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AMA Supports Increased Fines For Damage To Public Land

AMA Supports Increased Fines For Damage To Public Land

Release Date: 6/4/2004

Pickerington, OH; (MCNW) The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) urges motorcyclists to contact their lawmakers to support a measure to crack down on individuals who knowingly damage public land, which cleared the U.S. House Resources Committee on May 5.

The measure, H.R. 3247, the Trail Responsibility and Accountability for the Improvement of Lands (TRAIL) Act, was reported out to the full House for further consideration.

"The passage of this measure will have a positive impact on our environment, and signifies a victory for the vast majority of recreationists who enjoy our public lands responsibly, and generate billions of dollars for local economies," said Patrick Holtz, the AMA's Washington representative. "This bi-partisan bill will give federal land managers the tools they need to make sure that those who consciously violate rules on public lands pay the price."

Larry Smith, executive director of the group Americans for Responsible Recreational Access, also is pleased that the legislation is winding its way through Congress.

"This is important legislation for the American recreation community," Smith said. "ARRA has enjoyed working closely with the AMA and other recreation groups in support of this bill. Working together as we have in support of H.R. 3247 shows that we can make a difference."

Concerned motorcyclists can urge their federal lawmakers to support this legislation by sending them a message through the Rapid Response Center at the AMA's website at www.AMADirectlink.com.

The TRAIL Act, introduced by U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colorado), provides for consistent enforcement of land use, protection and management regulations by the federal Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Forest Service. Currently, those agencies impose different penalties on recreational users who damage public land.

Also, the measure substantially increases the penalties on individuals who willfully cause damage to designated trails. Any fines collected would be used for rehabilitation and trail awareness programs at that trail.

The progress of this law enforcement-related legislation is especially crucial at this point as the U.S. Forest Service begins work on new rules to manage motorized recreation in national forests by requiring motorized vehicles to follow designated trails and routes.

The AMA supports responsible riding on public land and believes that those who intentionally damage land should be punished, whether they're motorized vehicle users, horse riders, campers or hikers.

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