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By: Robert Janis

Ohio Motorized Trails Association

Ohio Motorized Trails Association Uses Innovative Ideas to Gain More Land for Off-Roaders

Continued from page 1...

Urgent Issues

According to Mesarchik, one of the most urgent issues for OMTA is dealing with irresponsible riders. “Because of the fact that there are very few trails, we have a culture of irresponsible riders,” he said. “It is a small part of our community, but they seem to get all the publicity. There are groups that oppose our attempts to get land to ride on point to these irresponsible riders as a reason why we shouldn’t be given the land. They use them as ammunition against us.”

So OMTA and other off-road recreationist groups are working hard to combat the bad publicity. To show that most riders are responsible, volunteers monitor trails and participate in Trail Patrol Volunteer programs. In addition, rider awareness literature is being distributed to the public through dealers. “Riders need to police themselves and watch what we put on our websites,” said Mesarchik.

Ohio Motorized Trails Association web site

Membership and Website

OMTA has 600 members. “Anyone can be a member,” said Mesarchik. “We have single memberships, club membership options, sustaining memberships, and sponsor memberships for dealers and parts and accessories suppliers.”

Also the off- road industry provides help. Manufacturers like Polaris and Yamaha have a grant program of which OMTA takes advantage. Other manufacturers like CAN AM provide product demonstrations at events and the organization has had some success getting dealers and individual businesses to offer discounts to OMTA members.

OMTA has a website (www.ohiotrails.org) that is going through some re-construction. When the job is done, it will include a quarterly newsletter, information which assists riders in learning about safety training programs, provide updates on issues, offer a list of legislation pending in the state capital and provide information on legal issues and activities and finally provide information on how volunteers can help.Mesarchik seemed to indicate that off-road riders can be their own worst enemy. Besides the irresponsible riders who are providing ammunition for those who oppose off-road recreation, he noted that there is a prejudice within the community against fellow off-road riding groups. “There is a prejudice by off-road riders against other off-road riders who use a different type of machine,” concluded Mesarchik. “Motorcyclists are saying that ATV riders are irresponsible and ATV riders say that 4x4 drivers are tearing up the trails. It is like what the eco-extremists say against the off-road community as a whole. The thing is we all face the same land use issues. So, it is best to unite so that we will have a stronger voice over all.”

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