.

2001 – The feasibility study demonstrated that adventure tourism, once implemented, could initially increase tourism. “Adventure Gallup and Beyond” (AGB) was created as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that oversees all kinds of outdoor adventure for Gallup and the surrounding area.

2002 – The University of New Mexico completed a marketing plan. The Legislature appropriated $35,000 to purchase a local rock climbing area. Youth Conservation Corp builds the flagship Pyramid Rock hiking trail.

2005 – The Legislature appropriated $80,000 for AG improvements. The City of Gallup sponsored a trails and open-space master plan. Gallup held its first mountain bike races.

2006 – Creation of the Zuni Mountain Trail Partnership, an agreement between the U.S. Forest Service, McKinley County, Gallup Trails, AGB, and YCC.

2010 – The revitalization of the track, now called Gallup OHV and MX Park, thanks to the efforts of Red Rock Motorsports.

2007 to 2012 – Development of a comprehensGallup, NM OHV MX park welcome signive mountain bike trail for the Zuni Mountains and connecting towns. Start of new mountain bike races. Gallup is named “Adventure Capital of New Mexico” by the State Legislature.

The economic impact of Gallup’s adventure tourism is impressive, attracting 32,000 adventure tourists annually, with mountain biking and off-road events taking in over $1 million for the past 8 years. There have been new businesses created. Spring cleanup projects involving Jeeps West, Boy Scouts, YCC, and county detainees have disposed of 100,000 lb. of trash from the recreation area.

“Dreams do come true,” said Kirk. “AGB and its partners have built to provide access to more than 150 miles of single-track trail for biking, running, horse-back riding, and cross-country skiing.  The OHV park itself has 25 miles of trail, but with adjacent trails from the landowners, we have approximately 50 miles of trail.

“As of 2015, the Gallup OHV and MX Track has been awarded funds totaling $360,000 from the Recreational Trails Program; $60,000 from the New Mexico Game and Fish OHV program; $1,000 from Tread Lightly!, and over $30,000 in sponsorships, including in-kind donations from the city, county and private sector.

“The city council sees the changes. They see people coming to town. They see this land being utilized correctly. The land was ‘buffoon central’ back in the day because every weekend vandals were out there and they were pulling (injured) riders off the motocross track because it was so unstructured and unsafe. Since we took over and implemented rules, regulations, and enforcement, there’s been a huge change. The ambulance has been out there twice in 5 years.

“To me this was the ultimate reward. Our club brought racing back to Gallup. So, to see the gates drop or the green flag wave, that brings me a smile from ear to ear every time I see it.”

To see the powerpoint presentation on the revitalization of Gallup, visit:


To get the complete story about Adventure Gallup & Beyond, go to: To learn more about Red Rock Motorsports, visit:

MD OHV Alliance 2015 Year in Review

2015 Maryland Off-Highway Vehicle Alliance Year in Review

Our third year just gets better! Again it was all due to your help, donations and a strong Board of Directors.  We continue to make progress on opening the Savage River Trail System, we have continued to work with western civic and social leaders espousing the gospel of OHV recreational tourism, and we have established a strong working relationship with the new DNR administration!  It was quite a year and you made it happen with your generous support! As Paul Harvey would have said, now for the rest of the story! Continue reading

Meeting with Asst Sec Daryl Anthony, DNR

I had the pleasure of meeting with Daryl Anthony, Assistant Secretary for Land Resources. In this capacity, he is responsible for Engineering and Construction, Maryland Environmental Trust, Forest Service, Land Acquisition and Planning, Wildlife and Heritage, Maryland Environmental Trust, and the Maryland Park Service. For such a busy man, I was surprised and pleased that he gave me nearly 2-hours of his time. I should add we spent a good portion of that time discussing his awesome Jeep Rubicon and some of his wheeling adventures! Asst Sec Anthony is definitely an off-road guy!

Early on in our conversation Daryl stated that DNR recognizes OHV/ORV use a as viable recreational opportunity and DNR will provide opportunities for this use. The rest of the conversation supported that. I have no doubt that he is committed to opening and maintaining OHV riding areas on State land. Much of our conversation regarded the Savage River trail systems. He stated frequently that DNR must ensure that it is done right the first time. He shares our concerns that without heavy involvement from the end user group, DNR is at risk of building a trail system no one wants or would use.

