Perhaps the biggest threat we as off-roader riders face is the loss of our riding areas. And one of the biggest friends we have is this arena is the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC), which is an advocacy group that helps educate riders about how to protect their rights to ride. Dirt Rider recently spoke with Russ Ehnes, the Executive Director of NOHVCC, to find out a little more about the organization.Q: Tell us a little bit about what NOHVCC does.
A: We’re a nonprofit educational foundation and our most important job as an off-highway vehicle advocacy group is to help riders, clubs, and associations get the help they need to become organized and get involved in OHV groups so they can become effective in keeping riding areas open. We do a lot of work with helping riders understand how to get involved in public land planning processes for various agencies and how they can work with government agencies to promote ethical and responsible riding and keep their riding opportunities available.Q: How is NOHVCC funded?
A: Most of our funding is actually through the industry, through the Motorcycle Industry Counsel, The Specialty Vehicle Institute of America and the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association, but we also derive some of the funding through the projects and work that we do, and as a grant from the Federal Highway Administration through the Recreational Trails Program.Q: Give us an example of an NOHVCC success story.
A: It’s kind of neat to look back over the last 20 years and see where we started at NOHVCC. The OHV community as a whole was really unorganized, we didn’t have the ability to communicate from club to club, let alone state to state and on a national level. The first thing we did that really helped us start to succeed was to build a national communications network, which has been very successful, and I guess is the evidence to that is that we have NOHVCC State Partners and Associate Partners in 47 states right now.In addition to that network, we’ve helped cratestate associations in a dozen or more states that didn’t have them, we’ve helped clubs start riding areas all across the country, and we’ve helped clubs become involved in travel planning processes on Forest Services and Bureau of Land Management processes as well as in their local public land planning processes all over the United States in our workshops. We know we have succeeded when the clubs and associations succeed.Q: Explain travel planning.
A: On public land, if you want to ride an offhighway vehicle you have to go where the managing agency tells you that you’re allowed. They do this by designating an area or a trail. The for the federal agencies, and to a similar degree for state and local agencies, the process is based on a federal law called the national environmental policy act. It is incredibly important for riders to be involved in the processes that result in those trail areas or systems if we want to continue to be able to ride on public land in the future. It is truly that important.. You hear people complain about closures all the time. Even when you’re involved youmay lose more trail than you want, but if you’re not involved you’re guaranteed to lose. Knowing that, we’ve spent a lot of time and energy helping people understand those processes and how to get involved. That’s the primary focus of some of the free materials we offer like our Off-Highway Vehicle Management Guidelines book and our Public Land Advocacy DVD that’s basically a workshop on a DVD to help understand how to get involved in those processes. We put the Land Advocacy DVD up on our YouTube channel as well to help get the information out to people.Q: How can folks get in touch with you or find out more information?
A: The easiest way to get hold of us is to give us a call at 800-348-6487 or they can contact us at email@example.com . There is a lot of additional great information on our website as well www.nohvcc.org. Just let us know what you need.Q: What can the average guy do to get involved and help out?
A: I think that the people that read this need to understand that the most important thing they can do to help protect their riding opportunities is to join a club. A club can speak where an individual may not be heard. Another great way to get involved is to start getting information about what is happening in your state or in the nation. If you club is not part of a state association, it should look at joining. Get on the mailing list for the agency that manages your riding area, get on the Americans for Responsible Recreational Access’ (www.arra-access.org) newsletter list to find out what is going on nationally. Just get involved.