Iowa Trails 2000

Appendix D: motorized trail users survey

The Iowa Department of Transportation is in the process of preparing an update to the 1989 Iowa state trail plan. This update, known as Iowa Trails 2000, will serve as a resource document for trail implementers throughout the state. A number of types of trail user groups, including off-highway vehicle (OHV) users, have been considered in this trail planning effort. In order to better understand the use characteristics, needs and expectations of OHV users, the project Technical Advisory Committee decided that a survey of OHV users should be conducted in conjunction with the Iowa Trails 2000 process. The intent of the survey was not to represent a statistically valid survey sample; rather, the survey responses were intended to give state agencies a general understanding of what the needs and wants of OHV users are.


The Iowa Department of Transportation and Department of Natural Resources, in conjunction with SRF Consulting Group, Inc., designed the survey form. Survey questions requested information on OHV ownership, trail use, desired trail amenities and qualities. This survey was mailed to 800 OHV owners in January, 2000. The mailing list for survey distribution was compiled from OHV and snowmobile user lists supplied by the OHV representative on the Technical Advisory Committee.

Approximately half (396) of the surveys were returned to the Iowa Department of Transportation prior to April 1, 2000. Initial review of the survey responses received identified that 184 of the survey respondents had misread the instructions on two or more key questions, which would have impacted tabulation of responses to those questions. Therefore, those surveys were not tabulated. The data from the remaining 212 surveys was input into a Microsoft Access database. Response frequencies, percentages and ranges were calculated and are summarized below.

Summary of survey results:
Types of vehicles and their use

The many types of off-highway vehicles have a wide variety of uses. The type of vehicle and its use will have an impact on the number and type of facilities that the state of Iowa may consider developing. To assist the state in the possible development of additional facilities, OHV owners were asked questions regarding their vehicles and use. Responses were received from the following Survey questions.
Survey question 1: What type(s) of motorized off-highway vehicle (OHV) do you own (check all that apply)?

Vehicle type Number Percentage*
Snowmobile 151 48.2
Trail bike 48 15.3
Dual sport 14 4.5
4-Wheel (ATV) 92 29.4
Other 8 2.6
*Percentage is calculated based on a total of 313 vehicles. Some respondents had more than one OHV.

Survey question 2: Is your OHV registered?

Registration status Number Percentage*
Yes 200 94.4
No 6 2.8
No answer 6 2.8

*Percentage is calculated based on a total of 212 surveys.

The number of respondents that indicated their vehicles were registered is significantly above the national average. It is likely that the distribution of the survey is responsible for this result.

Survey question 3: How do you use your OHV?

Vehicle use Number Percentage*
Competition 24 6.7
Farming 55 15.2
Hunting 31 8.6
Pleasure riding 211 58.6
Work 33 9.2
Other 6 1.7

*Percentage is calculated based on 360 responses. Some respondents selected more than one type of use for their vehicle.

For respondents that selected "other," a blank space was provided so that the respondent could indicate what other purpose their OHV was used for. The six respondents noted that they used their OHV for landscape work, OHV park riding, trail riding, vacation/pleasure, emergencies and checking on other farms and livestock.

It should be noted that four surveys, which were not tabulated in the above table, were turned in that selected "work" as the sole use of their vehicle. These surveys were not included in the final selection of 212 surveys because they did not respond to the rest of the survey since it did not apply to them.

Survey question 4: Do you generally go riding with family, friends or alone?

Ride with Number Percentage*
Family 143 40.2
Friends 192 53.9
Alone 21 5.9

*Percentage is calculated based on 356 responses. Some of the 212 surveys that were used in tabulating results had more than one of the options selected.

Survey question 5: Are you a member of an OHV club?

Member Number Percentage*
Yes 188 88.7
No 20 9.4
No answer 4 1.9

*Percentage is calculated based on 212 surveys evaluated.


The majority of OHV owners have a snowmobile or an ATV that is registered with the state. Most of these owners use their vehicles for pleasure riding or farming. The registration percentage appears to be high. This may be a reflection on the fact that the survey was circulated to club members. These figures should be validated with some contact with enforcement personnel or others associated with the sport before they are used to project the total OHV population in Iowa.

Owners of OHVs generally do not ride alone; they usually ride with friends or family. In many cases, individuals own multiple vehicles to facilitate this activity. With 313 vehicles owned by 212 respondents, it shows that nearly half of the enthusiasts own more than one machine. This can result from an individual owning a snowmobile for the winter activities and another OHV for the summer, or a family owning two or more of the same type of vehicle for family outings.

The data show that a majority of owners belong to an OHV club. However, this may be more reflective of the distribution process rather than the actual club membership levels. In most other states, club membership penetration is closer to 20 percent to 30 percent. Further analysis may be necessary to validate this information. Some simple enthusiast interviews at the riding areas may provide the necessary information.

Where owners ride and the factors that influence where they go
There are many factors that influence where an OHV owner may choose to ride his or her vehicle. Questions regarding these factors are summarized below.

Survey question 6: Do you generally ride (rate 1 (most frequent), 2, 3, 4 (least frequent): on your own land, in road right-of-way, on other private land, or on designated OHV trails?

1 2 3 4
On own land 42 (18.8%) 45 (22.7%) 43 (22.4%) 68 (34.7%)
On other private land 31 (13.8%) 56 (28.3%) 73 (38.1%) 42 (21.4%)
In road right-of-ways 43 (19.2%) 53 (26.8%) 45 (23.4%) 58 (29.6%)
On designated trails 108 48.2%) 44 (22.2%) 31 (16.1%) 28 (14.3%)

It should be noted that some of the surveys were not completely filled in. For example, some respondents ranked only two of the four choices and left the other two options blank. Some respondents ranked everything as "1". As a result, the total for each number does not equal 212. Percentages were calculated based on the total number of responses for each frequency level (e.g., "1", "2", etc.).

The results indicated that 67 percent of the respondents ride, most frequently, in road rights-of-way (probably snowmobiles in winter) or in areas with designated trails, with trails representing the largest category, by far. Looking at the chart, one can see that riding on trails is about double any other categories. This clearly points out the need for public trails in the state to satisfy the demand.

Question 7: What factors determine what OHV trail or riding area you use? (Rate 1 (most) – 6 (least) in order of importance)

Importance rating
1 2 3 4 5 6
from home
73 (34.1%) 27 (12.5%) 29 (13.2%) 28 (13.1%) 26 (12.5%) 15 (7.1%)
of trail
27 (12.6%) 67 (31.0%) 54 (24.7%) 25 (11.7%) 27 (13.0%) 7 (3.3%)
of course
20 (9.3%) 29 (13.4%) 32 (14.6%) 20 (9.4%) 27 (13.0%) 50 (24.0%)
between points
28 (13.1%) 27 (12.5%) 36 (16.4%) 46 (21.6%) 36 (17.3%) 20 (9.6%)
ice riding
16 (7.5%) 9 (4.2%) 8 (3.7%) 22 (10.3%) 23 (11.1%) 51 (24.4%)


37 (17.3%) 31 (14.4%) 31 (14.2%) 49 (23.0%) 35 (16.8%) 21 (10.0%)
to services
13 (6.1%) 26 (12.0%) 29 (13.2%) 23 (10.8%) 34 (16.3%) 45 (21.5%)

It should be noted that some of the surveys were not completely filled in. For example, some respondents ranked only some of the seven choices and left the other options blank. Some respondents ranked everything as "1." As a result, the total for each number does not equal 212. Percentages were calculated based on the total number of responses for each frequency level (e.g., "1", "2", etc.).

