17 Jun ‘RIDE ON Designated Routes Wyoming’ Campaign Gears up for Summer Season
Multi-partner effort encourages responsible motorized recreation
CODY- With the advent of summer and the high season for outdoor recreation in Wyoming, a coalition of partners is unveiling a new video series which is part of an education, outreach and engagement initiative promoting responsible motorized recreation on public and private lands in Wyoming.
This initiative, RIDE ON Designated Routes Wyoming, is aimed at enthusiasts who enjoy motorized recreation as well as outdoor enthusiasts who need motorized access to enjoy non-motorized activities such as hunting, fishing or camping. Youth involvement is a special emphasis. Goals of the effort include promoting the value of responsible outdoor recreation; informing off-road vehicle (ORV) owners about outdoor ethics and stewardship; supporting law enforcement programs and services to educate visitors about acceptable and responsible recreation behavior; and engaging recreational users through volunteer opportunities and other strategies.
Partners in the RIDE ON Wyoming campaign include the Wyoming State Trails Program, Wyoming State Parks, Historic Sites and Trails, US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and Tread Lightly!, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting responsible outdoor recreation through education and stewardship programs.
In addition to the new video series, the RIDE ON Designated Routes message in Wyoming is being spread through billboards, public service announcements and through media, outreach and marketing efforts. Partners, retailers, user groups and anyone interested in helping to spread this message are encouraged to access the free resources available HERE.
The campaign was prompted by problems land managers encounter, such as inadvertent resource damage during high use times, “trail creep” and the proliferation of unauthorized trails.
“We want to spread the message that Respected Access is Open Access,” said Domenic Bravo, Administrator for Wyoming State Parks, Historic Sites & Trails and a member of the board of directors for Tread Lightly!. “Riding on designated routes is the best thing outdoor enthusiasts can do to ensure continued access to public lands in the future.”
“Our experiences in other states have demonstrated that education and outreach efforts work,” said Chris Sporl, a Regional Landscape Architect and Recreation Planner for the US Forest Service who helped get the effort underway in Wyoming. “When outdoor recreationists are informed about why it’s so important to ride on designated trails, they respond in a positive way.”
Partners hope that a better understanding of the “Tread Lightly!”, “Ride on Designated Routes” and “Respected Access is Open Access” messages will result in a decrease in the number of resource damage incidents statewide, and increases in the involvement of ORV groups’ participation in stewardship projects, public awareness of existing riding opportunities and youth involvement.
“We want to encourage all outdoor enthusiasts who use ORVs to enjoy Wyoming’s natural splendor to get involved in this effort,” said Lori McCullough, executive director of Tread Lightly!. “View the videos, educate yourself about responsible ORV use and help us ensure continued access to the lands we love.”
Many efforts are already underway. For example, the Northwest Wyoming Off-Highway Vehicle Alliance conducted a cleanup event at the new Red Lake Motorized Recreation Area near Cody, Wyoming on May 16. Tread Lightly! supported the event and the Wyoming State Trails program installed kiosks to help spread the outdoor ethics message. Ride On Designated Routes Wyoming partners encourage like-minded organizations and individuals to get involved in spreading the word about the campaign.
Tread Lightly! is celebrating its 25th anniversary as a national nonprofit organization in October 2015. Founded in 1990 through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, Tread Lightly! promotes responsible outdoor recreation through ethics education and stewardship programs. Tread Lightly! has more than 70 official partners from various industries and is likely the nation’s only non-profit holding MOUs with every federal and state agency in the U.S. Tread Lightly!’s diverse member base enjoys a wide range of outdoor activities including hunting, angling, camping, boating, biking, four-wheeling and much more. Become a Tread Lightly! partner or member today and start supporting access, education and stewardship at www.treadlightly.org.
The Wyoming State Trails Program operates within the Wyoming Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources – Division. State Trails administers three separate programs; the Snowmobile, the ORV, and the Non-Motorized Trail programs. The State ORV Program was created in 2001 and is funded by user fee permits and gas taxes collected from the use of Off-Highway Vehicles. The program is assigned to the regular collaboration and partnership with federal and state land managing agencies, private landowners and businesses, and local ORV clubs. Mission Statement: Wyoming State Parks, Historic Sites and Trails protect and enhance the natural and cultural environment by providing enjoyable, educational and inspiring experiences for present and future generations.
The mission of the Forest Service, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the Nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live.