Legislation For Off Highway Recreation in Inyo

Local off road enthusiasts are working on a plan that would help visitors enjoy the Owens Valley and surrounding areas by quad, rhino, or jeep.

The plan is to map out routes that visitors can use to link campgrounds to dirt roads and trails into popular areas like Coyote Flat and the Alabama Hills. With a mapped out, interconnected system of routes, visitors could drive their quads from the south end of the Owens Valley to the Bishop area, taking a few days to camp, fish, and enjoy the scenery along the way.

The idea is also to find a way to allow people on quads and rhinos to legally drive into the Owens Valley towns to get gas and food. The problem with this part of the plan is that its not currently legal to drive vehicles like quads and rhinos into towns.

Local wheeled access advocate and mastermind behind this plan, Dick Noles reports that he is currently at work to get legislation that will allow these types of vehicles on some roads in Inyo County that are currently off limits to quads and Rhinos. Noles says that hes not looking to make it legal to drive quads on all streets, but he is trying to find a way to allow off roaders to drive to places like the Wye in Bishop, where food and gas are available.

Noles says that other areas in Utah in West Virginia have already created trail networks like the one he is proposing for Inyo County. The system in Utah allows ATV riders to drive into 16 towns allowing for off road trips up to two weeks long.

Right now ATV use is illegal on some prominent county roads technically designated as highways, Noles explained. He says legislation to remove some of the restrictions has already passed the state assembly, with help from Assembly woman Connie Conway. Senator Roy Ashburn has supported the legislation in the state Senate.


5 Responses to Legislation For Off Highway Recreation in Inyo

  1. Jim Noble March 28, 2013 at 8:47 pm #

    Looking forward to a trail like the one in Utah. Was going to go do that but this would be better. Keep us posted.

  2. NEXT STOP MONO COUNTY March 29, 2013 at 7:08 am #

    Way to go Dick & Randy bringing a vision to reality.It works in every other state. Utah and Arizona have painted lanes on the road just for these type of vehicles. With the side by side Industry A booming Market, Why not? Dave McCoy has built an electric Rhino that would be perfect for the test run. Keep up the good work Gentlemen!!

  3. Ken Warner March 29, 2013 at 8:44 am #

    I know I’m going catch a lot of flack for this but…

    I think that there is nothing wrong with a comprehensive, interconnected, backcounty road system that people can use various vehichls on for seeing th back country and getting from one place to another. I think all forms of transportation should be able to be used on that system of roads.


    It seems like most off-roaders want to turn every road into a race track. When they do that, then they erode the trail and spread dust and noise that can kill all the wildlife adjacent to the road. The road slowly widens. The area around the road becomes a wasteland and the scenic beauty and wilderness characteristics are destroyed and lost forever.

    The problem is not backdountry roads — it’s the way they are used. If you could walk or ride a horse along a trail and not even notice a motorized vehicle as it passes, or even say hello to the driver, that would be the level of mixed use that could be sustainable over the long term.

    But it’s always a race track. Samurai in battle gear racing to war at maximum speed covering you with dust, shattering the peace and quiet and sometimes even forcing you off the road while a group passes — at maximum speed. Not nice.

    But how do we convince people to slow down without crys of, “…the government is taking my freedom…” from all sides? I don’t know. It’s an impossible problem.

    I don’t think most people want back country roads — they want a giant backcountry motocross course. Maybe that’s a way out of this conundrum. Make more motocross courses and connect them by backcountry roads.

    I don’t know. This is just an observation from one who prefers walking and riding my bike peacefully and hates the noise and dust left behind as a group of riders race by at max speed.

    Ok, wait until I get into my bunker than fire away…..

    • Mark March 29, 2013 at 9:48 am #

      Ken Warner – I’m an avid off roader and you pretty much hit the nail on the head.

      I was riding last weekend with a group and you described they guys I was riding with perfectly. I mentioned to them it’s not a race and they need to slow down, they looked at me like… wtf did he just say?

      When you’re riding that fast you might as well be riding on a track because you sure don’t have time to look at the scenery. After one of the guys crashed and broke his ankle we had to ride back slow and I must say I really enjoyed being able to look around and see the views as we road back to the trucks.

      Closed motocross tracks forces more riders onto the OHV road systems.

    • Wayne Deja March 29, 2013 at 1:29 pm #

      Ken….You forgot a couple other things…# 1….rarely do the off-roaders stay on the designated off-road trails…turning the whole landscape into the motocross course you mentioned…don’t believe it ?…Go check out the Jawbone Canyon and Red Rock Canyon area between Ridgecrest and Mojave….and # 2….all the trash….beer cans,wrappers,trash bags,broken bottles,etc.left behind for others to deal with and clean up….now,can I join you in that bunker ?


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