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OHV Sound Education Comes to
Loretta Lynn's Ranch
BlueRibbon Helps Folks in Tennessee

By Don Amador, BlueRibbon Coalition

A dirt-biker enjoys the scenery and trail at the SWR Trail Ride
ATV rider enjoying the SWECO trail at Loretta Lynn's Ranch
When one thinks of an off-road event at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch in Tennessee , vivid memories of large crowds attending either the AMA Amateur National Motocross Championships or the AMA Grand National Cross Country Series are conjured up.
Don Amador administers SAE J-1287 sound test
The last thing to expect at an off-road venue is that it would fully incorporate and feature an off-highway vehicle (OHV) sound education module.  However, that is exactly what happened at the 9th Annual Fall Trail Ride held at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch on October 20, 21, &22, 2006.  The event was promoted by Southern Woods Rider (SWR) and its president, Tom Stotler.

Today, more folks are moving from the city into the countryside where those new homes may be in close proximity to existing OHV riding opportunities on public lands or on private inholdings including Loretta Lynn’s Ranch or leased timberlands.  Realizing the need to start the sound education process for trail riders in Tennessee , SWR invited the FMF Racing/BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC) Sound Testing Program for OHVs to operate a sound education and test station for the event.

Since the issue of excessively loud exhaust noise and its often associated land-use problems were new to many of the riders attending the trail ride, SWR required a mandatory 98dBA sound level awareness test for all ATVs and dirt-bikes that entered the event.

The FMF/BRC sound program spent the better part of 3 days performing the SAE J-1287

“20-inch” sound test for all of the approximate 1,400 ATVs and dirt-bikes that were entered into the trail ride.

Since this event was a family-oriented ride that ventured on about 22 miles of ATV routes and 10 miles of technical single-track motorcycle trails, the sound module helped

educate riders from ages six to sixty about the need to ride sound compliant OHVs.  The test station also had complimentary sound packing materials avaible for those who needed it. The materials were generously provided by FMF Racing and Silent Sport.

2006 was focused on rider awareness and education.  SWR made it clear that it would not disqualify anyone over the self-imposed 98 dBA level. The goal was simply to get the riders up to speed on the issue of OHV sound.  However, next year I believe that SWR will enforce the 98 dBA sound limit and if a rider does not pass they will have to repack their muffler or purchase a sound compliant exhaust system.

It is often said that excessively loud OHV exhaust noise is the single most contentious land-use issue facing the dirt-bike/ATV rider today.  Fortunately, it is also the easiest problem to fix.  Currently, the OHV Industry is producing more sound compliant mufflers and user-groups are working hard to educate riders about loud exhaust.

By getting quiet and joining TEAM STEALTH, a rider can become part of the solution and help preserve and protect OHV recreational opportunities for future generations.

Don Amador
Don Amador Testifies in Congress
Don Amador Sound Testing in Tennessee (Loretta Lynn's Ranch)
Don Amador Top 10 Recreation Predictions for 2008
Don Amador Writes on Unmanaged Recreation
Don Amador OpEd (Aug. 2006) -- Rights and Responsibility
 

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Don Amador is a consultant to the BlueRibbon Coalition and he writes on recreation and environmental issues from his office in Oakley , California .  He may be reached by email at -  damador@cwo.com

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