Lots learned at 2011 NOHVCC Conference

The National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC) and the International Off-Highway Vehicle Administrators Association (INOHVAA) held their annual conferences in Minneapolis on September 21-25, 2011. Among those attending the joint conference were OHV program managers, public and private land managers, government officials, educators, trail equipment manufacturers and trail builders, OHV industry representatives, and OHV enthusiasts from across the United States and Canada.

A day of pre-conference OHM and ATV rides on some of Minnesota’s finest trails to see how other trail systems are managed, followed by orientation sessions, roundtable discussions, team reports, board meetings, a video conference with Washington officials, elections, an awards banquet, silent auction, and presentations by over 40 people from all segments of the OHV industry.

Husaberg putting a grin on Kent's face

OHV riders welcomed on the trails. A positive future!

Canadians well represented: NS, NB, QC, ON, and BC. That's me on the screaming mini. A blast on those Minnesota trails.

BCORMA, Greater Kamloops Motorcycle Association, Revy Riders, and Southern Okanagan Dirt Bike Club sent Peter Sprague, Kent Antoniak, Chris Palitsky, and Mike Fetterer to Minneapolis to increase our knowledge and see better ways of contributing to our trails here.

In Chris words:

My trip to NOHVCC was a very positive and eye opening experience, especially coming from the small town of Revelstoke, with basically a non-existent trail system. I tried to take back information from NOHVCC that would enable me to build our trail system, our club, and ultimately help BCORMA grow and prosper in the future.

The first thing I learned is the importance of properly planning and designing your trail system and needs before you actually start cutting any trails. This includes many details, which is well beyond the scope of this write up. For example, First Nations consultation, Rec Officer approval, volunteer participation, proper trail layout and location, ability levels of users, funding, etc. etc.

This also made me realize the importance of having a good working relationship with the various local agencies involved in allowing a proper trail system development. This includes, for example, the local Rec Officer, City Hall, local businesses which support you, the local Parks and Recreation dept.  BC Forestry, ILMB, as well as many more.  This is where I find it an advantage living in a smaller community. It is easier to “network” with the various agencies. For this reason, I would suggest someone from a local club to be the designated person, or people, who will have to go make the introductions and “friendship” with each of the various “players” involved in ultimately giving approval, or helping to get approval, of the desired trail system.

One thing that stood out for me while riding down in Minnesota was how all the different user groups all shared and rode together in the same area with no problems! Dirtbikes, ATV’s, 4X4’s and side by sides were all seen that day and everyone was waving at each other and getting along just fine! The trails were all well marked, signed, and designated for each user group to use and enjoy. Some were shared use , some were not. Each club will have to decide who uses what trail, but it was working well down there!

One of the biggest things I learned though, was you can' eat the whole elephant in one bite. You have to take smaller bites, and keep going!! This refers to that there is a LOT of work to do to properly design, build, and sustain a quality trail system, and it can be overwhelming. So just do one task at a time, and keep chewing away !!!

Last but not least, after attending this meeting, I came home fired up and charged to get going on our trail system. Fresh ideas, knowledge, new contacts, and enthusiasm are flowing thru me, and since I have been home, we have made some very nice trails here in Revelstoke !.

Thank you for allowing me to attend NOHVCC and represent BC.

Chris Pawlitsky. 

Since getting back,

  • Kent has been hard at it work with Noelle (Regional Recreation Officer) in Kamloops to make sure the Kamloops aree continues to be one of the premier destination riding areas of the Province. 
  • Chris is getting that long hoped for trail network and MX track built, with riders already enjoying it. 
  • Mike is championing the cause in the southern Okanagan, with planned representations at the Regional District trail master planning meetings, and his continued development of OK Falls. 
  • I'm making sure we are well represented to Government on Registration & Licensing, Provincial Trail Stewardship Guidelines, Special Event Permitting, getting our Back-Country Motorized Trails Stewardship Trust, and keeping the 800km Spirit 2010 Trail network open for all BC riders. 
  • I have worked with the Victoria Motorcycle Club to establish another official ORM Provincial Recreation Site at Jordan River, on the Island.  Four hard years, we have 1000 ha with over 50 km of gnarly trails and growing.  All those things I've learned at NOHVCC put to great use.

Check out:  NYPUM is a great program with youth, to develop self-esteem, a sense of responsibility using minibikes as a motivational tool.  There is an 85% improvement in one school term in the kids.  If you have time check out their web page.  http://www.nypum.org

Making a real difference in kids' lives.

All in all, a great, if intense, five days to learn from the best.