Position In Support Of Access To Public Lands
Position in Support of Access to Public Lands
The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) supports responsible
recreational access to public lands for the use of off-highway vehicles
(OHVs), including off-highway motorcycles, dual-sport motorcycles and
all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). This access should be administered by
professional land managers to meet the needs of participants, protect
the land and promote responsible use.
While the AMA recognizes that no single recreation type
is appropriate for every setting, there are certainly many places where
OHV use can exist in harmony with other uses while preserving important
natural and cultural resources.
Management of our national public lands is guided
by the Multiple Use - Sustained Yield Act of 1960. The act encourages a
wide variety of activities, provided that they take place in harmony
with natural resource values.
The Benefits of OHV Use
The AMA supports responsible OHV recreation because of its many benefits.
Most easily documented among the myriad benefits is the enhancement of
the economy. According to the Off-Road Business Association, a 1993
economic-impact study in California indicated that the contribution of
OHVs to the state’s economy was more than $3 billion; current estimates
suggest that figure has doubled or even tripled. A 2002 Arizona State
University study showed that OHV recreation for that year created a
statewide economic impact of $4.25 billion. The Department of
Agricultural Economics at the University of Tennessee reported that the
economic impact of OHVs amounts to $3.4 billion. The Institute for New
Hampshire Studies at Plymouth State University documented that the OHV
impact on the state’s economy was approximately $318 million from July
2002 to June 2003.
Public lands benefit as well. OHV enthusiasts are
known to be public spirited and civic minded, volunteering their time
for activities such as trail maintenance, area clean-ups and safety
OHV recreation is a physically demanding activity
performed exclusively outdoors. Taking part provides the same personal
stress reduction and exercise benefits to the individual found in other
physically demanding outdoor activities.
Responsible OHV recreation is also a social and
family activity. Participants often develop friendships with other
like-minded individuals, and enjoy an enhanced quality of life by
pursuing an activity in which family members can partake.
Broader benefits also exist. In our
increasingly urban and suburban landscape, the preservation of open
space has become increasingly important. Public lands designated for
responsible OHV recreation remain undeveloped green space. Recreational
trails and dirt-road travel routes are corridors that allow the
surrounding land and high-level canopy to remain as natural habitat for
plants and wildlife. The opportunity to experience these natural
settings instills a greater appreciation for the value of open space
and our natural resources.
Related AMA Positions
supports management that recognizes the value of responsible OHV
recreation and works to improve the availability of recreational sites
The AMA supports actions by land managers and agencies
that increase quality OHV recreational opportunities. This includes
increases in trail mileage (and quality of the experience), maintenance
of trails, and the development of trailhead and trailside amenities and
The AMA supports actions by land managers and
local jurisdictions to secure and protect access to historic and
established routes of travel into and across public lands.
The AMA supports actions that invite OHV enthusiasts
to participate in the public lands management process. This includes
the encouragement of volunteer efforts, participation in program and
project-level decision-making and acts to implement program and project
The AMA supports legislation and administrative
actions that recognize the value of OHV recreational opportunities,
improve professional management, and develop and strengthen OHV
recreation funding sources.
The AMA supports the development of
collaborative efforts with other recreation and special interest
groups, especially those interested in trail-based recreation, in order
to improve understanding and respect among all members of the trails
community and to enhance the diverse recreational trails opportunities
available to all Americans.
The AMA supports scholarly research that
objectively portrays the role of OHV recreation and its relationship to
participants, the environment and society. It is expected that
researchers will make every effort to develop an understanding with OHV
enthusiasts of the purpose, method and proposed use of such studies.
The AMA recognizes that there may be limited
situations that justify an emergency closure of recreational lands or
trails despite a lack of scientific documentation. However, if such a
closure is performed, the responsible agency has thereby created an
obligation to immediately commence an objective scientific study to
determine how and when the lands or trails may be reopened for their
former recreational uses. The AMA also encourages alternative sites be
opened if a recreational area is going to be closed for an extended
period of time.
The AMA will assist and
encourage its membership and other enthusiasts to develop cooperative
relationships with land managers and land management agencies. This
includes volunteerism, working with management to document activities
and interacting with other recreational and local interests.
The AMA opposes actions that restrict
reasonable OHV recreational opportunities that prevent enthusiasts from
participating in a meaningful manner in the public lands management
process, that reduce the quality of recreational opportunities or limit
legal, existing routes of travel into and through public land areas.
The AMA will, at its discretion, take steps
to challenge any decisions that result in inadequate or inequitable
quality recreational opportunities for OHV enthusiasts.