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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-05-2006, 08:55 AM Thread Starter
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ONF News

"The wheel deal
Off-road vehicle trails officially open today


People whose love of the outdoors isn't quite complete unless seen from the seat of a motorbike or all-terrain vehicle will have a new way to fulfill those desires starting today.

The new Off-Highway Vehicle trails system in the Ocala National Forest will officially open for business today with a ribbon-cutting at 9 a.m.

The U.S. Forest Service and Ocala National Forest Association are hosting the event at the OHV Center off Forest Road 88, about 2.5 miles north of County Road 316.

Right after the ribbon-cutting, there will be three different trail rides, one for sport all-terrain vehicles, a long family ride of about 30 miles and a shorter ride of about 12 miles for families with younger children.

There will be hot dogs and sodas available for a quarter each.

If you get there early enough, you just might meet Terry Thompson, president of the newly formed nonprofit Ocala National Forest Association. He will be riding on his two-seater Yamaha Rhino with his 3-year-old grandson, Reese.

"The whole basis of the trail system is to be able to enjoy it and not destroy it," Thompson said about the Forest.

The new trail system will allow people who have motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, dirt bikes, golf carts, sand buggies, jeeps and the like to enjoy riding through different types of environments, like hardwood or long leaf pine areas.

"We have 142 miles of designated trails that we are in the process of siting, clearing and mapping," said Dan Ritter, U.S. Forest Service recreational technician. "We're 99 percent done."

Most of the trails, which have been open for about two months, are located north of County Road 316 between State Road 19 and Northeast 160th Avenue Road. The approved corridor width is 12 feet. Volunteers did most of the work, Ritter said.

There are three types of trails. One is exclusively for motorcycles, one is for both ATVs and motorcycles and the third is a mixed use, for ATVs, motorcycles, jeeps and other vehicles.

Ritter said that in the last 15 to 20 years there has been a boom in the use of people riding through the Forest on off-road vehicles and it has put stress on the environment.

"It's not just at this forest," Ritter said. "It's nationwide."

"It really boils down to land management as well as providing for the American people to have a place for recreation," Ritter said.

Thompson said there are three different areas to enter the trails.

One is through the Lake Delancy Campground. There is a $6 user fee to park there.

Another is at Rodman Dam off State Road 19.

And, there are four or five temporary access areas off Forest Road 97, known as Pipeline Road, north of County Road 316. Thompson said people will see the trails from the road because there are stop signs on the trails. Simply pull off the road to park.

Contracts have been awarded to construct trailheads with toilet facilities, but construction has not yet begun. It is hoped that the trailheads will be completed in a few months, Thompson said.

A second phase of trails, of roughly the same number of miles, is planned for the south end of the Forest, Ritter said. Biologists currently are examining the area to help delineate the trail system.

Thompson is hoping that people will join the Ocala National Forest Association, which has partnered with the Forest Service to provide sustainable recreation for the Forest. For more information go to www.onfa.org. There also is a link to the trail maps at that site."
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-05-2006, 09:01 AM Thread Starter
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-05-2006, 07:14 PM
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What state is this in? looks like FL.


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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-06-2006, 06:10 AM Thread Starter
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Sorry, Ocala Natl Forest, Central FL
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-08-2006, 08:56 PM
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These trails are mainly for 4wheelers and dirtbikes. They are all just sandy trails through pine scrubs. Basically they suck for anykind of wheeling. All of the halfway decent wheeling trails (like 2 in that whole area) are closed. Basically the whole forest used to be open to 4x4s and whatever but now they have closed it all off, it's rediculous. People are getting hassled for just having mud on thier rigs out there. It's not worth the risk for the mediocre (sp?) wheeling there.

We have been going out there for a long time and are doing a Florida chapter campout in November right next to the area where these trails are, but most likely we won't be wheeling there.


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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-08-2006, 10:17 PM
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This is actually awesome news. I've never seen a new trail open in CA. This is really cool news. The groups and government officials involved in this effort should be applauded.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-09-2006, 09:45 AM
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Did you not understand what I said?

Less than a year ago the ENTIRE (well almost) forest was open to motorized travel. Then they closed the entire thing and opened up a few trails in the most boring part of the forest. We have gone from thousands of miles of trails to just over a hundred in 6 months.

The forest service in ONF is very anti-4x4/4wheeler. I understand it to some degree because alot of people go out there and mud bog in the ponds and wetlands which destroys them. That is bad and I agree with that. But they should be focusing on problem areas and individuals. As it is they have pretty much identified the entire forest as a problem area and all motorized users problem individuals.


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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-23-2006, 09:31 PM
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-24-2006, 07:06 PM
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I guess if you are not aware of how big ONF is, 142 miles of trails seems like a lot. ONF is almost 400,000 acres, and like Ryan said it use to be that almost ALL of it was open for use. Unfortunatley it's not that way any more.

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