We then talked about teaching DNR how to manage an OHV area. I proposed that MDOHVA and NOHVCC put on another, longer workshop for DNR to provide more in-depth training to DNR personnel and he was very interested. He definitely wants DNR personnel to better understand how to manage land for OHV use; it is very different from hiking trails. He also mentioned he would like to take key personnel to a nearby established system such as Spearhead in VA for a first-hand look and to experience OHVing first-hand. He mentioned that whenever he gets the traditional managers in an OHV and out in the woods they love it. This will go a long way to helping our community establish a better dialog with those in DNR responsible for opening and maintaining trails that we could use.

Many times he mentioned how the mountain bike community has changed and opened DNR’s views about land management. He suggested we could do the same and although he didn’t mention it directly, it appears that he wants to help us.

To say I was excited at the conclusion of the meeting would be an understatement. We worked hard to get to this point. We’ll work equally hard to build on this and become a trusted partner with DNR.

Savage River Trail Progress

On the 27th of July, DNR held the ORV Stakeholders Meeting at Rocky Gap State Park. At the meeting, they showed the 30% design plans for the new Savage River trail system. Friends, I have to admit I’m impressed! DNR has definitely been listening to us and took to heart the lessons from the NOHVCC workshop last year.

For the rock crawlers, there will be a dedicated section roughly 50′ wide by 250′ long. Preston Stevens from the United Four Wheel Drive Associations, and Doug Dobrynski from the FJ Bruisers, provided input to add a bypass lane beside the rock crawl as well as other additions to make that crawl an all-day affair for the wheelers.

The campsites will have drive-through access for those of us pulling trailers. They will also be installing a water-less ADA-compliant toilet. There will be 4 group sides with a 40×40 pad and 4 family sites with a 20×20 pad. The pads are for tents and tables. For the kids, DNR will create a kiddy trail between the campsites. There is a trail head near the camp sites for families that want to go hike the Savage River Trail.

We suggested that the lower section, which traverses a long hill, be made narrower to slow down riders, increase enjoyment as well as reduce the cost of construction. Most bike and quad riders want a narrow twisty trail and DNR listened. It looks like roughly 30 miles of trail, using the loops as well as going all the way out and back, will be constructed. At the end furthest away from the campsites, we suggested an area be established for a pavilion for folks to take a break or have a picnic. We will be donating a picnic table for their use.

The next stage requires permits from the Department of Environment. This is where our meeting earlier with DNR Secretary Belton will pay off. He promised to engage with MDE to expedite the required permits.

Standby team! I think you will like the new trail system.

Meeting with DNR Secretary Belton

On July 20th 2015 we met with Mark J. Belton, Secretary of Natural Resources, the newly appointed Assistant Secretary for Land, Darryl Anthony and Paul Peditto, Director of the Wildlife & Heritage Service. Assistant Secretary Anthony’s appointment was quite a surprise and was literally announced minutes before the meeting. Prior to his appointment, Assistant Secretary Anthony was the DNR Parks Manager for western MD. He is a off-road enthusiast as well as a dirt bike rider and a mountain biker. We are extremely excited about his appointment.

We had a very positive meeting with the Secretary and Assistant Secretary. We focused on OHV recreational tourism and the economic benefit to rural counties, and public/private partnerships using reclaimed coal mines. We specifically asked him to ensure that the Savage River trail opens next year. Our community has waited almost 5 years for the promised establishment of a public OHV area and it is time to deliver. We also briefed him on the need to have a certified trail builder assist with the trail layout. Construction of sustainable and safe trails is not a job that anyone can do. The State needs to get this right the first time. He promised to engage other departments and remove roadblocks as well as push to ensure a trail builder is part of the construction team.

The DNR has been evaluating for acquisition 3,000 acres near Kitzmiller, MD. We have been discussing this with DNR for several years. We asked him to purchase the property and ensure it is operated as an OHV park. This needs the support of Garrett County leaders and we have been discussing that with them as well.  This could be the southern anchor to a joint public private riding area similar to Hatfield-McCoy. The Savage River trail would be the northern anchor. In that regard, we asked Secretary Belton to engage with the Department for Economic and Business Development to request a Joint DNR/DBED working group to look at OHV recreational tourism state-wide.

