Montana Trails in Crisis - a Montana Trails Coalition Report (pdf)

OHV Non-resident permits.


Montana’s Nonresident OHV permit requirements have changed. For more information, visit the Montana State Parks Off-Highway Vehicle Program page here.



Latest News

Survey Results

Previously I asked you to participate in a survey of Montanans to identify your priorities for the future of outdoor recreation, conservation, natural resources and access.  The survey is a success with more than 11,000 Montanans completing this first important step.  For the formal announcement go top
Now comes the challenging job of analyzing the survey responses and planning for the future.  The Project team will release a report of the survey findings in October.  We will keep you posted as the Montana Outdoor Heritage Project moves forward.  In the meantime get out and enjoy our beautiful Montana outdoors and share your experiences with a friend!
Bob Walker, Chair
Montana Trails Coalition

Montana Trail Rider News Summer 2019

Montana Custer Gallatin NF Releases Draft Plan & EIS for Public Comment

From Ric Foster, Policy Director BlueRibbon Coalition

The Custer Gallatin National Forest Plan Revision Team has released the Draft Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement initiating a 90-day public comment period running March 1 to June 5, 2019.   

The Forest will be hosting 10 public meetings, 8 webinars and 10 resource-specific podcasts available for download (March 18th). Maps and other materials will be available for review at public meetings, and planning team members will be available to answer questions.

Upcoming Public Meetings, Webinars & Podcasts

Read more ...


By Dan Thompson

The Bitterroot National Forest (BNF) concluded their Travel Planning process in 2015.  A case can be made that the dominant theme of the Travel Plan alleged that there are wide spread conflicts among forest visitors that needed to be resolved as part of the Travel Planning process.  One of the lines of evidence brought forward by the BNF to support their “conflicts” claim were comments submitted during the process by Montana FWP that hunters complain about use of OHVs during hunting season.  The exact, complete quotation from FWP’s scoping comments is:

“Each year FWP staff in the Bitterroot gets the chance to talk to several thousand of these hunters at the Darby Check Station.  And each year comments about OHV use ranks first or second among complaints, rating right up there with comments about wolves.”

The lack of specific details in FWP’s comments coupled with my own personal hunting experiences got me to wondering about who exactly is complaining about what exactly.  So, I launched a little research project to try to figure that out.  Specifically, what proportion of elk and deer hunters use an OHV to assist them during the hunt?

Read more ...

Excerpts from the MONTANA TRAILS IN CRISIS Report

By Bob Walker

The public land access that we enjoy now isn’t an accident.  The generations that preceded us took care to preserve our public lands and build the trails that we depend on, and it’s now up to us to do the same.  As pressure on Montana’s public land infrastructure increases, it is essential that we invest in our trails to preserve our way of life.

More than ever, our trails allow more Montanans to make a living in the place we call home.  Whether it’s a well-groomed snowmobile track, a rocky pack-and-saddle route, or an artfully banked mountain bike path, people will pay to get to the trailhead and beyond.  Over the last five years, outdoor recreation spending in Montana has increased 22 percent, from $5.8 billion in 2013 to $7.1 billion today.  That spending generates $2.2 billion in wages and 71,000 jobs (Outdoor Industry Association).

Read more ...

Latest Announcements, Etc.

MTVRA Membership Information

From Cathy Covert, Membership Chair

For MTVRA, I keep the membership data base updated by entering new members and removing non-renewing members.  We try for five years to get a non-renewing member to respond and pay the membership dues.  If after the fifth consecutive yearly attempt there is not a paid renewal, then the inactive membership is removed from the data base.

MTVRA has added a convenient “Pay Online” feature to the MTVRA website for renewing your membership.  You can go to if you would like to renew your membership on-line.

Unfortunately, since I have been filling this role as Membership Chair, I have removed 5,586 non-paying memberships our MTVRA data base. This equates to a potential $129,492 in annual revenue.

There are two things that make an association successful: Memberships and money-period.

Use Amazon.Smile to Get Donations to NOHVCC

From NOHVCC and Carl Siroky

Do you shop on Amazon?  If so, you could help support NOHVCC with your purchases!  The screen captures below show what this means to NOHVCC.

From Amazon’s website:  “AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you.  NOHVCC is one of the organizations that you can choose to support.  As noted above, Amazon makes the donations – at no cost to you.  Simply, visit, login or create an Amazon account and follow the on-screen directions to select NOHVCC as your charity of choice.  Once you are finished – all your purchases through will include a donation of 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to NOHVCC. when you shop on AmazonSmile.  For more information about the AmazonSmile program, go to

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The RTP (and CRT) Still Needs Your Help!

