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.
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 toAmericanMotorcyclist.com/membership/join.
Thank you in advance for making your support known. If you do send comments, please email the AMA at Grassroots@amacycle.org to let us know.