Captain Mike Eastman
May 21, 2021
Concord, NH – May 23 is the opening day for most off-highway recreational vehicle (OHRV) trails in New Hampshire, and as Memorial Day weekend nears, New Hampshire Fish and Game Conservation Officers are preparing a proactive strategy of law enforcement initiatives geared toward encouraging safe and responsible individual riding practices. While OHRV enthusiasts eagerly await the opening of the trails, most of which are in Coos County, riders should be sure to understand all the rules and regulations associated with OHRV operation. They are also asked to be considerate of and respectful toward residents and landowners in the region.
“Operating an OHRV on private property without landowner permission is by far the most common complaint received by Fish and Game regarding OHRVs,” said Captain Mike Eastman, who coordinates OHRV safety education and enforcement for Fish and Game’s Law Enforcement Division. “Landowner grievances are where we will be focusing a great deal of our enforcement efforts as the riding season opens, especially over Memorial Day holiday weekend,” said Eastman. Unlike other outdoor activities such as hunting or hiking, where private land must be posted to keep people off, riders of motorized vehicles must have written landowner permission to operate whether the land is posted or not. Local OHRV clubs have been able to establish marked, designated trails through dedicated work with individual property owners to procure the necessary landowner agreements to establish a trail system.
“With a field force of only thirty-seven Conservation Officers statewide, for Memorial Day weekend it will be all hands on deck,” said Eastman. “In addition to operating off of designated trails, noise from illegally modified exhaust and excessive speed are the most frequent complaints.”
Safe and responsible riding is what both landowners and OHRV clubs expect. In addition to aggressive enforcement, safety education is another way that Fish and Game’s Law Enforcement Division works to foster responsible OHRV operation. Each year, volunteer OHRV safety instructors educate some 1,000 students regarding OHRV rules, regulations, and responsible and safe operation. State law requires that all operators 12 years of age and over must have either a valid motor vehicle driver’s license or successfully completed an approved OHRV safety education class in order to operate off their own property. “We strongly recommend that all riders who purchase or rent an OHRV take a safety class to help reduce the risk of personal injury and property damage,” said Eastman.
For safety education classes, safe riding tips, information on where to ride, laws, and registration requirements, visit www.wildnh.com/ohrv/safety-facts.html.