Forest Service and off-road coalitions meet: 3,700 miles of routes were submitted for evaluation by the Forest Service
RAPID CITY - The Black Hills are home to numerous motorcycle, ATV and four wheeling trails that are perfect for off road enthusiasts - and it is time to get organized. The South Dakota Off Highway Vehicle Coalition held a meeting in Rapid City Tuesday to discuss the development of a designated Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) trail system in the Black Hills.
The Department of Game, Fish and Parks Trails Program Specialist, Scott Carbonneau attended the meeting and explained details concerning the task force selected by Gov. Mike Rounds. The task force is composed of an assortment of representatives from various state agencies. Charbonneau, commented, "The task force will design the framework for administering off highway vehicles in South Dakota, they are examining the structural components that are needed for a statewide OHV program. This does not include management decisions, such as where the trails will be located or how long the trails will be."
The main issues the task force will examine include, OHV registration, funding sources, safety requirements and enforcement regulations.
As far as funding goes, Carbonneau commented, "Currently, everything is still on the table and most people agreed registration fees would be the most equitable way of funding the program."
South Dakota is in a unique position because the task force has the advantage of looking at other states that developed similar programs. Carbonneau said, "This is an exciting time for off-highway vehicle enthusiasts in South Dakota. States that have created a unified trail system have eliminated the problems we are seeing in the Black Hills."
The development of an OHV trail system requires a large amount of preparation. Black Hills National Forest Supervisor, Craig Bobzien, commented on the trail development, "We are shifting from an open cross-country motorized travel to a system of designated routes. The public involvement has been incredible. Motorized users have submitted over 3,700 miles of potential routes to be evaluated by the Forest Service. The leaders from motorized and non-motorized groups have collaborated to help shape an attractive, sustainable trail system that respects different uses and protects forest values."
One other important aspect of creating a common trail system is the need for a variety of terrain. President of the South Dakota OHV Coalition, Eric Hunt, said "Not all off-road riders enjoy the same type of trail, so the challenge for us is to design a trail system that all users can enjoy, by doing so we will hopefully increase compliance. The main idea is to create a trail that is user friendly and will keep riders satisfied."