I would like to take the time to highlight what I personally believe to be the muscle behind the OHRV/Snowmobile Safety Program: the volunteer safety instructors and regional coordinators.
Over the course of a year New Hampshire Fish and Game Department certifies around 1,500 students. This is not possible without the help of instructors and coordinators.
Yes, I know that New Hampshire has an online safety course that accounts for around 70% of the students but that is not the heart and soul of the program.
True heart and soul are the volunteer instructors
These individuals give countless hours of their time each year to pass on the sport and the safety message to students. I don’t use the word “kids,” for we are seeing adult students attending the classes who are just getting into the sport of OHRV’s and snowmobiling. Most instructors are members of clubs, who already devote many hours to the club by attending meetings and helping with trail work. Many are also groomer operators that are out at all times, day and night, keeping the trails in pristine condition.
When it comes to teaching a class there is a lot of background work that goes into it. The lead instructor needs, in many cases, to ask a club if they will sponsor the class. This could mean using the clubhouse for the class, the club providing lunch, and additional help if needed.
Once the lead instructor gets the go-ahead they need to get a date for the class. This means getting all the stars aligned with the other instructors that assist in teaching the class.
Once the date and location are set, the lead instructor needs to fill out the course card or get in touch with the NHFG Law Division. Most of the time that will be myself but could be Marie Hixson or Captain Eastman. Once we get the information, the class is posted online and we direct office calls to the lead instructor, often their personal home or cell phone.
NHFG will put together a box of materials and ship it to the lead instructor’s residence. We then contact the conservation officer that covers the area where the class is being held so they can attend and go over the laws pertaining to the operation of OHRVs and snowmobiles. The conservation officer reaches out directly to the lead instructor to arrange a time to attend.
The day of the class instructors arrive early to set up the room and get everything ready. After teaching all day they get to see the joy on the student’s faces, knowing that excitement will lead to a responsible rider (we hope).
After all students and parents leave, the instructors have a wrap-up and clean the room. The lead instructor then has the joy of paperwork. The student cards need to be signed, the final report filled out and the service agreement signed.
All of the paperwork is due back to NHFG within 15 days of the class. The student card is only valid when everything is returned and the students are entered into the database.
Snowmobile Regional Coordinators
Who are regional coordinators and what do they do? OHRV/Snowmobile regional coordinators are part-time employees of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. They are members of the NHFG Law Enforcement Division and help the division by completing many different assignments.
The first priority is to teach safety classes when and where needed throughout the State of New Hampshire. They will host classes all year long when the demand is needed. They are also available to assist any other instructor or team of instructors as needed. Often a coordinator will meet with new instructors prior to a class and then assist during their first class.
Regional coordinators also assist the Division by helping out at the many events that the Department/Division attend year-round. Anything from our annual Wild NH Day, NHSA Easterseals Ride-In, Jericho Fest, Go North SnoFest and Hopkinton and Lancaster fairs.
They also help out in the Concord office, putting together class supplies, data entry, and teaching advanced riding courses to police and fire departments all over the state.
If you would like to reach a regional coordinator call the OHRV office at 603-271-3129. The current coordinators are:
Timothy Acerno: Covers Cheshire, Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham and Strafford Counties
Marie Hixson: Covers Belknap, Carroll, Grafton, Merrimack and Sullivan Counties
Bryan Hadlock: Covers Coos, Carroll and Grafton Counties
Craig Mayo: Covers Coos, Carroll and Grafton Counties
Any coordinator can cover any county in New Hampshire depending on availability and what classes or events are taking place.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer instructor for the safety program please contact the OHRV office at 603-271-3129 or email.
I would like to personally thank all of the volunteer instructors past and present for all that you have or continue to do for the sport and help keeping riders safe!