TPA/COHVCO Staff Review: 2019 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan
Staff from the Trails Preservation Alliance (TPA) and the Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition (COHVCO) recently had the opportunity to review the current draft of the 2019 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP). Initially, the document was searched and scanned for the terms “OHV” and “Off-Highway Vehicle(s)”. To our surprise, neither of these terms or words appears to be included in the SCORP or in the associated discussions of outdoor recreation in Colorado! A subsequent search of the document was conducted for the term “motorized” and this word appeared only once and was associated with a past tense reference to the Colorado the Beautiful Initiative. The TPA/COHVCO must ask the question, how can a credible “Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan” for Colorado be developed without the recognition, inclusion, and discussion of motorized/OHV recreation?
The lack of any acknowledgement of motorized recreation in the SCORP confuses the TPA/COHVCO given recent statistics from the Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account (ORSA) released by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) that shows that the outdoor recreation economy accounted for 2.0 percent ($373.7 billion) of current-dollar GDP in 2016 and Motorized Vehicles was the largest activity within conventional outdoor recreation, accounting for $59.4 billion of gross output. Similarly, a study commissioned by COHVCO and the TPA has documented a yearly contribution of $2.3 billion to Colorado’s economy due to tourism and sales activity linked to off-highway vehicle recreation. Given these combined statistics, the TPA/COHVCO must question how and why the SCORP has chosen to ignore and minimalize any form of motorized recreation in Colorado. We must also question the methods and means used to develop the SCORP as evidenced on page 24 of the draft document, listing the Top 10 Activities in Colorado, which does not include ANY form of motorized/OHV recreation. This omission just does not seem plausible, reasonable or factual.
The TPA/COHVCO must also ask, given the significance and diversity of motorized/OHV recreation in Colorado, why there are not more images of OHVs or motorized vehicles portrayed in the SCORP document.
The TPA/COHVCO can not endorse or support the current draft of the SCORP until motorized/OHV recreation is fairly and appropriately recognized, acknowledged and included as a legitimate form of outdoor recreation in Colorado. The draft SCORP, as currently written, will likely continue to alienate and contribute to feelings of discrimination against, exclusion and marginalization of OHV enthusiasts by Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the State’s Outdoor Recreation leadership team.
The TPA will strive to remain optimistic as the SCORP process continues, and future editions of the SCORP document are revised. That motorized/OHV recreation will indeed be included in the next SCORP revision and recognized as a significant segment of the outdoor recreation spectrum along with the considerable and documented economic contributions of motorized recreation to the State’s economy. To this end, the TPA offers its assistance and expertise in including motorized/OHV recreation in future revisions of the SCORP document.