Want to get involved with land-use issues that you think will directly affect your bottom line, but just not sure where to start?
The first step for a powersports dealer or OHV business owner would be to find out which government entity manages the riding area they are concerned about. If you have questions about who manages the local off-road areas, contact me at Off-Road Business Association (ORBA) at 951-926-1953. Once you have that information, call the person in charge of the recreational area. Explain who you are and that you would like to offer your assistance in whatever problems are occurring in that area.
Often times, the local land manager welcomes the help and has ideas on how to solve the problem. Usually, they do not have the manpower or know how to contact the local users to implement the proposed solution. This is where the local OHV business owner can really make a difference.
If there are clubs in your area, work with them to develop a plan to deal with the problem. To find area clubs, try going to nohvcc.org and click on “state contacts.” Once you have a plan, contact other businesses in your area and coordinate efforts with them. Your dealership can help distribute information and be a vital link between managers and politicians and your customers.
Here are some other possible solutions to the most common problems associated with OHV use that can potentially close down a recreation area and damage your business.
Business owners, along with a local land manager, can organize a free sound test day. Area clubs or racing organizations may have sound equipment and sometimes provide this service free of charge or for a small fee.
For those riders whose bikes do not meet the sound requirement, you can sell the necessary compliant exhaust systems. A way to draw people is to offer a giveaway. For example, everyone that gets a sound test and passes will automatically be entered into a drawing for a free helmet to be given away that day.
Organize a clean-up day. Good dates for organized clean ups are after big weekends when the area in question is at its dirtiest. You can possibly offer prizes to the people that pick up the most trash.
It could be possible for you to give out maps of local riding areas with every sale made at your shop. You can attach the maps to a flier stating that the trespass problem is putting the legal riding area at risk because all off-roaders are painted with that same brush.
If the problem has reached the ordinance stage, such as a proposed OHV restriction on private property, call a local politician’s office and make an appointment with them. Politicians listen to local business owners, especially when that owner makes it clear how much money OHV-related businesses bring into the local economy. If the politician involved is running for re-election, find out about any fundraisers being held and attend them.
Dealers and OHV-related businesses have the power to make a difference in their area. One dedicated dealer can be the catalyst to motivate others in the community to get involved, as well as help sway the actions of politicians and land managers.
Meg Grossglass handles media relations for Off-Road Business Association (ORBA). Contact her at 619/449-0778 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright 2006 Powersports Business