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Sunday, January 30, 2011

OHV decal dollars help educate young trail riders

The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests conservation education program “Kids in the Woods,” in cooperation with the Apache County Rough Riders, a local Eagar, Ariz., OHV club, was recently awarded a grant to create a pilot OHV education program called “Junior Trail Riders.”

“Junior Trail Riders” is a hands-on program that will teach Eagar and Springerville high school students about safe, ethical and responsible OHV use.

“The best way to ensure good OHV users in the future is to grow them,” said Hank Rogers, of the Apache County Rough Riders. “We hope this new program will help create a connection, an appreciation and a respect for the environment in these kids that will last them a lifetime.”

To better manage the skyrocketing number of OHVs in use in the state and to better protect wildlife and their habitat, the OHV Decal program was created in 2009.

“Protection of natural resources is a crucial component of OHV recreation and will help to ensure access to riding areas long into the future,” said Jimmy Simmons, Game and Fish OHV law enforcement program manager. “Programs like Junior Trail Riders are a huge step in the right direction.”

The community of Round Valley will also be a test area for the new program due to the close proximity of the national forest.

“We know that the test program will go well and look forward to expanding the program to all cities and towns within the A-S forest area,” said Rogers.

The statewide OHV Decal program provides the funding for the OHV Sticker Fund Project grant program administered by Arizona State Parks. OHV Decal funds and grant opportunities help pay for trail maintenance, signage, maps, facility development, habitat damage mitigation, education and enforcement.

If your OHV is made by the manufacturer for use over unimproved terrain and weighs 1,800 pounds or less, you are required by law to obtain the OHV Decal. The $25 OHV Decal can be purchased at any Motor Vehicle Department office, any MVD third-party service provider, or online at www.servicearizona.com. The OHV Decal must be renewed annually.

For more information about OHV use in Arizona, places to ride, and educational opportunities go to www.azgfd.gov/ohv.

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