Annual NOHVCC Conference in New Orleans (Nawlins), LA, 4/9~4/14

By Tom Niemela

             Every year the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC) has a conference at a fairly large city somewhere in the nation.  This year it was in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Since I am the Oregon State representative, I had the annual opportunity to attend.  This year fellow OMRA officers Joe and Julie Barrell and Ron Rice also wanted to attend, especially since Julie is the alternate Oregon rep. 

            What is NOHVCC you ask?  It is a “publicly supported, educational foundation organized for the sole purpose of promoting safe, responsible, family oriented off-highway recreational experiences. NOHVCC is a forum for organizations and supporters of OHV recreation, including OHV manufacturers, related businesses, affiliated foundations, OHV dealers, clubs and enthusiasts, to become partners in creating a positive future for the sport.”  NOHVCC has been around a little over 10 years and continues to be a positive image for the sport.  NOHVCC’s motto is: Creating a positive future for off-highway vehicle recreation.  NOHVCC has a representative in almost all 50 states – yours truly is the Oregon rep, Rick Dahl is the Washington rep and Ernie Lombard is the Idaho rep.

            NOHVCC offers such things as resources on how to start a club or organization, how to organize a workshop program (local or regional), specialized OHV insurance products, skills and documents on training, and consulting services. 

            This year’s conference also coincided with the National Program Managers Conference in New Orleans, so it had even more importance.  The conference itinerary was as follows: introductions, Trail Planning and Trail Management Objectives, Trail Ranger Programs – Maintenance and Rehabilitation, The National Trails Training Partnership, The USFS Technology Center Resource, Stretching Your Volunteer Dollars, and Design and Management of OHV Riding Areas.  And this was all on the first day out of the four!

            Before each conference, a ride opportunity is usually offered and this year was no exception.  Local Cajun and Louisiana State rep, Jim Barrett created a riding itinerary that promised plenty of fun in the Northern part of the state.  Bikes and ATVs were provided, the riding commenced and everyone had huge helpings of fun!  Let me tell you that riding in the forests of LA is a different experience, especially when the area is adjacent to a military testing grounds.  There’s nothing like the sound of tank shells shooting next to you to really get the adrenaline flowing!  After the days ride some local Cajun food was cooked up and heartily devoured.  This wasn’t store-bought Cajun food, but REAL Cajuns cooking the good stuff!  Very tasty indeed!  One of the rides entailed a route led by the local USFS ranger to the bridges and trail maintenance areas that they had performed locally.  This was to promote educational experiences, suggestions and input from around the nation.  

            After the preconference riding was over, it was back to New Orleans to get ready for the conference.  New Orleans is an incredible experience – so much history, culture and things to see.  Each evening a group of us would gather, take the ferry over to Nawlins (how the locals pronounce it) and proceed to enjoy.  Bourbon Street is an experience that must be tried once in life.  While I was there, the Mardi Gras was not happening, yet the street was one long party!  Beads are the thing, and women will, shall I say, show their best attributes, for the offering of beads.  Wild.  We visited other places too, like plantations, Bourbon Street, cemeteries, Bourbon Street, took a swamp tour, Bourbon Street, toured the old district, and finally Bourbon Street!  Of the many goals I had before I took off to Nawlins, I wanted to be sure and try many of the local delicacies.  While there, I was able to try crawfish, crawdad, jambalaya, frog legs and alligator.  What does gator taste like?  Chicken, of course, but stringier!

            The conference was a HUGE success and was great to get land managers together with enthusiasts so both sides could see things in a different light.  Hopefully, this will springboard the positive side of our sport and offer new opportunities through education and communication. 

            Next year’s NOHVCC Conference will be in Charlotte, North Carolina and 2004 will be in Oregon, so we’ll keep you posted.  For a look at what else NOHVCC has to offer, visit their website at:  or call: (800)348-6487.

            And finally, a message from Cajun NOHVCC Louisiana State rep., Jim Barrett is below (You probably won’t understand some of these unless you’ve been there).  Thanks Jim for an awesome experience:

 The following is a self-test to see if you were over exposed to Louisiana culture during the recent 2002 NOHVCC Conference. If indeed you were over-exposed, the only known cure is to come back for more!


You might be a Cajun if:
*You've ever worn shorts at Christmas time.

*You pronounce Lafayette as "Laffy-ette" not "La-fy-ette."

*You learned to drive a boat before you could drive a car.

*You offer somebody a "coke" and then ask them what kind: Coca-Cola, Dr. Pepper,

Pepsi, 7Up?

*You greet people with "Ha's ya momma'an'dem?" and hear back "Deyfine!"

*When you refer to a geographical location "way up North", you are referring to places

like Shreveport, Little Rock or Memphis, "where it gets real cold"!

*Your burial plot is six feet over rather than six feet under.