The survey results indicate that the length of the trail and the distance from home influence the selection of a place to ride about equally. One can assume that as available trails increase, the attraction increases; and as distance from home increases, the attraction decreases. Scenery ranks next followed by connections between points. Winter ice riding ranks at the bottom but that is probably an indication of numbers of people who participate and not the desirability of the activity.

Question 8: How far are you willing to travel to use a designated OHV trail that provides one day’s riding experience?

 Time Number Percentage*
< 30 minutes 5 2.4
30 – 60 minutes 40 18.9
1 – 2 hours 83 39.1
2 – 5 hours 54 25.5
5 – 10 hours 16 7.5
> 10 hours 9 4.2
No answer 5 2.4

*Percentage is calculated based on 212 surveys evaluated.

About 60 percent of the respondents are willing to travel up to 2 hours to reach desirable areas. This would indicate that riding areas that are expected to adequately serve population centers should be located within a two-hour drive of the area being served. Distances can probably be increased if the available trail network is increased. Travel distances of over 5 hours are probably reflective of travel out of Iowa.

Use of facilities within iowa A few of the OHV clubs in Iowa run OHV parks that are open to the public. Respondents were asked how often they visited these facilities. They were also asked which facility they preferred and which facility they liked the least. Their responses are listed below.

Question 15: Have you visited any of the OHV areas operated by local clubs and open to the public?

 Location and frequency Number Percentage*
 Bluff Creek – weekly 5 2.8
 Bluff Creek – monthly 6 3.4
 Bluff Creek – quarterly 37 20.9
 Bluff Creek – not at all 65 36.7
 Bluff Creek – not aware 64 36.2
 Rathbun – weekly 0 0
 Rathbun – monthly 3 1.7
 Rathbun – quarterly 30 17.1
 Rathbun – not at all 81 46.0
 Rathbun – not aware 62 35.2
 Ely – weekly 1 .6
 Ely – monthly 12 6.8
 Ely – quarterly 24 13.6
 Ely – not at all 75 42.6
 Ely – not aware 64 36.4
 Waterloo – weekly 3 1.7
 Waterloo – monthly 11 6.3
 Waterloo – quarterly 18 10.3
 Waterloo – not at all 76 43.4
 Waterloo – not aware 67 38.3
 No answer** 31 14.6

*The total number of responses for each park varies slightly because some respondents were not consistent in filling in an answer for each park. For example, some individuals did not fill in a response for one park, but did for the other three; other respondents only filled in an answer for one park. As a result, percentage was calculated by adding the total responses for each park individually. For example, 177 respondents indicated some answer for Bluff Creek Park. The percentage of those that visited the park weekly was calculated by dividing 5 (number of responses) by 177 (total number of responses received for that park).

**Percentage of "No Answer" was calculated by dividing the number of responses (31) by the total number of surveys evaluated (212).

Many of those that answered this question inserted their local trail system as a place that they used on a regular basis.

At least 72 percent of all respondents indicated that they either did not use any of the areas or were not aware of them. Since the areas are primarily motorcycle and ATV areas, snowmobilers would not be expected to use these areas. Because the survey includes snowmobilers, an attempt should be made to segregate answers to these questions to focus on motocross and ATV users.

Question 15: Which area do you prefer? Why?

Area preferred Number Percentage*
Bluff Creek 26 14.4
Rathbun 3 1.6
Ely 7 3.9
Waterloo 8 4.4
No answer or area not listed** 137 75.7

*Percentage is calculated by dividing the number of responses by 181, the number of people that answered at least a portion of the first part of Question 15 (have you visited any of the OHV areas operated by local clubs and open to the public?).

**Some respondents put their local trail systems or an area that they visited out of state as the area most preferred. Because these responses did not match the parks listed above, they were tabulated as "No Answer." It should be noted that a majority of respondents did not answer this part of Question 15.

Bluff Creek OHV Park was the area most preferred. This location was preferred to the other riding areas because of its size and variety of trails.

Question 15: Which area do you like the least? Why?

 Area least preferred Number Percentage*
Bluff Creek 2 1.1
Rathbun 7 3.9
Ely 11 6.1
Waterloo 3 1.6
No answer or area not listed** 158 87.3

*Percentage is calculated by dividing the number of responses by 181, the number of people that answered at least a portion of the first part of Question 15 (have you visited any of the OHV areas operated by local clubs and open to the public?).

**Some respondents put all four areas or their local trail system as the area least preferred. Because these responses did not match the parks listed above, they were tabulated as "No Answer." It should be noted that a majority of respondents did not answer this part of Question 15.

Ely OHV Park was the area least preferred. Most of the 11 respondents who indicated that this was the park that they liked the least stated that ruts left by trucks ruined the course for ATVs and trail bikes.

Out-of-state travel

Questions regarding out-of-state travel by OHV owners were asked in the survey. The results of the survey follow.

Other state Number Percentage*
Yes 151 100
No 4 2.6

*Percentage is calculated based on 151 respondents who indicated that they owned a snowmobile. The total percentage exceeds 100 percent because a few individuals that did not own a snowmobile had traveled out of state to ride one while on vacation or visiting relatives.

Question 9a: Which states do you go to?

State Number Percentage*
Wisconsin 129 85.4
Minnesota 111 73.5
Illinois 4 2.6
Nebraska 3 2.0
North Dakota 2 1.3
South Dakota 47 31.1
Other** 71 47.0

*Percentage is based on the 151 respondents that indicated that they travel out of state to snowmobile. Because respondents could select more than one state, the total percentage exceeds 100 percent.

**For those respondents that selected "other", the following chart highlights the locations that were visited.

State Number
Canada 2
Colorado 4
Idaho 5
Michigan 39
Montana 15
Utah 4
West 1
Wyoming 33

Question 9a: Why did you travel to another state for snowmobiling?

A majority of those that responded to this question indicated that the lack of a trail system and lack of adequate snowfall were why they chose to travel out of state. Other responses included the following:

