Arizona State Parks Administered OHV Recreation Program. Updated February 2009.
Off-Highway Vehicle Program Mission:
To promote safe and responsible use of OHVs and develop programs that promote resource protection, social responsibility and interagency cooperation.
Provided is an update of the status of the Arizona State Parks administered portion of the State Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Recreation Fund and federally funded Recreational Trail Program (motorized portion).
Off-Highway Vehicle Advisory Group: OHVAG
The Off-Highway Vehicle Advisory Group (OHVAG) is a seven-member committee that provides program direction and funding recommendations to the ASPB. A sportsperson member replaced a citizen-at-large position on the OHVAG starting January 2009. OHVAG and State Parks staff work with OHV partners to evaluate State OHV needs, the Trails Plan, and make funding recommendations for OHV Recreation Fund and Recreational Trails Program revenues to the Arizona State Parks Board annually. Learn more about OHVAG
Recreational Trails Program (Competitive Motorized Trail Grants)
Federal Recreational Trails Program (RTP) funds are allocated to States for recreational trails projects through the Surface Transportation Act. The current act is called SAFETEA-LU. This federal-assistance program is administered by Arizona State Parks in partnership with the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Approximately $600,000 is available per year through Arizona State Parks to eligible applicants for competitive motorized grants.
The State Parks Board conducts an annual competitive grant process to award motorized trail recreation monies to eligible applicants. Eligible applicants include cities, towns, counties, tribal governments, state and federal agencies, and non-profit organizations. Proposed projects are rated according to criteria developed to fund projects that meet the needs identified in the Arizona Trails Plan. Applicants are encouraged to partner with the user community in designing and developing their projects. The State Parks Board may also provide funds, when available, to land managing entities (such as the National Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and State Land Department) by entering into interagency agreements to accomplish the mission of the state program. State Parks, in partnership with land managing agencies and OHV user groups, use a portion of the OHV Recreation Fund to launch a successful education outreach.
Examples of eligible projects include, but are not limited to:
Development, construction, enhancement and operation of off-highway vehicle recreation facilities, use areas and trails; mitigation of damages to land caused by vehicles, OHV and snowmobile trailheads, restrooms, access improvements, signing, picnic and camping areas, route inventories, and brochure production.
SAFETEA-LU expires on September 30, 2009 and reauthorization of the Act by Congress is in jeopardy.
State OHV Recreation Fund
The State OHV Recreation Fund, established in 1991, provides a legislatively set percentage (0.55%) of the total license taxes on motor vehicle fuel from the Highway User Revenue Fund for OHV management. More recently, SB1167 passed which requires a user indicia (OHV Decal) for certain off-highway vehicles. New monies from the OHV Decal contribute to the OHV Recreation Fund. The Arizona Game and Fish Department uses 35% of the yearly accumulation for information, education, and law enforcement activities. The Arizona State Parks Board uses 60% to meet the needs of land managers and recreational OHV users. The Arizona State Land Department uses 5% of the funds for cultural and resource clearances, mitigation and enforcement. The Fund has a history of legislative sweeps. In FY2003, the Legislature swept monies from the OHV Recreation Fund for FY2002, and all revenues in FY2003 and FY2004 (including monies obligated to grant projects). More recently, $1,518,600 of FY2008, and $1,086,000 of FY2009 Arizona State Parks administered funds were swept. Arizona Game and Fish OHV Recreation funds were also impacted. Funding raids affect OHV trails and backcountry roads which are used by the public for a wide variety of purposes such as travel to camping sites and trailheads, rock hounding, trailering horses, mountain biking, trail riding, rock crawling, hunting and fishing access, and public safety.
State OHV programs managed by State Parks, Game and Fish Department and State Land Department have been severely curtailed by the loss of these funds. Currently there are NO State OHV Recreation funds available for projects.
