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AMA News & Notes: April 2020

National and Regional News

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — The outbreak of COVID-19 has forced the cancellation or postponement of dozens of AMA-sanctioned competition and recreation events. Please check directly with event organizers for up-to-date information. At the same time, state and federal agencies are altering the hours of parks and riding areas used by OHV riders. And some are being closed. Please check the websites of the federal and state agencies that oversee parks and other facilities in your area for the latest information.

Readers: Are you aware of motorcyclists helping out during the coronavirus crisis? Do you have examples of how your local and state government’s responses to the outbreak are unnecessarily infringing on motorcyclists’ rights? If so, please send an email to grassroots@ama-cycle.org.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal lawsuit filed in February by the group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility and three other conservation groups challenges the government’s decision to allow electric bicycles on nonmotorized trails in the National Park System. The Federal Advisory Committee Act requires meetings to be publicized in the Federal Register and open to the public, neither of which occurred, the lawsuit alleges. The lawsuit charges the Interior Department, National Park Service, former Park Service Deputy Director P. Daniel Smith and current Park Service Deputy Director David Vela with ignoring a number of laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act, to push through e-bike access. The groups behind the lawsuit want the e-bikes restricted to approved motorized trails.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Agriculture Department will make available up to $100 million in grants to expand the infrastructure needed to sell more ethanol, biodiesel and other renewable fuels. A department press release, issued in March, stated that the “USDA is making grants available… to increase significantly the sale and use of higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel by expanding the infrastructure for renewable fuels derived from U.S. agricultural products.” The AMA opposes the continued expansion of availability of fuel containing more than 10 percent ethanol by volume. None of the estimated 22 million motorcycles and ATVs in use in the United States is certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to operate on E-15 (15 percent ethanol by volume) or higher-ethanol fuel blends. Use of those fuels may cause engine and fuel system damage and void manufacturer warranties.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The land speed racetrack at Bonneville—once 13 miles long—is now less than 8 miles, due to salt erosion. It is critically important that the U.S. Department of the Interior contribute funds toward a 10-year restoration program that will dramatically increase the amount of salt pumped onto Bonneville Salt Flats. The AMA needs your help in urging Interior Secretary David Bernhardt to fund the Restore Bonneville program in 2020. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the Utah Department of Natural Resources, local company Intrepid Potash and the land speed racing community have identified a strategy and are collaborating to restore Bonneville. But without federal funding, the project cannot succeed. To take action, go to https://tinyurl.com/uzl6h2x.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In March, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management New Mexico state director signed the Record of Decision for the Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas Final Joint Environmental Impact Statement associated with the Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas Bureau of Land Management Resource Management Plan. The plan governs land use and resource management decisions for public lands managed under the jurisdiction of the BLM and the U.S Bureau of Indian Affairs. BIA regional directors for the Southern Plains and Eastern Oklahoma Regions signed RODs for their respective Bureau of Indian Affairs Integrated Resource Management Plans. Within the planning area, the BLM administers 15,100 acres of public land and 4.8 million acres of federal mineral estate. The BIA Eastern Oklahoma Regional Office manages 394,200 surface acres and 2.03 million acres of mineral estate. And the BIA Southern Plains Regional Office manages 457,500 surface acres and 632,000 acres of mineral estate acres. The BIA-administered trust lands include multiple tribal jurisdictional boundaries. The documents update land use management decisions for resource values, such as vegetation, fish and wildlife, energy and minerals, lands and realty, recreation and others. The document also facilitates future environmental analysis and permitting of Indian minerals. Copies of the Final Joint EIS, BLM RMP, and BIA Integrated RMP are available for review at the following BLM offices: Oklahoma Field Office, 201 Stephenson Parkway, Suite 1200, Norman, Okla.; New Mexico State Office, 301 Dinosaur Trail, Santa Fe, N.M. They are available online at www.blm.gov.

