As members of the Blue Ribbon Coalition, the Dakota Territory Cruisers formally adopted the Blue Ribbon Coalition positions on the following topics and issues during a General Membership Meeting on May 19, 2000:
Route Designation Route Design and Diversity Environmental Protection Wilderness Wilderness Crowding Backcountry Designation Signing User Fees Sound Alcohol Safety Science Shared Use Vehicle Emissions Hunting and OHV Use Law Enforcement Volunteerism
The Dakota Territory Cruisers supports the policy of limiting wheeled off-highway vehicles (OHV) use to existing roads and trails, in areas where cross country use of OHV has been adequately studied and shown to cause adverse impacts. An open classification, which includes cross-country travel, can be appropriate in areas such as sand dunes, borrow pits, playas, and other open lands. In areas where existing trails are causing unacceptable impacts, relocation, or reconstruction should be evaluated before closure is considered. Where trail closure is required, additional trails should be developed to offset the lost mileage or opportunity. Additional trails and connector routes should also be developed in areas where existing roads and trails are not providing the necessary quantity and quality of recreation experiences.
The Dakota Territory Cruisers acknowledges that an essential aspect of the snowmobiling experience is the freedom to travel off groomed routes to explore scenic snow-covered landscapes. The establishment of groomed and ungroomed snowmobile trails should be determined by appropriate agencies in cooperation with state and local snowmobile organizations, other land management agencies, private landowners and other publics. The Dakota Territory Cruisers recognizes that limiting snowmobiles to groomed routes may be appropriate in unique areas such as Yellowstone NP, and in other areas as determined by land managers using a thorough analysis and public involvement process.
Trail Design and Diversity
The Dakota Territory Cruisers supports the use of OHV Master Performers, those individuals recognized as having exceptional skills and expertise, from within the agency and from private sources, to assist in OHV system planning, trail location, trail design and trail development. Proper trail location, design, construction or reconstruction has been shown to significantly reduce impacts caused by OHV recreation and improve enthusiast experience.
The Dakota Territory Cruisers supports providing a range of opportunities and experiences in OHV riding areas. This range of experiences can vary from short easy loops for young riders and families to longer very difficult trails for more experienced riders seeking a higher level of challenge. Available experiences can also range from more concentrated areas with interconnected loops to long distance, point to point, trails for those seeking a linear trail experience.
The Dakota Territory Cruisers strongly supports enthusiast education and, if necessary, enforcement to reduce irresponsible use. We also encourage active management by the agencies to redesign or relocate recreation routes that are causing problems to reduce these impacts. We recognize that recreational travel can cause unacceptable adverse impacts to the environment when used improperly, in the wrong locations or on poorly designed trails.
The Dakota Territory Cruisers supports the designation of Wilderness in areas that truly meet the characteristics identified in the 1964 Wilderness Act, and where obvious evidence of human development, such as roads, does not exist and has not existed. We also support management of Wilderness areas for the use and enjoyment of the American people as required in the Act.
The Dakota Territory Cruisers recognizes that some areas in Wilderness are overcrowded resulting in a decrease in the quality of the Wilderness experience. However we also recognize that virtually all of this overcrowding occurs within a relatively short distance from trailheads and access points. To resolve these problems, Dakota Territory Cruisers recommends a policy of establishing use quotas, redirecting visitors or improving access into less crowded areas.
The Dakota Territory Cruisers supports the establishment of Congressionally designated backcountry where motorized use can co-exist with mountain bicycles and other recreational uses as well as other management activities while still preserving the backcountry character of the landscape. One major attraction for OHV enthusiasts, and others, to public lands is the primitive, backcountry character of much of these lands. The Dakota Territory Cruisers supports the preservation of this backcountry character, where it exists, and supports continued motorized access into these areas. The Forest Service planning process is a dynamic and transient process; therefore congressional designation is needed to preserve these areas.