  • A lot nicer trail system and more snow.
  • Amount of snow and well-established trails.
  • Amount of snowfall on the ground.
  • Amount of snow, great scenery, and extensive trail systems.
  • Beautiful scenery and protection of forest and developed trail system.
  • Because of the trail systems' scenery, and upkeep.
  • Because the quality of the trail system was much better than our own.
  • Because there was snow and a more extensive trail system.
  • Because they cater to snowmobilers.
  • Better and more trails.
  • Better and safer trails.
  • Better snow and trails.
  • Better snow conditions and to ride on a designed trail system.
  • Better snow conditions, many more miles of trail networks.
  • Better trail system, more snow at the time.
  • Better trail system, usually more snow.
  • Better trail systems and better snow conditions.
  • Better trail systems and motel accommodations, mostly snow conditions are better.
  • Better trails.
  • Better trails and better trail markings.
  • Better trails and generally more snow.
  • Better trails and more people riding.
  • Better trails and more scenic and more Snow!
  • Better trails locations (no flag laws).
  • Better trails, grooming.
  • Better trails, more snow.
  • Better trails, more snow, wider trails, different scenery.
  • Better trails, more snow.
  • Better trails, scenery.
  • Better trails.
  • Better trails.
  • Consistent snow, mountains and hospitality.
  • Cross country trails.
  • Do not have access to trails in area.
  • Excellent trail system in southeast Minnesota.
  • Excellent trails and better snow conditions.
  • Extensive developed trails and open riding areas, amenities and government acceptance.
  • For a good trail system and snow conditions.
  • For fun.
  • For riding on groomed trails and also to be around larger lakes.
  • For snow, there is none in our state.
  • For the conditions of snow on the trails. The length and scenery of the trails.
  • For vacation and groomed trails.
  • Friends and clubs.
  • Generally because snow conditions are better; also better trail systems.
  • Good trail systems.
  • Good trails and beautiful scenery.
  • Groomed trails, scenery, hotels and restaurants.
  • Groomed trails, trails in the woods.
  • Groomed, interconnected trails, scenery.
  • Had relatives living there and they had more snow.
  • Iowa just does not seem to have enough snow and the trail systems are not great. Plus, other states do not have a useless flag law.
  • Lack of snow and groomed trails.
  • Lack of snow in Iowa (rideable snow, that is).
  • Lack of snow in Iowa and lack of groomed trails in Carroll area.
  • Lack of snow in my area.
  • Lack of snow.
  • Lack of snowmobile trails in southwest Iowa.
  • Large trail system and groomed trails to snowmobile on.
  • Love of the sport, scenery, safety of the groomed trails.
  • Minnesota has the closest good trail. Ride with friends, go to North Dakota to visit friends and go to Wisconsin to visit family.
  • More designated trails. Mountains.
  • More miles of trails and better grooming.
  • More snow – trail system.
  • More snow and a lot more trails. They like to have us there.
  • More snow and better trail conditions. Scenery.
  • More snow and better trail system.
  • More snow and better trails - it was a vacation.
  • More snow and better trails.
  • More snow and better trails.
  • More snow and better trails.
  • More snow and better trails.
  • More snow and better trails.
  • More snow and excellent trails.
  • More snow and more trail systems.
  • More snow more trails.
  • More snow, better and more trails.
  • More snow, better groomed trails and to be with friends.
  • More snow, better scenery and better trails.
  • More snow, better trail riding and scenery.
  • More snow, better trail system, food and gas stops on the trail.
  • More snow, better trail system, hills to climb.
  • More snow, better trails, vacation.
  • More snow, good trails and scenery.
  • More snow, more trails and a change of scenery.
  • More snow, more trails, more lake riding and resorts, no flags required.
  • More snow, nice trails, beautiful scenery, nice climatic conditions.
  • More snow, part of a vacation.
  • More snow, trails, scenery and new places.
  • More snow.
  • More trails to ride.
  • More trails, more snow.
  • More trails, more snow and more scenery.
  • More trails.
  • Mountain hill trails.
  • Mountain riding.
  • Mountain riding, network of trails.
  • Nebraska doesn’t have trails except for Cunningham Lake, very short trail system.
  • Nicer trails and better facilities around the trails.
  • Nicer trails and scenery and lake riding.
  • No good trails in our area.
  • No snow in Iowa.
  • No snow in Iowa.
  • No trails where I live.
  • Not enough snow in Iowa. We need to look at grooming. Until we get enough snow then go.
  • Across fields. This year is a good example.
  • Not good snowmobiling in Iowa.
  • Number of groomed trails, accommodations, and snow conditions.
  • Plus less ditch riding.
  • Open area riding, mountains, meadows, valleys. More areas to ride and they welcome snowmobilers.
  • Organized state trails and scenery.
  • Relatives.
  • Ride.
  • Safe trails, abundant snow and scenic riding.
  • Scenery - more lakes and woodland trails - less ground used for farming.
  • Scenery and snow.
  • Scenery, more extreme riding, better snow.
  • Snow and abundance of trails and better acceptance of snowmobilers in general in the state.
  • Snow and trail systems.
  • Snow conditions in Iowa have been poor for a few years. Scenery, well marked trail systems that are maintained by groomers.
  • Snow conditions, different riding types.
  • Snow conditions, trails.
  • Snow conditions.
  • State of Iowa don't give us any trails.
  • The snowmobile trails are not maintained very well around Mason City, Iowa.
  • They cater to or target snowmobiles/snowmobile tourism.
  • They have good trails.
  • They have trails and snow.
  • They have trails where you can ride all week without riding the same trail.
  • To ride in the mountains.
  • To see different scenery and get away from the phone. Deeper snow.
  • To see something different. New trails and woods.
  • Trail system.
  • Trail system.
  • Trail systems.
  • Trail systems.
  • Trail systems and scenery.
  • Trails.
  • Trails.
  • Trails.
  • Trails and scenery.
  • Trails and scenery.
  • Trails and snow availability.
  • Trails in Cerro Gordo County are not marked or groomed. They are unsafe to ride. Due to poor work and ignorance. I like to know where our registration money goes.
  • Trails, people and scenery.
  • Trails.
  • Vacation - places where there is snow.
  • We have little snow.
  • Wisconsin and Michigan have extensive groomed snowmobile trails.

The attraction of better trails, more snow, grooming and a positive management attitude clearly influence snowmobilers. Nothing can be done about the amount of snow available in Iowa, but improved management of the available snow can help keep people (and dollars) in the state.

Question 9b: Do you go to other states for ATV/trail bike trail use?

Other state Number Percentage*
Yes 66 53.2
No 58 46.8

*Percentage is calculated based on 124 surveys in which owners indicated that they owned at least one of the following: ATV, trail bike, dual sport or other.

Question 9b: Which states do you go to?

State Number Percentage*
Wisconsin 41 62.1
Minnesota 25 37.9
Illinois 9 13.6
Nebraska 10 15.2
South Dakota 8 12.1
Missouri 27 40.9
Other** 19 28.8

*Percentage is based on the 66 respondents that indicated that they travel out of state to use their ATVs. Because respondents could select more than one state, the total percentage exceeds 100 percent.

**For those respondents that selected "other", the following chart highlights the locations that were visited.

State Number
Arizona 4
Arkansas 3
California 1
Colorado 6
Indiana 1
Kansas 1
Michigan 2
Montana 1
Nevada 2
New York 1
North Carolina 1
Oklahoma 7
Texas 1
Utah 2
Wyoming 1

Question 9b: Why did you travel to another state?

