On April 1st, various groups representing motorized OHV recreation came together at the Tennessee State Capitol for the 1st TN OHV Day on the Hill to promote and discuss Off Highway Vehicle areas on public lands across the state. Attending were members of the ATV/side by side, dirt bike and full size four wheel drive communities, making voices heard to promote and discuss off highway recreation areas on public lands in the state.
Groups represented were NOHVCC, Mountain Trail Riders, Southern Four Drive Association, and supporters of the Coalmont project. Southern Four Wheel Drive Association was represented by Past Presidents Bob Yarbrough and Gary Parsons and long time Dixie Run Coordinator Greg Griffith. Knox Off Road and Franklin County Off Road Club along with Mountain Trail Riders and NOHVCC had tables set up to promote awareness of motorized ohv recreation. Also, a huge THANK YOU goes to Michelle Russell for spearheading this event and leading the discussions. (If I left anyone out I apologize.)
In the Senate Chambers the day began with a round table discussion among the groups and then with a representative from TWRA on the viability, feasibility and economic advantage of having OHV trails on public land. Areas discussed were Doe Mountain, Royal Blue and the status of the proposed Coalmont area with topics being the management of areas, shared land use, and the positive economic on the communities surrounding there areas. Also discussed was the need for OHV areas in the middle and west portions of the state to provide motorized recreation opportunities in these areas. The representative from TWRA, the state agency that is tasked with the management of these areas, did acknowledge that part of their strategic plan moving forward does include OHV recreation. This is a positive step forward.
Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey addressed the group and expressed his support for motorized recreation on public lands and asked our support to help move this forward. Beth Harwell, Speaker of the House also took time to speak to the group. We thank them for taking time out of their busy schedules. After the formal discussions there was time for one on one discussions with TWRA and to view the various tables.
In conclusion, it was a positive day. Our voices were heard and the case for motorized OHV recreation on public land was well championed. A big THANK YOU to everyone who attended. Looking forward to the next opportunity to do this again.
- Gary Parsons, Rock Solid Jeep Club - SFWDA past president
"It was quite a memorable event, that is for sure. I spoke with 7 Senators and Representatives in their offices about the laws governing OHV and the TWRA. Things are about to change, we just have to keep moving forward."
- Joey Blevins