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Not All "Responsible" Groups Are Working in Your Favor

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Not All "Responsible" Groups Are Working in Your Favor
by Dave Halsey, NOHVCC Contributing Writer

Across the country, there are anti-access groups working at the national, state and local levels that simply don’t like motorized recreation of any kind.

These groups will bring legislation to their state capitols that close trails or eliminate off-highway funding programs. They will sue state and federal government agencies that try to keep or create trail systems. They will do everything in their power to make all of our jobs difficult, and put up roadblocks to our goals and objectives to build and promote responsible off-highway recreation.

Many of these groups are well known, some are not. And not all groups are up front about their goals. Some disguise their motives with vague statements and confusing names. They include the words “recreation,” “responsible,” or “access” in their titles. They may say they promote responsible land use. But if you delve beneath their surface, you will find they are not our friends.

There is a group in Minnesota, for example, with “responsible” in its title. But one look at their web site and headline-grabbing press releases and it’s clear that they believe -- and promote their belief -- that anything with a motor can’t possibly be considered responsible.

Recently, another “responsible” organization sent an online survey to off-highway program managers, state agencies, legislative staffs and public information officers. Just by the nature of the questions, it was obvious they were fishing for information they could use against the off-highway community. Checking this group’s web site confirmed the fact that it is dedicated to promoting negative media reports about off-highway riding, and publicizing and encouraging legislation designed to close public land to off-highway vehicles.

“Be aware that not all surveys you receive from trails organizations are promoting rider responsibility and public access,” said Russ Ehnes, NOHVCC Executive Director.

How do you know which organizations you can trust? First, do some research. Check out their web sites and do internet searches for additional information and their stance on off-highway issues. If you still aren’t sure, contact one of the National or State OHV Advocacy groups, such as: American Motorcyclist Association, Americans for Responsible Recreational Access, BlueRibbon Coalition, or NOHVCC.

If, after doing your research, you’re still confused about an organization, or have any concerns about surveys you might receive in your mail or email, NOHVCC is here to help. “We’ll give you our opinion of the survey and who wrote it,” said Ehnes. “Some groups are very well funded and their true agenda is often very well hidden.”

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