LEGISLATIVE UPDATE 2024
We have a new round of legislation that was just introduced by Senator Mike McKay and House Representative Jason Buckel. The Off-Highway Recreational Vehicle Trail Fund and Off-Highway Recreational Vehicle Recreation Oversight Board – Alterations and Establishment (SB0857/HB0866) revisits and expands one of our first pieces of legislation, the ORV Title Tax Fund, that started it all.
Bill Tracking Link Legislation – SB0857 (maryland.gov)
The original law SB 606 passed in 2018, giveing DNR nearly 1 million dollars a year for ORV recreational funding and has a narrow scope of use for the funds. That funding led to the creation of nearly 75 miles of public access. Our new legislation, creating an Oversight Board, would increase that funding to nearly 2 million dollars and expand their ability to use the funds to further maintain these facilities.
The three biggest things this legislation does is create an oversight board, increase funding to from 50% to 95% of ORV Title Tax fees, and require the publishing an annual report of the ORV Title Tax Fund. The established board will help oversee the way this fund is utilized and will contain members of the community representing different user groups like Full Sized Vehicles, ATV’s, SxS’s, Dirt bikes, and Dual Sport riders. DNR is also given flexibility, with targeted goals, for where money can be allocated. This will help build out things like the campground at Wolf Den Run State Park, fund parking lot maintenance, bathrooms, and general site amenities at State run facilities whose primary user group is for ORV.
The increase of funding percentage will push the fund to nearly 2 million dollars annually. The added revenue will allow DNR the funding required to keep pace with the ever-increasing demand for ORV recreation and access throughout the State. While the published reports and Oversight Board will help ensure the public is made aware of what is happening with their money to improve transparency and accountability.
One key feature of this bill is the land leasing provision. This will require the leasing of lands for ORV use. This is a concept many ORV/OHV enthusiasts are familiar with as it is used by organizations like the Hatfield-McCoy Regional Recreation Area(HMRRA) in West Virginia. However, this concept is not unique to HMRRA, States and counties like Maine, Vermont, Lewis County New York, to name a few others, utilize provisions like this to not only increase outdoor recreation access, but also to help with State Land conservation goals. The State of Maryland is required by SB470 to conserve 40% (up from the current 29%) of MD lands by 2040, and this could be a large part of meeting that goal.
When the time comes, we will be relying on your assistance to voice support for this legislation and see it passed. As updates become available, we will ensure that you are made aware of them.
To sign up for alerts on the bills, please see attached photos for detailed instructions.–
President of Maryland OHV Alliance