- Mahindra has finally gotten EPA approval to sell light-duty diesel pickups in the U.S.
- The new Dodge Durango, which is based on the Jeep Grand Cherokee will eschew four-wheel drive in favor of all-wheel drive in order to keep the mission of the similar vehicles separate.
- Rumors are that the next generation of GM's large SUVs will continue the tradition of body-on-frame construction.
Wilderness Bills Pending in Congress
Wilderness bills can vary in size and impact on the hobby. The following are wilderness bills currently in Congress that could dramatically reshape the face of OHV recreation.
Northern Rockies: The "Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act" (H.R. 980) invents the term "Northern Rockies Bioregion" and then uses it as the reason to outlaw any motorized activity on nearly 24 million acres of land in five states (Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Wyoming) using the wilderness designation.
Utah: More than one-sixth of Utah would be off-limits to any form of motorized recreation if Congress approves H.R. 1925, "America's Red Rock Wilderness Act of 2009." The bill would designate 9.4 million acres of land in Utah as "wilderness." Most of the 168 co-sponsors of the legislation represent areas east of the Rockies.
Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act (S. 3294): 330,000 acres of land in Idaho.
Colorado Wilderness Act (H.R. 4289): 34 areas totaling 850,000 acres in Colorado.
San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act (H.R. 3914; S. 2762): 44,000 acres in southwestern Colorado.
Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Wilderness Act (S. 1689): 272,000 acres in New Mexico.
Cerro Del Yuta Wilderness and Rio San Antonio Wilderness (S. 874): 236,000 acres near Taos, New Mexico.
Forest Jobs and Recreation Act (S. 1470): Sets aside 600,000 acres while protecting timber harvesting in Montana.
Devil's Staircase Wilderness Act (S. 1272; H.R. 2888): 30,000 acres in Oregon.
Tony Dean Cheyenne River Valley Conservation Act (S. 3310): 50,000 acres in South Dakota.
Tennessee Wilderness Act (S. 3470): 20,000 acres near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee.
While these bills have not yet been passed, other wilderness bills have resulted in real trails being closed to OHV enthusiasts. Some examples of areas where off-road recreation is no longer permitted are:
Canaan Mountain Sawmill Road, Utah: The road was built around the turn of the last century for access to a sawmill at the top of Canaan Mountain in Utah near the Arizona border. For decades, it had been a popular recreation route with spectacular vistas of the Grand Staircase and Arizona Strip. In 2009, Congress included the Canaan Mountain Wilderness, along with nearly 160 other measures, in the Omnibus Public Land Management Act. As a result, OHV access was then outlawed on nearly 2.2 million acres of new wilderness in nine states when the law took effect in March 2009.
Dickshooter Ridge Road, Idaho: About 17 miles of road on Dickshooter Ridge between Battle and Deep Creeks was closed when the Owyhee Canyonlands Wilderness was created in southwest Idaho as a result of the 2009 law. The road offered spectacular views of vertical walled gorges and vistas of the surrounding desert plateaus. The road was named after Dick Shooter, who established a homestead there and was the original route that old-timers used to travel from Silver City to Salt Lake and the Humboldt (Nevada) area.
Lonstine River Road, Oregon: The popular road south of Lonstine, Oregon, would be closed if Congress passes the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act. The legislation invents the term "Northern Rockies Bioregion" as the reason to outlaw any motorized activity on nearly 24 million acres of land in five States (Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Wyoming). Bill sponsors want to create the Eagle Cap Wilderness and close the road within the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.