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Here is my write-up on the current licensing issue.
Feel free to share.




As it currently stands, the Washington State Department of Licensing is deviating from the State law when it comes to issuing the new WATV plates.

The problem is the DoL requirement for WATV to retain the ORV permit stickers and if modified for road use, to add the metal plate in addition to the stickers.

This is not in accordance to the new law. The new plate is supposed to replace the ORV stickers.
Pursuant to RCW46.09.410(9) the plate issued per RCW46.09.442 supersedes the ORV sticker requirement. RCW46.09.442(1) describes the placement of the off road and on road tabs on the new plate as required by RCW46.09.442(2).

WOHVA has been contact with the DoL and they are aware of the fact that they are not operating in compliance with the law.

They said that they are having problems with making their computer system accomplish what it needs to do to follow the new law. The DoL is currently working on finding a solution, but resolving the problem could be delayed until the Legislature allocates funding to do the work and if that is the case it will not happen until at least the spring of 2015.

The DoL further acknowledges that the ORV stickers are not legally required, but they are issuing them contrary to the law to make it easier for law enforcement officers to look up the vehicle information while in the field.

WOHVA will continue to work with the DoL and Legislature to get this resolved. We will keep you updated as this moves forward.

Tod Petersen
Political Action Committee Chairman
Washington Off Highway Vehicle Alliance

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SUNDAY, JULY 13, 2014
State’s new road access law confuses ATV riders

The Spokesman-Review: State?s new road access law confuses ATV riders

CORRECTION: Gary Prewitt is an active member of the Eastern Washington ATV Association, but not the group’s president. He is an officer in a group that broke off from EWATVA called Eastern Washington Search and Rescue.

A law enacted last year by the Washington Legislature to amend guidelines on all-terrain vehicles was hailed by ATV enthusiasts as a way to increase access to rural lanes and national forest roads.

In some parts of the state, it has.

It has also created confusion about where it’s legal to ride and fueled frustration over the Forest Service’s inconsistent interpretations of its own rules.

With everything House Bill 1632 did to update rules on ATV use – setting minimum age limits and requiring safety equipment and state-issued metal tags – motorized user groups thought the national forests in the state would fall in line with those in several other western states where ATV use is commonplace on federal and state lands.

That didn’t happen.

Several counties – Kittitas, Chelan and Douglas among them – and rural communities such as Prosser, East Wenatchee and Cashmere, used the new law to adopt ordinances allowing street-legal ATVs on some or all of their roads with speed limits of 35 mph or slower.

Other counties took action earlier. Stevens County commissioners passed a county ordinance in 2012 that allows ATVs to operate on most county-managed roads.

But national forests in the state have remained off-limits.

In March, Mike Balboni, supervisor of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest – the only federal forest in the state without a map delineating what roads are open to what type of motorized use – said he believed ATVs could use the roads in his forest since there was no rule expressly forbidding it.

Officials at the Forest Service’s Portland-based Region 6 headquarters disagreed with his interpretation, which led to Balboni’s May 15 letter to various media outlets reversing his earlier statement.

The new 37-page law details the requisite equipment and circumstances under which an ATV can be driven “upon any public roadway of this state.” But the criteria are followed by this six-word caveat: “not including nonhighway roads and trails.”

One of the law’s definitions of a nonhighway road is “any road owned or managed by a public agency.”

“The act itself excludes national forest roads,” Balboni said recently at a Cashmere work session of groups and agencies impacted by the law.

To some motorized-access supporters of the bill, that was a catch-22.

“We plugged every hole the Forest Service had been telling us needed to be plugged over the years,” said Gary Prewitt, president of the Eastern Washington ATV Association. “And then when 1632 passed, they reneged on everything.”

Bob Schafer of Gleed, a retired state wildlife enforcement captain and an avid ATV user, knew the new state law wouldn’t open national forest land to ATVs but remains frustrated.

Schafer’s two recreational vehicles, an ATV and a wider-wheel-base utility-task vehicle (UTV), are equipped with all of the law’s safety requirements, except the metal license plates that the state didn’t make available until this month. But so far, all of his best riding experiences have occurred in other states.

“This is street-legal in Idaho, Arizona and Utah on their public roads,” Schafer said, gesturing to his UTV. “Each state has its own rules (governing ATV use on public roads), and Washington is the only one with this 35 mph thing.

“It would be street-legal here, but there are no streets it could be operated on in this county.”

