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By: Robert Janis

It Starts With the Enthusiasts As Far As the
South Carolina Off-Road Enthusiasts Are Concerned

A true enthusiast, no matter what he is enthusiastic about, is not afraid to get his hands dirty for the cause. And that describes the members of the South Carolina Off-Road Enthusiasts (SCORE). Established in 1992, the organization reached its peak in membership of about 150 during the early 2000s.

Ivan Haynes, a member of the organization, noted that many of the members participated in 10 to 15 volunteer work days helping to maintain national and state forest trails in South Carolina. The group also managed several grants from the recreational trails fund.

Haynes noted that SCORE has a SWECO bulldozer, two tractors, ATVs, and dump carts as well as other tools that assist them in keeping the trails of the state up to par.

Haynes pointed out that besides maintaining trails group members also fought to keep trails in South Carolina from being closed and has also constructed some trails themselves, including all of the current trails in Manchester State Forest in South Carolina.

Currently SCORE has a reduced membership base which is required to attend quarterly meetings and participate in work days. Despite its reduced numbers, however, the group still takes out the SWECO dozer to groom the trails at Manchester State Forest at least once a year. Members are also attending regular meetings to help oversee the creation of a new ATV/motorcycle trail system in Sandhills State Forest in South Carolina.

“We have quarterly meetings on the first Friday of January, April, July, and October in Columbia, South Carolina,” said Haynes. And the group keeps an e-mail list current so that they can ask members to write letters or make phone calls concerning issues that are relevant to off-road riders. Members also often meet with Forest Service and Forestry commission officials to lobby for their cause. And SCORE is a member of the BlueRibbon Coalition.

The mission of SCORE is to preserve and expand OHV riding opportunities in South Carolina. Although it does not have a lobbyist, members are encouraged to contact their state representatives on their own in favor of or against an issue that has an affect on off-road enthusiasts of the state.

According to Haynes, the most urgent issues concerning off-road riders in South Carolina includes land closures--safety laws that go beyond safety and restrict who and where one can ride. He added that mudbogging is adversely affecting ATV users. “There used to be hundreds of miles of designated motorcycle trails in our state in the 1980s. Then three and four wheelers came out and started mudbogging. It has devastated the trails, and it forced authorities to close them down,” he said.

Haynes concluded that SCORE no longer has a website and is not actively trying to expand.

 


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