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By: Robert Janis

NOHVCC

A New Association for State OHV Program Administrators Launched

The National OHV Association of Program Managers (NOAPM), an informal group created to provide assistance to state OHV program administrators as they do their daily work managing their individual state programs, has been re-created into the International OHV Program Administrators Association (INOHVAA), a more formal group that will include OHV program administrators from the provinces of Canada and perhaps other countries. Ron Potter, policy and program manager of Parks and Trails for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and Tom Metsa, state OHV/snowmobile program manager for Colorado State Parks, are co-chairman of the organization. The National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC) is a contributor in the creation of the group, providing facilitation and other administrative activities.

The preliminary work of starting the organization began in September, 2010 and was completed in March, 2011. The initial work included selecting the new name, setting the purpose and ratifying bylaws. In addition, a membership and associate membership structure has been created which provides for each state to have one or more members who will cast a single vote for their state, and a partner membership for federal or local partners who want to participate.

According to Potter, the purpose of INOHVAA is to try to develop some consistent policies and statutes concerning the administering of state OHV programs at least across the United States as well as in the provinces of Canada. “We are trying to get consistency on how OHVs are managed,” said Potter. He also noted that the association will be used as a tool for states to share information. “Some states like California have been dealing with OHV for 35 years,” said Potter. “The organization will hopefully save some of the states from reinventing the wheel by sharing information and sharing some of the things the states who have been doing this longer have done. They know best what works and what don’t work.”

Potter noted that a lot of states are struggling with proper definitions of what is an ATV, a side-by-side, etc. “There are a lot of different definitions out there. We believe that we can learn from one another and come up with consistency by working closely with the industry. We can come up with definitions we don’t have to keep changing every couple of years,” said Potter.

Potter explained that the organization is creating a website that should be online in the next few months. It will include a summary of all the state’s OHV laws, contact names including phone numbers and addresses for every state and federal information and publications. Potter noted that several states have very good education programs that can be accessed over the Internet or in CDs, and the website will help in the sharing of this material.

Chris McNeil, off-road vehicle safety and education coordinator Wyoming State Trails Program, is designing the website. He is evolving the site from a template. “It is similar to a shopping center with all kinds of fact materials from different states,” explained McNeil. “There is a page which shows a map of the United States. You click on a state and obtain information on the OHV program in that state including rules and regulations pertaining to OHVs. There will also be videos, links to state’s OHV education programs, a shopping center of pamphlets, PDF files, and things that can be used to promote state programs including materials that can be copied as well as posters and Bureau of Land Management and United States Forest Service information.”, said McNeil. “There will be all sorts of stuff you can just grab from the site and there will be a forum, too. It will have whatever the group wants to put on there.”

Potter explained that INOHVAA will hold annual conferences. The next conference is in September. McNeil said that he hopes to have the website going after the conference.

So far more than 17 states have joined the association, and Potter said that more are joining every week. “The federal highway folks and others have helped to promote us with e-mails. We hope to get all 50 states involved and the Canadian Provinces,” said Potter.

Potter added that INOHVAA is taking things slowly right now. “We are trying not to move too fast until we can get all the states on the board who want to join. We don’t want to leave states out,” he said. “Once it has a full contingency of states, then we will kick it up a notch.” said Potter. “We hope to have many more states on board by our September meeting. We will be putting the board in place at that meeting and completing the structure, including regional chapters if the group thinks that would be beneficial. The more involvement we can have at that meeting, the better the organization will be.”

Currently, members are being kept informed by quarterly conference calls.

“We are trying to make this as simple and painless for the managers as we can,” Potter concluded.


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