NOHVCC 2008 Conference - long

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NOHVCC Annual Conference:

As some know, as the CT state representative to NOHVCC I attend their annual conference. This year it was held in Albuquerque NM. There are actually 2 conferences, the NOHVCC Annual Conference and the National Association of OHV Program Managers Conference. The NAOPM is generally for government employees that deal with OHV recreation in their state or providence.

Program managers were well represented from the Western states and Canada. Only MA sent anyone to conference from the Northeast. CT, NH, NY, RI and VT did not send any state employees to the OHV Program Managers Conference. NOHVCC state partners (like me) were very well represented. All of the Northeast states were represented except MA.

Interesting that the only Northeast state to send someone (or 2) was MA and the NOHVCC partners from MA did not attend. We need to work on the DEP or equivalent organizations to get them to attend next year.

If there was a theme, it was managed recreation and the 4 E’s.

Basically, there are 2 options, manage OHV recreation or stick your head in the sand and ignore it, hoping it will go away.

Those that are enlightened go with option 1. By actively managing OHV recreation, environmental concerns are addressed; trails are sustainable and successful in providing the fastest growing form of recreation with opportunities. This is accomplished with the 4 E’s, engineering, education, enforcement and evaluation.

Engineering is the key to an enjoyable trail system that is sustainable and has a minimum impact on the environment. Trails must be engineered professionally, not put together by a group of well meaning individuals. Once designed, the actual construction of the trails can be with volunteers but the design must be followed. Sustainability means that the trail system does not need expensive maintenance to keep the trail in use or to fix environmental damage. All state and federal organizations want to keep expenses for trail maintenance at reasonable limits. Money is tight.

Education to keep users on the trails, enforcement for obvious reasons and evaluation to insure the designed trails are meeting the expectations of both the users and the managers.

Option 2, is to ignore it, then complain of “rouge” OHV’ers destroying the environment, ATV accident rates and neighborhood noise pollution. Sound familiar?

There were lots of discussions of trails closures out West and the Federal Motor Vehicle Use Maps for Federal land.

Gary Briere, Chief of Recreation, DCR MA led a panel on State Grant Committees.

NOHVCC had seminars on Safety and Youth, Army Core of Engineer Projects, Monitoring OHV Trail Systems, USFS Updates, Land Trust and Conservation Easements and Leadership Skills among others.

It was a very busy conference. For those that remember Dana Bell, she is retiring.

I could probable write another 2 pages but will keep this report limited. If anyone wants any additional information, please contact me.
 

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