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 firstname.lastname@example.org (or email@example.com). 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.