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By: Robert Janis

Kansas ATV Association

Kansas ATV Association Expands Land Use for Kansas ATVers

One of the major battles that most ATV state associations have in common is the struggle to increase the amount of land where members can ride. The Kansas All-Terrain Vehicle Association (KATVA) has a proven record in being successful in expanding the amount of land its members use throughout the State of Kansas.

The KATVA was founded in December 1988. The mission is to protect the rights of riders and to promote riding as family fun with safety as priority one.

Right from the beginning, the group was involved in expanding land use for ATV recreation. When the organization was formed, board member Roger Harmon discovered an area at Pomona Lake, Kansas that was a Corps Of Engineers project. It was designated for motorcycle riding, but it had never opened. “Roger and others put in many years of hard work to open the area,” explained Tim Paulsen, president of KATVA. “The first attempt was to make Pomona a public ride area with KATVA providing the labor and materials. The Corps said no due to liability issues. After many letters to the Corps and elected officials, plus considerable negotiations, the Corps then proposed that the KATVA provide insurance and lease the property. In June 1990, the KATVA signed a five-year lease on 57 acres for a ‘private club’ riding area. This was a first in Kansas. We would later purchase approximately 60 additional acres.”

The members of the Board of Directors of the KATVA are not just a bunch of people who meet once or twice a month to talk about their ATV prowess. They get involved. “Over the years, we have had many different board members and active club members,” explained Paulsen. “These members have always stepped up to the plate and handled any political issue at hand. Simply put, if we have an issue whether it is a safety issue, insurance issue, or a lobbying issue pertaining to a new ride area in this state or even in adjoining states, we are quick to offer support of worthwhile projects. We attend meetings and support projects while keeping safety in mind. We are a very top-notch professional organization that wants to promote the expansion of this sport. We have been doing this for the last 20 years with a proven track record.”

Unlike other organizations that serve as an advocate of a particular group, the KATVA does not employ a professional lobbyist. Instead it relies on its members to do the lobbying. The reason, explained Paulsen, is to allow new members to get involved and to be comfortable about presenting their own opinions. “I think it keeps the club proactive,” said Paulsen. “For instance, we will have several openings on the board this year. These new board members will lobby the issues at hand as relayed to them by fellow club members or requested from other clubs and organizations. We use the talent within the club to lobby the issues.”

It is the grass roots members who lobby the local towns and counties, continued Paulsen. And with the local authorities the most important issue is safety. For example, Paulsen recently attended preliminary meetings for a future ride area and praised the layout of a kids’ track that fenced in a part of the track. This provided a secure area for kids to learn the sport and to be protected from larger machines while honing basic safety and riding skills. “We have found that it is little things like this that makes a ride area safe,” said Paulsen.

Members also participate in work days and help put on club functions. The work days consist of maintaining 115 acres of land that serve as a riding area as well as another 15 to 20 miles of trails.

The organization also helps to promote the sport of ATV recreation riding by consolidating its events with other clubs’ events. Moreover, the club uses ATVs as support vehicles for mountain bike races. If someone gets a flat or is in need of medical attention, then they receive help from people who get there on ATVs. It also travels to a variety of out-of-state areas like Taylor Reservoir in Colorado. It promotes flat track racing too. “Once a year we have TT and Oval races at a local fair ground,” said Paulsen. “We have done this for a number of years and have between 80 to 150 racers and 4,000 spectators.” The races are held for a variety of age groups.

Currently the KATVA has more than 100 members. Benefits of being a member include access to private land for riding 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The club also has access to camping slots with electric hook ups and great riding opportunities for children in an environment that allows their parents to carefully watch them. There are also pot luck dinners at the club rides, and everyone is assured that they can ride with someone whenever they go out. Programs for members include ATV Safety Institute training courses on their own riding area.

According to Paulsen, the most urgent issue for ATV enthusiasts in Kansas is keeping trails open. Kansas has recently allowed a new ride area to open in Syracuse, Kansas.

The organization has a website ( The site includes a forum; the association’s newsletter, which can be downloaded; a way to contact members of the Board of Directors; information on ride areas; pictures; a calendar of events; membership information; links to OHV related businesses’ websites; and you can buy a KATVA T-shirt at the site. Log on for more information.

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