By Erin Proctor, OHV Program Manager, Montana State Parks
The 2015 session of the Montana Legislature passed HB 167 that restructured the requirements of Montana’s OHV nonresident temporary use permit. This new law makes Montana’s program similar to the regulations in our surrounding states. It rescinded reciprocity to 39 states, while honoring agreements with Idaho and North Dakota. The non-resident permit fee rose from $5 to $27 and permits are valid for one calendar year.
Revenues generated go to education, OHV trail maintenance and noxious weed control efforts in the following amounts:
$15 into grants to maintain OHV trails
$6 to operations for OHV education
$2.50 to Enforcement
$1 to Search & Rescue
$1.50 to noxious weed grants
$1 to permit seller
The list of permit vendors can be found on the Montana State Parks Website under “OHV Permits & Laws: http://stateparks.mt.gov/recreation/ohvProgram.html. Currently, 147 vendors are selling the permits. We began with 56 vendors in January 2015 and have been recruiting ever since. The most recent addition of all 11 Montana Murdoch’s Ranch & Home locations gave us a well-recognized, convenient location boost. We are still looking for new permit vendors! Contact Erin Proctor, OHV Program Manager at 406-444-7642 to ask for details.
Approximately 1,788 ($48,276) new permits have been sold since HB 167 implementation October 1, 2015. FY 2016 sales totaled 2,059 ($36,651), to include old and new permits. We are working hard to sell the passes but face many challenges as we implement this new program. We are trying to educate nonresident OHV users, as well as vendors, state and federal land management agency employees and their law enforcement officers.
During this first year of implementation, law enforcement used warnings and efforts to educate people. They will be ticketing offenders in subsequent years, which should help with compliance.
The Off-Highway Vehicle Advisory Committee (OHVAC), FWP Enforcement, members of the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC), the USFS and BLM have been integral to the process with potential vendor suggestions, marketing ideas and efforts, etc. We are negotiating a contract with the BLM Montana Field Offices to become permit vendors, and are in discussions with the USFS to implement the same.
Montana State Parks will continue to educate people about the OHV Nonresident Use Permit using various media outlets, new signage at trailheads and parking areas, law enforcement officers out patrolling, and working with local OHV clubs and the Montana Trail Vehicle Riders Association. We will strive to let the public know that the permit translates to better trails, and better educated riders.