WOHVA logo WOHVA Newsletter
December 2013


March 2014
9th - Moonshiner's 4x4 Swap Meet, Puyallup Fair Grounds

Facebook logo Like us on Facebook

Dollar Sign DONATE to help
fight for your
Happy Holidays and welcome to the WOHVA December Newsletter! The warm, dry season is over and it's time to rev up those grip heaters, keep those studs and chains handy, and start planning that winter rebuild project. This newsletter covers our recent annual meeting, HB 1632 and the folklore surrounding it, road conversion planning in the National Forests, and the ever-present Discover Pass updates.

From all of us here at WOHVA we wish you a safe and happy holiday season and a bountiful new year. So keep the rubber side down, warm up and read on!

2013 Annual Meeting

Thanks to those of you who attended as well as helped put on the November 10th WOHVA Annual Membership Meeting, held again on the wetside at Clover Park Technical College. Tod Petersen gave us a quick tour through the legislation we supported and fought. Paul Yelk showed us some great views of the new improved Where To Ride web site. Byron gave his State of WOHVA review, which covered our past year's performance and provided a view into 2014. And long-time WOHVA Board member and supporter Dave Hiatt stepped down from the Board, to maintain his busy work schedule. Never fear, he vowed to help WOHVA from "behind the scenes" (a favorite spot of his). In his place we welcome Steve Justham, a new Board Member from the eastern slopes. Steve brings to our table a wealth of dual sport and single-track motorcycle experience, as well as a keen knowledge of the internet and the virtual economy. Welcome Steve!

HB 1632 (ATV Road Use) – What it Really Does and Does Not Do for You

In the closing days of the last special session the Washington State Legislature passed House Bill 1632 (HB 1632), a bill created by a small coalition that included anti-OHV members. With the potential to provide road access for ATVs, WOHVA was interested in this bill and was originally in support, but then opposed it due to the late addition of anti-OHV language that outweighed any good that it might bring. Just as the bill was brought up for a vote in the House of Representatives, an amendment surfaced and was quickly passed which removed most of the anti-OHV language ... but WOHVA still has concerns.

HB 1632 has 30 sections, but in brief terms here is what it does:
  • It currently only affects four wheeled all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).
  • It allows ATVs that are modified with specific street equipment to be used on certain roads with speed limits of 35 mph or less.
  • This will not include nonhighway roads such as the ones managed by the DNR or US Forest Service.
  • Roads in the seven counties with populations of under 15,000 will be opened for modified ATV use, unless the county approves an ordinance to ban them.
  • Roads in all other counties will not be open to modified ATV use, unless the county creates an ordinance to allow them.
  • Roads connecting towns to ORV areas previously opened to ORV use by 2006 House Bill HB 2617 (the "'Hinkle Bill") remain open as long as the pre-1632 ordinance is not repealed. HB 1632 removed the restriction that these roads be a "direct" connection to areas "primarily for ORV recreational use". Because HB 1632 excludes unmodified ATV use it is unclear how some local jurisdictions will apply the law until either the Washington State Attorney General provides an opinion or cases relating to violations are heard in court.
  • A metal tag the same size as a motorcycle license plate will be required on all ATVs to use this new legislation.
  • It exempts ATVs from Discover Pass requirements.
  • Law enforcement officers may cite the operator of the four wheeled ATV based on a statement made by a third party. This statement must include, at a minimum, the time, location, and description of the vehicle. It will up to the LEO to determine if that is enough probable cause to write a ticket.
Our concerns are several:
  1. Does not apply to USFS or DNR roads. Many of the roads our members and supporters sought to use are under US Forest Service, DNR, or other alphabet agency management, i.e., nonhighway roads. Sorry, but nonhighway road use is specifically excluded as passed.
  2. Third Party Citations. We find this provision troubling and the potential for abuse high. Even if someone is falsely accused, they will still have to go to court to prove it. There is also the issue of fair and even application of the rule of law. If this is OK to apply to one group of citizens then why would it not be reasonable to apply to everyone regardless of their method of transportation? ORV users are unfairly being singled out!
  3. Potential Expansion. While these changes to the State laws currently do not apply to motorcycles or 4x4s, it would only take the modification of a few words to change that. It’s reasonable to assume that this is part of the long-term strategy of the anti-OHV groups that supported this bill.
So this bill is not the solution to our ATV member's problems ... legal OHV access to all our State's great national forests. Rather it's presently a risky proposition that provides some access in sparsely populated counties and then only after additional fees, equipment, and licensure.

Read HB 1632's complete history on this web page: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=1632&year=2013.

Read a copy of HB 1632 as passed by the legislature and signed by the governor: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/documents/billdocs/2013-14/Pdf/Bills/Session%20Laws/House/1632-S.SL.pdf.

Here's the new Chapter 46.09, Off-Road, Nonhighway, and Wheeled All-Terrain Vehicles, after all the changes from HB 1632 are incorporated: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?Cite=46.09&full=true.

