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Unread 04-01-2011, 12:18 PM   #1
HUBDEEP
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Maryland OHV Trails meeting/ comments

Please read all the way through and comment.

Notes from the March Maryland OHV trails meeting:
  • In 1974, Maryland DNR established 3 primary OHV trails. They didn't take into consideration the growth in popularity of OHV's when selecting locations for the public trails and now the trails are damaging limited/rare critical items to the native ecosystem.
  • Until other activist groups brought these issues forward they had not been carefully monitoring the ecological effects of the OHV trails from what I gathered.
  • They are being forced to close the OHV trail at one site due to interference with the native brook trout population from multiple stream crossings.
  • At another OHV trail there is "old growth forest". Local paper manufacturers rely on a certification of the forest they harvest wood from and the Greenridge loop is interfering with this certification.
  • The current DNR staff was apologetic that they have not offered an open discussion with users of said recreation areas until the point where they are forced to close them
  • They are eager to work with the stakeholders and are open to ideas like taking over existing illegal trail systems, cleaning them up, and opening them to the public or any other suggestions the off road community has
  • They plan to be proactive and take action quickly
  • Lots of dumb rednecks were trying to argue that stream crossings don't disturb the fish population or cause sediment disturbances and mountain bikes and horses cause just as much or more damage.
  • We shouldn't be arguing with DNR we should be offering to help work towards a good solution, these guys legitimately seem interested in keeping off roaders happy.
  • The Greenridge loop is currently closed, the other area with the brook trout problem is Poplar Lick ORV trail.
  • The group had done significant research with UMD and other environmental organizations, there was no arguing with the facts they have gathered over the last 5 years but people were still trying.
  • Question from attendee:"Are you saying there is nothing else that caused erosion in the last 5 years besides stream crossings of the ORV trail?"
    Pleasant synopsis of answer: The OHVs have caused so much erosion problems that it is damaging the native brook trout population (one of a few streams in MD that have a natural trout population.) And we need to re-route the trails around this high conservation areas or find new locations.
  • They had maps of each of the ORV trail areas with the 'high conservation areas' that the auditors are concerned with marked.
  • There was lots of land even close by that were not 'high conservation area', it looked like the Greenridge loop could easily be re-routed to avoid crossing these high value areas.
  • The DNR admitted they probably wouldn't be able to acquire new land immediately but there could be existing land that they own.
  • A very professional attendee from the Northern Virginia Trailriders strongly urged that this is the only OHV trail left in Maryland and if they want to work with us and want us to keep good faith they NEED to keep the Greenridge loop open as they work with us on this issue.
  • One idea on their slides was increasing the ANNUAL fee from $15 to $50. Lots of people there were arguing that this was a terrible idea, and they see this as a tax on a tax on a tax.
  • There were lots of dirt bike riders there taking the wrong approach and trying to argue with them.
  • This is the first time in 30 years the MD DNR has invited the public to begin an open dialogue about ORV trails in MD, have some common sense and work with these guys, not complain about how we've been treated in the past.
  • The presenter even said, it's really unfortunate that the first time your gathered here by a govt organization is to receive bad news and that we are just now asking for your help, and you are supposed to believe us that we are going to help you and in a timely manner, but that is what we are doing, we don't plan to take a year to start making/taking action, and that we will all be quite impressed by how fast this can happen.
  • They said that they do have a general list of land requirements that they have been using but they are looking to have the user groups further define those requirements so they can find the piece of land that will best suit all users, or at least as much as is possible.
  • They will help to make sure it meets the requirements to help keep the conservationist's happy.

    Places that were brought up for consideration last night:
    Bloody Ponds
    Coca Cola Dr
    Trails in Laurel

  • They also said if you know of other places that illegal riding is happening now with an established trail system, please bring the information forward, they don't care if you ride illegally there now, they are not looking to bust you, they are looking to establish sustainable ORV trails in Maryland.
  • It seemed like the goal was to establish a committee as there were too many people at the meeting last night to make progress. They would like to form a committee with representatives from each user group to all work together. Once the committee is established you can help by working with the 4WD representative to talk about what is going on, and other ideas.
  • Perhaps once the reps are established they would be interested in conducting meetings with the 4wd community to keep everyone in the loop and discuss ideas they should/could be bringing to the table.