Sign Your Club/Association/Agency Up To Support RTP Moving Forward

The importance of the Recreational Trails Program cannot be overstated. It is likely the most important government program for OHV recreation. For any who may not be aware of the RTP, it is a grant program administered by the Federal Highway Administration. The program embodies the user-pay, user-benefit philosophy by utilizing a portion of funds generated by motorized vehicle users who pay the gas tax on any fuel they purchase for use in their off-highway vehicles to provide grants to fund trail building, maintenance and other trail-related projects. For more information click here.

Read more ...

Montana Trails Rider News Editor Needed

Bob Walker notified MTVRA Board that he will serve as the volunteer editor of the Montana Trails Rider News through the Fall-Winter 2018 edition.  He said, “It has been a pleasure putting the newsletter together since 2012 and I will always be dedicated to and a supporter of MTVRA!”

“I find myself overwhelmed by all the work still needed and demanded to enhance trails in Montana.  I volunteer my time to an array of trail recreation organizations, both motorized and non-motorized, and to the department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks which manages your OHV grant program as well as snowmobile and RTP.  I was recently appointed to your OHV Advisory Committee to assist FWP with the OHV grant program.  I also was recently elected Chair of the Montana Trails Coalition, an organization that brings all statewide and some regional trail organizations together to address fiscal and programmatic needs of trails in Montana.  I plan to dedicate the majority of my volunteer time to those efforts.”

Read more ...

Important number: AMA/ATVA Membership

From Mona Ehnes, Secretary Treasurer, MTVRA

You will note that on the MTVRA membership renewal form there is a spot for your AMA number (if you have one).   It is important that if you are either AMA or ATVA member that you list your number.  The $100 charter fee for the year can be waived if we send a list of at least 25 AMA member with their AMA numbers.   While we have some, we do need to verify the numbers and add those missing.

Read more ...

Latest Articles

The Montana Trails Coalition Membership

Finding Common Ground for Trails and Recreation 

By Bob Walker, Chair, Montana Trails Coalition Board of Directors

The Montana Trails Coalition (MTC) works in partnership with individuals, organizations, and communities to support trails and outdoor recreation opportunities on lands open for public use in Montana.  The Coalition’s many objectives include, among others, sharing information about existing sources of funds and securing adequate resources to meet Montana’s trails and outdoor recreation needs.  The MTC’s immediate primary efforts involved studying the potential sources of funds for trails in Montana and recommending actions to secure funds.  We published the Montana Trails In Crisis report that clearly describes the demand for trails in Montana and the dire lack of adequate funding.

Read more ...

Fitness on the Trail for OHV Riders

By Karen Umphress, Past Staff Person, NOHVCC

I have been active in the outdoors all of my life. Camping, hiking, fishing, canoeing, and swimming were all parts of family recreational time. When I lived in Washington State for a while one of my favorite forms of outdoor recreation was hiking on Mount Rainier; and one of my favorite hikes was along the Carbon River and Glacier. This was a seven-mile trip out to the Tolmie Peak lookout and back going over Ipsut Pass. The total length of the hike is 14 miles and has several thousand feet of elevation change. It takes a full day and is a great workout.

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2019 MTVRA State Ride

by Doug Abelin

The 2019 MTVRA State Ride will be hosted by CTVA again this year June 27th 28th and 29th with the venue at the Jefferson County’s Fair Grounds in Boulder Montana. The camping and camping rates at the fairgrounds will be same as last year. Some improvements to the event from last year include more parking, portable outhouses dispersed through the camping areas and more of the grassy areas will be mowed.

FOOD!!!  Like last year, no one goes to bed hungry!  There is a pot luck planned for Friday evening, so bring a favorite dish to share.  On Saturday evening there is to be a catered dinner for all wanting to partake on Saturday.  Also, on Saturday evening there will be a silent auction, prizes and 50/50 raffle!  If you have some items you can donate for the auction, raffle, and give-away please bring them.

Read more ...

Bill & Gerrit Hamilton Memorial Trail Ride

Great Falls Trailbike Riders Association and Montana Trail Vehicle Rider Association will be working with Bull Run Guest Ranch and the Hamilton Family to host the third annual Bill and Gerrit Hamilton Memorial Trail Ride May 18-19, 2019.  The ride is open to trial bikes, ATV’s, and all side-by-sides.  There will be a variety of lead trail rides for each vehicle type and for a variety of skill levels. Riders can ride on their own, but not alone, after they have participated in one lead ride or if they are with someone familiar with the ranch. The ranch is about 12,000 acres and features over 200 miles of routes for OHV’s.

Read more ...

