Numerous organizations offer information, educational materials and advice to dealers interested in becoming an advocate for land access. Here’s a list of national ones, but you’ll also want to search for local organizations. Be sure to bookmark the websites.
Advocates for Access to Public Lands: a nonprofit group dedicated to preserving public lands for responsible multiple use. A couple of years ago, the group released “National Forests: Our Trails Are in Trouble,” a DVD designed to educate legislators. See the video at www.trailsintrouble.org.
American Motorcyclist Association and the All-Terrain Vehicle Association (ATVA): the latter is a direct branch of the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA). Known for sanctioning competitive events, the associations are principally busying themselves with impending legislation regarding OHV recreation at the local, state and federal levels. Check out the AMA’s Rapid Response Center at www.amadirectlink.com. You’ll also find an interactive map of the United States outlining each state’s motorcycle laws. Ed Moreland, the American Motorcyclist Association’s vice president for government relations, is a frequent panelist at congressional hearings.
Americans for Responsible Recreational Access (ARRA) is the Motorcycle Industry Council’s public-land-use- advocacy arm. It also serves this function for the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (SVIA, www.atvsafety.org), a sister association of the MIC (www.mic.org). The ARRA website features a Land Access Notification Database (LAND) where people can submit meetings and process notifications, which ARRA then distributes to its members in the affected areas. ARRA is also very active on Capitol Hill. Visit www.arra-access.com to sign up to receive information about how to have your voice heard on access issues in your area. Membership is free. The BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC) is an organization dedicated to recreational land-access issues. The group has often been described as the “pit bull” branch of OHV advocacy groups because it regularly engages in lawsuits against the anti- access groups. The BRC also serves an educational role. It depends on the money derived from individual memberships, which start at $29 per year. To join, log on to www.sharetrails.org. The monthly BlueRibbon Magazine features a “Land Use Outlook” section that describes the hot spots across the country. Issues of the magazine are archived on the website. Greg Mumm, executive director of the BRC, is often a panelist at congressional hearings. National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council, or NOHVCC (pronounced no-vac), is a nonprofit, nonmembership-based organization composed of professional staff and volunteer partners from 45 states and 10 Canadian provinces. NOHVCC provides a wide range of services for OHV activists and land managers. These are the folks to call if you need help to organize, get information and educational materials, or work with local politicians or land managers. Every year NOHVCC holds a national conference bringing together all its state partners. Several volunteer positions are now available, so check the website (www.nohvcc.org) if you’d be interested in representing your state. If you have any questions, call the organization at 800-348-6487 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. According to NOHVCC, even questions as simple as “Where can my customers ride in my area?” will get a response. Visit the NOHVCC website to see everything the organization offers. Many of the group’s informational materials are available as a free download. Off-Road Business Association (ORBA) is a nonprofit organization composed of hundreds of businesses nationwide involved in the off-highway vehicle recreation industry. Its principal mission is to ensure the long-term viability of those businesses by working to keep public lands open to responsible recreational access. Learn more at www.orba.biz.Tread Lightly! (www.treadlightly.org) is a nonprofit organization offering a variety of tools such as brochures, guidebooks, PSAs, Web banners, promotional items, a Youth Outreach Kit (downloadable off the site), and a Tread Trainer program that teaches people how to teach outdoor ethics at events. Trainers receive a 100-page manual, PowerPoint presentations on CD, a DVD and other education materials. Also available are a Lightfoot costume (Lightfoot is a cartoon squirrel that acts as the organization’s mascot) and a booth display. Finally, go to page 32 to see the latest Tread Lightly! poster. Tread Lightly! dealer memberships cost $150 per year and include logos for advertising and promotional materials, brochures and other related information.
This story originally appeared in the Dealernews October 2010 issue.