Clifford-Mopar-HEMI-KOH-2-9-15Do you enjoy off-road wheeling in California? As James May would say: GREAT NEWS! Legislators have passed two bills which will maintain funding for the state’s Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Program.

Certain corners of the internet were rightfully concerned about the future of off-roading in the Golden State, given certain gears within the government had introduced legislation which may have gutted the OHV Program. If passed, the Program would have lost its funding at the end of this year, closing the nine State Vehicular Recreation Areas which have been enjoyed by off-road enthusiasts for nearly 40 years.

Not unlike the good folks who created their own system of trails in the Yacolt Burn area, victory for the OHV Program came largely from groups of concerned citizens making their stance known by way of phone calls, letters, and other communication to their government reps.

READ MORE: ONE CLUB’S WORK GOES A LONG WAY

Senate Bill 249 was, like any good off-road machine, extensively modified from its original form. It now extends operation of the California Off Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Program indefinitely, eliminating a provision that historically had required periodic reauthorization and making the program permanent within state parks. The other piece of the puzzle, State Bill 159, provides funding for the program.

“The California OHV program is a model for the nation,” said AMA Western States Representative Nick Haris. “In its original form, S.B. 249 would have dismantled decades of work and ended the most important parts of this critical program. Our revisions provide quality, sustainable, family oriented recreation for citizens and visitors, emphasize environmental sustainability and protection and public safety.”

Without this legislation, the program would have ended Dec. 31. These bills will now land on the Governor’s desk, who has until the middle of October to sign them into law.

State Vehicular Recreation Areas (SVRAs) are established to provide public use for OHV recreation while implementing sound environmental programs to protect, preserve, and sustain lands for future generations. From the coast to the desert, the nine SVRAs in California have varied terrain and climates providing recreational opportunities to visitors of all skill levels and vehicle types.

In short, California is a great place to turn a wheel off-road. We’re glad it’s staying that way.

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