May 16th 2022 is the day we can officially lay claim to getting our 3rd piece of legislation passed! Governor Larry Hogan signed HB 1143, a Bill several years in the making.
A little background on this story. As many of you know, MDOHVA is Maryland’s leading advocate for Off-Highway Vehicles. We’ve spent years further developing Maryland Off-Highway Vehicle Alliance into a name with State wide recognition. Enriching our partnership with Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources, fostered relationships with Towns and local businesses in Western Maryland, as well as made relationships with state and local leaders.
Why? Because 10 years ago there were only a few miles of non-connected public trails in MD. Through years of hard work this organization and many others, this number grew in a few short years to over 65 miles and climbing. This is not solely due to MDOHVA, leaders and legislators before us helped pave the way. Our prior 2 pieces of legislation removed landowners liability for allowing OHV recreation for free, and gave DNR 50% of OHV Titling fees under the mandate of creating and maintaining trails.
This matters, not only because of the recreational opportunities riding provides, but the life style, freedom, family environment and economic growth it cultivates.So today HB1143 will be signed into law (signed without opposition!), allowing Off-Highway Motorcycles, ATV’s, SxS etc, the ability to ride on county roads in Allegany and Garrett Counties up to 5 miles, building upon previous legislation. This will lets riders go between trail heads on different properties, and ride into town to spend their money. Paving the way for other projects that others call a “pipe dream,” but are much closer to reality than ever thought possible. But that’s a story for another time.
The reason we do this is because riding is a HUGE part of our lives. A core value held by our board is the importance of making things better and passing down this sport from one generation to the next. Not just passing it down, but growing it!
A special thank you to MDOHVA’s Board of directors. They have laid the foundation for this success. We would also like to thank the Western Maryland Delegation. Among them, Delegate Jason Buckel (Lead sponsor of this Bill), Delegate Mike McKay (long time and continued supporter of OHV access and recreational tourism), and most importantly retiring Senator George Edwards. Without Senator Edwards work on the previous two pieces of legislation, this Bill, Wolf Den Run State Park, and Saint John’s Rock would not exist.
As we also like to say, support those who support us. That goes for businesses, communities, and the politicians who have secured and continue to fight for our access to recreate on public lands. It is primary season, so ask your candidates where they stand on OHV recreation, and consider supporting those who already do!
James Ratino, President