Use of clear and effective signing is critical to ensuring that public land visitors know where to go, where not to go and what is expected of them. For this reason, the Dakota Territory Cruisers supports a policy of route management that uses the concepts of “encourage”, “allow”, “discourage” and “prohibit”. Routes where OHV use is encouraged should be well signed to direct visitors to and along the routes. Areas where use is prohibited should be signed as closed and visitors should be informed of the reason for closure. All other routes should require minimal signing since the use will be allowed and the sense of exploration will be emphasized. We also encourage the effective use of educational and interpretive signing to enhance visitor understanding and experience.
Existing budgets for the active management of public lands are not adequate to accomplish all the necessary work. In many cases, outside funding is critical to the success of number of programs. The Dakota Territory Cruisers supports the continuation or establishment of OHV registration programs. We also support the dedication and use of fuel taxes on fuel used off highways for trail funding. In addition, we support development other enthusiast funded programs with the understanding that such funds will be used for the benefit of these specific user groups.
We support an increase of appropriated funds for recreation and trail management. We encourage agencies to place a high priority on funding recreation and trail activities. In areas, such as Wilderness and developed sites where funding is inadequate to maintain recreation experiences, and funding is not available from other user-supported programs, we support the implementation of user fees, subject to the following:
Fees should be for a specific facility or discrete physical area, not just access to public land in general.
Fees should be returned to the area from which they are collected.
Distribution of funds to various projects should be done with full public involvement.
The Dakota Territory Cruisers supports application and enforcement of reasonable limitations on vehicle sound emissions. We recognize that excessive vehicle sound can cause social and environmental impacts. We encourage all jurisdictions to adopt the stationary sound test procedures as set forth in the S.A.E. J-1287 Jun. 80 standard.
We also strongly support continued research by manufacturers and aftermarket companies to further reduce vehicle sound. In particular, we support evaluation and research into the effects of reducing the sound limits of the vehicles to 94 dBa when using the 20″ stationery sound test procedures. We strongly encourage vehicle users to maintain their vehicles in a manner that minimizes sound levels.
Use of Alcohol & Drugs
The Dakota Territory Cruisers condemns the use of alcohol and illegal drugs while driving. The Dakota Territory Cruisers condemns driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Use of alcohol has been shown to contribute to many vehicle accidents including off-highway vehicles.
The Dakota Territory Cruisers supports safety education programs for youth and adults and supports the use of all available safety equipment when using OHVs. We understand that the risk of injury and, in some cases, death is present in OH V recreation, as it is in many other recreational activities.
The Dakota Territory Cruisers supports conducting scientifically defensible research and supports the application of scientific principles to address OHV management issues. Use of unbiased scientific information is critical to efficient and effective management of OHV activities on public land, just as it is for all activities.
The Dakota Territory Cruisers supports and champions responsible multiple use of public lands. Multiple use includes sharing trails between varied recreational users and resource based industries where appropriate. Any restrictions on multiple use should be based on scientific analysis, public input and specific needs of the locale.
The Dakota Territory Cruisers supports the development of reasonable emission standards and encourages continued research to further reduce vehicle emissions. Use of internal combustion engines in off-highway vehicles, snowmobiles, automobiles and other equipment potentially may contribute to adverse environmental impacts. We strongly advocate that all riders make use of the current available technology, such as synthetic oils and oxygenated fuel, to reduce vehicle emissions.
Hunting and OHV use
The Dakota Territory Cruisers requests that state fish and wildlife agencies actively work with land management agencies to ensure that OHV travel management requirements are included in hunter education programs, hunter booklets and on unit maps to ensure that hunters are aware of any vehicle restrictions. We support the use of OHV by hunters. We do recognize that inappropriate use of vehicles during hunting season may cause unacceptable environmental and social impacts.
The Dakota Territory Cruisers supports the development and implementation of clear and precise OHV regulations and their strict enforcement. We also support uniform enforcement of all regulations governing land uses.
The Dakota Territory Cruisers encourages all of our members to actively search out volunteer opportunities and to provide volunteer services whenever possible to help with management of public lands. We recognize that there is a significant need for volunteers to help with management of public lands, and those volunteers can and do contribute valuable expertise to the agencies.