A majority of those that responded to this question indicated that the lack of a trail system and riding areas forced them out of state. Other responses included the following:

  • 1,200 acres of sand is one hell of a good time.
  • Abundance of trails that give variety.
  • Availability of trails.
  • Availability of trails/public riding areas. Not near enough here.
  • Because I wanted to ride somewhere I had not been before. I got tired of riding in the same area or park.
  • Because it was different kind of riding than we have around here.
  • Because there is no public ATV trails within 4 hours of my home in the state of Iowa.
  • Because there isn't any in the Dubuque area.
  • Better riding area.
  • Better trail network.
  • Better trails.
  • Better trails and facilities around the trails.
  • Better trails.
  • Challenge of course and length of trail. Much better than Iowa.
  • Change of scenery.
  • Change of scenery.
  • Closer than Iowa parks and better riding.
  • Closer than the parks in Iowa and they offer more.
  • Diversity of terrain, new experience.
  • For longer trail rides, scenery, and did not know about the parks in Iowa.
  • Good riding and scenery.
  • Groomed, safe trails with trails my whole family can ride on.
  • Have fun!
  • Hunting/fishing vacation.
  • I enjoy a large variety of terrain and trails.
  • I heard that it was a big park with a lot of challenging trails.
  • I own some property in northern Minnesota.
  • Interconnected trails and scenery.
  • Iowa needs more trails instead of just parks. They have more family orientated trails to ride.
  • Lack of good trail riding in Iowa.
  • Larger area to ride (Chadwick, Missouri, has 8000 acres), marked trails, and services close by.
  • Larger parks with more area for a two- or three-day trip.
  • Larger ride areas than are available locally plus linear trails are available in Wisconsin.
  • Length of trails, more places to ride.
  • More places to ride.
  • More trails to choose from, better trails.
  • More trails, winter riding areas.
  • Much better, larger, and greater number of riding areas.
  • Much more variety of riding areas, more trails/OHV areas, scenery.
  • New place to ride, closer to home vs southwest Iowa. Have to go 2-5 hours in Iowa.
  • New trails.
  • Nice trails.
  • Nice trails going from place to place.
  • No 4 wheel trails in Waterloo.
  • No comment provided.
  • No trails in northeastern Iowa.
  • None closer to home - able to ride town to town for gas, food, lodging, etc.
  • Not enough good trails in Iowa.
  • Only one I know of that is only an hour away. It is challenging.
  • Sand dunes and scenery.
  • Size of riding area, different terrain, vacation with family and new riding.
  • State riding parks.
  • The trails are much better and they have much more area.
  • There are no trails or OHV parks in northern Iowa. Why?
  • There is nowhere to ride in western Iowa.
  • They have a great ATV trail system.
  • They have great trails marked out with great scenery.
  • They have large trail systems. They cater to quad riders.
  • They offer so much variety of trail systems and recognize importance of ATV’s need for places to ride and enjoy the sport.
  • Trails.
  • Vacation.
  • Variety. Most other states have camping or lodging with trail access. A lot are state parks.
  • We worked it into vacation plans.
  • Well kept and nice riding area.
  • Went to a race - took unit.
  • Went to see relatives.
As with snowmobilers, more trails, better scenery, larger areas and a variety of terrain attract ATV riders. These are the types of characteristics that should be considered when areas are reviewed for acquisition. Providing a variety of terrain and scenery significantly increases the rider experience. While mine dumps and gravel pits may satisfy some of the riders, they do not attract the long-term family type riding that is desired.

Question 10: When you go riding, how many days are spent on an average trip?

Number of days Number Percentage*
0 1 0
1 or 2 49 23.4
3 or 4 94 44.4
5 or 6 45 21.2
> 6 17 8.1
No answer 6 2.9

*Percentage is calculated based on 212 surveys evaluated.

It appears that most out-of-state trips occur over weekends, holidays or extended vacations. This is to be expected since most day use will occur close to home.

Trail characteristics

There are a number of characteristics that can make a trail desirable for a rider. The following questions attempted to determine what characteristics were most important to OHV owners.

Question 11: What is the minimum trail length you feel is needed for an enjoyable OHV facility? (snowmobile)

Trail length (snowmobile) Number Percentage*
20 – 40 miles 22 14.3
40 – 60 miles 47 30.5
60 – 100 miles 39 25.3
More than 100 miles 46 29.9

*Percentage is calculated based on a total of 154 responses to this part of the question. Some respondents that did not own snowmobiles marked an answer for this question; as a result there are 154 responses rather than 151.

Question 11: What is the minimum trail length you feel is needed for an enjoyable OHV facility? (ATV/Trail Bike)

Trail length (ATV/trail bike) Number Percentage*
5 – 10 miles 26 24.3
10 – 20 miles 42 39.3
More than 20 miles 39 36.4

*Percentage is calculated based on a total of 107 responses to this part of the question.

Question 12: What factors make an OHV course challenging?

Factor Number Percentage*
Topography 164 77.4
Turns 128 60.4
Obstacles 86 40.6
Other** 38 17.9
No answer 7 3.3

*Percentage is calculated based on 212 surveys evaluated. Respondents could select more than one answer so the total percentage exceeds 100 percent.

**A majority of those that responded "other" to this question indicated that scenery and hills made a course challenging. It should be noted that many respondents stated that a challenge was not what they were looking for in a trail facility. Responses included the following:

  • 100s of miles of trails connecting amenities.
  • Challenging is not a factor.
  • Condition of the trail.
  • Creek crossings, mud bogs and hills.
  • Depends on the people I have in the group.
  • Different tracks at Bluff Creek.
  • Different types of riding - smooth and challenging.
  • I prefer scenic and less challenging trails.
  • Jumps, hill climbing.
  • Motocross tracks.
  • No courses for snowmobiles, but connecting trails.
  • Not looking for a challenge.
  • Not looking for a challenge.
  • Off-camber turns.
  • Poor maintenance and signage.
  • Riding areas with motocross track areas.
  • Rocks and wood land areas.
  • Safety.
  • Sand bar or dunes.
  • Sandy and rocky areas - water crossings.
  • Scenery.
  • Scenery.
  • Scenery - creeks, valleys, hills.
  • Scenery and connection between points.
  • Scenery and wildlife.
  • Scenery is really important.
  • Scenery, a nice safe trail.
  • Timber riding.
  • Variation in scenery.
  • Variety of soil types (sand, dirt, gravel).
  • View and weather.
  • Virgin trails.
  • Water and fence crossings.
  • Water crossings.
  • Water crossings and bridges.
  • We are not looking for a challenge.
  • Scenery.
  • Well groomed.
  • Woods.

Question 13: What other factors make a trail worth visiting?

Factor Number Percentage*
Proximity to lakes/rivers 115 54.2
Wooded areas 185 87.3
Connection between points 139 65.6
Topographic variations 118 55.7
Other** 28 13.2
No answer 0 0

*Percentage is calculated based on 212 surveys evaluated. Respondents could select more than one answer so the total percentage exceeds 100 percent.

**A majority of those that responded "other" to this question indicated that access to food, fuel and lodging were important in the decision to use a trail. Additionally, respect from business owners and local communities was important. Other comments on this question included the following:

  • A place that welcomes use of the sport you love.
  • Access to facilities in town.
  • Access to food and beverages.
  • Access to services, motels, gas, etc.
  • Bars.
  • Being treated with respect by business owners.
  • Camping areas and RV hook-ups.
  • Camping areas.
  • Camping areas/provisions.
  • Close to town for food and lodging, etc.
  • Fuel, food and lodging.
  • Good snow conditions.
  • Grooming.
  • Length of trail, ATV friendly, lodging by trail.
  • Lodging near trails.
  • More snow.
  • Proximity to fuel, food and lodging.
  • Scenery.
  • Scenery.
  • Services available and friendly people.
  • Size.
  • Snow and grooming.
  • Towns - food and fuel.
  • Trail conditions.
  • Weather conditions.
  • Well groomed trails and snow amount.
  • Wide trails that allow 2 sleds to meet.
  • Wildlife.

