AMA, ECEA working to reopen New Jersey trails

Publish Date: 
Jul 8, 2014

TRENTON, N.J. -- The American Motorcyclist Association presented research data and assistance to the East Coast Enduro Association during discussions with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection in an effort to reopen off-highway motorcycle trails in New Jersey state forests.

During a two-and-a-half-hour meeting last week at DEP headquarters, the AMA-chartered ECEA outlined its objection to the DEP's current policy that restricts enduro and other events to blacktop, gravel and sand and woods roads, with off-road travel limited to existing fire cuts.

Steve Salisbury, AMA's off-road government affairs manager, and Danielle Fowles, AMA's grassroots coordinator, presented the DEP with information about the positive economic impact of off-highway-vehicle use. The pair also offered advice on the use of volunteers and other trail-management solutions.

The DEP's policy change -- called the menu system -- initially was presented to the ECEA in 2009. The original draft of the plan included the OHV trails, and DEP staff members requested GPS coordinates for the trails from the ECEA.

When the final plan was issued in 2012, the ECEA trails had been eliminated with no further discussion, said ECEA President Jamie Theurkauf.

"All we are seeking is development of a plan that will enable integration of sound forest management principles and ensure the survival of a 75-plus-year tradition of enduros in New Jersey," Theurkauf said. "Included should be the use of sustainable trails that have been part of our DEP-approved events.

During the meeting, Ray Cantor, chief adviser to DEP Commissioner Bob Martin, told the ECEA that he would listen to ECEA recommendations, present them for DEP consideration and then provide feedback to the OHV community in future discussions.

"We plan to continue to monitor this situation and assist the ECEA wherever possible," Salisbury said. "There is no justification for keeping these trails closed to responsible use by off-highway motorcyclists."