Latest Newsletter

 

Latest Newsletter

Spring 2021 (pdf)

Latest News

Great American Outdoors Act

From Bob Walker

Earlier this year, President Trump called on Congress to send him a bill that would fully and permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund and restore our national parks. On August 4, 2020, President Trump signed the Great American Outdoors Act into law, accomplishing those exact objectives.

The Trump Administration worked with Congress to secure the passage of this landmark conservation legislation, which will use revenues from energy development to provide up to $1.9 billion a year for five years to provide needed maintenance for critical facilities and infrastructure in our national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, recreation areas, and American Indian schools. It will also use royalties from offshore oil and natural gas to permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund to the tune of $900 million a year to invest in conservation and recreation opportunities across the country.

Read more ...

2020 MTVRA Trail Tractor Maintenance Program Report

2020 MTVRA Trail Tractor Maintenance Program Report

By Mona Ehnes

MTVRA received its first $90,000 Recreational Trails Program grant for trail maintenance using a Sutter trail Dozer in 2014. The most recent work done during the summer of 2020 is the seventh year MTVRA performed trail maintenance on USFS OHV trails and BLM OHV trails on public lands across Montana.

2020 was a busy summer for the Trail Tractor Maintenance Program.  There were four new locations with trails that had not received motorized mechanized maintenance in prior years. The trail maintenance contractor working on the 2020 MTVRA trail maintenance grant projects also performed work on a project on the Lincoln Ranger District and another USFS trail construction project in the Little Belt Mountains.  The project in the Little Belt Mountains was funded by an OHV grant awarded to the Missouri River Off-Roaders, a four-wheel drive club from Great Falls. 

Read more ...

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 https://montanaheritageproject.com/mission-accomplished/
 
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 ...

Latest Announcements, Etc.

Motorized Recreation Grant Programs Available!

By Bob Walker

We've talked for the past 30 years about the need for more funds to adequately address the needs of motorized recreation in Montana.  Unfortunately, by the time this article gets published in the MTRN the February 1st deadline for applying for grants will have passed, however the information in this article is still newsworthy and can help raise awareness of the program. The information that follows from Michelle McNamee helps explain the program and how to apply for the grants, albeit for next year at this point.

Read more ...

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 https://www.mtvra.com/pay-online 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 smile.amazon.com, 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 smile.amazon.com 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 http://smile.amazon.com/about.

Read more ...

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 ...

Latest Articles

Four Questions with AMA Board Chair Russ Ehnes

From AMA Magazine

Russ Ehnes has a long history of fighting for off-highway rights. He continues that work as AMA Board chair.

Russ Ehnes, who has been an AMA member for 23 consecutive years and spent decades advocating for off-highway access rights, was selected as Chair of the AMA Board of Directors during a meeting in February 2020.  In addition to serving on the AMA Board as the member representative from the Northwest Region, Ehnes is the former executive director of the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council. He also has led the Montana Trail Vehicle Riders Association and the Great Falls Trail Bike Riders Association. He has chaired the Montana OHV Grant Advisory Committee and has served on the Federal Advisory Committee for the U.S. Forest Service Planning Rule.  Ehnes replaced outgoing chair Maggie McNally-Bradshaw, former member representative from the Northeast Region. McNally-Bradshaw served on the board since 2009 and had been the AMA board chair since 2013. She exited her position due to term limits. 

We asked Ehnes a few questions to help members get to know him better.

Read more ...

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 ...

Events

General Membership Meeting 2021

MTVRA General Membership Meeting February 23, 2021

From the MTVRA Board of Directors

The MTVRA General Membership meeting will be held at 6:30 PM on February 23, 2021 and will be conducted by conference call.  The conference call-in number is (425) 436-6320 and the access code is 615553.  The meeting is open to all members who wish to join.

2021 Race Series for 406XC Montana Cross Country

2021 Race Series for 406XC Montana Cross Country

Preliminary Race Schedule for the 2021 season

April 24, – 25

Last Chance XC

Helena

May 8 – 9

Coal Mine Coulee XC

Big Sandy

May 22 – 23

Yellowstone XC

Billings

June 5 – 6

Horse Creek XC

Adams Ranch, Melstone

June 26 – 27

Elk Basin XC

BMC, Belfy

 

Latest Legislative News

Legislative Update 2-19-2021

Following find state recreation and parks bills that will face action in our legislature within the week.  For more detail go to https://leg.mt.gov/ and look up the bills.

Read more ...

2021 Legislature Report - Parks & Recreation Feb 13, 2021

Your Montana Trails Coalition and Montana Trails, Recreation and Parks Association keeps you informed and up-to-date about bills in the legislature that affect recreation and parks programs.

NOTE: SB means Senate bill, HB means House of Representatives bill, LC means a bill draft request has been submitted to Legislative Services.