Schafer can legally drive his vehicle on hundreds of miles of county roads in Douglas or Chelan counties or, to a lesser degree, in Kittitas County. Kittitas commissioners last month approved an ordinance allowing ATV use on certain county roads, but the lack of connectivity with other trails that would allow loop trails prompted one ATV online forum poster to describe the county’s plan as “a lot of roads to nowhere.”

That’s still more roads than Schafer could use in Spokane County or Yakima County, which has been petitioned by two groups to consider an ATV roads ordinance.

“Doing a real quick tally of all the eligible roads, that would be 302 miles of (county roads) 35 mph and lower,” said Yakima County engineer Gary Ekstedt. “Right now, the commissioners just want to do some fact-finding and figure out the best way to respond.”

The motorized-use community was excited about the potential of increased access as the bill was debated. Their environmental counterparts, Conservation Northwest and Trout Unlimited, were in it more for the accountability that came with the newly mandated metal tags, enabling easy identification of those who might be tearing up the landscape.

When Okanogan County commissioners responded to the 1632 passage by opening all of their low-speed county roads to ATVs, Conservation Northwest filed suit to stop them.

Gregg Bafundo of Trout Unlimited said conservationists hoped for a more gradual implementation.

“I don’t see how an ATV following me up a dirt road in my Toyota Tundra does any more damage to that road than my Tundra does,” he said. “But what I do see is that it’s easier for that ATV to quickly hang a right and drive up a user-built trail, or create user-built trails.”

He said the Teanaway Community Forest includes roughly 12 miles of roads open to ATVs, and another 300 miles of unofficial roads created by motorized users who repeatedly ventured off the road system.

While Schafer notes that the average ATVer in Washington is at least 50 years old and a responsible rider, the conservation groups point out that a small group of irresponsible motorized users can inflict a lot of slow-healing land damage in a short time.

“A lot of other people go out and use public lands, and many of them don’t use ATVs or motorized vehicles, but they see a lot of damage caused by illegal behavior,” said Dave Werntz of Conservation Northwest. “So there’s this association between ATV use and illegal behavior. Right or wrong, it exists.”

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Well, that was a waste of time (no offense to you, Treacherous). I was hoping to find something new in there, but that article is basically word for word the same thing I've read on other sites before. And they're posting it as if it were new as of last week.

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I am new here and am looking for a little more info! I am interested in which roads will actually be open in Pierce County, if any, to ATV's if I have the street conversion done? Is there a map available? Surely there must be some new roads open to those of us in pierce county :( It would be great to ride my ATV into town on small errands! Any leads or info would be great! Thanks so much!- Megan

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I am new here and am looking for a little more info! I am interested in which roads will actually be open in Pierce County, if any, to ATV's if I have the street conversion done? Is there a map available? Surely there must be some new roads open to those of us in pierce county :( It would be great to ride my ATV into town on small errands! Any leads or info would be great! Thanks so much!- Megan
I haven't really heard of anything there but the following is mentioned:

"Pierce County has a road map and ordinance draft for an upcoming meeting, and Lewis County is just ahead of Pierce. "

Increased ATV/UTV Access Premier Polaris Monroe, WA 360-794-8669

You probably want to track down someone in Pierce Co gov't via email on when this meeting is. Hopefully it hasn't already occurred.

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ATVs may be possible on Forest Service roads - Kittitas County

ATVs may be possible on Forest Service roads

U.S. Forest Service officials are asking Kittitas County government to consider an agreement allowing some all-terrain vehicles to operate on U.S. Forest Service roads in the Cle Elum Ranger District.
State-licensed ATVs are currently not allowed to use USFS roads.

