New Jersey’s enduro enthusiasts and dual-sport riders may soon be able to once again head deep into the trees, exploring the vast state forests on two wheels.
The American Motorcyclist Association has offered support to the East Coast Enduro Association’s efforts to reopen existing trails in NJ state forests that were closed in 2012. The AMA attended meetings in July with the state Department of Environmental Protection, where they presented research data in favor of reopening the off-highway routes.
Currently, DEP policy restricts enduro to blacktop, sand and woods roads, and gravel. Off-road travel is limited to fire cuts, despite the existence of a huge network of hundreds of miles of single-track motorcycle trails in state forests.
The ECEA trails were approved for enduro in the original draft of the DEP’s 2012 policy change, but were eliminated before the policy was approved, closing trails that have been used by riders for decades. According to information from the ECEA, some of the trails are more than 75 years old.
The DEP’s primary concern is the sustainability of the trails, and the preservation of historic forest routes. To that end, the ECEA and the AMA have proposed forest and trail management solutions that involve volunteers and enforced sustainability practices.
DEP officials responded favorably to recommendations from the motorcycle groups, and have said publicly that many of the trail closures are unjustified. It is expected that the ECEA and AMA recommendations will be considered, and the DEP will provide feedback during another discussion in the near future.
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