Landscape Stewardship Awards - 2011

THE PUBLIC LANDS FOUNDATION presents the Arizona Off-Highway Vehicle Ambassador Program with its 2011 Landscape Stewardship Award and this Citation.  The Foundation grants this recognition to honor private citizens and organizations that work to advance and sustain community-based stewardship on landscapes that include, in whole or in part, public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

In what began as a suggestion from Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) riders, a volunteer program aimed at peer-to-peer education and adding an on-the-ground presence, the Arizona Off-Highway Vehicle Ambassador Program was born in 2007.  Now in it’s fourth year, this volunteer organization works with multiple agencies and is supported by staff from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), and the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD), and is lead by the Arizona State Parks.

Serving in a non-law enforcement capacity, Ambassadors provide peer-to-peer education about the proper use of OHVs, area information and generally serving as a bridge between land managers and the recreating public.  Education leading to a positive change in behavior that benefits the land is a goal of each Ambassador.

Since its inception in 2007, the Program has trained 99 volunteers in five volunteer training sessions, with 80 Ambassadors remaining in the program.  Volunteers have donated over 4,300 hours and approximately 66,640 vehicle miles toward the program, with an estimated value of donated time and resources of more than $111,000.  They have held 172 organized events.  They have monitored 4,908 miles of trail, made 6,682 public contacts, found and reported 4 abandoned vehicles to Law Enforcement, reported 11 significant public safety trail hazards, removed 25 trailer loads (50 cubic yards) of trash from public lands, located and recorded 68 abandoned mines, repaired 1.5 miles of fence, located and reported 10 fresh cut trails, installed 1 kiosk and repaired two others, installed 124 signs, and reported 17 downed signs.

In an atmosphere of decreasing federal and state budgets, insufficient law enforcement to cover 12 million acres of public lands administered by BLM, the Ambassadors took the initiative, displayed leadership to recruit, organize and perform meaningful work on the ground to improve the landscape.

The Ambassador Program is a successful model to protect an entire regional landscape by promoting values of sustainability for multiple land management agencies.

The Public Lands Foundation is pleased to present the Arizona Off-Highway Vehicle Ambassador Program with its 2011 Landscape Stewardship Award and this Citation for invaluable contributions to the stewardship of America’s public landscapes.

Henri Bisson
September 7, 2011