California State Parks Encourages Off-Highway Vehicle Enthusiasts to Be Off-Road Heroes During OHV Safety Weeks in 2023


This year, the California State Parks’ Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) Division and partners are encouraging off-highway vehicle (OHV) enthusiasts to be off-road heroes. The theme for the 2023 OHV Safety Awareness Weeks, set for April 1-9 and November 11-19, is “Be the Off-Road Hero.” Setting the example by following safety protocols can have a positive impact in the lives of all Californians.

“Many have heroes in their lives, people who have influenced who they are today—a professional athlete, a coach, teacher, or parent,” said OHMVR Division Chief Callan McLaughlin. “This year’s theme for the OHV Safety Awareness weeks is ‘Be the Off-Road Hero,’ and we are asking all OHV enthusiasts to be heroes to others around them by riding respectfully and recreating responsibly.”

Heroes train every day for unforeseeable events they may encounter along their path. Below are some examples of how Californians can train to be heroes:

  • Be Visible: Use a whip and flag, wear high-visibility clothing and practice trail etiquette.
  • Suit Up: Wear a properly fitted helmet, chest protector, knee guards and all recommended safety equipment.
  • Train Now for a Better Tomorrow: Take a FREE safety class, which can help you become a more experienced rider.

As part of the weeklong celebration, several state vehicular recreation areas (SVRAs) will host free safety training classes for new or experienced OHV riders. Prairie City and Ocotillo Wells SVRAs will host several all-terrain vehicle (ATV) classes. Additionally, recreational off-highway vehicle (ROVs) courses will also be available at Prairie City and Ocotillo Wells SVRAs. For those interested in participating in these free classes, schedules and sign-up information is available on the California Outdoor Recreation Foundation website, Check with the SVRA for updated course schedules.

Working together with the Tread Lightly! InitiativeCalifornia Highway Patrol, California Outdoor Recreation FoundationSpecialty Vehicle Institute of America, ATV Safety Institute (ASI),  Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association (ROHVA), Motorcycle Industry Council and Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF), the OHMVR Division will be providing a mix of safety messages and activities during the OHV safety awareness weeks, using park interpretive programs, in-person events and safety messaging via various social media platforms. Additionally, ASI, ROHVA and MSF are teaming up with the division to provide free dirt bike, ATV, and recreational OHV training.

In October 2020, the California OHMVR Commission passed a resolution dedicating two weeks of the year to promote and focus on safe and responsible OHV practices.

California’s OHMVR Program was created in 1971 out of the critical need to better manage the growing demands for OHV recreation, while fostering respect for private property rights and protecting the state’s natural and cultural resources. Today, there are nine SVRAs across California: Carnegie, Clay Pit, Eastern Kern County Onyx Ranch, Heber Dunes, Hollister Hills, Hungry Valley, Oceano Dunes, Ocotillo Wells and Prairie City. These public lands provide recreational opportunities on approximately 145,000 acres of lands with more than 600 miles of designated OHV trails and terrain. Some SVRAs also feature camping, swimming and other recreational opportunities. A variety of wildlife, sensitive habitats, plants and animal species call them home.

The OHMVR program also supports safe and responsible OHV recreation beyond the state park system. Since 1971, more than $770 million in grants, managed by the OHMVR Division, have been awarded to federal and local partners, funding acquisition and development, resource protection, safety and education, and law enforcement for OHV recreation.

For more information about the OHMVR Division, including grant opportunities, please visit

OHV Safety Week theme for 2023 is Be the Off-Road Hero by suiting up with the proper safety gear and being visible while riding,
OHV Safety Week theme for 2023 is Be the "Off-Road Hero" by suiting up with the proper safety gear and being visible while riding.

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California State Parks provides for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high quality outdoor recreation.