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Region 5 Meeting Builds Momentum For More Trails in SE Minnesota
Momentum is building in Southern Minnesota to substantially increase riding opportunities for ATV and SxS owners. An enthusiast group of riders met recently to focus on trail issues in ATVAM Region 5, located in Southeast Minnesota. Region 5 is made up of 15 counties, with 7 ATV clubs, 4 Grant-in-Aid ATV trails and 40,000 registered ATVs.
On Saturday, December 14th, the Goodhue-Bellechester Rail Riders hosted an ATVAM Region 5 meeting at the Bellechester Community Center. The meeting was led by Perry May, ATVAM Director at Large, and attended by 30 ATV enthusiasts, including ATVAM President Ron Potter; 1st Vice President Dave Clevenger; ATVAM Region 5 Directors Ken Irish, Josh Boeckman, and Mike Halvorson; Mike Goggin, Minnesota District 21 State Senator; Steve Drazkowski, Minnesota District 21B State Representative; and members of area ATV clubs. The meeting focused on the creation of a regional trail master plan, developing trails that connect communities, and showcase the unique landscapes of southeastern Minnesota. A secondary focus was on ATV laws that affect riders, sometimes preventing them from accessing local communities. This discussion included the current Ag Zone road-ditch restrictions, state highway usage when ditch terrain makes travel impossible, and the differences in city and county ordinances, permits, and fees.
Ken Irish noted that the Region 5 clubs are very active, teaching Youth ATV Safety, leading ride events in the community, and looking to ride more locally rather than packing up and traveling to Wisconsin, South Dakota, or northern Minnesota.
The next steps in Region 5 are to begin the process of developing a regional ATV trail master plan, with help from ATVAM and input from the clubs. And to bring some of the policy debate to the upcoming ATVAM Legislative Summit, January 11th, 2020.
Please put Southeast Minnesota trails on your 2020 ride list. Once there, you will quickly discover all the wonderful things this area has to offer ATV and SxS riders and their families.
ATVAM Creates VR Program For Youth Education
In August of 2018, ATVAM Leadership was notified about a Minnesota DNR commissioned hazard evaluation study completed on the ATV/Snowmobile Simulator. This study recommended the safety lock-out and discontinued use of the Simulator until several identified safety risks were repaired. After reviewing the costs of repairs needed, and how the Simulator was being used, ATVAM Leadership decided to seek a new direction in delivering ATV safety information while instilling the fun of ATV recreational riding in youth education programs.
Perry May, ATVAM 1st Vice President, took the lead on finding Simulator alternatives, which included the research of simple mechanical movement, to automated mechanical movements with a programmed-logic control, to the use of Virtual Reality (VR). A proposal to seek funding for the creation of a VR Video was presented and accepted at the ATVAM Vision Conference in April of 2019.
A simple description of VR is, a three-dimensional, computer generated environment which can be explored and interacted with by a person. That person becomes part of this virtual world or is immersed within this environment using their sense of sight and sound displayed through a VR headset (goggles).
We are nearing completion of an ATV Virtual Reality Video being completed by a Mankato Company called Sunstone Creative Group. Recently, members from the Bluff Country ATV Club, a Minnesota DNR Regional Training Officer, Sunstone Creative, and a young, certified rider took part in filming various scenes on the Southeast Minnesota ATV Trail, to be used in the VR Video. These scenes will we edited into a short, 2-½ minute video that can be displayed through a VR Video Headset such as Oculus Go.
M&M Lawn & Leisure, Rushford, along with Polaris, loaned two Class I ATVs to help with the filming. The final video will display safety requirements needed to ride an ATV, interactive riding tips, and the fun of riding an ATV.
ATVAM will sell a copy of the VR Video for use by ATVAM Clubs, along with a pair of Oculus Go goggles, to use at safety training classes or community events. The person wearing the VR Video headset will sit on a Class I ATV that is not moving, and hold onto the handlebars just like they are riding. A first-draft release of the VR Video is expected by July 4, 2019.
OTHG Club Hosts WCCO/CBS TV, Goin' to the Lake - Emily, MN Edition
The You Tube video is a "Goin to the Lake" / Emily segment from WCCO /CBS TV newscast that aired on Thursday July 13th, 2017 on the WCCO/CBS TV 10pm newscast. The Over the Hills Gang ATV Club organized a 7-mile ATV ride for the WCCO crew that started at Granny's Bar and Grill and ended at Sweets & Such in Emily, MN where they were treated with ice cream. OTHG Club members brought ATV personal protective equipment, such as gloves, helmets,goggles, splash pants, and boots to ensure the safety of the WCCO crew, and conducted some safety training before the ride. Club Members brought ATV Class I machines for Meteorologist Chris Shaffer, News Anchor Liz Collin, to ride individually, and Class II ATV's to transport a cameraman, photographer, social media and promotions team member on the ride. Additional information and videos can be found on the WCCO /CBS Facebook page.
Shown in the picture to the right is WCCO/CBS Meteorologist Chris Shaffer and News Anchor Liz Collin along with OTHG ATV Club Members and MN DNR Volunteer Trail Ambassadors Dave Kodada, Daniel Olmshenck, Ben Allen, John Halverson, Lynn Remington, Bub Moser and Perry May.