Quote from Doug Bigelow (KOH racer and OHV advocate):
I stayed until 11pm last night speaking with the Central Regional Manager Deputy Daryl Anthony and the Director of State Forestor Steven Koehn. The deputy had the lifted winched up TJ parked up front and looks like we'll probably go wheeling this weekend or the next together. Mr Koehn wants to work with us and needs to work with everyone involved. I will say this. These guys are motivated to be able to find more land for us to go wheeling on immediately. Immediately as in weeks or months, not years. All that were involved last night putting the meeting on were all pro OHV use. They just need to be able to accompany their immediate goals of preserving the land as they have it right now and keeping the "good dirt" good and the less desirable dirt will be ours to ride on. We were heard loud and clear last night and many of us made that sure. The decision makers for what is going to happen were right there in that room and I had lengthy conversations with all of them last night as to what their ideas are, how we need to go about making it happen and time frames to do so last night. Let's just say.....this is only the beginning and that it will get way better from here on out.

As far as joining the committee, I have been in contact with John Wilson who is the DNR Associate Director of Stewardship for Land Acquisition & Planning. I have not heard from him as of 4/1/2011 @1400hrs. When I hear back, I will keep you all updated as this progresses.

Thanks for reading.

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'87 YJ- - D44's, 8" SOA , 5.38's, Locked f/r, 36" IROK's and a bottle opener...
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Unread 04-01-2011, 12:25 PM   #2
jonathoner
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Sweet. Any of you guys see bigelows KOH car? MD flag on the roof haha. Too bad he rolled it

Did it say anywhere if there will be further meetings? When? Where? Where was this one held? How was it publicized?
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Unread 04-01-2011, 12:29 PM   #3
Toms87
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A few of my reactions/questions...

- I'd gladly pay a yearly fee to put a sticker on my Jeep to use OHV trails as long as it's worth it.

-So Bloody Ponds, Coca Cola, and Laurel...these were brought up by attendees or are these places legitimate trail systems can be established?

-I can't believe people are arguing with the DNR in a negative way, it's obvious they want to help. Everyone needs to stay level-headed and make sure the policy makers stay on our side. Those "dumb rednecks" arguing over scientific facts may have real passion for four wheeling but they need to think before they speak.

-The point about being impressed by how fast this can happen...that has me really excited. New trails by the summer?

-Is Green Ridge re-opening in the near future or is it closed until further notice?

-I'm hoping they will be opening trails that are not limited to dirt bikes and quads. When I went to GWNF a couple years ago all the good stuff was marked "no jeeps."

HUBDEEP I can't thank you enough for this information and your participation. I'm a full time student and I work and all I have the time to do is spread the word and give support via internet, so anyone who has the time to take action in person I have a lot of respect for. If there are meetings over the summer I'm going to try to attend and participate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathoner View Post
Sweet. Any of you guys see bigelows KOH car? MD flag on the roof haha. Too bad he rolled it

Did it say anywhere if there will be further meetings? When? Where? Where was this one held? How was it publicized?
http://www.dnr.state.md.us/dnrnews/pressrelease2011/032211.asp
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Unread 04-01-2011, 12:46 PM   #4
mudboy
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Yall are lucky, really lucky to have ORV dedicated trails with the higher ups supporting the fact to open even more. I wish we had that here. I'm actually going to use this situation yall have down there to present to people up here. As of now pretty much everything in Jersey is illegal. So all you ever hear about is illegal ORV use. To havbe a few trails somewhere that were legal to use i think would make the situation we have a whole hell of a lot better. I wish you all luck down there and look forward to hopefully enjoying these trails one day in teh future. keep up the great work!!!!
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Unread 04-01-2011, 01:12 PM   #5
HUBDEEP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toms87 View Post
A few of my reactions/questions...

-So Bloody Ponds, Coca Cola, and Laurel...these were brought up by attendees or are these places legitimate trail systems can be established?
They were all 'grey' areas of wheeling about 10 years ago. Now they have been shut down by police predominately because of illegal dumping and stolen vehicles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toms87 View Post
-The point about being impressed by how fast this can happen...that has me really excited. New trails by the summer?
Possibly, but not likely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toms87 View Post
-Is Green Ridge re-opening in the near future or is it closed until further notice?
Closed until further notice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toms87 View Post
-I'm hoping they will be opening trails that are not limited to dirt bikes and quads. When I went to GWNF a couple years ago all the good stuff was marked "no jeeps."
Yep. That's where we cut our teeth wheeling. I've seen that place go from tons of great trails to one dirt road.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toms87 View Post
HUBDEEP I can't thank you enough for this information and your participation. I'm a full time student and I work and all I have the time to do is spread the word and give support via internet, so anyone who has the time to take action in person I have a lot of respect for. If there are meetings over the summer I'm going to try to attend and participate.
No problem. I've got time to dedicate to this and I'd really like to see it happen.
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Unread 04-01-2011, 08:24 PM   #6
Toms87
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Based on your attendance at this event and your familiarity with the sport in general (I'm pretty new at it), where do you see all this heading over the course of this year? i.e., Did they allude to how many trails were being considered, were they optimistic, stuff like that. Basically I'm asking for informed speculation.
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Unread 04-02-2011, 09:57 AM   #7
HUBDEEP
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I think the important thing is that the Maryland DNR even offered to listen to input from the 4wd community.

