This is my first post as a part-time blogger for the Minnesota Adventure Riders. In my very first post here I’m going to be a bit political and offer up a shameless plug for AMA District 23 ARMCA. ARMCA of course is our state level AMA organization and while most people associate ARMCA primarily with local motorcycle racing such as motocross, they actually are and do so much more.
This past Wednesday I attended the monthly District 23 board meeting and in February & March I attended several OHV related meetings, including those of the state ATV organization ATVAM. I am always reminded when I attend such events how fortunate we are to have such a dedicated group of volunteers who fight for us as off-road riders. If not for the efforts of our state’s off-road advocacy organizations and volunteers, we would live in a very very different world. Believing that the trails we ride on exist because of the benevolence of the DNR could not be farther from the truth. Whenever you read somewhere about the DNR proposing to open up this trail, connect this trail to that trail, or whatever it may be, it is because of behind the scenes work of our state OHV organizations.
As dualsport/adventure riders of course, we are not confined to public OHV trails. The whole world is our oyster and Minnesota is blessed from north to south and east to west with all sorts of fun twisty asphalt as well as scenic gravel and minimum maintenance roads. However, if you’re like me, public OHV trails are very important to the dual sport experience. When I take my kids riding we go to public OHV trails. Imagine if there were no places like Nemadji or Spider Lake or Akeley.
The work of ARMCA is critical to protecting, enhancing, and expanding the off-highway trails we have here in Minnesota. Some recent successes you may have heard about include the Huntersville OHM trails, which have existed for a while, but will now have official trail heads, maps, and signs. The new dualsport law allowing us to get license plates for our off-highway motorcycles was spearheaded by ARMCA. ARMCA is also part of larger trail user organizations in the state. These trail groups help determine how Legacy and Recreational Trails Program (RTP) dollars are spent. The Appleton OHV area was a recipient of federal RTP dollars.
Shared between ARMCA and ATVAM are the costs of our full-time lobbyist at the state capital. While “lobbyist” is a bit of a political dirty word these days, the fact of the matter is that they are our eyes and ears at the capital. They are critical to helping us navigate the quagmire that is our state government.
In closing I’d just like to say that if you follow along here at Minnesota Adventure Riders, support what we do, support the TMAT, please consider joining the AMA and becoming a full member of our group (the AMA membership will cost you, joining us is free). I don’t always agree with everything the AMA supports, but believe the good far far outweighs the bad. Also consider joining ARMCA. They say all politics is local and that is definitely the truth here in Minnesota. While we certainly have large swaths of federal lands up north, the bulk of public land here in Minnesota is controlled by the state and counties. We need strong state and local organizations working for us. The surest way to get the government to move on anything is to show our numbers.
It’s Good Friday, I have the day off, time to go ride!