Kittitas County Commission Chairman Gary Berndt said he’s in discussions with Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest staff on a proposed pilot program to open a limited number of USFS roads in Upper County to ATVs. The proposal only would cover ATVs that are state licensed, street legal and four wheeled.
The pilot program might involve 50 to 75 miles of roads on USFS land in Kittitas, Okanogan, Chelan and Yakima counties.
Berndt said the tentative program might be limited to this summer and allow USFS staff to later evaluate how licensed, ATV use affects USFS road surfaces, nearby open space, recreation and the environment in general.
“This is a result of the Forest Service reaching out to us and other counties in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest,” Berndt said earlier this week. “They want us to consider being part of a carefully planned pilot program with real specific goals and safeguards.”
Committee review
Berndt, chairman of the county’s Public Lands Advisory Committee, is working with a subcommittee of the group, and a statewide recreation group representative, to form a draft agreement for the pilot program with the USFS.
The tentative agreement will be brought before the full public lands committee at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 17, to review and discuss, Berndt said.
“We want to cooperate with (the U.S. Forest Service) on this mutual opportunity to look into this type of vehicle use on these federal lands,” Berndt said.
Kittitas County opened county roads with speed limits of 35 mph or less to ATVSs in May 2014.
Berndt said the USFS initially indicated they would allow the licensed vehicles to use U.S. Forest Service roads in Upper Kittitas County.
Later consideration by USFS officials resulted in a decision that the ATVs, despite being street legal and driven by licensed drivers, couldn’t operate on USFS roads.
That decision now is being evaluated by the USFS through the proposed pilot program in agreements with each county in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.
If you go
What: Monthly meeting of the Kittitas County Public Lands Advisory Committee
When: 3 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 17
Where: Armory Building, East Seventh Avenue and Poplar Street, Ellensburg
Agenda: Review/discuss proposed pilot program to allow state-licensed, street-legal ATVs to operate on U.S. Forest Service roads in the county.

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So, where there any results or plans that came out of the meeting on the 17th?

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From Kittitas Co commissioner:

"At the meeting with the USFS we discussed the opportunity to look for some "looped" roads that might work if they are all on USFS roads. We have developed 2 possibilities that I will present to the entire OKF USFS staff along with folks presenting for Okanogan, Chelan, and Yakima Counties as well.
Beyond working to get approval, that's as far as we are."

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steps in the right direction.

We're going to be looking to buy acreage in the Tonasket area in the next couple years. So knowing the laws will be helpful. thanks for keeping us updated.

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Washington ATV association (find them on FB) announced today that the USFS is having meetings in WA, OR, & CA to hear public opinion on opening up FSR's to ATV use, and to help determine implementation.

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ATVs legal on Granite Falls streets after City Council vote

GRANITE FALLS — People can now ride wheeled all-terrain vehicles on city streets here.
The Granite Falls City Council voted 3-1 in favor of letting people ride off-road rigs such as quads and side-by-sides on city-owned roadways in the future. Councilman Tom FitzGerald voted no and councilman Tom Collins was not at the meeting.
It still is illegal to ride all-terrain vehicles on county roads. The city council also considered an ordinance that would have allowed the vehicles on city streets only after the county permitted them.
At this point, the county is not planning to allow wheeled all-terrain vehicles on its roads, engineer Owen Carter said. The public works department looked at reports from areas where all-terrain vehicles are allowed on streets and at details from vehicle manufacturers. They have concerns about the safety of riders and other drivers, he said.
“All-terrain vehicles aren't designed to be on paved roads,” Carter said. “We have looked into it and we have decided that we're not going to pursue it.”
Any policy changes would have to go through the County Council, he said.
Cities have control over their own roads. Granite Falls planning commissioner Chris Marsh brought the issue up in his town. He's been trying to get all-terrain vehicles permitted on local streets for nearly a year.
Marsh compared riding a wheeled off-road vehicle to traveling by motorcycle. He often rides with friends from Granite Falls to Sultan. They stop for food, gas and supplies.
“We see an economic value to it,” he said. “There's millions of dollars people invest into equipment they never get to ride around here. Ideally, we want to get our recreation back in Snohomish County.”
Granite Falls is the second city in the county to approve off-road rigs on the road.
The Sultan City Council in 2013 passed a similar ordinance, though they didn't wait on the county. The decision came shortly after the Legislature changed state law.
Proponents envision a network of scenic byways to let people drive all-terrain vehicles between towns like Sultan and Granite Falls. They want access to forest service roads, as well.
“We're trying to create a pattern and an example that other counties and other forests can utilize,” said Ted Jackson, who fought to get the state legislation passed. “You have that option of creating a travel and tourism economy. If you look at Granite Falls, there's the opportunity to connect to forest roads and scenic routes.”
Opponents say the street is no place for vehicles designed to plunge through mud puddles and bump over rugged terrain. They cite safety, noise and enforcement as key concerns.
Under state law, local leaders can opt to allow all-terrain vehicles on public roads with a 35 mph speed limit or less. The rigs must be registered and licensed specifically for on-road use, and operators must have a driver's license.
To be street-legal, a quad, three-wheeler or side-by-side needs a headlight, tail light, turn signal, mirror, horn, muffler and brakes. Liability insurance, required for driving a car on public roads, is not needed.
Former Gold Bar City Councilman Chuck Lie worries about legal problems cities, counties and individual drivers could face in an accident involving an off-road vehicle.
The Gold Bar City Council in 2013 considered allowing all-terrain vehicles on local streets, but ultimately voted it down.
“I've never seen city hall so packed,” Lie said. “I think these guys have chosen a hobby that's controversial, and now they expect everyone to be OK with it.”
The state needs a cultural change to adjust to the notion of off-road vehicles on public streets, Jackson said. He thinks a shift in mind-set is possible, and he expects a boost to local businesses and tourism.
Lie disagrees.
“It's a weird thing that they're promising economic development, but we're making these compromises with traffic safety,” he said.
Proponents continue to work with state and county leaders to open more roads for all-terrain vehicles, Marsh said. They plan to ask the county council to adopt an ordinance similar to those passed in Sultan and Granite Falls.