Trail safety
Safety is a concern for most OHV riders, even if they have not taken a safety course. There are a number of features that can influence how safe a rider feels on any given trail. The following questions try to elicit those features that most influence safety.

Question 14: What do you feel are the six most important factors influencing trail safety? (Rate 1 (most) to 6 (least) in order of importance).

Factor Importance rating
1 2 3 4 5 6
Signage 102(44.9%) 31(14.4%) 19(9.0%) 14(6.7%) 15(7.4%) 5(2.5%)
Topography – sight distance 11(4.8%) 31(14.4%) 42(19.8%) 27(12.9%) 29(14.2%) 25(12.3%)
Topography – challenge 4(1.8%) 2(0%) 11(5.2%) 19(9.1%) 25(12.2%) 34(16.7)
Two-way trails 13(5.7%) 21(9.8%) 17(8.0%) 26(12.4%) 24(11.8%) 23(11.3%)
Turns 5(2.2%) 13(6.0%) 25(11.8%) 32(15.3%) 27(13.2%) 37(18.2%)
Speed 35(15.4%) 40(18.6%) 26(12.3%) 25(12.0%) 35(17.2%) 19(9.4%)
Number of trail users 23(10.1%) 32(14.9%) 28(13.2%) 27(12.9%) 15(7.4%) 15(7.4%)
Road crossings 20(8.8%) 29(13.5%) 27(12.7%) 28(13.4%) 19(9.3%) 17(8.4%)
Conflict with other trails 11(4.8%) 14(6.5%) 17(8.0%) 10(4.8%) 17(8.3%) 26(12.8%)
Other 3(1.3%) 2(0%) 0(0%) 1(0%) 1(0%) 2(0%)

It should be noted that some of the surveys were not completely filled in. For example, some respondents ranked only some of the choices and left the other options blank. Some respondents ranked everything as "1". As a result, the total for each number does not equal 212. Percentages were calculated based on the total number of responses for each frequency level (e.g., "1", "2", etc.).

By looking at the responses to the above question, it is apparent that signs are considered to be the most important factor influencing trail safety. One of the obvious benefits of signs is that they keep people from getting lost and allow them to find the places they are seeking and to get back to the trailhead. Signing of hazards can also protect riders from unforeseen problems. Another benefit is that they can inform people of what to expect on the trails. In a fully managed system, signing can include trail difficulty ratings.

Question 22: Have you completed an ATV or snowmobile safety course?

Completed course Number Percentage*
Yes 77 36.3
No 133 62.7
No answer 2 0

*Percentage is calculated based on a total of 212 surveys.

Under normal circumstances, the above percentages are what can be expected. Many states require youngsters to take some type of a safety course before they can ride, and that can increase the percentage of those that have had training over time. New buyers of ATVs have been offered the opportunity to take a training course in the past. In general, the above percentages are about what is to be expected in that situation as well.

Concept and creation of trails

In order to get a feel for what facilities OHV users would like, respondents were asked about their like or dislike of linear trails in concept and their application in Iowa. The survey also asked users if they were willing to pay for additional trails. The results are as follows:

Question 16: Do you support the concept of linear OHV trails between communities and/or to other recreation areas?

Concept of trails Number Percentage*
Yes 206 97.2
No 1 .4
No answer 5 2.4

*Percentage is calculated based on a total of 212 surveys.

Question 17: Would you support the creation of OHV trails in Iowa?

Creation of trails Number Percentage*
Yes 212 100
No 0 0
No answer 0 0

*Percentage is calculated based on a total of 212 surveys.

Question 17: If you support the creation of OHV trails in Iowa, what type?

Trail type Number Percentage*
Snowmobile 80 37.7
Trail bike/ATV 43 20.3
Both 88 41.5
No answer 1 .5

*Percentage is calculated based on a total of 212 surveys.

The responses above clearly indicate that riders are seeking more and better trails in Iowa. It is also interesting to note that 41 percent of the respondents felt that both snowmobile and trail bike/ATV trails were needed. If you combine those that responded "both" to the user specific requests you have 62 percent supporting trail bike/ATV trails and 79 percent supporting additional snowmobile trails. Here again, the demand for trails in the state is obvious.

Question 18: Would you be willing to pay additional user fees for the ability to have improved Iowa trails for OHV use?

Willing to pay Number Percentage*
Yes 182 85.8
No 26 12.3
No answer 4 1.9

*Percentage is calculated based on a total of 212 surveys.

Question 18: If you would be willing to pay additional user fees, how much would you be willing to pay? (per year)

Per year Number Percentage*
$1 - $20 54 29.7
$20 - $40 56 30.8
$40 - $60 26 14.3
$60 or more 21 11.5
No answer or do not know 25 13.7

*Percentage is calculated based on a total of 182 surveys that answered yes to the first portion of the question.

Question 19a: Approximately how many days per winter season do you use designated snowmobile trails?

Days Number Percentage*
0 – 10 25 16.6
10 – 20 44 29.1
20 – 30 42 27.8
30 – 40 27 17.9
40 – 50 4 2.6
More than 50 8 5.3
No answer 1 .7

*Percentage is calculated based on 151 snowmobile owners.

Question 19a: Approximately how much do you spend a day for food, lodging, etc. when using the snowmobile trails (in state)?

Money spent Number Percentage*
Less than $50 88 62.4
$50 - $100 31 22.0
More than $100 22 15.6

*Percentage is based on the number of respondents that answered this question (141).

Question 19a: Approximately how much do you spend a day for food, lodging, etc. when using the snowmobile trails (out of state)?

Money spent Number Percentage*
Less than $100 48 33.1
$100 - $200 78 53.8
$200 - $300 13 9.0
More than $300 6 4.1

*Percentage is based on the number of respondents that answered this question (145).

Question 19b: Approximately how many days during the year do you use designated OHV trails for ATV, trail bike, etc.?

Days Number Percentage*
0 40 32.3
1 – 10 22 17.7
10 – 20 25 20.2
20 – 30 16 12.9
30 – 40 6 4.8
40 – 50 6 4.8
More than 50 7 5.7
No answer 2 1.6

*Percentage is calculated based on 124 where owners indicated that they owned at least one of the following: ATV, trail bike, dual sport or other.

Question 19b: Approximately how much do you spend a day for food, lodging, etc. when using the trails for ATV, etc. (in state)?

Money spent Number Percentage*
Less than $50 59 74.7
$50 - $100 14 17.7
More than $100 6 7.6

*Percentage is based on the number of respondents that answered this question (79).

Question 19b: Approximately how much do you spend a day for food, lodging, etc. when using the trails for ATV, etc. (out of state)?

Money spent Number Percentage*
Less than $100 38 53.5
$100 - $200 28 39.5
$200 - $300 3 4.2
More than $300 2 2.8

*Percentage is based on the number of respondents that answered this question (71).

Question 20: Approximately how much do you spend on fuel and maintenance for your OHV each year?

Dollars spent Number Percentage*
Less than $150 26 12.3
$150 - $300 36 17.0
$300 - $450 42 19.8
$450 - $600 24 11.3
$600 - $750 12 5.7
$750 - $900 13 6.1
$900 - $1,050 27 12.7
More than $1,050 21 9.9
No Answer 11 5.2

*Percentage is calculated based on a total of 212 surveys.

