RENO — Most conservationists and off-highway vehicle enthusiasts have found something they can agree on in Nevada: the need for a state registration program for the vehicles.
Nevada remains the only Western state without such a program after unsuccessful attempts to pass a state law in the last three sessions of the Legislature.
Off-roaders, environmentalists and dealers have failed to settle their differences over specifics, despite their agreement that such a law makes sense.
Conservationists said a registration program would include a sticker or license tag that would make it easier to report OHVers who enter closed areas or commit other violations.
“It would promote responsibility,” local conservationist Karen Boeger told the Reno Gazette-Journal.
“People would think a little more carefully about what they do out there.”
Susan Fisher, executive director of the Nevada Power-sport Dealers Association, agreed. While the vast majority of off-roaders are responsible, she said “some knuckleheads” might change their habits if they could be identified and fined.
“The few who are out there tearing it up will ruin it for everyone else,” Fisher said. “We want people to be responsible.”
Assemblyman Pete Goicoechea, R-Eureka, said he has observed a steady increase in new OHV-created roads and trails on unspoiled mountain slopes in eastern Nevada. He said a program to identify off-roaders abusing the land is long overdue.
“We clearly need it. We need to get something in place,” Goicoechea said.