PICKERINGTON, Ohio — In a victory for families who enjoy responsible motorized recreation, President Barack Obama has signed into law a bill to allow the sale of kids’ off-highway vehicles (OHVs) to continue, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports.

On Aug. 12, Obama signed into law H.R. 2715, introduced by Reps. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) and G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.). The measure exempts kids’ OHVs from the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008, known as the lead law.

The CPSIA, which went into effect on Feb. 10, 2009, banned the making, importing, distributing or selling of any product intended for children 12 and under, including kids’ dirtbikes and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), that contained more than a specified amount of lead in any accessible part that might be ingested.

H.R. 2715 cleared the House by a 421-2 vote on Aug. 1 just before lawmakers went into their summer recess, and earned Senate approval by unanimous consent the same day.

The new law is a victory that is the result of nearly three years of intensive efforts by the AMA and its partner organization, the All-Terrain Vehicle Association (ATVA), their members and millions of advocates of responsible OHV recreation.

“Federal legislators deserve a lot of thanks for their tireless efforts, especially U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.), U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and all the other lawmakers who supported an exemption,” said AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman. “Hundreds of thousands of parents, kids and motorcycling club members responded to AMA calls for action to contact their elected officials and their efforts, along with all those volunteers who circulated petitions and took other actions, brought this issue to the attention of Congress and turned the tide in our favor.

“I’m sure that those letters, emails and telephone calls to Congress had a major impact in convincing lawmakers to exempt OHVs from the lead law,” Dingman said. “I’m also convinced that the AMA Family Capitol Hill Climb held on May 26 played a major role, since it put a human face on the issue by showing lawmakers the kids and families who are suffering because of the CPSIA.

“I want to thank Racer X magazine, Doublin Gap Motocross Park, Mason Dixon Riding Association 6 and 7, Tomahawk MX Park, the Middle Atlantic Motocross Association, Budds Creek Motocross Park, High Point Raceway, and advocates such as the Yentzer family and Moto-Patriot Nancy Sabater, who brought youngsters to Washington, D.C., for the AMA Family Capitol Hill Climb to lobby their lawmakers,” he said.

Dingman also thanked other organizations and individuals that worked diligently on the effort, including the Motorcycle Industry Council and Specialty Vehicle Institute of America, which represent the motorcycle and ATV industries; the motorcycle enthusiast and trade media; Sean Hilbert, president of Cobra Motorcycles, which makes kids’ dirtbikes; the Coombs family and Tim Cotter of MX Sports, which has conducted the famed AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship featuring thousands of promising young riders for the past 30 years, and Kirk “Hardtail” Willard, president of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation.

“I want to extend a very special thanks to Malcolm Smith, a member of the Motorcycle Hall of Fame, who brought a lot of attention to the unfairness of the lead law when he hosted a media event at Malcolm Smith Motorsports and sold some youth OHVs as a symbolic gesture to protest the law,” Dingman said.

The AMA has been at the forefront of the fight to exclude child-sized motorcycles and ATVs from the CPSIA since early 2009. The association has participated in news events to focus media attention on the issue, lobbied on Capitol Hill, and organized campaigns to encourage riders and parents to contact their federal lawmakers and key decision-makers to exempt kids’ OHVs from the CPSIA.

As a result, every single member of Congress, as well as members of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), has received powerful statements from members of the AMA and ATVA.

The AMA magnified these efforts through its “Kids Just Want to Ride” campaign. To read more of what the AMA has done in its efforts to exempt kids’ OHVs from the CPSIA, go to http://www.americanmotorcyclist.com/Rights/KeepKidMotorcyclesAndATVsLegal.aspx.

Aimed at children’s toys, the CPSIA ensnared kids’ dirtbikes and ATVs because trace levels of lead can be found in parts such as batteries and brake calipers. Other children’s products were also affected by the CPSIA, such as books, clothes and microscopes.

The CPSC, which is responsible for implementing the CPSIA, delayed enforcement of certain parts of the law until the end of this year, granting a reprieve for child-sized dirtbikes and ATVs. That gave those concerned about the law time to change it before the reprieve ended.

On July 19, 2011, the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued a press release announcing that it will solicit recommendations from “state and local elected officials, Tribes, and other federal land managers on areas that deserve wilderness protection and that have broad support for congressional designation.”