KENNESAW, Ga. — Yamaha Motor Corp. USA awarded more than $127,000 to eight organizations in the fourth-quarter 2019 grant cycle of the Yamaha Outdoor Access Initiative, bringing the annual total to more than $400,000. Projects receiving OAI grants often have a strong stewardship component, as well as an inclusive community of users working together to ensure all types of outdoor recreationists can access and enjoy public land sustainably and safely. Since it began, the program has contributed more than $4 million to more than 360 projects. Projects support diverse communities, including motorized recreation, biking, hunting, fishing, camping and other outdoor recreationists. More information, including grant applications, is available at www.yamahaoutdoors.com.

State News

PAYSON, Ariz. — The Tonto National Forest, Mesa Ranger District, is discontinuing paper permits due to increased demand from visitors to the popular Bulldog Canyon OHV area. Those wishing to visit the area are instead required to obtain a permit online through recreation.gov. This transition to an online system also means the public will no longer will have to travel to the district office to obtain a permit. The online process includes a $6 administrative fee. Additionally, while past permits allowed up to five additional household members to be added to the permit, each OHV operator, age 16 or older, will now need a permit on hand while riding in the Bulldog Canyon OHV area. Passengers not operating motorized vehicles in the permit area will not need a permit. To reserve a permit on recreation.gov, search for ‘Tonto National Forest Off-Highway Vehicle Permit’ and follow the prompts to purchase and then print the permit. The permit will include six months of gate code combinations to unlock access gates to the Bulldog Canyon OHV area. For more information, contact the Mesa Ranger District, (480) 610-3300 from 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. weekdays. You can also visit www.fs.usda.gov/detail/tonto/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD709010 for information regarding access points.

POLAND, Maine — Selectpersons in the town of Poland tabled proposed changes to its ATV ordinances to await the results of a two-year trial use of an abandoned railroad bed alongside Waterhouse Park, according to a report in the Sun Journal. The Bog Hooters Tri-Town ATV Club will be using the rail bed for recreational riding, beginning in May. The proposed changes to the ATV ordinance include: changing the name of the provision to the Motorized Recreation Vehicle Ordinance—to include ATVs, snowmobiles, motorbikes and utility task vehicles; deleting rules already addressed in state laws, but subject to only local control; lowering the speed in designated wildlife habitats or shared pedestrian trails; and changing the wording regarding when recreational vehicles can be used, from “May 15 to Dec. 1” to “during a time frame as designated by the Board of Selectpersons, dependent upon weather and trail conditions.”

ST. PAUL, Minn. — H.F. 3699, introduced in the Minnesota House, and companion bill S.F. 3605 in the Senate would require the state to move to an E15 blend of vehicle fuel. If the bills become law, Minnesota would be the first state to require the use of the fuel, which contains 15 percent ethanol by volume. The national standard for fuel is E10 (10 percent ethanol by volume). The bills would exempt fuel sold at airports; resorts, marinas, houseboat rental companies; and fuel sold for use in motor sports racing, collector vehicles, and off-road use. The legislation also requires retail stations to provide one fuel pump with a dedicated hose and nozzle dispensing a fuel blend containing 9.2 to 10 percent biofuel for use in vehicles—such as motorcycles—that are not approved by the U.S. EPA for use with more than 10 percent ethanol.

