Low participation is hurting program goals and benefits to recreationists
(Dec 30, 2009) - Citing statistics showing that less than one-quarter of off-highway vehicles in Arizona have the required OHV Decal, Arizona Game and Fish Department Director Larry Voyles announced that the agency’s officers would be stepping up compliance enforcement efforts in the field.
“Our officers will be issuing citations to off-highway vehicle users who don’t have the required decal on their OHV,” said Voyles. “The program has been in effect and public education efforts have been ongoing for over a year now. The compliance rate is very disappointing, given the benefits the program would provide to recreationists.”
Voyles likened the “user play, user pay” program to wildlife conservation, where hunters and anglers pay for wildlife conservation through the purchase of hunting and fishing licenses. “Rates for hunting license compliance exceed 95 percent,” said Voyles, “Hunters and anglers have demonstrated their commitment to wildlife conservation for decades.”
As for OHV Decal compliance, Voyles stressed, “Arizona Game and Fish officers have unequivocally demonstrated their ability to achieve compliance through aggressive law enforcement. All OHV users should expect more special OHV law enforcement operations throughout the state beginning in January and going on through this spring until compliance numbers show a dramatic increase.”
“The Department has worked with a number of organized OHV groups who all supported this legislation. They have a right to expect the same level of compliance and commitment from all OHV users,” said Voyles.
The OHV Decal program took effect Jan. 1, 2009 and requires the annual purchase of a decal for any off-highway vehicle designed by the manufacturer primarily for use over unimproved terrain and weighing 1,800 pounds or less. This includes most ATVs, side-by-sides (utility vehicles), dirt bikes and some sand rails.
The benefits of the OHV Decal program include information and education efforts, facility development and maintenance, maps, signage and reduced wildlife habitat impacts.
Other projects that are being funded through the OHV Decal program include the new OHV Laws and Places to Ride booklet that is an ongoing joint venture between Arizona State Parks and the Game and Fish Department. A continued grant program to help clean up and restore riding areas and new informational outreach items like riding area maps will be created in the future.
The OHV Decal costs $25 and is good for one year from the date of purchase. The Motor Vehicle Department will not be sending renewal notices, so it is your responsibility to make sure your vehicle is in compliance. Officers will be citing vehicle owners who fail to display the OHV Decals soon, so avoid a costly citation as these field renewal notices are sure to cost considerably more than $25. The OHV Decal can be obtained at any MVD office, MVD third-party service provider, or online at www.servicearizona.com.
For more information about the OHV Decal program or OHV use in Arizona, go online to www.azgfd.gov/ohv.