In a previous June 10, 2011 American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) alert, the U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar also announced in a letter that he will solicit recommendations from members of Congress about potential new Wilderness designations in their states and district, which will then be submitted to Congress by October 15 for consideration. This announcement comes on the heels of the Secretary’s June 1 memorandum directing the federal BLM Director Robert Abbey to not designate any lands as “Wild Lands.” This memorandum reverses Secretarial Order 3310, hereon referred to as the “Order.”

Secretary Salazar’s Order, issued December 22, 2010, would have created a new land-use designation that essentially would have allowed BLM to manage public land as if it had received a “Wilderness” land-use designation from Congress, but without requiring congressional approval. This new policy, if remained in place, would have restricted responsible off-highway vehicle (OHV) riding in the affected areas.

Secretary Salazar cited the passage of H.R. 1473, the Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, which includes a provision (Section 1769) that prohibits the use of appropriated funds to implement, administer, or enforce the Order in Fiscal Year 2011 as his reason to reverse this policy.

A Wilderness designation is one of the strictest forms of public land management. Once Congress designates an area as Wilderness, nearly all forms of non-pedestrian recreation are illegal. The AMA supports appropriate Wilderness designations that meet the criteria established by Congress in 1964, but anti-access advocates have been abusing the legislative process to ban responsible motorized recreation on public land.

Federal and state lawmakers called the “Wild Lands” policy a “land grab” and a blatant attempt to usurp congressional authority. The AMA sent a letter, dated January 11, 2011, to Secretary Salazar asking him to explain whether the new “Wild Lands” land-use designation will block traditional routes of travel for off-highway riding. To view the letter, click here. To view the BLMs response, click here.

The reversal of the Order is a major victory for responsible OHV riders and others concerned about appropriate access to public land. Anti-access groups will continue to push for legislation to inappropriately close off millions of acres of public land to OHVs. Not only are BLM lands under attack by these groups, but U.S. Forest Service land as well. Therefore, the riding community must remain vigilant. To thank the Secretary for his decision to reverse the Order, click here.

The AMA needs its members and others to send a message to their state lawmakers that all Wilderness proposals submitted to the BLM and ultimately to the Secretary meet the criteria established by Congress in the Wilderness Act of 1964. You can follow the “Take Action” option to send a pre-written e-mail directly to your state lawmakers.

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — Testifiers told a key U.S. House subcommittee on June 22 that off-highway vehicle (OHV) recreation puts billions of dollars into the U.S. economy, and public land needs to be opened up for motorized recreation, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports.

Supporters of H.R. 1581, the Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act of 2011, testified that the bill would free up almost 43 million acres of public land that now may be off-limits to off-highway riding.

“As it stands, the BLM [federal Bureau of Land Management] currently restricts activity on nearly 7 million acres of WSAs [Wilderness Study Areas] despite the fact the BLM itself has already determined these areas are not suitable for Wilderness designation by Congress,” testified Thomas Crimmins, spokesman for the group Professionals for Managed Recreation.

“The situation with the Forest Service is even worse,” he said, “as access is restricted to over 36 million acres of IRAs [Inventoried Roadless Areas] that have been deemed unsuitable for ultimate designation as Wilderness.”

The testimony came during a House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands oversight hearing on “Opportunities for Outdoor Recreation on Public Lands, chaired by Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah).

Besides Crimmins, others who testified included Scott Jones, who spoke on behalf of the AMA and the Colorado Off Highway Vehicle Coalition; Dick Lepley of the Pennsylvania Off-Highway Vehicle Association; Russ Ehnes of the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council; Don Amador of the BlueRibbon Coalition; and Karen Umphress of the Minnesota Motorized Trails Coalition and the Coalition of Recreational Trail Users.

The Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act of 2011 would remove stringent use restrictions on 6.7 million acres managed by the BLM and on 36.1 million acres of U.S. Forest Service land that was evaluated for strict congressional Wilderness land-use designations.

The federal agencies have determined the 43 million acres aren’t suitable for Wilderness designation, yet because of various laws and rules they must continue to strictly manage the land until Congress “releases” it for other possible uses, which H.R. 1581 would do.

Crimmins, who worked for the Forest Service for 32 years, was involved in the process for evaluating Forest Service land to determine whether it deserved a Wilderness designation. A Wilderness designation bars off-highway riding and most other uses.