Question 21: What is the approximate total value of all OHV vehicles you own?

Total value Number Percentage*
Less $2,000 3 1.4
$2,000 - $4,000 24 11.3
$4,000 - $6,000 39 18.4
$6,000 - $8,000 41 19.3
$8,000 - $10,000 23 10.9
$10,000 - $12,000 24 11.3
$12,000 - $14,000 21 9.9
$14,000 - $16,000 19 9.0
$16,000 - $20,000 3 1.4
More than $20,000 11 5.2
No answer 4 1.9

*Percentage is calculated based on a total of 212 surveys.

Owner demographics

Information on the age, gender and income of OHV users was also collected. The survey results are shown below.

Question 23: What is your age?

Age Number Percentage*
Less than 18 1 .5
18 – 25 17 8.0
25 – 35 55 25.9
35 – 45 84 39.6
45 – 55 34 16.0
55 – 65 15 7.1
65+ 4 1.9
No answer 2 1

*Percentage is calculated based on a total of 212 surveys.

Question 24: What is you annual household income?

Annual income Number Percentage*
Less than $25,000 13 6.1
$25,000 to $49,999 83 39.2
$50,000 to $74,999 56 26.4
$75,000 to $99,999 16 7.5
$100,000 or more 15 7.1
No Answer 29 13.7

*Percentage is calculated based on a total of 212 surveys.

