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By: Robert Janis

NOHVCC Provides Valuable Support to ATV Community

Rarely is a community blessed with the support of an advocacy group that can provide special tools, workshops, source materials, and more to help promote that community to outsiders and government. The ATV community is fortunate to have support from the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC).

Based in Great Falls, Montana, the NOHVCC is a non-profit educational foundation which develops and offers a wide range of programs, materials, and information or tools to individuals, clubs, and associations involved with ATVs. It helps to establish new off-highway vehicle (OHV) clubs and state associations where they don’t exist; strengthen existing clubs and state associations by providing information, training, and services to help them be more effective; improve and promote responsible OHV recreation management and resource protection by working with private and public land managers and recreation planners; provides and promotes best-management-practices for OHV recreation planning, development, and management to policy makers; presents a positive OHV recreation image to the public; provides broad-based, ongoing educational opportunities for OHV recreationists, recreation planners, and decision makers; provides and promotes educational, safety, ethics, environmental, and character building program for all OHV recreationists including youth and emphasizes the benefits of responsible recreation behavior.

We’re one of the best bargains in the business,” said NOHVCC executive director Russ Ehnes. “Our main purpose in life is to help off-roaders keep their ride areas open by giving them the tools to organize, gather funds, work with local politicians, land owners, and land managers, and any other way we can think of to keep the sport happy and healthy. Rider education, even at the youngest levels, is also a very important part of our mission since we know from experience that responsible riders are the best ammo we have for keeping ride areas open.”

The Nuts and Bolts

The NOHVCC depends on a national network of volunteer representatives who are selected by the NOHVCC Network Development Team. These representatives determine what materials and programs are needed, reviews them, and offers guidance in their development. In addition, they consult with members of national organizations and land management agencies to gather information needed to develop the materials and programs.

An 11-member volunteer board elected by the state representatives directs the council. Officers of the organization include Dan Kleen, president; Russ Ehnes, executive director; Steve Gunderson, treasurer, Tom Umpress, secretary; Mark Mitchell, education team leader; Nancy Minard, external relations team leader; Ernie Lombard, resource development team leader; James Barrett, network development team leader; and Lewis Shuler, youth development team leader.

The NOHVCC has representatives in nearly all of the 50 states and each of them also participate in the various teams--education, external relations, network development, resource development, and youth development.

Tools and Materials

The tools and materials that NOHVCC offers to clubs and state associations include Adventure Trail (a fun-filled interactive program for kids) posters, activity books and CD-ROMS; a 200-page OHV Park Guidelines Manual, which includes information on planning, implementing and running an OHV riding park; a Management Guidelines for OHV Recreation aimed at OHV program and land managers to assist them in planning and development, operation, and maintenance of environmentally sustainable OHV trails, trail systems and areas; and a club start up kit. The organization also creates and distributes educational brochures, manuals, pamphlets, DVDs and PowerPoint presentations designed to provide support information for the ATV community.

Repository of Source Materials

The organization also serves as a repository of source material through its NOHVCC Library. Interested individuals or groups can gain access to important literature “stored” in the library through the council’s website: One can gain access to a wide variety of OHV-related literature with sub-directories on OHV administration, OHV management, environmental impact studies, and more. Specific items include the Recreational Trails Program (federal funds for trail projects), OHV sound resource information, NOHVCC trail building resource material as well as material from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) that includes material on trail planning, design, and development.

Educational Programs

The group’s educational programs include a consulting service that provides expertise on such topics as park and trail design, construction and maintenance as well as consultation on youth programs, special riding events, fundraising and more. The program also offers a wide variety of educational brochures, manuals, pamphlets, DVDs and PowerPoint Presentations.

The organization has also created and offers a variety of workshops on such topics as recreational management and workshops that cater to the needs of state associations. Specific topics of the OHV Recreation Management Workshops include: OHV sales, demographics and training; needs and desires of the OHV recreation public; review of current state and federal OHV policies, regulations, and planning efforts; introduction to the interrelationship and critical components of engineering, education, enforcement and evaluation to achieve desired OHV management outcomes; trail program planning and development; trail program construction and maintenance; ATV Safety Institute (ASI) ATV Rider Course; Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) Dirt Bike School; Tread Lightly! Also offered are Master Tread Trainer Courses; Sound and Spark Arrestor Testing Methods; OHV Public and Private Park Development; economics issues; and Successful Intra-Agency and Interagency Cooperation.

Workshops specifically designed for the needs of the state associations include: Identification of the State OHV Community Status; Mission, Objectives, and Vision Development; Meeting Management; Leadership Techniques; Effective Communications; Committee Development; Fund Development and Management; Goal Development and Achievement; How to Work Effectively with Land Managers; Understanding the Political Process; and AMA “Ride into Political Action” Seminars.

Requests for workshops can be made through the NOHVCC website:

The Website as a Tool

Finally, the website provides a platform where you can learn more about each and every one of the NOHVCC programs and how you can arrange for them to be used by your club or state association or other interested parties.

The website also offers links to organizations related to off-highway vehicle recreation. These sites include the American All-Terrain Vehicle Association, Americans For Responsible Recreational Access, American Motorcyclist Association, American Recreation Coalition, American Sand Association, American Trails, ATV Safety Institute, Blue Ribbon Coalition, Brett Downey Safety Foundation, Bureau of Land Management, 4-H ATV Safety Program, FHWA Recreational Trails Program, Motorcycle Safety Foundation, National Trails Training Partnership, Off-Road Business Association, Ohio Motorized Trails Association, Partnership Resource Page, Public (Land) Access, RecConnect, Snell Memorial Foundation, Tread Lightly!, and the USDA Forest Service. A detailed description of the organization and how it relates to the ATV community is included with each title link.

With all this information one could call the NOHVCC the National Archives for all things ATV.

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