“The intent of the process was to identify any and all areas that could potentially be considered for Wilderness designation and then, once and for all, make recommendations for areas that should be considered for Wilderness designations and areas that should be managed for multiple use,” Crimmins testified. “This would allow the agency to move forward with its mission to manage the national forests.”

While land mangers expected that areas ultimately deemed as unsuitable for Wilderness designation would be released, “this has not been the case,” he said.

On the economic side, Jones testified that “OHV recreation provided over a billion dollars in positive economic impact and resulted in over 12,000 jobs in the state of Colorado alone.”

Umphress said that all-terrain vehicle (ATV) activity alone in Minnesota contributed $2 billion to the economy in 2006.

Lepley, who also owns a motorcycle dealership, testified that the estimated economic value of the OHV retail market was $14.6 billion in 2009, “bolstered by the sale of 131,000 new off-highway motorcycles and 321,000 new ATVs, which are now part of the estimated 12.2 million dirtbikes and ATVs in America.”

“Clearly, the powersports industry contributes mightily to the nation’s economy during both good times and bad, but regardless of the economy, nothing threatens dealerships and the industry at large like having no place to ride,” he said.

To urge your federal lawmaker to support H.R. 1581, the Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act of 2011, go to http://www.americanmotorcyclist.com/rights/issueslegislation.

PICKERINGTON, Ohio – In a victory for off-highway vehicle (OHV) riders nationwide, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has reversed his position on his controversial new Wild Lands policy, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports.

In an announcement made June 1, Salazar said the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) wouldn’t designate any Wild Lands, which would have been managed as if they had received the restrictive Wilderness land-use designation from Congress.

Instead, Salazar said the BLM, which is a part of the Interior Department, will work in collaboration with members of Congress and others to identify public land that may be appropriate candidates for congressional protection under the Wilderness Act.

“We will focus our effort on building consensus around locally supported initiatives and working with members [of Congress] to advance their priorities for Wilderness designations in their states and districts,” he said.

Rob Dingman, AMA president and CEO, said he was pleased by the news but cautioned that OHV riders must remain on guard.

“This is a major victory for motorcyclists and all-terrain vehicle riders and others concerned about appropriate access to public land,” Dingman said. “But we must remain vigilant. Anti-access groups will continue pushing for legislation to inappropriately close off millions of acres of public land to OHVs. Not only are BLM lands under attack by these groups, but U.S. Forest Service land as well.

“I want to thank all the AMA members and others who attended meetings and contacted their federal lawmakers to oppose the Wild Lands policy,” he added. “Your voices helped put pressure on Secretary Salazar to convince him to abandon his ill-conceived Wild Lands policy.”

In December, the AMA and OHV enthusiasts won an important battle for responsible riding on public land when U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) dropped his effort to pass a massive omnibus public lands bill that would have inappropriately designated millions of acres of public land as Wilderness, barring OHVs.

But then just days later, on Dec. 22, Salazar signed Secretarial Order 3310 creating the Wild Lands land-use designation that essentially allowed BLM officials to manage public land as if it had received a Wilderness designation from Congress, but without requiring congressional approval. This new policy was widely expected to restrict or eliminate responsible OHV use in the affected areas, and was seen to be orchestrated by anti-access groups to pull an end-run around Congress.

It also was expected to have a far-reaching impact because the BLM manages about 245 million acres of public land nationwide, primarily in 12 western states.

Federal lawmakers have considered the Wild Lands policy a “land grab” and a blatant attempt to usurp congressional authority. Off-highway riders sporting “Stop the Land Grab” stickers produced by the AMA and distributed by the Utah Shared Access Alliance (USA-ALL) turned out in droves for a meeting of Utah’s Governor’s Council on Balanced Resources that featured BLM Director Bob Abbey trying to explain the new policy.

Several governors were very vocal in their opposition to the Wild Lands policy as well, including Wyoming’s Matthew Mead, Idaho’s C.L. “Butch” Otter and Utah’s Gary Herbert.

Because of opposition from powerful federal lawmakers, governors, the AMA and other OHV enthusiasts, the Wild Lands policy hit a major snag on April 15.

That’s when President Obama signed into law the Fiscal Year 2011 Continuing Resolution — the funding measure that keeps the federal government operating through Sept. 30 – that included language barring the Interior Department from using any money to implement the Wild Lands land-use policy to manage land as if it had been designated as Wilderness.