NOTE: Transmittal date is March 3 which means general bills must be transmitted to the other chamber from which they originated, and is the last day to request appropriation bills.

Read more ...

2021 Legislature Report - Parks & Recreation - Feb 6

2021 Legislature Report - Parks & Recreation 

TO: Parks and Recreation Friends Groups

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

DATE: February 6, 2021

Your Montana Trails Coalition and Montana Trails, Recreation and Parks Association keeps you informed and up-to-date about bills in the legislature that affect recreation and parks programs.

Read more ...

The 2021 Montana Legislative Session 

Excerpts from Treasure State Resources Association News, December 2020

The Montana Legislative Session will kick off on Monday, January 4, 2021. Republicans enjoy large majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Montana Senate. Montana will also swear in a new Governor, Greg Gianforte, and other statewide elected officials following a Republican sweep of all major offices.

Legislative Bill Draft Requests:

The number of bill draft requests for the 67th Legislative Session is approaching 2000. The deadline for unlimited requests has passed, but legislators can continue to submit requests as the session approaches. A significant number of the requests are broad in title, serving as placeholders for more targeted language to come. Those interested in reviewing the list can review them on the website at https://leg.mt.gov/

 

 

 

 

 

Standing Committee Members Named for 2021 Legislative Session

The Legislative Branch released the names of legislators who will serve on standing committees (also referred to as Session Committees) for the 67th Montana Legislative Session.  The 2021 House and Senate Standing Committees lists are online at: https://leg.mt.gov/committees/session-committees/

 

Additional information and bill tracking are online at on https://leg.mt.gov/.  

 

Members and other information are subject to change. Check the website for the most up-to-date lists.

2021 Legislature Report - Parks & Recreation

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 ...

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 ...

The following topics were brought before the board:

Hire a Lobbyist for 2021 Legislative Session - Russ presented Roger Hagan’s proposal to be a Lobbyist on behalf of MTVRA for the 2021 Legislative Session.  Bob Walker discussed the upcoming session and the changes proposed in SB38 to correct the Trail Pass Bill.  Russ made the motion to hire Roger for this session, which was seconded by Doug Abelin, and the motion passed.

Planned Date for the MTVRA General Membership meeting - The date for the annual MTVRA General Membership meeting was set for February 23, 2021 and will be conducted by conference call starting at 6:30. The announcement will be in the Montana Trail Rider Newsletter and should be in members hands within the days required in the bylaws.  Same phone in and access numbers. (Call in number: (425) 436-6320 Access code: 615553)

Information Shared about E-bike Rules - LC1760 is a proposed bill for e-bike use management.  There is no finalized language at this time, however the BLM has final rule and USFS will have final e-bike rule soon.  Local clubs should pay attention to this topic and encourage e-bike riders on motorized trails.  Watch for motorized trails getting proposed for quiet use & e-bikes.
  
Great Western Trail Update – Not much happened this past year to progress the Great Western Trail, due to COVID restrictions and interference.  Kent Wellner had planned to talk to rangers, prior to COVID, so we wait to hear more from him.

2021 Grant Programs - Russ made the motion for MTVRA to apply for the following Trail Tractor Maintenance grants for the upcoming season, which was seconded by Bill Black, and the motion passed. 

  • $50,000 from the Recreational Trails Program (2 years),  
  • $50,000 from (SB24) the new Montana Trail Stewardship Program (2 years), 
  • $100.000 from (SB355) the Summer Motorized Trail Pass Program (3 years), and 
  • $20,000 from the OHV grant, for project with agency.

Update about the previous request for legal assistance from the Bitterroot Ridge Runners – The request has been canceled because the club no nondeer needs the additional funds.  They reached an agreement with their legal team.

Discussion planning for the 2021 State Ride event – The board will continue to explore possible options for an organized event, if the COVID lockdown situation improves.  Russ mentioned he will be representing AMA in his involvement with the BMW Motorcycle Owners rally planned for June 24th through the 27th in Great Falls this summer.

Hell-Gate Mine purchase discussion – There was a discussion about how this mine purchase has resulted in closure of access the trail there.  There is a Missoula county commission meeting agenda item and a resolution regarding all-terrain vehicles. Bob will forward information about it to the board members. 

Other Information and Discussion Items

  • 2021 Legislative Night and Luncheon in the Rotunda are cancelled
  • Doug Abelin made a motion that MTVRA pay the dues of $265.00 to renew our annual membership to the Treasure State Resource Association for the year, which Nic seconded and the motion passed. 
  • Treasurers report will be sent to Board members as requested.

 

Russ moved to adjourn the meeting, which was seconded by Nic, and the motion passed.          

 

Mona Ehnes, Sec/Treas.