You can read WOHVA's documented play-by-play history of what took place, i.e., who did what and when regarding this legislation. Just follow this link to read it: http://tinyurl.com/n3mokz6
If the above link does not work, copy and paste the following URL:

US Forest Service Roads at Risk

The Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest is concluding a series of public meetings to discuss the future of roads within that forest. They claim that they only have funding for maintaining about 25 percent of the roads and that leaves them in the position of planning significant road closures in the next few years. This same financial dilemma and planning discussion is or will be conducted in the other six National Forests in our State.

WOHVA members have actively participated in many of the meetings. Continued participation is critical if we hope to protect roads important to OHV enthusiasts. Some key points brought up by WOHVA members included not physically closing roads, but just marking them "not maintained" and leaving them open for ORV use. If you attend a meeting you will be also be given an opportunity to identify up to eight of your favorite roads that you would like to see protected from closure.

To learn more about sustainable roads in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, visit: http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/mbs/home/?cid=stelprdb5423889. Keep in contact with your local National Forest to become involved when they conduct their sustainable road analysis!

Eastern Washington Success - Okanogan County Opens 300 Miles to OHV Use!

Don't think that all news is bad regarding ORV access in the State right now. We're seeing some good things happening in Okanogan County! To quote the newspaper article, "Before a standing-room-only crowd, Okanogan County commissioners on Thursday opened more than 300 miles of county roads to ATVs." Read the full story here: Okanogan County approved local ordinance to open roads to ATV before standing-room only crowd.

Route map of Okanogan County roads open to OHV use: http://okanogancounty.org/PW/Recreation_Information_Items/ORV_VICINITY_MAP.pdf.

Other local jurisdictions (counties, cities, and towns) are opening their roads to ORV/OHV use. To see the latest list, check out our Where to Ride web site at www.where-to-ride.info

Good News Concerning the Discover Pass – Plated Vehicles Do Not Need Them!

The Mason County Superior Court has overruled a lower court concerning the Washington State Department of Natural Resources' position of requiring a Discover Pass for all vehicles with street plates regardless of whether or not they have an ORV permit. Currently the law exempts vehicles with ORV permits at areas where ORV use is legal.

This case involved a truck that was dual-registered as both a street vehicle and an ORV. The owner was cited for failure to have a Discover Pass by DNR law enforcement at the Elfendahl Pass trailhead in the Tahuya State Forest near Bremerton.

Per RCW 79A.80.020(1), Discover passes are only required for motor vehicles and for purpose of this section a "motor vehicle" is defined in RCW 79A.80.010(6) as vehicles which are required to be registered for street use.

If your vehicle is registered as an ORV and you are at a place where ORV use is legal, your street plate is not required; neither is a Discover Pass.

This is a big step in the right direction and demonstrates that at least one court in our state can read and apply RCW 79A.80 correctly and how it was intended.

WOHVA directly participated in writing this section of the Discover Pass law and has been working hard to educate the DNR leadership concerning the proper application of the law. Up to this point the DNR disregarded our input, so this court case presented an opportunity to educate the DNR via a judicial remedy. WOHVA provide both financial and technical support for this successful court case.

Read the applicable provision of RCW 79A.80 here: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/supdefault.aspx?cite=79A.80.080

The Mason County court ruling was very brief and did not describe the reasoning behind the ruling. It only said that the district court ruling was reversed and the case dismissed.

More Good News Concerning the Discover Pass - "Driving Thru" Don't Need Discover Pass!

Another bit of good news is Senate Bill SB 5897 passed by the Legislature during this past term. Section 3 of this change to state law will exempt driving on DNR or Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife managed roads from Discover Pass requirements. Parking will still require a pass. WOHVA thanks the bill's prime sponsor Senator Kirk Pearson for championing this common sense change.

Read the bill's history here: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=5897

Read the bill here: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/documents/billdocs/2013-14/Pdf/Bills/Session%20Laws/Senate/5897-S.SL.pdf


WOHVA AT YOUR GROUP – Interested in having a WOHVA representative attend one of your club or business meetings? Or maybe you have a ride or event coming up? Send an e-mail to info@WOHVA.org Please include date, location, and a point of contact!

MAILING LIST – To get on our mailing list, join WOHVA at www.WOHVA.org or join a WOHVA member club or organization.

WHERE TO RIDE – Looking for new places to ride in Washington State? Check out our WOHVA Where To Ride website for the latest info on areas, roads, trails, or MX Parks near you!

Got CLOUT? – Email clout@getclout.org for more information on how to have a direct impact on events in Olympia.

WOHVA IS YOU – VOLUNTEERS NEEDED – See something here that interests you? Did we strike a resonant chord? WOHVA is 100% volunteer and your efforts make a big difference. Please send an e-mail to info@WOHVA.org and let us know how you’d like to help.

Thank you,