New laws went into effect Jan. 1, requiring all off-highway vehicles (OHVs) meeting certain criteria to display an OHV decal, which costs $25 annually. At the recent International Sportsmen’s Expo, the number-one question asked about that program was: “What does this money go for, exactly?”
Sixty percent of these funds will go to the Arizona State Parks recreational grant program. These funds will be used to repair trails, shore up overused trails, repair damaged desert areas, and ultimately create some new dedicated riding areas in Arizona.
Thirty-five percent goes to the Arizona Game and Fish Department to hire seven new law enforcement officers specifically for OHV law enforcement. That number may seem small, but it is better than the current number of officers (zero) that are OHV specific. These dollars will also help create a new OHV education course for which judges could mandate completion, in lieu of or with a fine or community service, for those found in violation of OHV laws. Members of the public who want more education on safe, ethical and responsible OHV use could also take the course voluntarily.
Five percent of the revenue goes to the State Land Department. Since the OHV decal allows crossing and riding on state trust land trails, the State Land Department is losing revenue from the sale of state land recreational permits. This allows them to recoup that revenue as well as to create new temporary use opportunities as desert converts to development. It also allows riding areas to stay open.
Since the first of January, Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) has seen more than 15,000 decals sold. Game and Fish estimates there are more than 200,000 eligible OHVs in Arizona.
For more information about the new laws and the OHV decal program, go to www.azgfd.gov/ohv.