If we show a willingness to work with those in charge of DNR land stewardship and not point fingers among those in the OHV (as well as equestrian and mountain bike) communities, therefore showing a united front, I think there may be a good chance of restoring previous OHV trails as well as possibly the creation of new ones.

If DNR can see the use of 'unused' land as a possible revenue generator for the state, we may also stand a good chance of having more OHV trail opportunities for the state.

I think the key is that we need to show the DNR that there is little to no monies that need to be invested in this venture. Maryland's OHV clubs and members need to step up and volunteer their time to create an opportunity unique to Maryland and to set a precedent that we can all benefit from.
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Unread 04-02-2011, 11:24 PM   #8
Toms87
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1 park ranger and a few clubs working together could cut trails, that wouldn't cost much at all. What's the next step? Wait for the DNR to put together the committees you mentioned?

Edit: When you say restoring previous trails, what do you mean?
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Unread 04-03-2011, 06:36 AM   #9
HUBDEEP
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I'm waiting for an email or call from the Assoc Director of Stewardship for the DNR. From there, I assume, that a committee will be formed to work on the situation.

Restoring trails that have been closed due to erosion, etc. There was talk about re-routing trails around critical areas. Essentially looking at new areas to open to avoid any continual issues at those sites that the DNR has deemed 'closed due to overuse'.
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Unread 04-05-2011, 07:43 AM   #10
HUBDEEP
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Just heard back from the Assoc Director at DNR:

"Jason: Thanks for contacting me regarding ORV trails in the State of Maryland. The Department has not begun the process to develop a plan for ORV trails or create an advisory committee. I will certainly consider you as a potential committee member once we begin to form the group. Thanks again for your thoughts on ORV trails.

-John Wilson"

So the 'hurry-up and wait' begins.
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Unread 04-05-2011, 08:05 AM   #11
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Will the OHV sticker system be associated with a VIN or will it be like CA where you just buy a sticker and slap it on your rig? Because if it's the first option, us tube buggy guys will be left out.

I hope this works out for you guys. A success in MD could lead to similar programs in other Eastern states.
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Unread 04-05-2011, 08:13 AM   #12
Toms87
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1 ton yj View Post
Will the OHV sticker system be associated with a VIN or will it be like CA where you just buy a sticker and slap it on your rig? Because if it's the first option, us tube buggy guys will be left out.

I hope this works out for you guys. A success in MD could lead to similar programs in other Eastern states.
I don't know if it will be changing, but the way it's always worked is if you have a licensed and insured vehicle (aka you drive it on the street) there is no fee or sticker. If it's something like a quad or a dirtbike that is not licensed and street legal, you need a permit. So tube buggies would need a permit but are still able to ride. That's how Green Ridge works anyway, but that's closing so who knows.
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Unread 04-05-2011, 09:06 AM   #13
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Jason, if there is anything I can do to help out, let me know. I would be up for some trail maint if thats whats needed as well. Lord knows, I could use the exercise.

IF, they are even considering places like Bloody Ponds or Coca-Cola, I vote for Coca-Cola. I live walking distance to the opening (for the record, I have NEVER been back there), and an ORV trail system would be much better than what we are hearing about locally. They (CSX I guess) want to start double stacking freight train cars, but double stacks can't get through the Howard street tunnel so they need a place to load and offload.
They want to build a 70 acre facility that would have massive crains, and heavy truck traffic 24/7. I'm a bit off topic, but it is wise to know who the competitors are and what their plans are for a given area.
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Unread 04-05-2011, 09:35 AM   #14
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Coca Cola drive is odd in the fact that it is acually 'owned' by several separate entities: CSX Railroad, Howard County and iirc, Anne Arundel County.

The funny thing is that while accessibilty to that area is great (being so close to rtes 100, 95 , etc) the property itself is small. So small that it could be more headaches than what it is worth.

I can't really complain since we have nothing right now, but it would be nice to see some of the wide open spaces in Western Md, the eastern shore, or even southern Md used for responsible offroading.

I think Maryland should pull the Eminent Domain card and grab some choice property.
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'87 YJ- - D44's, 8" SOA , 5.38's, Locked f/r, 36" IROK's and a bottle opener...
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Unread 04-05-2011, 09:59 AM   #15
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I've never been to coca cola either. Is it really that small? Western Maryland is great and I would definitely make the drive if more trails are opened up but it is 3 hours from me and I don't have a trailer if my jeep breaks.
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