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AMA advocates for more resources for public lands

June 10, 2008
Filed under Features

Countering criticism that off-highway vehicles damage public land, the American Motorcyclist Association told a congressional committee lawmakers need to provide more people and money for federal agencies to responsibly allow for varied uses of the land, according to an AMA press release from that day.

Testifying June 5 before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Ed Moreland, AMA vice president for government relations, also said that active management of different forms of recreation on federal public land is needed rather than trying to cut the costs of management or eliminating motorized trails.

“In both cases, everybody loses,” Moreland said during his testimony. “What we have yet to see is the adoption of full-scale active management, a truly collaborative approach and the budgets and people to accomplish an achievable multiple-use mission.

“The motorized recreation community has a long history of volunteerism and is already helping public land managers by maintaining trails, promoting ethical use and advocating for appropriate funding levels,” Moreland continued.

Other organizations that testified or submitted written testimony include the BlueRibbon Coalition, Trout Unlimited, the Nevada Sheriffs’ and Chiefs’ Association, The Wilderness Society and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

In his testimony, Greg Mumm, executive director of the BlueRibbon Coalition, noted that besides using OHVs just for riding, people also use them to reach remote areas for hunting, fishing, mountain biking and hiking.

“These enthusiasts benefit from using the very same roads, trails and areas as those who enjoy OHV recreation by itself,” Mumm said. “This ‘shared use’ activity takes place regularly. Virtually every public land user is motorized at some point in their visits to federal lands and it is simply a question of where they depart from their vehicle.”

Mumm also noted that the economic benefits of OHV use can’t be ignored. For example, a California state report in 2007 said that OHV recreation in the state pumped an estimated $9 billion into the state’s economy every year. In Arizona, OHV use generated nearly $3 billion in retail sales in 2002. He added that the demand for public places to ride is increasing while the opportunities are limited.

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