National Off Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC) Workshop
Published on Tuesday, June 25, 2024 in General Announcements, News & Updates

By Randy Toth

National Off Highway Vehicle Conservation Council Workshop participants

On June 15th and 16th, the National Off Highway Vehicle Conservation Council or NOHVCC as it is often called, held a trail workshop for OHV trails builders deep in October Mountain State Forest in Western Massachusetts. It was sponsored by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Off-Highway Vehicle Coordinator – Scott Morrill who also oversees the 13 member Massachusetts Off Highway Vehicle Advisory Committee.

The NOHVCC instructor and Executive Director, Marc Hildesheim, travelled from Idaho to lead the workshop. Participants came from Maine, Rhode Island, Connecticut and various parts of Massachusetts. They represented various trail user groups (ATV, Side-by-side, Trail Bike, Snowmobile) as well as Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) personnel. Arrangements were made to have a convoy of ATVs, Trail Bikes and Side-By-Sides transport the workshop participants around various October Mountain (or should I say Rockotober Mountain) State Forest roads and trails to visit various problematic OHV trail sites. SAM was represented by Randy Toth, Don Allard and Larry Tucker.

The workshop consisted of group discussions and practical exercises to solve typical OHV trail problems including hands on participation in trail planning and trail design exercises. The final exercise was to split into three groups and head off into the forest with each group being charged with developing a new bypass trail to avoid several current trail problems such as stream crossing, mud holes and severe erosion in an existing multiuse trail. The final challenge was to make all the new trail sections merge into a single reasonable trail reroute.

While we were all motorized vehicle users, everyone gained a better appreciation for the diverse needs and wants of the individual motorized groups. I found it very interesting and amusing that in the final OHV trail relocation exercise; the trail bike group came up with a steep, twisting, rock strewn, fun filled bypass trail section while the snowmobile group came up with a relatively flat, minimum turn, easily groomable bypass trail section. Meanwhile the ATV group ‘s bypass trail section was somewhat in between; but closer to the snowmobiler’s bypass trail section.

Entertainment was provided by a few of our very knowledgeable participants as one jumped into a pond and came up with a giant freshwater crawfish for us to observe and another discovered that we were apparently being stalked by a snake. She was able to assure us that it was not an invasive species of python that we had to worry about.

Everyone seemed to have a good time as most came back for a full second day. My final takeaway from the workshop was a new found burning desire to purchase a side-by-side but unfortunately there is no place to legally ride one in Massachusetts!

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