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The NOHVCC's reach is becoming more International

It's no secret that the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council is primarily an American organization, dedicated to providing a positive future for OHV recreation in the 50 states. However, in recent years the NOHVCC Annual Conference in March has begun to have a more international flavor. In the past few years there have been attendees from Canada and Iceland, and the organization has had some historic ties with OHV advocates in Australia.

This past December saw the NOHVCC take the next step when they accepted a contract with the province of Alberta’s Sustainable Resource Development Lands Division (Alberta SRD) to conduct an OHV Recreation Management Workshop.


Canadian OHV advocates from the Alberta Off-Highway Vehicle Association and the Motorcyclists Confederation of Canada as well and the Alberta SRD who had previously attended a NOHVCC Conference were impressed by what the organization has been able to accomplish on the ground in the U.S., as well as the educational materials and "tools" that are available. With Canada currently facing many of the same OHV-related issues in their country, such as off-trail travel and trespassing, Canadian land mangers and OHV enthusiasts felt that an OHV Management Workshop would be a perfect fit for the fall meeting of the Alberta SRD where representatives from every Alberta SRD office in the province would be in attendance as well as leadership representatives from the OHV public. The cost of the workshop was absorbed by the Alberta SRD and was delivered by veterans Tom Crimmins, Dana Bell and Jack Terrell.

“Protecting and creating OHV opportunities in Canada is important to the NOHVCC,” explains NOHVCC Executive Director Russ Ehnes. “The challenges to OHV recreation are strong on both sides of the border so it’s important that we share what we’ve learned and developed in our country so the Canadians don’t have to reinvent the wheel.”

The normally three-day workshop was squeezed into two-days to fit into the province-wide workshop schedule. All 55 attendees, along with the NOHVCC staff, roughed it out at the Elbow Creek Ranger Station adjacent to the designated McLean Creek Forest Land Use Zone OHV Area at the base of the Rocky Mountains, about one hour west of Calgary.

“After decades of work focused primarily on resource protection, the Alberta SRD over the past year has realized the critical need for proactive recreation management that will provide sustainable, safe and diversified recreation opportunities in the province,” reported NOHVCC Senior Project Coordinator Dana Bell after the workshop. “The energy and interest of the participants in how OHV recreation can be effectively managed made this, what I would call an ideal workshop. Fortunately, the late fall weather also cooperated. The snow-covered ground and subzero temperatures that we arrived to melted and warmed so that our field day was just pleasantly chilly and the ground mostly free of snow. Throughout the field site there were plenty of examples of OHV management issues for spirited and productive discussion.”

In addition, the Canadians have been especially eager to utilize the NOHVCC Adventure Trail materials. The Adventure Trail Activity Book and CD-Rom have already been translated into French by the Motorcycle and Moped Industry Council, the Canadian version of the United States Motorcycle Industry Council. Our Iceland partners are also in the process of translating another popular NOHVCC publication, Management Guidelines for OHV Recreation, into their language as well.

The objectives of the Alberta workshop were to:

  • Review Canadian sales of off-highway motorcycles, ATVs and full-size 4WD vehicles, rider and driver demographics, and safety training programs;
  • Review general and Alberta-specific needs and desires of OHV and other recreation publics;
  • Improve the development, planning, design, construction, maintenance and management of OHV trail areas, facilities and systems in order to:
    • Better meet local and Provincial requirements,
    • Minimize impacts and improve conservation of natural and cultural resources,
    • Reduce conflict between recreational, community and environmental interest groups, and
    • Better meet the needs and desires of the OHV and other recreation publics, and
  • Expand partnership development between the OHV recreation publics, communities and the Alberta Sustainable Resource Development Lands Division.

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