As I mentioned, it was a very positive meeting and the Secretary thought what we asked for was reasonable and he saw no show-stoppers.

The next year looks to be quite exciting!

Need $80?

If you would like to participate in a ROV (side-by-side) focus group on June 2nd (one meeting at 4 PM and the other at 7 PM), contact Rick Arnold at 240-403-4800 extension 236. You will get an $80 debit card for your effort.

Tell Governor Hogan And DNR Secretary Belton That All Marylanders will benefit from OHV Parks

Update!  We were a bit premature earlier.  The AMA port is back online.  Please resend your comments or take the time to send now!

Thanks to the AMA, the Alliance has gotten access to Gov Hogan and his administration.  Gov Hogan is sympathetic but he needs to hear from you!  Please take time to send him an email using AMA’s portal.

Tell Governor Hogan And DNR Secretary Belton That All Marylanders will benefit from OHV Parks

Your support is critical and we’re making it easy for you to make a differnce

The American Motorcyclist Association hopes you will support an ongoing, concerted effort to foster off-highway-vehicle recreational tourism in Maryland. The AMA has joined forces with the Maryland Off Highway Vehicle Alliance to develop OHV parks on public land.

You are probably well aware that the economic impact of OHV recreation is huge – more than $68 billion in direct spending nationally, according to a 2013 Motorcycle Industry Council report. An Arizona study showed that OHV recreation created a statewide economic impact of $4.25 billion.

Closer to home, the Hatfield McCoy Trails system in West Virginia provides in excess of $20 million dollars in economic benefit annually to seven of the poorest counties in the state. And the Spearhead Trail System in Virginia is forecast to yield $30 million local revenue annually.

Maryland properties well suited to similar development exist throughout the state on rehabilitated former coal mines, gravel pits, landfills, and even urban brownfields.

Individuals like you recognize the health benefits of OHV use, a physically beneficial activity that provides personal stress reduction and numerous exercise benefits. You know responsible OHV recreation is also a healthy social and family activity. Riders like you are known to be public spirited and civic minded, volunteering your time for activities such as trail maintenance, area cleanups and safety patrols.

The broader benefits of OHV recreation to society include the preservation of open space. Public lands designated for responsible OHV recreation remain undeveloped green space. Recreational trails and dirt-road travel routes are corridors that allow the surrounding land and high-level canopy to remain as natural habitat for plants and wildlife.

The specific Maryland OHV goals the AMA and MDOHV are endorsing include:

  • Continue work toward a spring 2016 opening of the proposed OHV trails in Savage River State Forest. This project, initiated by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, has been promised to the OHV community and is overdue.
  • Support the MD DNR purchase of the Kitzmiller property in Garrett County for a dedicated OHV park.
  • Reopen the Green Ridge State Forest OHV trail loop that was closed in 2008. A clear demand persists for access to this loop. The closing resulted in several million dollars of lost state sales tax revenue and the shuttering of several nearby small businesses, with the associated loss of jobs.
  • Work with towns in eastern Maryland whose elected officials are interested in opening OHV parks as economic development tools, and promote wholesome recreational opportunities as a way to provide a structured, positive answer to a clear demand by taxpayers.
  •  Build an urban OHV park in Baltimore City as a positive step toward curbing illegal urban OHV use now and into the future.
  • Establish an interdepartmental commission to develop public/private partnerships to expand OHV recreational opportunities and realize a significant increase in recreational tourism and its associated revenue stream.

AMA and MDOHVA hope that you’ll TAKE ACTION by completing the form below to send messages of support for public OHV opportunities in Maryland to Gov. Larry Hogan (R-Md.) and Secretary Mark Belton. You can forward prewritten, but editable, messages to stress the OHV benefits most important to you.

Now more than ever, it is crucial that you and your riding friends become members of the AMA to help us protect our riding freedoms. More members mean more clout against the opponents of motorcycling and ATV riding, and your support will help the AMA fight for your rights – on the road, trail, racetrack, and in the halls of government. To join, go

Thank you in advance for making your support known. If you do send comments, please email the AMA at to let us know.