In 2001, I wrote an op-ed entitled; I Have a [Trail] Dream. My dream back then was that someday all trail users would respect each other’s personal choice of recreational activity and work in a collaborative manner on important trail stewardship projects, travel planning, and forest health efforts.
Shortly after that missive was written, a number of stakeholder meetings were convened by the California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) Division in an effort to bring diverse outdoor recreation interests together. The theme for those meetings was based on the new concept of collaboration.
OHMVR Division’s collaborative process was a strategy to bring OHV groups, conservation organizations, and the non-motorized trail community together to discuss how they can work together to provide high-quality outdoor recreation opportunities for the public while protecting cultural and natural resources.
Embracing that collaborative spirit, OHV worked with conservation groups and Congressman Mike Thompson in 2005 on a final version of the legislation that became the North Coast Wilderness Bill (HR233). After a lot of hard work by both sides, the bill recognized OHV and mountain-bike use as legitimate recreational activities on federal lands and also codified OHV use in statute on designated routes.
Collaboration between conservation groups and OHV continued in a process that led to the 2016 Dedication Ceremony of the Berryessa -Snow Mountain National Monument held at a popular BLM recreation site just a few miles east of Clearlake, California.
The dedication event was unique because OHV recreation was featured as a key partner in development of the plan to enhance both conservation efforts and existing/ future non-motorized and motorized recreational opportunities within the Monument boundary.
Another stellar example of collaboration is being carried out by the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship in their Connected Communities Project where their vision is to partner with the Forest Service, local communities, and other motorized and non-motorized trail groups to connect 15 mountain communities via a 600-mile route.
As the country celebrates Martin Luther King Day this year, I believe the outdoor recreation and conservation groups should continue to participate in solution-oriented collaborative efforts where finding common ground is the goal so our public lands can be enjoyed by current and future generations.
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