February 19, 2014
|The Trails Preservation Alliance Board of Directors (BoD) is pleased to describe the projects in which the TPA was involved in 2013. A majority of these projects are long-term efforts and are ongoing throughout 2014 and into 2015.
In 2013 we began to see some “light at the end of the tunnel” as relates to OHV recreation on public lands. New management from the Forest Service (FS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and other Federal land managers have, at times, shown a willingness to stand up to radical environmental groups that want to shut-out all public recreation. We applaud them for their actions in showing support for public recreation.
On the other hand, we continue to see a number of elected Federal officials attempting to place their names on Federal land monuments, or wilderness areas. In conjunction with these activities they try and sell the idea that there is an associated economic boom to those local communities. In reality, proven results show exactly the opposite.
We also see Wilderness Study areas being managed as wilderness areas while that is not the case in the eyes of the law. In addition, it seems that more public lands are being closed to public recreation utilizing administrative closures. The bottom line is that TPA is engaged in a never-ending battle to protect our right for public recreation on public property.
2013 Colorado Projects
TPA funded the initial “SAVE OUR SPORT” project for COHVCO. This project was started as a fundraiser and awareness issue for all OHV recreation in Colorado. COHVCO has taken over the project and is making it known throughout Colorado.
Throughout 2013, TPA formally responded to many FS and BLM travel management plans. This allows TPA to develop a working relationship with Federal land managers as they finalize their plans. All of these formal responses are listed on the TPA web page, news section.
The most important of these response activities comes in the form of our response to the Grand Junction BLM’s draft Resources Management Plan. We expect this Plan to be released in 2014.
This vast area of public lands represents a crucial point for future OHV recreation. This BLM area has sufficient recreation areas for all forms of recreation however it remains to be seen how the BLM adheres to our OHV comments.
TPA expects this to be major project for 2014.
The TPA formed a strategic alliance with COHVCO this year. This alliance will provide assets and expertise needed to address a myriad of issues that are adversely impacting our sport. Exact wording and details on this alliance are shown on the TPA web page, in the news section.
In 2013, the TPA was involved in three separate legal actions:
1. Bear Creek/Green Back Trout
Each action was a lawsuit filed by various organizations trying to eliminate OHV recreation. In one case an endangered species was even used as an excuse.
In all cases the TPA filed for and was granted intervening status by the courts. This provides TPA with limited access to any pre court settlements. On advice of legal counsel we are instructed not to discuss in-process cases.
As the issues are settled, outcomes are posted on the TPA web page. Because of the activity defending our rights in these issues, 2013 legal costs were very high and we predict a similar or higher amount of activity and expenditure in 2014.
4th Annual Trails Awareness Symposium
The TPA conducted our 4th annual Trails Awareness Symposium (Colorado 600). The event was a great success in educating the riders from many states, on what is going on in Colorado, and how they can help protect the sport in their area. A detailed write-up on the event is featured in the February 2014 issue of Dirt Rider, and is also posted on the TPA web page, new section. As result of TAS morning meetings, the TPA has started its own Facebook page. It was discussed that using current social media helps TPA contact a much larger audience.
The TPA continued its mission of providing resources/donations to new and existing clubs and organizations to help ensure continuing OHV recreation in their specific areas. These include:
• Alpine Loop Trail Ranger Program
• AMA Government Relations Division
• Boot Hill Motorcycle club
• Exit Tours Motorcycle Club
• Gunnison/Crested Butte Trail Riders (GOATS)
• Mineral County Fire Department
• Motorized Trail Riders Association, Grand Junction
• New Mexico Off Highway Vehicle Coalition
• Public Access Preservation Association (PAPA)
• Ride with Respect (Moab, Utah)
• Rio Grande National Forest
• Rocky Mountain Sport Riders
• San Juan County
• San Juan Trail Riders
• St Anthony Hospital
• Summit County Off road riders.
Local OHC Organizations & Positive Impacts
Two motorcycle clubs deserve special mention in this report. The Summit County Off Road Riders (SCORR) and the Rocky Mountain Sport Riders (RMSR) both had a successful year in working with their Forest Service land managers. Each of these clubs are formed by local riders wanting to work formally within the FS system for OHV recreation.
In the case of SCORR, their work in developing a local riding area near a major land file was a success. They have also succeeded in having the FS endorse their proposed 26-mile single track trail riding area. Approval is under final review.
RMSR worked closely with their FS Land Manager to further develop riding areas in the Eagle/Vail area.
Both clubs were started by local riders with assistance from TPA. To-date TPA has helped form 10 OHV recreation organizations.
Formation of local organizations that actively work with local land managers is the key to sustaining and building new recreation areas.
The TPA has received tremendous backing this year.
The TPA BoD especially recognizes two organizations that hold annual motorcycle events and provide important contributions to the TPA. The RMAR/CAM 1000 and the Gold Rush Ride are both great supporters of our off-road sport. Both of these Colorado events actively contribute to the TPA mission and we deeply appreciate their support.
The BoD also recognizes and is thankful for the continuing support of our private donors and motorcycle industry partner companies. Without their dedication and commitment we would not be able to do this important work.
During the Trails Awareness Symposium, one rider asked a very pertinent question, “Who is going to carry our cause into the next years?” Every motorcycle rider that wants to ensure the future of public access and motorized recreation needs to answer this question. If we don’t protect the future, then who will? This question needs to be answered by each one of us. Please take the time to pass on the work of the TPA, COHVCO and the local motorcycle and OHV clubs in Colorado. It takes a concerted from all of us to ensure future generations enjoy the privilege of OHV recreation on public lands. Please take time to bring new members into our sport – our future depends on it.
The TPA thanks all of our supporters, and solicits comments and suggestions to help in our work.