Motorcycle Industry Council Talks With Lawmakers About Access to National Parks

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By Wade Thiel

More Access to Land for Motorcyclists?

Members of the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) and outdoor recreation industry leaders met with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Under Secretary for Natural Resources and the Environment Jim Hubbard and other officials. According to the press release, the goal of the meeting was to discuss improving access to lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service.

The MIC and other officials want to see more access afforded to motorized recreational vehicles, like dirtbikes, motorcycles, and ATVs. Paul Vitrano, MIC Board chairman and senior assistant general counsel at Polaris Industries, attended the meetings. He discussed this need with Perdue, Hubbard, and other officials.

National forests are at the heart of recreation for Americans, and we made clear to Secretary Perdue that access to trails for motorized vehicles, addressing the maintenance backlog and investing in ways to expand and enhance recreation infrastructure are key to helping rural economies and the recreation economy thrive.

MIC President and CEO Tim Buche said the meeting also addressed how the government shutdown has negatively affected safety and access to the lands. He also noted how lack of safety and access has hurt the communities surrounding those lands.

“We must change the way shutdowns are handled in the future so public lands can remain open and safe for all,” Buche said.

Motorized recreational vehicle use wasn’t the sole reason for the meeting. The group also addressed the needs of other recreational activities, including anglers, skiers, hikers, climbers, campers, paddlers and boaters.

Much of the focus of the meeting was on the economic factors at work. The parks and forests play an integral role in the economy. The small communities around the parks and forest rely heavily on the lands for the influx of visitors. With the parks and forest closed or experiencing restricted access, those communities struggle.

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