Effort of saving riding areas goes online

By Karin Gelschus
Associate Editor
Thanks to financial support from the Motorcycle Industry Council and Yamaha’s OHV Access Initiative program, the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council will offer interactive Web-based workshops to clubs and riders for the first time.
The Webinars aim to give clubs and riders resources to keep their trails open and maintained. Russ Ehnes, executive director of NOHVCC, says contributions from the MIC and Yamaha have made the Webinars possible.
“Last year we started on the Webinar process with the Motorcycle Industry Council and the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America,” he said. “They actually funded the Webinar and the materials. What Yamaha is doing is making it possible to reach the people. They’re paying for the production of the DVDs, the Web time, paying for the consultants who do the workshops. They’ve really saved the day for us and made it possible to get this material on the ground in a timely manner.
“Yamaha has always been really supportive in NOHVCC, but this is the first time that we’ve received a grant through their OHV Access Initiative. This is our first opportunity to put a large-scale program on the ground with Yamaha’s individual help.”
Other organizations involved in the development of the workshops were the American Motorcyclist Association, BlueRibbon Coalition, Off-Road Business Association and United Four Wheel Drive Associations.
The workshops cover a range of topics, including how to maintain trails and understand trail management, adds Ehnes.
“It’s important that dealers understand that the long-term health of the industry relies on riding areas and grassroots support for local riders,” he said. “In order for their businesses to be successful, it’s going to be critical for them to help riders get involved in efforts like the NOHVCC Webinars.”
The NOHVCC has worked with dealerships in the past, notes Ehnes, and the organization plans to do that for these sessions as well.
“We actively pursue dealers to get riders involved, and we’ve had some success with that,” he said. “I don’t know how much direct contact we’d have with individual dealers, so we will probably have to rely more on (others) to get the word to dealers and get this in their hands.”

In the past, the NOHVCC has done about 20 workshops for one topic with anywhere from 25-100 participants. But Ehnes says an advantage with the Webinars is that they’ll be able to do more sessions with fewer participants making it more convenient for riders to attend.
“If people are able to take the time to participate,” he added, “they’ll have ample opportunity to interact.”
If dealers want to get involved, Ehnes says they can go to the NOHVCC Web site, www.nohvcc.org, and sign up for the workshop modules they’re interested in.
“If they have customers (who are interested), they can refer them to our Web site or 800 number (800/348-6487), and we’d be glad to talk to anyone who’s interested in taking part in the workshops.”
If riders can’t participate in the Webinars due to scheduling conflicts, the NOHVCC is offering 14 video workshop sessions as podcasts.
The videos can be watched as streaming videos or they’re available in DVD. Ehnes says, the only downfall to that is there’s no interaction with the OHV management experts.
“The DVDs are intended to give (riders) very similar, useful information about how to be involved in the process and be effective,” he said. “If they’re interested in getting a hold of the DVDs, they can contact NOHVCC, and we’ll send them copies.”

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