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The Story of the MA'AM Group Moose Lake Area ATV Management Group (A great example of problem-solving by an ATV Club)

By Eric Senarighi, president, Carlton County Riders Club
In the spring of 2020, during the height of the lockdown, my friend Dean Weske reached out to me about some issues regarding ATV and dirt bike traffic in his residential neighborhood, along the old Highway 8 outside of Moose Lake, Minnesota. I have known Dean for 15 years, through some of the extreme motorsports he has been involved in, such as the Kettle River Mud Bog and coordinating the "watercross" (snowmobile racing on open water) in Moose Lake. This relationship made me realize the severity of the issue in his neighborhood.
Moose Lake is unique in the fact that it has ATV trails coming into town from all directions. Riders head to Moose Lake businesses from the Soo Line North and Soo Line South, General C.C. Andrews, Soo Pits and the Nemadji State Forest. There are also hiking and biking trails in the area, and in winter the State snowmobile trails. The majority of businesses are located along the main drag of State Highway 27. This raises issues with access to and from needed services for all the outdoor sports in Moose Lake. Increased traffic of off-highway vehicles brought complaints from long-time residents about dust, speed and noise.
I reached out to our County Land Commissioner, Greg Bernu, spoke to the Carlton County Board in July, and had conversations with local residents of this area. We came up with some possible solutions, which were well received. Moving forward with implementing these plans and discussing their feasibility, I assembled “The MA’AM Group.” Members included the Moose Lake Chief of Police, Minnesota DNR Conservation Officers and Parks and Trails staff, Land Commissioner Bernu, the Carlton County Sheriff, several local members of the Carlton County Riders ATV Club, residents along Old Hwy 8 and a representative from the Evergreen PAC ATV Club.
This group met once a month in August, September and October. We discussed creating new signage and information kiosks. We designated city ATV routes, a new city ATV trail and a reroute of the Soo Line Trail where it runs along Old Hwy 8. We invited ATV Minnesota Director-at-Large Perry May to our September meeting to discuss ways to help fund some of these projects, and to offer insight with similar communities across the state. A target we have for these changes is to implement them for the riding season in 2021. This gave the city and county time to secure funds and grants to make these plans a reality.
In my opinion, this is a textbook example of how these types of off-road issues should be handled. Bring all the stakeholders together, openly discuss the issues, create a plan to solve the problems, find the funding and make it happen.
As the 2021 riding season is kicking off, the best thing ATV clubs can do is pay attention to the ATV traffic in and around their community. See what riders are doing, and what their group can do to help create a better experience. Is it a signing issue? Is it a mapping issue? Is it a route issue? Is it a rider issue? If you see patterns forming, you can get everybody together and find a solution relatively easily.
Carlton County Riders mantra:
To build new trails and maintain the trails we currently have.
To improve the view of our sport to those not involved.

Heading West This Summer? Check Out The New BLM Mapping Series.

The BLM's Top Recreation Opportunities Mapping Series is designed to provide and promote a greater awareness of recreational opportunities on BLM-managed public lands.
The federal BLM (Bureau of Land Management) partnered with the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC) to highlight some of the BLM's highest quality motorized recreation opportunities across the nation. Users can now find information to plan their next exciting ride while at home or on the road. Using an interactive web-based storymap, users can get familiar with recreation site amenities, season of use dates, camping availability, and more.
You'll find the new BLM mapping series at this link:

Comments From Members On Our Recent Newsletter Articles

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In a January newsletter, we posed questions about improving signage on the State ATV Trails, including moving to white-on-brown signs, clearer Class 1/2 signs and adding reassurance markers. Here are a few of the many replies from members on this issue.
“Would love signs that show the 65-inch width limit. Would love trail assurance signs.” Trent S
“Signs that clearly indicate ATV types are needed. I struggle to remember every time I see one of these signs. The average person has no clue.” Mark Z
“Minnesota should change signage to match other States. This will help ensure everyone follows the rules and regulations, including visitors.” Scott L
“Uniform and onsite notification signage would be an improvement. A single large sign at each trailhead, border crossing, parking lot, etc. would be posted.”
Greg A
“The proposed sign changes, as shown in the January 30th newsletter are excellent. As a retired DNR Parks & Trails employee, I recall there were often pushes made for better, more clearly understood and standardized signing. The examples shown in the newsletter provide those things. I fully support ATV Minnesota’s efforts to improve trail signing.” Paul M
“I like the idea of updating our trail signs. Clearer signs and route markings would be great! Keep up the good work!” Jim P

And On ATVMN's Position Opposing For Now A Proposal By ATV Manufacturers To Increase Width And Weight In The ATV Definition:

And On ATVMN's Position Opposing For Now A Proposal By ATV Manufacturers To Increase Width And Weight In The ATV Definition:
(Photo for illustration purposes only)
“We support (ATVMN) all the way to push back on this move to build 'roads' rather than trails. We don’t need/want wider trails...this is an ATV sport. We need more 50-inch ATV trails please.” Trent S
“I appreciate and support our organization’s position on changing ATV definitions again. Sustainable trails should always be a top consideration. Lastly, I really like the direction ATVMN is taking: new name, new magazine, increased and more comprehensive communication, new spark...all great stuff! Keep up the good work.” Paul M, DNR retiree
Thanks for the feedback! Keep it coming. Send your comments on the ATVMN newsletter and Minnesota Wheelin magazine to:

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.