Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Committee forming for recommendations on enforcement of Off Highway Vehicles

Off Highway Vehicles (OHV) have been a serious problem at Hawksnest in the past.  They still are causing serious erosion by driving too close to the beach from the Round Cove Road parking area.  The following is reprinted from Friends Network.

OHV parked just above the beach at Hawksnest.

"Some of you are part of the OHV community and recognize that illegal use is damaging to your image as a user group and understand the negative impact of that. Others are people who have had unfortunate encounters and feel intimidated and threatened by riders. Still others are concerned about the negative impacts to the environment caused by illegal use. People in both camps are disappointed by the inability of government officials to address our concerns.

The Friends Network is forming an ad-hoc committee to produce recommendations for a comprehensive OHV enforcement plan that contains a strong citizen component. Our goal is to submit the recommendations to the DCR Stewardship Council as a guide to establishing a workable plan that can be used using the current regulations as well as work under new laws that may be passed in the future.

This meeting will be focused on one issue. Enforcement. We do not intend to revisit the comprehensive work of the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) OHV Enforcement Working Group. Once the bill using their work is passed we expect that a committee will be established for ongoing discussions between the OHV Community and others. Our intention is to review a plan developed by members of the Friends Network and to ask for your suggestions and input.

We believe this committee should include representatives of off-highway vehicle, snowmobile, mountain biking, hiking, equestrian, birding, and environmental organization’s interests. Additionally, we’re asking support from state agencies charged with development and enforcement of OHV regulations, including DCR officials, MA Environmental Police, State and local police, Bureau of Ranger Services, DCR staff where riding is legal, DCR staff where riding is illegal.

We won’t be starting from scratch. Over the past 3 years, Friends Network Facilitators have collected data and suggestions on OHV management from law enforcement officials and people on both sides of the OHV issue, and we have researched what works in other states and countries. Now we’re asking you—as stakeholders—to work with us to complete recommendations that are fair, workable and make sense.

We anticipate not more than three meetings to refine a workable document to present to the DCR Stewardship Council. If the Stewardship Council accepts the recommendations, we will offer to work with DCR to implement the citizen participation elements of the plan.

To keep the discussion manageable we will be selecting representatives of all views. If you are able to come to a meeting on the date below please let us know. We will advise you if you are selected to participate. For those not included in the actual meeting we will continue to keep you abreast of the discussion and welcome any suggestions you send.

OHV Recommendations Committee Meeting
Saturday, March 27, 10 - 2 p.m.
Richard Sugden Library Community Room
8 Pleasant Street
Spencer, MA

Please apply by sending a statement of interest to


Draft Agenda – subject to participant input
Welcome, clarification of purpose, rules of engagement
Roundtable introductions and a statement of personal interest in the OHV issue
Information sharing - informal presentations are encouraged, limit 10 - 15 min. each. (Please sign up in advance. Tell us what technical support is needed)
Identify areas of agreement, disagreement and areas needing more work
Assign work to complete OHV management recommendations
Plan next meeting
General Topics
· Evaluation of enforcement tools and how they can used effectively
· Better communication between state agencies and the public
· Public engagement programs, such as Park Watch
· Support for the Citizens Advisory Committee in the legislative bill
· Increased public education and communication regarding the current laws
· Citizen cooperation on the development of an OHV handbook "

Find more information on the Friends Network OHV Initiative here.

No comments:

Post a Comment