By Mike Sedlock, Steering Committee Chairman

Greetings from the Capital Trail Vehicle Association located in Helena Montana. Last fall we formed a Steering Committee to research how to improve our club, address membership retention and recruit new members. Our challenge was to identify why people join organizations such as ours and how do we keep it interesting so that they might become involved and thereby remain members? Foremost, we presumed people join to have fun, find other people to ride with and form a comradery with other people of similar outdoor recreation interests.

Based on these perceptions we developed a new direction for our club and founded some new priorities. In February we produced our first newsletter in five years and mailed it to our entire membership along with a membership application. Our 2016 newsletter contains a lot of information of what we have been involved with over the past years such as forest travel plans, trail projects, etc. plus the new direction for our club including ride schedules. It can be found on our website at: along with much more information about CTVA.

The final Forest Service decision has recently been signed on the Helena National Forest Divide Travel Management Plan involving 155,000 acres near Helena. It is extremely biased against the motorized community and following is some of the major impacts: closes 149 miles (34%) of the current 435 miles of trails and roads; closes the entire Sweeny Creek recreation area located at the bottom of Priest Pass; closes most of the routes starting on August 31st instead of the traditional date of October 15th; prohibit camping and picnicking further than 70 feet from a roadway. Therefore, CTVA and Citizens for Balanced Use will be filing a law suit against the plan. You can assist us by joining CTVA and CBU by becoming a member and donating to our legal fund. To do so, down load our membership form from our website (we are a 501 c3 corporation and your donation is tax deductible). We need your help to keep public lands open to everyone!

Pipestone Ride January 16, 2016: The ride took 4 hours and covered approximately 35 miles. It was a fun ride although the day was overcast with several light snow showers and 24 degrees. Thanks to our ride host Doug Abelin for the great ride and to Patti Duagaad for providing a hot dog and awesome chili lunch. If you have never taken a winter ride you should try it some time. All you really need to do is dress for winter conditions and the best part is that there is no trail dust! Our scheduled February 20th ride at Sheep Mountain had to be moved to the Toston area due to trail conditions. Approximately 50 riders attended with 38 OHV’s including a few who came from Bozeman, Butte, Great Falls and Lincoln. Although the ride was only 17 miles and lasted 4 hours it provided great views overlooking the Missouri River, Toston Dam, an abandoned railroad tunnel and bridge and some great scenery.