Private-property based off-highway vehicle park owners, developers, and interested parties recently came together in California during the National Off-Highway Vehicle Program Manager’s Conference and the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council’s (NOHVCC) annual conference, held at the Ontario Convention Center.
The conference led to a new association, the National Private Off-Highway Vehicle Parks Association.
Joe Tripp, owner of Bull Run Outfitting & Guest Ranch, Cascade, Mont., organized the private OHV parks portion of the conference. Tripp has first-hand knowledge of the challenges and risks associated with motorized recreation on private land - Bull Run has offered motorized recreation on its 13,000-acre ranch for the past five years.
Tripp says there’s “a valid need for commercial OHV parks.”
“There’s no doubt that private riding areas are going to be an important part of meeting the needs of the riding public in the future, particularly in states that don’t have much public land,” said Tripp. “Our goal was to lay the foundation for a forum that will encourage, support, preserve, and enhance the viability of OHV recreation on private land. Many landowners who are interested in opening OHV parks simply don’t know where to turn for information and resources, and this gathering is the beginning of creating that resource.”
Dana Bell, senior projects coordinator for NOHVCC, moderated the session and reinforced the need for OHV parks to be a positive asset to the community. Bell encouraged park owners to include education and youth programs, as well as family-oriented facilities.
Tom Yager, vice president of Safety Programs for the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (SVIA) and Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), shared data with the group that illustrated OHV sales growth and reinforced the need for additional off-road riding opportunities.
Royce Wood, legislative affairs specialist for the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA), said a key issue for many OHV parks is noise. Wood explained that it was curious that, while many homeowners would put up with sound of lawnmowers, weed trimmers, and leaf blowers, they were not so patient with the sound of motorcycles or ATV’s. A well-designed park with barriers and strict sound emissions rules is one of the keys to keeping a park open, he said.
Other speakers shared a variety of OHV park business models and funding options.
TRIPP CHOSEN AS INTERIM DIRECTOR
The conference wrapped up with attendees establishing an ad-hoc name for its new working group - the National Private Off-Highway Vehicle Parks Association - appointing Tripp the interim director of the new association, and resolving to continue working toward a more formal association.
Tripp says a crucial element of the new association will be the establishment of a national database of OHV parks.
“This is something we will move on quickly,” he said. “I think a lot of folks will be shocked at how many private-property OHV parks are out there already and how many more are working to come on line soon.
“Thanks to the enthusiastic support of landowners and others from across the country, we made some great progress. It’s going to take a lot more work, but we are off to a great start and I believe that in the very near future we’ll have some great things put together.”
For more information on the newly-formed National Private Off-Highway Vehicle Parks Association, contact Joe Tripp at 800/966-9269.