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HEE: Attracting more off-road riders to our town

We are able to accomplish a lot of things as a town. As long as we focus on what we want and as long as we are united, there is much we can do.

I think the town getting back the Pahrump 250 is a perfect example of what can happen. That race will be at the end of this year and is a major off-road Best in the Desert race.

Best in the Desert races bring millions of dollars to our economy each year.

As a town, we should be patting ourselves on the back because this took a lot of work from our local politicians to nail it down behind the scenes.

Our small desert town has been defined by several events and Best in the Desert is one of them, whether you like it or not.

I think this race will even promote off-roading in the area in general and get people to see our beautiful trails that surround our town.

Tim Hafen once told me that just to get to this town in the early sixties called for a car losing at least two tires. The roads have changed and have improved immensely but what has not changed is our love for riding in the desert. Look in almost every house and one will find some sort of vehicle capable of traveling off-road.

As Pahrumpians, we love our off-road vehicles. I own an ATV myself and really enjoy the vast amount of trails easily available to this town. It is a way to unwind and just relax with nature.

Off-road riding, like the racing, defines us too. It is a major recreational sport around this town. Last year they even changed the traffic laws to let off-road vehicles pass through the town on the roads to get to trails.

As a town, we invite others to share our love for this recreational sport, but that’s about it. We don’t really put ourselves out there to get people to bring their off-road vehicles to this town. It’s a project. One day I see this happening in big ways though.

I think what must happen first is the town has to go through the Bureau of Land Management to define the existing trails. This is being done through the BLM process of creating a resource management plan (RMP) and might be completed this summer. One of the agenda items on this plan is to define all the trails in the area for off-road riding. Once this is done, I think the town will pursue the off-roading more.

I think then more events can be planned to attract the riders to come here.

I was in Utah about two weeks ago in Hurricane and I picked up a huge magazine advertising their Tri-state ATV Jamboree. I was told this event attracts at least 500 riders from all over to the town each year. It would be nice to see something like that, but much larger here. We do get a lot of races here, but I would like to see the casual riders come here and not just racers.

With Beatty attracting bike riders to its local trails, I think it’s about time we attract our share of off-road riders to our area. I see off-road vehicles as one of those things that we can tap into since the trail system around our town is so extensive.

It just seems to me this is a no-brainer and really doesn’t take that much of an effort to pursue. I praise our tourism board for doing what they have done.

Once we define the trails in the RMP, the events can and should come our way. It will be another way to fill up our hotels and casinos. I even see the casinos sponsoring some of their own off-road events to attract tourists to come to this town.

Of course, in addition to attracting off-road vehicles, we will also attract the horse people and even mountain bikers to enjoy our trails. It is all about getting the word out that we have this valuable resource to enjoy.

Some people might be saying that if we attract too many people to the area it will ruin the trails, but I am thinking with events being allowed in the area we can use that money to preserve and maintain the trails better.

I think if we let the things go the way they are going now we will lose the trails.

How we lose the trails can happen through the BLM. The BLM can shut down areas that are overused and not maintained well and this will happen if we don’t put back money into the area to preserve the area. How do I know this will happen? I have talked to the BLM and they told me this could happen.

Just like hunters pay fees to preserve their trails and resources, off-road riders will have to do something to preserve our trails. Having events is one way of doing this and if we invite others to come into our town, they can help us pay for our trails. Send me an email. I want to hear what you think.

Contact sports editor Vern Hee at vhee@pvtimes.com

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