Approximately 60 representatives from motorized off-highway vehicle (OHV) recreation groups across the United States recently let Congressional Representatives and key executives at the Department of the Interior and the Forest Service know that they strongly support Congressman Richard Pombo's efforts to reform the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The National Motorized OHV Recreation Summit, a three-day event co-chaired by Roy Denner, President & CEO of the Off-Road Business Association (ORBA) and Jack Welch, President of the BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC), allowed OHV organizations to testify at a Congressional Oversight Hearing on “Motorized Recreation on Public Lands.”
Also testifying on behalf of the motorized OHV community were representatives from the American Motorcyclist Association and the Americans for Responsible Recreation Access.
During the hearing, Congressman Pombo, Chairman of the House Resources Committee, expressed his concerns that, while the number of families who are getting involved with motorized off-road activities is growing steadily, the public lands available for this popular form of motorized recreation are constantly being reduced.
Key members of the OHV contingent met with Gale Norton, Secretary of the Interior, who asked for their input on changes to the ESA that they felt were necessary.
“Secretary Norton was seriously interested in hearing about our concerns,” said Denner. “She truly wanted to know what is happening on the ground on federal lands. OHV leaders present agreed with Secretary Norton that the land management agencies of the Federal Government need to find a way to protect species that are actually at risk while accommodating the multiple-use mandate for public lands.”
“This was the most successful Washington lobbying effort on behalf of motorized recreation that I have ever been involved with,” ORBA Executive Vice President Jim McGarvie told the attendees. “The OHV community is finally being recognized by our Federal Legislators as an extremely important national economic component.”
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