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Interesting... I thought the WA street legal had a maximum county population density. something like less than 75K people in the county.. or am I completely wrong with that, and does the city jurisdiction supersede the state on City owned streets?

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IIRC... law made it automatic for smaller counties but larger ones could opt in.

Interesting thing about Granite Falls is they contract with Snohomish County for law enforcement IIRC...... Sultan does too and they are legal there too.

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Manastash, Table Mountain would be part of pilot project - Kittitas County

ATVs may be allowed on forest roads - Daily Record: Members

Cle Elum Ranger District staff has proposed allowing ATVs on two routes on Forest Service roads in Upper Kittitas County.
The ranger district plan for the routes, which may open later this year in a one-year pilot program, is under review at this time by U.S. Forest Service officials of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest in Wenatchee.

Cle Elum District Ranger Mary Maj made a presentation earlier this month on the local routes to Forest Service officials, who also heard other ATV road-use proposals from ranger districts in Chelan, Okanogan and Yakima counties.
At present, street-legal ATVs with a state license plate can’t use U.S. Forest Service roads.
The USFS districts in the four counties are proposing a yearlong pilot program starting in early May to allow ATVs to use specific routes. This would be followed by an evaluation of the impacts the added vehicle traffic may have created.
ATVs would need to follow vehicle traffic laws.
Kittitas County Commissioner Gary Berndt, who spoke in support of the routes at the Wenatchee presentation, said Cle Elum district staff chose the Upper County routes to reflect those areas of the national forest most compatible with vehicular traffic on forest service roads.
“The roads that are being looked at for the pilot program are those that already are open for public use by those traveling in the forest with their cars and pickups,” Berndt said after the Wentachee meeting. “The proposal would just add state-licensed ATVs to use the roads, too.”
He said it’s his opinion that allowing licensed ATVs on Forest Service roads will not significantly increase forest road traffic.
Proposed loop routes
The proposed routes were described by Berndt:
• Table Mountain loop route — ATV drivers could access Forest Service roads in the Liberty area or at the top of Blewett Pass or at the higher elevation in the Reecer Creek area, with about 30 miles of roads accessible.
• Manastash area loop — The route connects the Manastash area with sites outside the city of Cle Elum and in the Taneum Road area. The route also is about 30 miles.
Berndt said when national forest-level staff complete their evaluation of the routes in each county’s national forest, another meeting will be convened to review any recommended changes in the routes. District Ranger Maj said that next meeting will be April 24.
In addition, discussion will include what’s required for vehicle-use enforcement and how to inform the public about the ATV routes. This could include wide distribution of maps showing the routes and reminders about state requirements that must be met to make sure an ATV is street legal in regards to safety equipment.
Berndt said the March 9 meeting in Wenatchee included comments from representatives of several private environmental, conservation and recreation groups, including Conservation Northwest and Trout Unlimited.
Evaluation of licensed ATV use would include whether there was an increase in incidents of ATV drivers operating their vehicles illegally, including going off road in areas where off-road driving is prohibited.
“The public outreach to get the attention of (licensed ATV) drivers is going to be crucial to steer them away from violations,” Berndt said. “A problem created by just a very few irresponsible ATV drivers could ruin it for everyone else who want to enjoy our national forests safely and responsibly in their ATVs.”
Members of Commissioner Berndt’s county public lands advisory committee on Feb. 17 reviewed the ranger district routes and other proposals and indicated their support.
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