A Wilderness designation is one of the strictest forms of public land management. Once Congress designates an area as Wilderness, nearly all forms of non-pedestrian recreation are illegal. The AMA supports appropriate Wilderness designations that meet the criteria established by Congress in 1964, but anti-access advocates have been abusing the legislative process to ban responsible OHV recreation on public land.

As early as the 1840s, farmers and gold seekers loaded their possessions, a few women, children, dogs and cats in covered wagons and began what would become an arduous journey toward the Pacific Ocean.  The trickle of emigrants beginning in 1841 would turn into hordes of dreamers after the discovery of gold in California in 1848.  The overland emigrant trek would take five to six months crossing mountains, deserts, rivers and some of the most hostile country in the world.

Now, four-wheel drive owners, including sport utility vehicles (SUV), can relive the gold rush era traveling a 200-mile stretch of the 1849 wagon route used by thousands of emigrants from Imlay, NV to Surprise Valley, CA marveling at such sights as the beautiful Black Rock Desert, the majestic High Rock Canyon, Double Hot Springs, and Soldiers Meadow.

All of these sights as well as stories from early emigrant diaries will spring to life for participants on the 17th annual Lassen-Applegate Trail Ride, Friday, July15 through Monday, July 18, 2011.  This exciting journey begins near Imlay, NV and follows the same wagon tracks used by Peter Lassen in 1849.

“For me, this trail is special and as a historian, I get to relive the past by thinking of John C. Fremont, Kit Carson, and Thomas ‘Brokenhand’ Fitzpatrick and many other brave men and women as they made this dangerous trip from small towns throughout the Midwest,”  said Warner Anderson, trail boss from the High Rock Trekkers four-wheel drive club.

Anderson said the trip is open to all four-wheel drive enthusiasts and their families.  It is not a difficult route, but there are a few places where four-wheel drive will be required or where trail committee instructions must be followed.

“The emigrants wrote in their diaries such good descriptions of their trip that we can identify the majority of key points of interest in the history of this route, Anderson said.

Camping the first night will be at Double Hot Springs, former camping area for all of the pioneer wagon trains and the second night participants will spend the evening at Stevens Camp, which provides toilets, spring water, and possible hot showers.  Participants will need to bring their own tents and sleeping bags.

Cost for the trip is $275 per adult, $150 for children 7-14, and children under 7 are welcome free of charge.  The cost includes all meals from breakfast on Saturday through breakfast on Monday.  In addition to tents and sleeping bags, participants are encouraged to bring a CB radio, camera, folding chairs, snacks refreshments, and drinking water.

This trip is fully insured and operates under a permit from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).  Proceeds from the event help support the California Association of Four-Wheel Drive Clubs’ Conservation and Education Foundation.

The trip is limited to the first 25 vehicles on a first-registered, first-served basis.  To register or for more information, contact Warner Anderson at (775) 629-9232 or wana7448@sbcglobal.net or Ron Vance at (775) 246-4099 or vance63@charter.net.  Registration is also available online at www.highrocktrekkers.com.

CYPRESS, Calif. – Yamaha Outdoors is pleased to announce the winner of its third annual Yamaha-National Hunting and Fishing (NHF) Day ATV sweepstakes.  Determined by random drawing, Yamaha congratulates Natalie Uribe-De Freitas from Santa Clara, Calif., who has won a new 2011 Yamaha Grizzly 450 ATV with Electric Power Steering (EPS) valued at $7,499.

NHF Day was formalized by Congress as a public reminder that hunters, anglers and shooters are America’s premier conservation supporters who generate $100,000 every 30 minutes for fish, wildlife and habitat programs.  Scheduled annually on the fourth Saturday of September, the 2010 celebration of hunting, fishing and conservation took place on September 25 – with 120 registered events held in more than 40 states.  The events provided an opportunity to share the NHF Day message, introduce new participants to outdoor recreational activities, and demonstrate the positive impact these activities have on conservation efforts.

GoPro is launching a new national TV campaign based on its HD HERO line of  sports cameras and gear – and there’s a contest to win a camera as well. The 16 action-sports commercials are unique because nearly all of them are consumer generated, using the HD HERO camera itself to shoot the footage. The 30-second videos feature GoPro customers and professionals dirt biking, skiing, snowboarding, surfing and more.