Sunday, May 12, 2013

Saving OHV Trails Is Like Eating an Elephant.

It is said that eating an elephant is best-accomplished one bite at a time. The same can be said for the large tasks that face the OHV community. While participating in a desert clean up this weekend as part of the Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful Project I could see how the hands of many can accomplish large tasks quickly when the entire group is moving together chipping away at a large nearly impossible mission. The same can be said for the California Motorized Recreation Council’s Save The Hammers effort. The group from multiple OHV backgrounds is working hand in hand on an extremely daunting task. One that many said we had no chance of winning.  Today they are raising funds and awareness as they double down, and not only attempt to protect the largest OHV area in the country, they hope to set a precedent and establish the first Congressionally protected OHV area.

Doing things like this take a lot of dedicated volunteers, and good leaders. The two separate projects demonstrate a common denominator, many people working under the same umbrella. There are two distinctive problems that I see in the OHV advocacy circles, skilled and willing leadership, and enough money to affect a change.  There have recently been some talks about how our community can foster growth and participation, and how we will continue to raise enough funds for future projects. Who will lead when our aging OHV leadership has retired?

Team work helps us accomplish our goal.
 Perhaps the answer lies in merging some of the various associations? In California alone we have an association dedicated to the sand, 4x4 clubs, motorcyclists, side by sides, snowmobiles, and business. While we do have an all-encompassing OHV user group in addition to those listed for California, we also have various national groups.

What ends up happening is the groups often end up bumping heads, fighting for the same dollars, and creating alliances that may not always be in the best interest of the OHV community. Personal pride can get in the way at times as well, as some down right nasty hatred for individuals in leadership roles which effects the ability of the groups to work together. To make matters worse some of the leadership no longer even engages in the sport they have worked to represent finding themselves removed from the passion to enjoy our pubic lands.

Before the clean up the mess was overwhelming.

While I am not sure of the best method to create a strong long lasting legacy group we can leave for the next generation, I can see that we will need to make sweeping changes if we want to continue winning battles. It is very obvious to me that no matter the task whether clean up trash, trail maintenance, or fighting a land closure, we are far batter with a unified voice than we are separate. Maybe the time is right for us to consolidate our OHV associations, and follow the lead of the California Motorized Recreation Council?  

4 hours later the group had it clean with a lot of team work.

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