Managed vs. Unmanaged
I just returned from New Mexico where I attended the Annual Conference of the National Association of OHV Program Managers held in conjunction with the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC) Annual Conference. In attendance were representatives from the U. S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management and OHV land managers from various states as well as OHV enthusiasts.
The purpose of the joint annual conference is to share information on OHV recreation. A host of issues were addressed during the course of the conference, but the overall theme was "furthering a positive future for responsible OHV recreation." If I were to use one word to sum up the thrust of the conference that word would be "managed." In other words, OHV recreation should be managed, can be managed, and must be managed if access to public lands for this sport is to continue. And the land managers present, both federal and state officials, believe that they can do the job in a way that provides the OHV enthusiast an exciting experience while also protecting the environment. Certainly this is the goal of the Forest Service's Travel Management Rule and BLM's OHV Strategy.
While we, on occasion, express some frustration with certain details of the route designation process currently underway at the U. S. Forest Service, there is no question that "managed" recreation is the future. Land managers and OHV enthusiasts present benefited from listening to each other, sharing the latest ideas on trail management techniques, as well as finding common ground on how to preserve OHV riding opportunities and taking good care of our public lands.