Like the ancient Phoenix rising out of the ashes, Carnegie State Off-Highway Vehicle Park, whose very existence was threatened by a lawsuit in December 2009, has re-invented itself. It is now a leaner, greener and more sustainable off-road riding area.
This OHV recreation area has met and exceeded environmental challenges for the last 50 years. Along the way these tests brought together a coalition of visitors, long time park enthusiasts, and park employees. Also joining in was the leadership coalition of the American Motorcyclist Association, the Blue Ribbon Coalition and the AMA District 36. The dark days of 2009 also spawned Carnegie Forever, a formal (501) organization whose membership now exceeds 13.000 subscribers.
The first order of business at the opening ceremony, was to thank all of those who have worked so hard to do whatever necessary to push back the lawsuit and keep Carnegie open. Thanks went out to the CA OHV administrators, the Carnegie Rangers on the ground explaining over and over why changes had to be made and met and, finally, to the visitors who had to re-evaluate and change their riding styles slightly to conserve their precious local riding area.
So the idea of the Appreciation Day seemed like its time had come. Joe Ramos, our Carnegie Superintendent, led the charge with his enthusiasm. The Horne Family – Skip, Lynn and George graciously donated their Hillclimb facility. Tony and Vicki Shipman at Moto-Mart then stepped up to start the ball rolling. And roll it did. Joe Ramos, true to the State’s new mantra of a partnership
between the Public and Private sectors , reached out to the folks who have been putting on this type of events for years. The AMA and AMA District 36 worked hand-in-hand with Joe and Carnegie Forever to organize vendors, exhibits and demonstrations. The turnout was nothing short of incredible; the entire floor of the Hill Climb area was filled with 25 cycle vendor displays, spectators, visitors and families!
The atmosphere was reminiscent of an Old Time County Fair, except the rides were FREE! The vendors provided stickers, brochures and swag. AMA District 36 provided free sound testing and muffler packing if needed. Four-wheel clubs were in abundance to celebrate the opening of their new driving area. The State brought some cool displays of the kinds of critters that share and play (mostly at night) in our 1500 acres.
Finally, the best part of the day came after the very impressive 1000cc hillclimb demonstration when the Zero Electric Motorcycle Company (they gave demo rides all day) was gracious enough to allow 4 of Carnegie’s top riders to try the electric bike on the hillclimb. Pete and Petey Krunich (past Widowmaker Hillclimb champs), Kacy Martinez (X Games, WORCS and AMA 2009 Woman Athlete) and Joe Shipman (NAHA hillclimber) assembled to attack the infamous 400 foot Carnegie hillside on an electric motorcycle. The crowd was digging it, not really believing these “sewing machines on steroids” were really up to the task. They should have known better! Pete blasted (albeit quietly) up the hill the very first time, followed by the always smiling Kacy. The Zero sales representative was as surprised as the crowd. Pete was heard to say “I got’a have one of these in my garage!” followed by “that thing did a baby wheelie all the way up the hill”! Pretty amazing finish to a totally amazing day.
The bottom line is that this event was a perfect example of what can and MUST be done to support continued growth at Carnegie, and our other CA OHV Parks. Administrators, rangers, and maintenance personnel came together with the off-road community, represented by clubs, vendors, dealers, volunteers and associations. They put aside their own points of view and personal preferences. They all worked cooperatively for a common outcome, which turned out to be something bigger than the sum of
its parts, – plus it was a heck of a lot of fun!!
I know I’ll see you all and others at the 2nd Annual Carnegie Appreciation Day next year!
District 36 Board of Directors