Question 25: Additional comments

  • The best way to ensure that this trail system works is to make sure that the DNR or the police keep off the trails and do not ruin the people's fun like they did in Minnesota. They give speeding tickets and set up speed traps and harass people. I have not been back in 5 years!!!!
  • I would like to see more riding parks like Bluff Creek.
  • We need to have more snowmobile trails through conservation areas.
  • Groomed trails are great but so much depends on the amount of snow we get and the type of winter that we have. The last 2 years have been pretty lean.
  • I have been in the motorcycle industry for 22 years. I will help (with labor or financially) to make Iowa The Place to go riding. There have been years I thought about moving my business to a more OHV oriented state. I want to stay.
  • You should visit the trails in Wisconsin. A lot of money leaves the state yearly for this reason. As an older person I love to ride on trail much easier for me. Thank you for caring.
  • I would like to see registrations from OHVs eliminated and instead have yearly passes that could be purchased at local businesses. This way we can get money from other states to help pay for trails instead of just Iowa residents.
  • As a snowmobiler and not an ATV or trail bike owner, only a part of this survey affects me, but that is a very large part of my recreational time. The snowmobile program in Iowa is a self-funded program, snowmobile registration only - no tax dollars. To my knowledge approximately half of that is turned over to the DNR for law enforcement. I have been snowmobiling in Iowa for 18 years and have never seen an officer on the trail. The other half of the fund goes for building and maintaining the trails and purchasing and operating the groomers. We never have enough money to buy enough groomers and build and maintain trails, but we do a very good job with what we have. We could have an excellent program if the legislators would pass the gas tax rebate bill like the state of Michigan has. My question to you is why should snowmobilers be willing to pay additional user fees when the majority of the current DOT state trail system is closed to snowmobile use? And the current snowmobile trail system is supported 100 percent by only half of our registration dollars? If the Iowa DOT wants a successful trail plan, they should be looking at the trail system plans in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan and talking to the individuals in charge of them. If you decide to proceed with trails, it would be a serious mistake not to put snowmobilers on the committee that makes the decisions concerning the trails such as location, maintenance, grooming responsibilities, trail type and proper equipment. I would suggest making the Iowa State Snowmobile Association a big part of this.
  • Many areas along highways could be made into trails with the addition of dirt berms or bridges to gap draws. This would help to get riders of snowmobiles out of the center median where it is dangerous to drive.
  • We would like the state to open an OHV park around Webster City or the Fort Dodge Area. Member of the Boone Valley OHV Club in Webster City.
  • There is getting to be more snowmobiles and ATVs every year. It is time to be getting a trail system in for these. Most people, including me are taking these vehicles and our money out of state because there is few trails or non-advertised trails we do not know about.
  • Off road motorcycling is the ultimate when it comes to fun. Every weekend during the summer I ride. I ride to stay in shape and also to get out and meet people when they are interested in the same things I am. If I could do this closer to home and have more options in what and where to go I would be really excited.
  • I would like to see some of these hiking and bike trails be used for snowmobiling. We have some railways that are for walking and not for OHV that are not used in winter. It will connect these towns together.
  • I feel that snowmobile trails are a must. We have plenty of neat areas that would be fun to ride in and also it would bring money to the state.
  • I teach a safety course. I started snowmobiling in 1971. I am a charter member of O'Brien Company snowtracking. I think our groomers should be state directed to groom on the state highways as a primary trail system. County roads and some blacktopped are too hard on the state groomers. Snowmobiling is a great family sport if you keep safety in mind.
  • I believe that more of the money from registrations should be used to buy newer groomers. I also feel that the flag law should be repealed. If this law made any sense at all I think other states would have the same type of law, but they do not because it really is a useless law.
  • An Iowa trail system could be very beneficial. Iowa would benefit as people spend a lot of money when using the trails.
  • Better groomers are needed in northern Iowa area. I feel the flags need to go.
  • I use Iowa trails seldom because of the flag requirement and the way enforcement has been carried out in the past.
  • Registration fees need to go back to snowmobile network. A lot of fuel is used. Do we get any fuel tax back. We are the only state with flags, why? Why not for sleds over 25 years old do as Minnesota. Put all under one antique license instead of registration as a new sled.
  • I do not think the state should pay for trails for bicycles as they do not pay anything - no license fees or anything.
  • I would like to see more information from other trails in Iowa. All of the ones you stated we did not even know about. We enjoy the Sauk Rail Trail in Lake View, Iowa. All year long, we bicycle, rollerblade and snowmobile on it. We also ride the Sac County Snow Lovers trails.
  • I would fully support a trail system. The economic impact would be tremendous and it is much needed.
  • As of this year I did not know of any OHV trails in Iowa that were legal riding areas. I also cannot believe that the Peterson OHV park is being handled by the DNR the way it has. How can a couple of individuals stop the progress when so many are for it. I am looking forward to riding the parks in Iowa this year.
  • I like the Iowa OHV parks, but I cannot justify driving over 3 hours each way to do it. I wish there were some parks closer to my area.
  • We would like to see ATV trails closer to Des Moines. We would like to see some river trails. We would like to see some sponsored racing and competitions near Des Moines. ATVing is a great sport and keeps lots of people out of trouble. Give us some place to ride.
  • Additional funds should be available for snowmobile clubs for grooming trails in their club area.
  • I am a member of NEAT and the Iowa OHV. I believe membership to an organization promotes safe riding and a general concern for trail funding and usage. If we tied fees to a membership I think we could see a better participation by users. It is a family activity for our family.
  • No work is ever done on our trails. Why do we even pay to register our machines? I am tired of lazy people in Cerro.
  • I am a safety course instructor. I do not understand why we pay state and federal gas tax when we cannot use the roads. We should use that money for trails.
  • Wisconsin has a very nice trail system and have nice camping facilities. This is how they are successful with tourism. Do not forget promotion.
  • We really feel we would rather spend the money in state rather than out of state. Point to point trails are a much bigger draw to ATVers than just riding in parks all day.
  • We have paid our yearly tag for my ATV and unable to ride the ditches like a snowmobile can. I think it is time to join forces to take care of this. Thank you.
  • There has been a lot of abandoned rail grades that could have and still could be converted to trails. Also, according to Iowa law we need one inch of snow to legally operate an ATV on public land, which needs to be changed.
  • I think the state already owns enough land. But could let OHVs use more of the parks and land. Mines of Spain, Backbone state park and many more. Just need areas not being used or shared use with limited time periods.
  • I own two snowmobiles and ride with the family in the winter about 1500 miles on each sled. We belong to ISSA and a local snowmobile club.
  • The state of Iowa definitely is in need of additional trails and parks, especially in the northwestern part of the State.
  • The signs the state gives our snowmobile club do not last. The state is wasting their money. If half of my money of registration goes for DNR law enforcement what are we getting. I do not see. If we could get a OHV park in Allamakee.
  • Need to better mark snow trails by clubs and more connecting clubs. Better access to small, friendly towns.
  • There are four members in this family and all of us use OHVs.
  • I like a good variety of trails and tracks. I also feel that an area will get boring to ride on if you ride there.
  • Connecting trails throughout the state would not only benefit residents and local business it could draw visitors from out of state and keep some of us home.
  • I would like to see Sac County SnoLovers groom down from Auburn to Carroll. Many people from Carroll wish we could see Highway 30 groomed between Carroll and Ames. Many of us would like to start a snowmobile club, any information on how to do this? Feel free to call if you have questions. Phone number is on the survey.
  • I am a member of Tread Lightly and we think we need to help preserve our back country lands.
  • Flags on snowmobiles are an inconvenience and do no good at all. They lay flat when riding and whip you in the head. Cars cannot see them anyhow.
  • More trails are needed. I know I would enjoy having them.
  • I wish there was more money available for updating the grooming equipment in the state. Our club has one of the oldest groomers in the state, and when we do get snow the groomer almost always breaks down. At least that has been the case the last four years. More money for new groomers would help the trail system.
  • We need more parks. I would go to parks more often if the travel time was less.
  • Not enough snow and too much wind in Iowa. Always have to go across fields because of no grooming. Thank you for inquiring.
  • I think that one-way trails are important in areas where you cannot see ahead. We need a place to ride in western Iowa. We would also draw riders from Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska. There is no place to ride in Nebraska either.
  • I would like to see trails and campgrounds built closer to home. I would rather have Clayton County benefit from ATV and snowmobile revenue.
  • Most of the existing parks are too far away from southwest Iowa. Please make this happen! Western Iowa, especially southwest Iowa is sorely lacking in any recreational areas for ATVs and OHVs. Snowmobile trails would be great, but are subject to snow conditions, ATV and OHV areas would be used far more.
  • I really hope Iowa develops a plan and works towards the trail plan becoming a reality. The state would benefit by developed trail systems and parks ten-fold by the revenue and tourism it would bring into the state of Iowa. Thank you.
  • I belong to a local sled club and they do a fine job with the funds we have, but our groomer is in need of updating. Some help with this from the state would be greatly appreciated. We would like to see our trails groomed more also.
  • I am willing to pay user fees if all other users pay such as bikers, hikers and cross-country skiers.
  • I do not want to pay more for improved trails because the state don't help anyway. We need to get some groomers so we can ride on groomed trails in northern Iowa so we don't have to go out of state to ride.
  • OHV parks should have trails for motorcycles only and ATVs only. Both on the same trails wreck them - also trails should be marked - one way only. Iowa OHV parks are too small for the number of people that use them. The OHV clubs take good care of the areas though.
  • Registration is required for motorized vehicles, yet old railroad beds are reserved for bikers that pay no taxes. Bikers have use of road, trails that are made by taxpayers. Use of taxpayer money is not fairly allocated. I will pay as much as bikers are taxed for their trails in additional fees.
  • If you build it they will come.
  • I feel snowmobile and ATV recreation is very popular and would grow with time and support. I am very excited to learn you guys are interested in this and of any parks or trails were to open closer to Boone. I would promote it greatly.
