The Off-Road Business Association, Inc (ORBA) wishes to announce to all of its members, partner organizations in the off-road recreation business, clubs and off-road enthusiasts everywhere of its intention to rally support for the lobbying of state and federal representatives for the identification, protection, preservation and further utilization of America’s historic off-road trails. Beyond their important recreational use, these trails are a vital part of our rural communities, our shared history, our national character and our economy. These trails and public lands need to be brought under an umbrella of protection so they may be preserved for generations to come to use recreationally. Most off-roaders are conservationists; however they believe in a balanced approach which preserves responsible, low impact access to our remote natural areas, and ORBA seeks to continue and expand this approach.
America’s landscape is blessed with many natural wonders which generations have enjoyed recreationally through hiking, biking, Off-Highway Vehicles (OHV) and so on. Many of these natural treasures have been identified and protected through positive legislation such as the recent proclamation by President Obama for the establishment of Chimney Rock National Monument. However, many of these natural trails, such as the Rubicon whose travel history and significance predates the invention of the automobile, have yet to be identified and offered the same protection and enhancement under the law. These historic monuments are a key part of our environment, and our future economy, and deserve to be protected and utilized properly for the enjoyment of all.
To accommodate outdoor enthusiasts, some parks like Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida, were created specifically for OHVs and related purposes. However, this attitude is not the norm as many areas of recreational and historical significance have been closed off to the public to the benefit of no one. For example, anyone visiting the Mojave Desert finds red signs closing off many of the dirt roads which have been established since the first wagons came West to California. These signs are the result of the California Desert Act, which many off-road vehicle users mistakenly supported, and has now closed off these portals to our past.
In Death Valley, specifically the Greenwater Canyon area, access on foot is impractical due to the canyon's length and lack of water. This has been a traditional travel route since ancient times, with vehicular traffic at least since the 1906 Greenwater copper rush. Access to large parts of the historic 20 Mule Team Borax Trail is also closed off by the California Desert Act. Everywhere across the landscape side roads have been closed off, greatly reducing opportunities for exploring and environmental appreciation. A list of closures in Death Valley alone affects at least a dozen historic trails. The California Desert Act has no conceivable environmental benefit and makes land management, fire control and rescue operations in such areas more difficult and expensive.
In addition to the the environmental and historical significance of these areas there is the positive affect they have on our national character. It is important that we as a nation reclaim and take care of our natural resources for the benefit of ourselves and our future generations. As off-road businessmen and enthusiasts it is imperative we preserve our nation’s resources through positive conservation practices and protective legislation. ORBA supports those legislators who understand our values of working with the environment in a responsible manner.
Finally, it is also of significant economic value to the United States to protect and preserve these public lands and use them in a responsible manner for all. Travel and tourism has generated over $1.9 Trillion n in economic impact, with $813 billion spent directly by
domestic and international travelers that spurred an additional $1.1 trillion in other industries (Source: US Travel Association). Travel & tourism supports 14.4 million jobs in the United States. Therefore, making these rural environments attractive to tourists and off-road enthusiasts makes excellent business sense and will keep tourism the #1 services export industry in the US, as well as generating many side recreation-based industries.
It is for all these reasons that the ORBA supports current positive legislation for the proper use of public lands by all, and future legislation that allows for the expansion of public land use in an environmentally-friendly manner for the benefit of all. We call upon all off-road enthusiasts, businesses, and associations to lobby their respective representatives at the state and federal level to put forth legislation to identify, protect, and preserve those trails across the United States that can be used in an environmentally safe manner for recreational purposes. ORBA looks forward to working with everyone in seeing that our national heritage is preserved and enhanced for the present and our future outdoor enthusiasts.
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ORBA is a national non-profit trade association of motorized off-road related businesses formed to promote and preserve off-road recreation. ORBA proactively protects recreation access and opportunities by ensuring that America's families are not arbitrarily denied the right to responsibly recreate. ORBA provides leadership in addressing land use issues by advancing policies that conserve the environment while at the same time providing off-road recreation opportunities.
ORBA makes decisions and takes actions that maintain and expand off-highway vehicle recreation opportunities. ORBA works closely with its partner organizations on local, state and federal issues that have potential impacts to the off-road industry. We are dedicated to making it possible for the OHV industry to have a voice in land use issues.