Q1. How long have you been riding ATVs?
I have been riding ATVs for 6 years, Jeep owner for over 15 years, horse owner for 3 years as a youth and rode dual sport motorcycles for 16 years.
Q2. Tell me a little about the off road organization you’ve formed.
I started Sierra Riders (now called, “High Country ATV Explorers”) as a place for New Mexico ATVers to meet on the internet, set up rides, discuss issues, learn about places to ride ATVs and to have fun. There was no organized ATV clubs or good source information to provide information on where you could or couldn’t ride. This is the reason I started the club and it is still that way to this day. No one owns the club. It is owned by all that want to participate in it and it is there for everyone. The members elected to give back by volunteering their time to help United States Forest Service by adopting areas we ride in the Jemez Forest District and the Mt. Taylor Ranger District.
The club members are for pro-access with individual memberships in the Blue Ribbon Coalition (BRC), All Terrain Vehicle Association (ATVA), New Mexico Off Highway Vehicle Alliance (NMOHVA), to mention a few. They are very leery of doppelganger organizations that would restrict access but play the part of pro-access. The club takes their memberships very seriously but also understands a lot more can be done through common ground of larger organizations.
Q3. Tell me about some the trail rehab projects you’ve been organizing in the last few years.
The High Country ATV Explorers has worked with United States Forest Service in the Paliza Canyon area of the Jemez Forest District in the Santa Fe National Forest for 5 years as a formal USFS volunteer group. The area was touched by the Los Conches fire and the future of riding in that area is unknown at this point. Also, the group has been picking up discarded trash on Mt Taylor Ranger District of the Cibola National Forest. We picked up in excess of 60 bags of trash off of the trails and roads on Mt Taylor over the last 3 years.
Q4. You’ve recently been elected as the sportsman’s representative for the NM OHV Advisory Board. As a rider and sportsman, you seem like the perfect fit for this position. What do you plan to bring to the table over the next year?
1. New Mexico is blessed with so much government land but things are constantly changing on government land. The land management agency’s rules that govern outdoor activities can be difficult: impossible to find, hard to understand or not even available. This means cooperation is needed between state and federal land management agencies on clarifying what the rules are and how they affect the outdoor enthusiast. I hope to get some of this straightened out and make the information more readily available (a one-stop place to shop, if you will) by the state and on the internet with real time updates. New Mexico’s outdoor enthusiast and out of state visitors will have some place to go without trying to guess what is allowed and what is not.
2. I am a strong supporter of volunteer activities and will be involved in the state’s new Trail Ambassador program. I want to bring more volunteers out to make things better on the ground for everyone.
3. I want to hear from the outdoor enthusiast on how we can make things better, their experiences good and bad with OHVs and get answers for the outdoor enthusiast’s questions.
Q5. As a hunter and ATV enthusiast, how can we best engage and educate fellow riders on the importance of staying on trail and not driving cross country?
1. The first thing you can do is to lead by example and encourage those that you interface with to do the same.
2. The hiring of an Education and Law Enforcement Coordinator is smart move on behalf of the OHV program to further educate New Mexicans on the OHV laws and rules.
3. Be a part of the New Trail Ambassador program that is about to be launched by NM OHV Department. This is a really a great grass roots program. The program will help educate New Mexicans and the designated trail systems.
4. Make available Land Manager’s information on the internet and make simple to find: OHV trails have not been designated by all land management agencies but there are those that have. The availability of information to let the public know what has been designated for OHV use, camping, hiking, and public can access, etc. and rules that apply are very important. The land management’s agencies rulings are different from one location to another or one land management agency to another. So, clarity and understanding can only help those that are outdoor enthusiast.
5. To encourage the engaged users and groups about, “Staying on the Trail” to keep delivering the message and engage those that are not. Also, include the message, “Tread Lightly”, “Leave No Trace” and “Pack It In, Pack It Out” because those that are engaging in outdoor activities like hunting, fishing, camping, OHVing, etc. need to step up their game and pick up after themselves if they are not. I have picked up many beer cans, water bottles and other refuse left in camps, alongside the road and on the trails that have been discarded.