Trail Access Grant: Dirt Minions 4×4 update

The Rugged Ridge Trail Access Program was first announced at the 2013 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Since then, it has awarded grants to a number of non-profit off-road organizations, including Dirt Minions 4×4 from Oregon.

Since receiving the grant late last year the organization has made great progress with the Ladee Flats OHV for their trail. They’ve upgraded two existing trails from easy to moderate trails with multiple single black diamond sections. A large clean up event that brought out 105 volunteers started the efforts removing 4600 lbs of trash from the OHV, from there numerous changes begun.

Several features have been added such as boulders to 4 separate optional crawl sections and clearing brush to opening a large natural rock ledge for climbing. Rail style fencing has been added to keep people on the trails and off the nature areas surrounding. Added water management to miles of trail that were unsustainable due to muddy conditions helped tremendously for the wet season which in Oregon feels like year round.

Dirt Minion 4×4 next plan of actions include a wide variety on new trails and expanding. There will be 2 new trails that require a lot of work for the trails to be sustainable for long term use. The organization also helped the Forest Service to obtain a large grant that will help expand the parking area along with permanent restrooms and also a campground may be in the near future for the park as well.

With the Trail Access Grant the organization has spent less time raising funds and more time putting their shovels to work.

Idaho Wilderness Bill threatens to close OHV trails

A bill introduced in the U.S. Senate to create a large, new wilderness reserve in central Idaho has been endorsed by the Obama administration. The legislation threatens to designate nearly 330,000 acres of land in central Idaho as wilderness, the most restrictive designation that can be placed on public lands. SEMA opposes the legislation as drafted since many off-highway vehicle (OHV) trails in the Sawtooth and Challis National Forests could be closed as a result of its passage.

For nearly a decade, lawmakers have proposed several variations of the Boulder/White Clouds Wilderness bill, also known as the “Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act.” The current bill is pending before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. There has been no action in the House.

Wilderness legislation is consequential since it potentially denies access to off-roaders and the equipment that they purchase, much of which is manufactured by SEMA members.

SEMA supports land-use decisions that allow local communities and government authorities to participate in the decision-making process. Within that context, SEMA supports compromise approaches on wilderness areas that balance the need to preserve access to appropriate motorized recreation while protecting some of our nation’s natural wonders. This would include “cherry-stemmed roads,” which are corridors within wilderness areas that allow motorized recreation.