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By: Robert Janis

Americans for Responsible Recreational Access

Americans for Responsible Recreational Access Is a Major Advocate for Public Land Recreation

If you are member of a state or local off-road vehicle recreational association or club, then you know that access to trails on public lands is a major issue. It is also a national issue. A major advocate concerning this issue is Americans for Responsible Recreational Access (ARRA).

Based in Washington, D.C., the ARRA was founded in 2000. Today it is financially supported by a host of organizations that favor off-road recreation including the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) and the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (SVIA).

The group’s mission is to ensure that Americans are not arbitrarily denied the right to responsibly experience and enjoy public lands. “We have found that some people and organizations are opposed to off-highway vehicle recreation on public lands,” explained Larry Smith, executive director of ARRA. “Rather than to try and work cooperatively in solving conflict issues, some anti-access groups only support banning OHV access to public lands. ARRA’s mission is to find solutions to conflict situations so that OHV access can be maintained for all to enjoy and especially future generations of OHV enthusiasts.”

Being a national advocacy organization, the focus of the ARRA is the Congress and the main federal land agencies including the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service. “ARRA actively participates in legislative forums on Capitol Hill such as testifying before congressional committees and subcommittees and generating ideas for legislative solutions to an array of issues affecting access to federal public lands,” explained Smith.

Smith performs the lobbying work for the organization. He is backed up by a number of research assistants who track legislative and regulatory issues. Moreover, the group works closely with other organizations to increase its clout on Capitol Hill and with the land agencies. These groups include the All-Terrain Vehicle Association (ATVA), the BlueRibbon Coalition, (BRC) the American Motorcyclists Association (AMA), the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC) the Off-Road Business Association (ORBA), the American Council of Snowmobile Associations (ACSA) and more.

Although the group focuses exclusively on the national level, it does provide counsel to local groups who are battling local access to public lands issues.

ARRA uses its website to educate and motivate its members. According to Smith, “We communicate with our members through our website on a regular basis by providing up-to-date information on federal legislation and federal regulatory issues affecting our public lands. We seek to offer our members opportunities where they can provide input with the appropriate officials when decisions are being made that could affect policies governing public land use.” The website ( also includes news on regional access issues, federal legislative and regulatory updates and other relevant news.

The organization claims to have 50,000 members. Smith explained that a number of national user organizations belong to ARRA as well as thousands of individuals who register on the ARRA website. “Members are a key resource of information on what is happening in the 50 states,” said Smith. “With ARRA being based in the Nation’s Capital, it’s impossible to know all that is happening on access issues in the states. We have two-way communication with ARRA members. We send them information about what is happening in Washington and they send us information about what is happening with the federal lands agencies in their respective states and communities.”

Benefits of being a member of ARRA include being in the loop concerning all major federal developments having to do with OHV recreation and access and it provides a platform for members to influence federal policies by contacting representatives in Congress and federal land managers on issues that affect outdoor recreation.

Any outdoor recreation enthusiast who acts responsibly when visiting and recreating on public lands and who wants to make a difference when it comes to policies governing ATV and other OHV recreation federal access issues is encouraged to join ARRA.

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