The Bureau of Land Management kicks off October by celebrating the California State Parks, Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division’s 50th anniversary of work in creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation, preserving the state’s extraordinary biological diversity and protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources.
In participation with the division and the California Outdoor Recreation Foundation, the BLM encourages the public to support the Know Before You Go campaign and Safety Awareness Week happening Oct. 16 through Oct. 24 and the Oct. 9 Division celebration at the Quail Canyon Motocross Track next to the Hungry Valley State Vehicular Recreation Area, 36000 Quail Canyon Road, Lebec, California. This year’s event will include a keynote address by Director Armando Quintero of California State Parks.
There will also be free safety training classes for recreational off-road vehicles, all-terrain vehicles, and dirt bikes during the Oct. 16-24 Off-Highway Vehicle Safety Awareness Week.
For more information and to register for the free safety training classes, visit the CORF’s website (space is limited).
The division has contributed more than $530 million in support of OHV recreation since 1971, awarding nearly $8 million to BLM-California’s OHV programs this past grant cycle. Funded projects include ground operations, restoration, education and safety, planning, and law enforcement projects that benefit the 25,000 miles of OHV roads and trails the BLM has to offer in California.
“California sees 5.2 million OHV recreationists visiting BLM-managed public lands each year,” said Briana Halstead, BLM California’s OHV and travel management lead. “Whether a novice or seasoned OHV enthusiast, safety education is essential to the OHV experience and is why the BLM fully supports the ‘Know Before You Go’ campaign with key points to ensure safety, while recreating on public lands.”
Whether a new or experienced rider, consider these off-highway motor vehicle safety tips when out recreating on public lands:
Learn the rules of riding
There are laws specific to operating off-highway vehicles on public lands. Learn about them by visiting the webpage of your outdoor destination prior to leaving home and take a training course.
Scout your route
Each vehicular recreation area has a vast and diverse mixture of geology for riders exploring in their motorcycle, ATVs, dune buggies or 4x4s; learn about the various trail experience levels and terrain to avoid emergencies.
Know which supplies you need to have for a successful ride. Be prepared with a first aid kit, extra water and food, maps, a tool kit and extra fuel.
File a riding plan
Tell a responsible person back at camp or at home where you are going and when you plan on returning. Ask that person to notify local law enforcement if you do not return on time.
Use required safety equipment
Know which gear is required for your type of recreation to prevent injury. Always wear protective gear, including a safe, well-fitting helmet.
Never go alone
Always ride with at least one other person, but preferably in groups of three. If one rider is hurt, someone can stay with the rider while the other one gets help. Never move an injured rider.
Know where to ride, and ride only on designated routes and trails. Be sure to check ahead for open trails. Remember, wildlife has the right-of-way.
Know your limits
Know the rules, your skill level and how to maintain your vehicle. Only operate at speeds in which you can maintain control at all times. Do not ride faster than your talent and never operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Keep your speed under 15 mph when riding near campsites or groups of people.
Visitors to BLM-managed off-highway vehicle lands can learn more about locations, regulations, fees, safety tips and planning, by visiting the BLM’s off-highway vehicles on public lands website.