While the trails and solitude of public lands like those managed by the Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management can be stellar destinations, can be a great destination when it’s time to get out of the house, sometimes you just need some space to run a few hill climbs, spin a Brodie or two, and get the wind in your face.
While they’re not typically the biggest or nicest plots of land on earth, OHV parks managed by county governments offer an awesome chance to engage in off road recreation in land dedicated to the cause.
This past weekend my family and I were ready to get the RZR out, but weren’t in the mood for a 2-hour drive to the hills. With 90+ degree temperatures expected, we needed to get out and ride early so we could get back home before sunburn set in. A local OHV park, managed by Stanislaus County Parks & Recreation was the answer we needed.
LaGrange Off-Highway Vehicle Park is a 10 or so acre parcel of land nestled outside the quiet California Central Valley town of LaGrange that has been transformed into a good time for off-roaders. Featuring a number of hill climbs, a sizeable mud puddle, short trail system and 3 different tracks – the park is a generally good time for off-roaders of all ages. Even the littlest dirt bike riders can polish their skills with a dedicated training track for 60cc and under machines!
Places like LaGrange OHV exist throughout the country thanks to the efforts of local parks and recreation departments to make off road access a reality in local areas – something that is especially important in areas where public lands may otherwise not be easily accessible for use due to distance or regulatory restrictions.
However, with budgets tightening, some parks are in danger of being closed due to a lack of funds for maintenance and staffing. As users of such lands, we have the ability to help keep places like these open.
First and foremost, get involved and be on the lookout for announcements about funding rulings and discussions related to your local OHV areas. As members of the public, and recreational users of public lands, your voice has a right to be heard and can be a powerful tool when dealing with politicians who may have no personal tie or interest to the use of public lands to off road access.
Secondly, it is imperative that as users we respect public lands. Pack in what you pack out and report abuse of lands for dumping or littering. There’s no reason to let people mis-using our lands ruin it for the rest of us. I don’t love picking up other people’s messes, but if it’s likely to mean I have easy access to ride, I’m willing to grab the occasional beer can that wasn’t mine and toss it in the trash.
County OHV parks across the country provide a safe, fun place for families and off-road enthusiasts of all ages to get out, ride, picnic and enjoy some fresh air. It would be a shame to see these places start to disappear, so here’s to keeping land open to ride!