ALBANY, N.Y. — Lewis County legislators approved a resolution in March asking the state Department of Environmental Conservation to include ATV trails in the recreation management plan for the Croghan Tract Conservation Easement in the Adirondack Park, the Watertown Daily Times reported. “Taxpayer dollars are used to purchase conservation easements and should provide for all recreation rights and access, including ATV access, especially in Lewis County which is known for its extensive ATV trail system,” the resolution says. “With expansion of the system only enhancing [the county’s] economic development through recreational and tourism features.” The resolution asks the DEC to work with county representatives, “to develop a plan that acknowledges the economic importance and significance of ATV access and use for recreational and sporting activities in Lewis County” so the ATV-using public can use the “tract like others who are provided access simply because they are in other motorized vehicles.” The Croghan Tract Conservation Easement includes 12,800 acres in Croghan and Watson To obtain a copy of the full plan, go to the DEC website, email r6.ump@dec.ny.gov or call (315) 785-2263. Written comments on the draft plan can be sent to NYS DEC, Attn: Matt Nowak, 7327 State Route 812, Lowville, NY 13367 or to the email address above.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Gov. Mike DeWine signed into law a bill that allows motorcyclists to wear earplugs or earphones for ear protection while riding. Ear plugs can help protect riders and passengers from potential damage to their eardrums from exhaust and wind noise. The bill was supported by the AMA and ABATE of Ohio.

STURGIS, S.D. — The Sturgis City Council delayed the annexation of the Jackpine Gypsies Motorcycle Club property until May 4 to give the club and the owners of other land time to assess the effect of the annexation. Jackpine Gypsies representatives told the Council that annexation of the club grounds—which includes a dirt oval race track, motocross and hill climb course—might fall under current or future city restrictions on continuing the club’s activities. The club earlier estimated the annexation would result in about $2,500 a year in additional property taxes. The proposed annexation is part of a strategy by the Sturgis city manager to ensure residents and businesses that receive city services help pay for them, according to the Rapid City Journal.

Industry News

CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA, Calif. — The 2020 Quail Motorcycle Gathering has been canceled, due to the CoVID-19 outbreak, and organizers have announced May 14-15 as the dates for the 2021 event. Ticket holders, display entrants, and ride participants will all have the option to roll their current status over to the 2021 event, or receive a full refund. Those holding reservations at Quail Lodge & Golf Club can cancel their reservations without penalty.

HAMAMATSU, Japan — Suzuki Motor Corporation is celebrating its 100th anniversary during 2020. The company manufactures cars, motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), marine engines, wheelchairs, and other internal combustion engines. Suzuki has over 45,000 employees and has 35 production facilities in 23 countries and 133 distributors in 192 countries. Suzuki’s domestic motorcycle sales volume is the third-largest in Japan.

STURGIS, S.D. — Mayor Mark Carstensen said the annual Sturgis motorcycle rally is still scheduled for August, according to the Rapid City Journal. He said he hopes the COVID-19 virus will have run its course by August, saying he hopes to reach a final decision about the rally in June.

AMA News

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — 2020 AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days is still on the schedule for July 10-12 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. Should the outbreak of COVID-19 and its resulting restrictions affect the event in any way, the AMA will issue an announcement and post it to www.americanmotorcyclist.com and all AMA social media outlets. Meanwhile, AMA members can purchase discounted tickets at www.amavintagemotorcycledays.com/tickets. AMA members save an additional $5 off the already discounted early bird pricing. AMA members can also call (614) 856-1900 to order their tickets. A fundraiser for the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days showcases classic motorcycles of all makes and styles, and honors the riders who made them famous. Activities at the event include the AMA Vintage Grand Championship, which features road racing, motocross, hare scrambles, trials and flat-track racing. In addition, North America’s largest motorcycle swap meet is packed with parts, bikes and memorabilia from all eras. Bike shows feature some of history’s most beloved motorcycles. Attendees will be entertained by stunt shows, demo rides of current production bikes and live music, while seminars on numerous topics by noted motorcycling experts keep them informed. Non-AMA members and those reserving RV spaces must purchase tickets through Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course at midohio.com or by calling (419) 884-4000. AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days is a family-friendly event. Admission is free for children under 12 accompanied by a ticketed adult. Free parking is also available on site.

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AMA News & Notes is a monthly publication compiled and edited by the American Motorcyclist Association. Designed to inform motorcyclists of rights-related issues and events in the United States and around the world, AMA News & Notes welcomes your input. Suggestions and editorial contributions can be sent to AMA Managing Editor Jim Witters at jwitters@amacycle.org.

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