As an off-road rider, you may think that there isn't much you can do to help prevent the loss of public riding areas. But there is a lot you can do.
You have a lot more clout than you think. Here are a few ways that you can get involved in the effort to protect off-road riding far into the future.
1. Find out what's happening in your nearby national forest. The U.S. Forest Service has designated legal routes for off-road riding. Find out whether your forest plans to change any of these routes, officially known as travel management plans, and, if so, get involved in the public hearings. To find a national forest in your area, go to www.fs.fed.us.
2. Get involved in motorized route designations for U.S. Bureau of Land Management property in your area, if routes are being designated or changed. For more information, go to www.blm.gov.
3. Stay on top of the happenings in your state forests. Contact your local state forests and say you want to get on their mailing lists for public hearings related to off-highway vehicle use. To find the contact information for the state forests in your area, go to your state's website and then look for the state's Parks and Recreation or Natural Resources departments.
4. Keep informed on state legislation that could affect your right to ride. Contact the state House and Senate natural resources committees, parks committees or any other committees you think may have an impact on off-road riding. Ask to be put on the mailing list for the committee's hearing notices. Then when you see a hearing on a bill that would affect your right to ride, submit written testimony or arrange to testify in person.
5. Stay on top of federal and local issues. The best way to do that, and to stay on top of state issues as well, is to watch for issues at www.americanmotorcyclist.com and to use the tools the AMA provides you in the AMA Action Center in the “Rights” button. Also, American Motorcyclist magazine keeps you informed. Sign up for AMA Action Alerts, which will provide information about important issues directly to you via email.
6. Join a local club. Not only will this help you stay on top of the issues, but it will also introduce you to new riding buddies. To find a club near you, click on the “For members” button at www.americanmotorcyclist.com.
7. Donate money to the AMA, BlueRibbon Coalition and other groups. Battling the foes of off-road riding is expensive. You can help by donating to the AMA at www.americanmotorcyclist.com/For-Members/AMPACLegislative Supporter Fund, the BlueRibbon Coalition at www.sharetrails.org or the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council at www.nohvcc.org.