Trail Volunteers!

The AMA, the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council and the Maryland Off-Highway Vehicle Alliance have been working together in western Maryland to open an OHV park following trail closures at three of the state’s off-highway vehicle riding areas: the Green Ridge Trail at Green Ridge State Forest; Chandler Trail at Pocomoke State Forest; and Poplar Lick Trail at Savage River State Forest. All were permanently closed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and establishing a new trail at Savage River has been the cooperative focus to date. As we’ve all learned, no OHV effort succeeds overnight and significant enthusiast support is a critical element.

Though just in its fourth year, MDOHVA has been very effective reaching key players in the riding community – as well as state, county and local officials — to promote the opening of OHV parks. In September 2014, MDOHVA teamed with NOHVCC and AMA to introduce Maryland DNR staff to OHV trail construction and management concepts proven around the country. In July of 2015, MDOHVA and the AMA met with Secretary of Natural Resources Mark Belton and newly-appointed Assistant Secretary for Land Resources, Daryl Anthony. Sec. Belton understands the positive economic impact of OHV recreation and Daryl Anthony, a longtime off-road Jeeper, is a strong supporter of the concept. With their help and other connections in the Gov. Hogan’s administration, a 2017 Savage River OHV trail opening is planned.

The Savage River Trail System will include group and private camping with a tot-trail between the sites. A first for Maryland, the system will include a rock-crawl for ATVs and 4-wheelers. The trails themselves will have sections appropriate for motorcycles, ATVs and UTVs.

As the MDOHVA and the AMA have promoted the economic benefits of organized OHV recreation on state land in western Maryland, other communities have come forward looking for local parks of their own. We’re looking for volunteers to help maintain the trail system coming to Savage River as well as be an ambassador to riders on the trail, and spearhead efforts in other parts of the state to establish more public OHV recreation.

If you’re serious about seeing OHV trails come back to Maryland, whether on public land or private, please contact the AMA at grassroots@amacycle.org (or info@mdohvalliance.org). Let us know if you and your riding buddies have the time and energy to help maintain the momentum started at Savage River, or can help with the political and organizational hurdles at other locations where the MDOHVA and the AMA hope to open trials.

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 your support will help the AMA fight for your rights – on the road, trail, racetrack, and in the halls of government. To join, go towww.americanmotorcyclist.com/membership/join. To encourage your friends to join, tell them about the many AMA benefits you appreciate and forward the link to them.

Sunday Hunting Legislation

Sunday hunting is a controversial issue amongst our group.  Many riders are also ardent hunters.  However many of us aren’t and wish to be able to ride on weekends during hunting season.  This approach seems a fair solution.  You need to decide on your own.  Either way, please let you elected leaders know your position.  If you need help determining your representatives, go to http://mdelect.net/

Senator Joan Carter Conway  sponsored, wrote and submitted the Sunday hunting compromise bill. The bill can be read under Documents.

http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frmMain.aspx?id=sb1061&stab=01&pid=billpage&tab=subject3&ys=2016RS

Ken Kyler
President, MD OHV Alliance

NOHVCC Private Lands Survey

The NOHVCC Teams are fired up to improve the tools we have to help you create a positive future for OHV recreation. The place to start is to get information. However, we don’t want to overload anyone with a gazillion questions all at once. To help break things down into time manageable chucks, we are creating a survey series. The series will be just a few questions that will hopefully not take much time to complete.

In order to create the best tools for you, it is important that as many people as possible respond to our surveys. We hope that you will help!

The first set of questions will help the Private Lands Team get some baseline information regarding what exists for riding on private lands.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HM5G7RZ

If you don’t know about the NOHVCC teams, they are: Clubs and Associations, Network Development, Private Lands, Public Lands, and Youth and Education. All NOHVCC State and Associate State Partners are required to be on 1 of the 5 teams. However, team participation is not limited to just NOHVCC partners. We value the insights and input from our entire network. That means you are welcome to participate in any of our teams. We have conference calls every other month. If you would like more information or are interested in joining a team, contact us at trailhead@nohvcc.org.

Thank you for your help!

-NOHVCC Staff

REVITALIZING ITS TRAIL SYSTEMS AND MOTOCROSS TRACK TURNED GALLUP INTO “ADVENTURE CAPITOL OF NEW MEXICO”

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

REVITALIZING ITS TRAIL SYSTEMS AND MOTOCROSS TRACK TURNED GALLUP INTO “ADVENTURE CAPITOL OF NEW MEXICO”

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: http://nohvcc.org/Education/Conference/2015-presentations/docs/default-source/2015conferencepresentations/adventuregallup_gregkirk.

 

To get the complete story about Adventure Gallup & Beyond, go to: http://www.adventuregallup.org/. To learn more about Red Rock Motorsports, visit: http://www.redrockmotorsports.com/#.

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.