Latest Legislative News

2021 Legislature Report - Parks & Recreation

TO: Parks and Recreation Friends Groups

FROM: Bob Walker, Montana Trails Coalition and Montana Trails, Recreation & Parks Association

DATE: January 17, 2021

Our 67th Session of the Montana Legislature convened January 4.  We anticipate several bills affecting recreation and parks programs.  We will keep you informed of those bills and their status as the session progresses.  We are currently tracking 52 LCs for which there is no current language, most are very general in description, and many will never receive a bill number.

Read more ...

Senate Bill 24 (SB 24) Would Increase Funds for All Trails!

By Bob Walker, Chair, Montana Trails Coalition

Senator Terry Gauthier is carrying a bill in the 2019 legislature to increase the voluntary light motor vehicle registration fee.  This change would create a new grant program for trail development, maintenance, and rehabilitation and help state parks and fishing access sites meet their maintenance and operation needs.

The proposal would increase the voluntary light motor vehicle registration fee to state parks from $6 to $10.  The predicted result of this bill would yield $944,000 per year for a new Made-In-Montana grant program administered by Fish, Wildlife & Parks for trails and associated recreation facilities similar to the Recreational Trails grant program.  In addition, SB 24 would increase funding to state parks by $895,000 per year and to fishing access sites by $170,000 per year.

Read more ...

A User Pays Program!

Thanks to Montana’s Legislature and Montana Trail Vehicle Riders Association

By Bob Walker, Editor

Montana Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) owners pay the majority of costs for maintaining and enhancing trails open to OHV recreation in Montana.  Thanks to requests by OHV owners, the 1987 session of the Montana legislature passed Montana’s first OHV registration law that requires all OHVs used on public lands to display a registration decal.  County treasurers deposit moneys collected in a dedicated fund to be used solely for Montana’s OHV program!

Read more ...

2019 Legislature Report - Parks & Recreation 01-28-19

On January 17 the Senate Fish and Game Committee heard SB 70 that would remove Headwaters State Park from the primitive parks list. We consider this to be a positive proposal since this park is nationally know for its location on the route of Lewis and Clark Expedition and as the headwaters of the Missouri River.  Taking this park off the list would allow electricity to be installed in the campground, especially important for individuals who rely on medical devices for their health, and would allow for trail and campground road surfacing necessary to meet ADA requirements.

This week Senate Fish and Game committee will hear both SB 24 and SB 102 on January 29.  SB 24, sponsored by Senator Gauthier, is our light motor vehicle registration fee increase from $6 to $9 for trails, state parks, fishing access sites and Virginia/Nevada cities.  This is an excellent bill that will benefit all Montanans now and in the future.

Read more ...

2019 Legislature Report - Parks & Recreation 01-14-19

TO: Parks and Recreation Friends Groups

FROM: Bob Walker, Montana Trails Coalition and Montana Trails, Recreation & Parks Association

DATE: January 14, 2019

Our 66th Session of the Montana Legislature convened January 7.  We anticipate several bills affecting recreation and parks programs and we will keep you informed of those bills and their status as the session progresses.

Read more ...


Lava Mountain Trail System Route Section Relocation

By Doug Abelin, CTVA

During this upcoming summer season CTVA, and any other willing individuals will be working with the Helena Forest District, Helena National Forest supervisor’s office and staff to relocate a section of the OHV trail route within the Lava Mountain OHV Trail System, located west of Clancy Montana.  The use of the entire trail is currently limited because of a short, poorly located route that was established about 100 years ago during the period the area was being mined.  The reroute of the section has been needed for many years and will improve the usability of the route for all users by establishing a secure stable route, mitigating erosion and improving user safety.

For more information contact CTVA at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Never Sweat Trailhead is Gettin’ a Biffy!

By Doug Abelin, CTVA

CTVA is nearing the successful completion of an effort that has taken over twenty-years.  Yep, it’s what it has taken to get an outhouse put in place at a trailhead.  That’s a long time to have to “wait to go” but the project is finally being fulfilled.

A single-hole biffy is scheduled to be installed sometime around the middle of May at the Never Sweat Trailhead Parking Area, up the Magpie drainage, in the Big Belt Mountains.

Read more ...

President's Corner

President's Corner Spring 2019

Hello All,

Growing up in Frenchtown, MT on what must be one of the tiniest haying operations in the state had its perks and seeming infinite places to ride a bicycle and wander were to big ones. Learning to drive truck and tractors earlier than most was also great fun. Receiving my first motorcycle was something I’ll never forget though. Having a motor and two wheels created a lot of freedom to explore the area near where I grew up. There was a lot of wonder and excitement for me tooling around on the roads and trails, finding out where each one ended or what it connected to. Being on the lookout for the next new trail to follow down its rabbit hole absorbed many of my evenings. Over the years I put a lot of hours on that old Honda CR80, which was my first motorcycle and created a lot of great memories in the process.

Read more ...



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