Can OHV tourism save our trails from closure?…
YOU BET IT CAN!
TPA funded OHV Tourism education as an experiment in 2010. As we approach the end of 2014, it is now a critical strategic weapon used by the TPA in the ongoing battle to save OHV trails from closure.
OHV Tourism has a simple 3 part strategy:
- OHV tourism is a proven money maker. (A minimum of $100 spent per day per OHV.)
- Rural Colorado communities are in a recession but there are excellent OHV trails nearby.
- TPA encourages rural Colorado to embrace OHV tourism to save their towns and our trails.
Rio Blanco was the first county to fully embrace the notion of OHV tourism and has been the role model for other communities across the state.
TPA consulted directly with Rio Blanco County and together developed this three part strategy:
- Passed an ordinance allowing OHVs to use county roads for access to towns and trails.
- Developed partnerships with city, county and federal agencies to endorse OHV tourism.
- Attained funding to design, develop and market an extensive OHV trail system.
The Wagon Wheel Trail System is now fully operational in Rio Blanco County. OHV enthusiasts can unload their off road vehicles anywhere in the county, ride the extensive trail network, ride into towns for gas, groceries and lodging and never load their vehicle back on a trailer. Rio Blanco has felt the positive economic impact and is now a strong advocate to keep OHV trails open in order to keep those OHV driven $100 bills flowing into their county.
As of 2014, TPA has consulted with multiple communities across Colorado who have “seen the light” and are developing OHV tourism strategies to help save their communities from economic collapse. This is a list of other communities working with TPA to build their own OHV tourism strategies.
Clear Creek County – TPA is consulting with the county regarding development of a master plan including an OHV park and connector trails in the I70 corridor between Idaho Springs and Georgetown.
Teller County – Cripple Creek is engaged with TPA to determine how to best develop an OHV park and connect nearby communities to leverage OHV tourism.
Lake County – Passed an ordinance allowing OHV usage of county roads. Designed developed and implemented an OHV park near Leadville.
San Juan County – Silverton has passed an ordinance allowing OHVs to travel county roads to the adjacent USFS trail system. TPA continues to consult with town officials on OHV tourism.
Hinsdale County – Lake City attained a temporary permit allowing unlicensed OHVs to access county roads. Results were very successful and they are now working with TPA to develop an official OHV tourism strategy.
Mesa County – Passed an ordinace allowing OHV usage on county roads. Collbran is now working with TPA to develop an OHV tourism strategy.
Rio Grande County – Passed an ordinance allowing OHV usage on county roads in the town of South Fork. Discussions continue with TPA to determine how to best deploy an OHV tourism strategy throughout the county.
All of these counties now clearly understand the positive economic impact of OHV tourism and they have become strong advocates to keep public lands open to save our trails…and their communities.
Rather than depend solely on OHV enthusiasts to fight to keep trails open, TPA is rallying rural Colorado as a “force multiplier” in the battle to keep public lands open for OHV travel.