The next few years are crunch time. The Forest Service’s OHV route designation rule was released last year, and things are beginning to fall into place to make this work in our favor as much as possible. It affects yours and future generations’ right to ride, specifically how much riding opportunity there will be.Yes, it affects everyone who rides dirt bikes, even if you are just a motocrosser. I had little concern over land-use issues as a teen, and the collective result is that I am now riding in about a third of the areas I used to be able to ride as a kid. You need to take this seriously, and you need to make sure all of your riding friends do, too. I hope to kick some collective ass in gear right here and right now.The good part of the rule is that it acknowledges that motorized recreation is an appropriate form of recreation in National Forest lands. (BLM and other federal and state agencies will adopt or follow suit.) The rule also states that decisions about route and travel plans (our trails and riding areas) will be made at the local level. The rule requires the Forest Service to work with users and local and state governments to designate routes, and once those routes are finalized, OHV use will be permitted only on those routes.Yes, this is sort of a double-edged sword, but think of it this way. Right now someone in Washington D.C. could shut your entire forest off to OHVs without much trouble-soon that can’t happen. But what the new rule does mean is that riders from each area need to get involved in inventorying all existing routes so that they are mapped and recognized by the Forest Service. Then it is up to us riders to educate the local FS on how important it is to keep all existing routes open.So unfortunately, I’ve lost the attention of the guys who say, “I don’t ride in the forest, what do I care?” Well, I didn’t care much, either; there were plenty of tracks, open fields and just desert to go riding in. Then tracks closed and open spaces filled with homes as did a lot of the desert I used to ride in. I’ll bet I used to ride underneath the house or office of more than one person reading this very magazine right now-just think of that! I’ve been forced into riding in the forest (though I love it now). You (or some of your younger friends, preach to them!) will finally find the joys of trail riding, so you need to get involved even if you only ride MX, or there won’t be a place to go when your town bans riding on your own private property or noise shuts down the local track. For example, look at Riverside County here in SoCal.This process is slow, it could take a few years, so you’ll likely need to be patient and remain involved. The best way to stay informed is through a national group like the BlueRibbon Coalition (www.sharetrails.org), National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (www.nohvcc.org) or Americans for Responsible Recreation Access (www.arraaccess.com). Then get involved with a local group or club and be pivotal in your favorite area. Throughout the next year the NOHVCC will be conducting workshops to educate both the Forest Service and local users on how to get the most out of the rule and the route inventory process. The organization will explain what to do, when to do it and how to get it done. Look for these workshops, we need to make sure that key people attend.National organizations are heavily involved in this whole process, but we need on-the-ground user participation to make it a success. The future of all of our riding areas are in each of our hands. Don’t let this slip by-get involved and make a difference! Do it for yourself. Do it for your kids. No matter what, get involved.