One-Stop Shop OHV Website
The Outdoor Information Center (OIC) provides maps and information about Arizona’s public lands to the public. The OIC in cooperation with Arizona State Parks is currently in the process of updating and revising the Arizona State Parks OHV website to include comprehensive Arizona OHV information including places to ride, new laws and regulations, safety training, and other OHV information needs. If you are reading this; welcome to the new Arizona OHV Website!
Thanks to a collaborative effort between a broad coalition of OHV enthusiasts, sportsmen, conservationists, elected officials, land agencies, and the public, new laws that will help to better manage Arizona’s rapidly growing OHV use will take effect Jan. 1, 2009. New laws include; safety and environmental equipment requirements to operate an OHV in Arizona; safe, ethical, and responsible operation of OHVs; and requires an annual purchase of an Off-Highway Vehicle Decal for the operation of any ATV or OHV in Arizona that meets both the following criteria:
Small Projects Agreements
Agencies that manage high use OHV sites (including the USFS, ASLD, and BLM) conduct small projects under $10,000 to improve on-site management. Projects must be completed within 12 months. Forty-eight (48) small projects were initiated during 2007 and 2008 to conduct activities such as trail maintenance, route signing and maps, erosion control, fence repair, habitat damage improvements from OHVs, and dust stabilization of trailhead parking areas to protect the public’s health and help achieve compliance with new dust (PM-10) ordinances will no longer be funded. Fund sweeps did not affect the 48 small projects; however, there is no additional funding for new projects.
Route Evaluations Matching Funds
The OHV Recreation Fund reimburses a portion of route evaluation processes for the USFS and the BLM. The route evaluation process examines factors such as the natural and cultural resources, use patterns, access needs and sustainability of the route. Evaluation is a major step in the route designation process. Completion of route designations will allow for communication to the public on where to travel (through maps, signs, and other means). The USFS and the BLM are reimbursed up to $15.00 per mile from the OHV Recreation Fund for route evaluations. Initiation of 13 agreements for the evaluation of more than 14,000 miles of routes and one area was initiated during 2007 and 2008. Fund sweeps did not affect the 13 agreements initiated; however, there is no additional funding for continued Fund contribution to the evaluation of trails and backcountry roads across Arizona.
Dealer Pilot Program
A new education program geared specifically towards motorsports dealerships provides information on responsible usage and proper safety equipment to the public at the time of OHV equipment purchase. Accomplishments to date:
Due to fund sweeps and the State hiring freeze, expansion of the program beyond the pilot is not possible at this time.
OHV recreation youth education on treading lightly and personal safety through the Natural Resource Conservation Districts was not funded. Agreement negotiations were canceled due to the fund sweeps.
The Outdoor Information Center is provided funds to assist in distribution of OHV responsible riding information.Fund sweeps did not affect the existing agreement; however, additional funding for continued OIC support for distribution of responsible riding information is not possible.
Recent Arizona Game & Fish Department Collaboration Activities
The Arizona Game & Fish Department (AGFD) conduct a variety of OHV education, information, and enforcement activities. Some of the AGFD projects that ASP and OHVAG have participated in include the following:
State Trails Plan 2010
Arizona State Parks is mandated to prepare a state trails and off-highway vehicle trails plan every five years. The final version is done. Learn more about State Trails Plan 2010
Statewide Planning and Training
The Arizona State Parks OHV Coordinator provides site-specific OHV project planning support, statewide planning, technical assistance, educational workshops and conferences. Due to reduction in staff, planning assistance and support is very limited.
OHV Ambassador Volunteer Program
Arizona State Parks coordinated the establishment of the OHV Ambassador pilot program. The Program was created as a result of the identified need from our partners to increase on-the-ground OHV management presence. Learn more OHV Ambassadors
Explore Arizona Outdoor Information Center
A great source of information with maps, brochures and other materials from all the land management agencies. Stop by One N. Central Avenue, Suite 120 in Phoenix. Phone (602) 417-9300. Explore Arizona Outdoor Information Center