  • I appreciate places that are already open and use them often. If close enough to my town, I would be happy to volunteer for grooming, maintenance or any other help to show my support for any area park.
  • I ride, some of my friends ride, but a lot more would ride if we had more than one good riding area. I am willing to pay user fees for ATVs, but not snowmobiles. We never have enough snow anyway.
  • Would like to see some multi-use trails. People need to be more informed and educated on safety, people's private property and the importance of joining a club.
  • We haven't had much snow in northwest Iowa to ride snowmobiles the last three winters. More snow and we would ride more. Belong to the Powder Players snowmobile club - 80 to 90 member families.
  • Would like to see a OHV park in north central Iowa. There is a local club willing to maintain it. Boone Valley OHV Club out of the Webster City area. Currently 50 to 60 members.
  • Other states, such as Wisconsin, have extensive multi-use OHV trails connecting many towns and are very enjoyable for a family ride. We wish Iowa would develop something similar so we can spend our money in our own state.
  • From where I live three of the parks are over 3 hours away and to me it takes too much time to go down there for one day.
  • Iowa needs good trails and more Iowa state support. We have good areas, we need to get the trails going.
  • The last 2 years I have had to buy a $16 permit from Minnesota to use their trails. I think Iowa should either charge that for Minnesota riders, or work out some sort of reciprocity agreement.
  • Please get in on the program that we all are waiting for. Build some great riding areas so we can stay and spend our money in our home state. Take lessons from Wisconsin and Minnesota on their trail systems and recognition. Thank you.
  • It would be nice to have trails that connect different towns together that could be used by snowmobiles and ATVs so we would not have to just ride in road ditches.
  • I don't like the required flag on a snowmobile, nor does any one I ride with. They are a nuisance and serve no purpose. We have brakes and LIGHTS. A bicycle can ride down a highway with no safety equipment. We ride ditches and trails. It makes no sense. They don't require them in Minnesota or Wisconsin. Just another reason we leave Iowa to snowmobile.
  • Stop bikes who don't register from using our fees. Why do bikes not pay registration fees but we have plenty of bike trails. Why do we pay gas tax on snowmobile gas? But we don't ride roads.
  • Would like to see more trails in our southern area. And for them to be for multiple use for every one to enjoy. Have been snowmobiler since 1968.
  • More public trails for dirt bikes is vital to our past time! Can we get a public area closer to Des Moines?
  • Let’s have more trails and parks! We need something closer to Des Moines! I'd like to see the riverbed that runs from Runnells to Red Rock open to OHVs. Old strip mines and places that are unsuitable for development are golden to OHV riders.
  • I would like to see an OHV park near the Marshalltown area. Many friends that I have talked to would be willing to pay fees for such a park. Please contact me if there is progress in getting a park near Marshalltown. Thank You!
  • We pay enough for our license and snowmobile dues for no trails. Fuel tax. Snowmobile dealer since 1966. I have been concerned about trails for many years.
  • While I do not leave Iowa to ride, due to time constraints, dozens of my friends do leave Iowa to ride. This is due to Iowa's low number of OHV parks and lack of connecting trails between parks. Thank you for asking my opinion.
  • I answered most questions as a married couple, with 2 snowmobiles (1 1996 and 1 1997) with a new list price of approximately $7,000 each. Amount spent a year depends on amount of snow and use per year.
  • Iowa needs many more places to ride, and should not always be given poor ground or dumps. My friends and I travel out of state 3 to 10 times per year and spend thousands of dollars that could be spent in Iowa if we had better and more trails.
  • I would like to see the law requiring snowmobiles to have a safety flag repealed. They are an inconvenience for the rider, from getting tangled up with it, to tears in a suit, or even getting slapped upside the head with it. Besides, these newer snowmobiles have vastly improved taillights on them.
  • Please get rid of the flag law, speed causes most accidents, not the low profile of the sleds.
  • Do not agree with safety flag law and the inconsistent enforcement of the law. Due to unfavorable snowfalls I have not been able to do as much local riding as I would like. I foresee the snowmobile industry to continue to grow.
  • Where is the gas tax being spent now? I have been told registration fees for snowmobiles went to grooming costs. When not used due to lack of snow funds go to park maintenance - mowing and updates to facilities - why?
  • The DNR just raised our fees, towards what? It would be nice not to have to travel so far to find good groomed trails designated for snowmobiles.
  • How would a person get the Prairie Farmer Trail (bike trail) between Calmar and Ridgeway opened up to snowmobiles? That way you could hook up with Cresco trail system. I'm with Trails Unlimited Club, which has close to 200 miles of trails.
  • I would like to see an area within 30 minutes from Des Moines.
  • Thank you for your interest! I appreciate anything and everything you can do to improve and increase the number of OHV parks! (especially in west Iowa)
  • I would gladly pay an additional $20 to $50 per unit to see more groomed trails but only if the equestrians, x country skiers, bicyclists, jogger and etc. pay the same. I feel the road tax on the fuel I use in my snowmobiles should be used for snowmobile trails.
  • A series of permanent OHV trails connecting rural towns would be beneficial for tourism in the smaller rural areas. It would also help snowmobile clubs in the winter with trail access. Current snowmobile clubs could maintain these trails year round, thus making these clubs more cost effective to the state of Iowa.
  • I plan on buying two more bikes for my kids. We need places to go other than Wisconsin. I recently moved to Illinois, but still want to see Iowa get some nice riding areas. I have a lot of friends in Iowa.
  • I feel that trails are very important. We are limited on wooded areas, but a trail system that runs along the river (Des Moines East Fork). I have always wanted accessible to ATVs in the summer and snowmobiling in the winter, with the help and or developments funds from the state. It is probably the only way to start.
  • We need areas closer to this side of the state. The people I know have been going to Willow Creek in Missouri. It is only one hour away. They get 50-100 riders per day, mostly from Omaha and Council Bluffs.
  • The negative publicity is the biggest problem facing OHV riders and park promoters. I think this issue should be addressed before you will get much public support.
  • Northwest Iowa needs an ATV park. I work with a group of people that own 4-Wheelers, and the main time we use them is in the summer in shallow creeks and in the winter in ditches and frozen rivers due to the lack of a park in our area. Thank you for your interest, this is exciting.
  • I think we pay too many fees now. Bicycles get trails free that are much better. Snowmobilers cannot use bike trails and we pay registration fees and they do not. I do not like bike trails only.vI am in a club (Eastern Iowa Snow Chars) and it is hard to get farmers to let you put a trail across their land. Everyone is afraid of getting sued.
  • I am part of a local club and enjoy snowmobiling. A bigger percentage of registration should be used to make more snowmobile trails.
  • I would like to see at least as much attention, effort and resources put into OHV trails in our area as there is towards walking and bicycle trails. We pay to register our vehicles and we buy gas (state tax), yet have little to show.
  • Get rid of that stupid flag law. People won't come to Iowa because of it.
  • I have been involved in our county groomer association and I would say the biggest safety hazard is the inferior quality signs the state provides us. I think better quality signs make much more sense than our flag law as far as safety goes. I live on the state line and I think out of state snowmobilers should be allowed to come into our state maybe 30 to 50 miles without a flag. I have a lot of friends in Minnesota and they will not participate in any of our activities.
  • It would be nice to see more multiple use parks throughout the state as well as linear trails. Park size over 350 acres is the best.
  • I am glad to see a serious effort is being made for future riding areas and trails. The number of OHVs is increasing quite rapidly with little extra areas to ride.
  • Multi-use trails are great but blacktop should not be considered on snowmobile trails to please bicycle riders. Blacktop will make the trail useless to the snowmobilers. When abandoned railroad beds are used for snowmobile trails, the grass along the edge should not be cut. The grass is needed to hold the snow on the trail. Snowmobiles have excellent lights that are on anytime the engine is running. Rarely, if ever will the required flag be seen before the lights. The flag, truthfully, can be a safety hazard in the event the snowmobile gets stuck. The rear of the machine is buried in snow and when the driver reached down the pole can and has hit the face, possibly the eyes. Please back off on the flag law, the DNR will or so they say.
  • There is not enough snow to pay additional fees.
  • Last December, my sons and I spent 2 hours driving to Rathbun to ride and it was closed. Somebody owes me a tank of gas. Thank you for listening.
  • As a club member and avid snowmobiler and have traveled by sled in many states and Canada - The flag law of Iowa needs to be repealed. There is no safety value; if anything it will hurt snowbiler by hitting them, stabbing them etc.
  • I feel that if ATV and bike trails are state funded they should have registration fees. The same as snowmobiles are required to be registered and pay gas tax.
  • Little Sioux riding park by Peterson, Iowa, in my opinion needs to happen!! It is time for Iowa to step it up for the OHV members statewide! North Western Iowa needs a riding park! Please recognize this fact. Iowa will continue to lose out in Northwest Iowa unless we all congregate together and make the Little Sioux Riding Park by Peterson.
  • We go out of state more due to better trail systems. Iowa needs to improve our state so it brings in more money. When Minnesota imposed their stud ban law we went to South Dakota and Wisconsin. I also do not like a trail sticker charge. This may be fine for someone who owns only 1 sled, but when we go snowmobiling we take five to six sleds. This also adds to the cost and decision where we ride.
  • I would ride more and spend more if I had an OHV park within 50 miles.
  • I am an avid snowmobile participant and I would oppose any further restrictions in the operation and use of snowmobiles.
  • I would prefer to get rid of the flag law in Iowa. Most times when I am driving down the highway and meet a snowmobile, the flag is the last thing that I see.
  • Need something near Des Moines.
  • We need a decent trail system in north Iowa, plus need to get rid of the law regarding flags.
  • An interconnecting trail system in the state would provide great family recreation opportunities year round. Would also generate good revenue for business people located in proximity to the trail system and other supporting businesses. They should be willing to help fund the system.
  • No one else in my family owns any OHVs but I think they would consider if there was a good trail system. I would still own my ATV if I would have somewhere better to ride if I didn't have to go to Wisconsin for good trails.
  • I would rather do my riding in state rather than have to travel out of state. ATV riding is a great family sport and if trails were developed in Iowa we would do much more riding.
  • Need more hills around Storm Lake so we do not have to trespass on roads and gravel pits.
  • I would like to attend a snowmobile safety course sometime. Please keep the trails open to snowmobiles. We really enjoy Iowa and hope many others can too.
  • The flags required on snowmobiles serve no useful purpose.