*You can pronounce Tchoupitoulas but can't spell it. (also, Thibodeaux, Opelousas,

Pontchartrain, Ouachita, Atchafalaya).

*The smell of a crawfish boil turns you on more than HBO.

*You don't learn until high school that Mardi Gras is not a national holiday.

*You don't realize until high school what a "county" is.

*You pronounce the largest city in the state as "Newawlins".

*The four seasons in your year are: crawfish, shrimp, crab and King Cake.

*If the majority of your food comes from a ditch!


(Warning: Bourbon Street wildlife scenery below!  Click on thumbnails for a larger picture)

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Our gracious local host, Jim Barrett.
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$Bill Chapin with USFS rangers.
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$Bill being Mr. Goodwrench.
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Wednesday nickel tour with the USFS.
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Jim Barrett catching some air.
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Jim Barrett.  (Guess I needed a faster shudder speed on the camera.)
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Rodney (Jim's fellow club member).
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Jimmy Parrish on the Gas / Lewis on his new CRF450. Nice shades, Lew.  :-)
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Michigan Mafia member, Lewis Shuler.
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Web dude, Aaron Small.
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$Bill wrenching yet again.
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Our authentic Cajun cook after Tuesday's awesome ride (Jim's Father in law). He cooked up some great Cajun food!
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Wednesday's rider's meeting.
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Tom Crimmons at rider's meeting.
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USFS trail inspection tour.
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Trail inspection discussion.
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Discussing about this great bridge the club built.
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Al "Chainsaw" McKenzie  showing the benefits of large fender wells. Good thing he still has one drinking hand.
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Jim filling up Cajun style at a gas station.
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New Orleans graveyard.  Tombstones are ALL above ground, due to the high water table.
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Tom Tribute.
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Slave cabin at Laura Plantation - birth of the Brer Rabbit Stories.
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Our great tour guide at Laura Plantation.
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Chicken pen in the back of the Laura Plantation.
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Slave cabin at Laura Plantation.
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Back yard of Laura Plantation.
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Notice the latch on the 'outside' of this slave cabin.
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Front of Laura Plantation.
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Front of Oak Alley Plantation - 300-year old, massive oak trees.
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Oak Alley Plantation.
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Steve Uhles and Ron Price.
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Tracy & Jim Barrett and Dave G. on the ferry to Nawlins.
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Brian Sears and the Wiff on Bourbon St. 
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Stormy Simms enjoying Bourbon St.
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Marie Laveau's Voodoo Store.
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"Gimme some beads!"
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Bourbon St. complete with Lawrence Welk bubble machine.
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Chainsaw about ready to take another Bourbon St. picture of... 
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...her!  Jim related the look on Chainsaw's face to the same as a puppy about ready to get some food. ;-)
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Jim, Todd, Dave and Chainsaw's cast on Bourbon St.
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What Bourbon St. is famous for. I like this place.
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Hurricane drinks for all at the famous Pat O'Briens.
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Getting crazy at Cafe DuMonde.
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More craziness from the Goils at Cafe DuMonde.
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Stormy with beer goggles.
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Chainsaw leading the way for the swamp tours.
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Lynn and hubby breaking the rules.
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Harold Soens tests a gator overbite.
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Gators like marshmallows, so don't wear a white t-shirt when swimming!
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Tom losing an arm as alligator bait with Julie's assistance.
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Swamp tourists.
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The swamps are beautiful in their special way.
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Scott Summers befriending a peewee gator.
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Julie making an attempt to actually touch a gator (with the help of her hubby, Joe, in the background).
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New Prez, Dan Kleen, gets serenaded. 
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Blake singing to Steve and Ernie.
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Blake doing his Garth Brooks imitation.
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Blake singing to Roy.
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Blake singing to Joe and Julie Barrell.
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Joe Vance showing his approval of his new popgun gift!
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The photographer, Lynn, getting photographed.
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The pre-bead party group grope.
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Beads for everyone! The bead party gains critical mass.
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Ann Vance obviously pleased with her collection of beads.
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Roy Garrett styling.
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Joe & Julie Barrell and Ron Rice, all from Orygun.
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Bob with an appropriate slide show.  Thanks for all you've done, Bob, you rock!
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Cold Ernie Lombard snuggling up with a table cloth.
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On the ferry again to Nawlins.
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This old boy was asleep in a little deli. He woke up and wasn't too pleased with my taking his photo.  Notice the reflections.
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Self portrait. [What a dentist sees]
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Sunday night dinner at the Red Fish: bad waiter, good food.
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Ernie likes Bourbon St.
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Joe and Julie Barrell shopping?
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Ron Rice at the Dark Entry.  Hmmm...
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This is what you look like if you hang out and drink too much on Bourbon St.
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Bourbon St. scenery.
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Cafe DuMonde.
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Joe Vance driving back to Wisconsin.
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Panorama of a swamp just East of Nawlins.