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Answers sought on derogatory off-highway vehicle trail guide

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Support the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) in our efforts to protect your freedom to ride!

A new U.S. Forest Service (USFS) guide to help land managers maintain off-highway vehicle (OHV) trails contains derogatory OHV language.

In a letter dated March 9, seven organizations demanded answers from U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, whose department oversees the USFS. The groups are the AMA, the All-Terrain Vehicle Association, the BlueRibbon Coalition, the Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition (COHVCO), the Colorado Snowmobile Association,Trails Preservation Alliance, and the Utah Shared Access Alliance. A special thanks goes out to COHVCO who alerted the AMA to this issue.

To view the letter, click here.

The intent of the guidebook is laudable: to help OHV trail managers develop sustainable trails and protect the environment surrounding the trails.

But the document includes a variety of statements and innuendo that reflect an anti-OHV bias, and cites as a source for information an anti-OHV group. This type of government guide should be fact-based and neutral. It shouldn’t include inflammatory, biased language and the recommendations of a group known to oppose OHVs.

The 318-page guide, “A Comprehensive Framework for Off-Highway Vehicle Trail Maintenance,” was released in January in book form and was posted on the USFS website. But the document was quickly pulled off the website, apparently following protests from the OHV community about offensive language.

Among other things, the document:

– States “This framework was developed to help trail managers corral the OHV management dragon. The author hopes it has provided some insight into the nature of OHV trails, and some tools to help keep the beast at bay. Happy herding and happy trails!”

– States OHV use causes an “increase in frequency and intensity of weather events,” and acknowledges gathering information from the Wildlands CPR, which is an anti-OHV group.

– Cites a Wildlands CPR proposal that no routes or trails should be allowed in “citizen or agency proposed wilderness… and other lands with wilderness character.”

This management practice usurps congressional authority in the process to designate Wilderness, which is one of the strictest forms of public land management and bars OHVs. Only Congress can designate Wilderness. To view the AMA’s press release, click here.

Now, the Wildlands CPR anti-access group is pushing back. It issued a fund-raising appeal to its members asking for financial support to fight OHV groups. To view its fund-raising appeal, click here.

Please join the AMA to help us fight these efforts to end motorcycle recreation. More members means more clout against our opponents, and your support will help the AMA fight for your rights – on the road, trail, racetrack, and in the halls of government. To join, go toAmericanMotorcyclist.com/membership/join.

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