SEMA has sought to protect motorized recreation on public lands for decades—with good reason. SEMA’s mission is to protect enthusiasts from unreasonable government actions that threaten their rides, whether on the highway or backcountry trails. It’s also harder to market off-road products when there are fewer places to enjoy them.
The threats are very real. In recent decades, thousands of miles of roads and trails across the nation have been closed due to restrictive land-use designations. That trend continues. In California alone, motorized access to the backcountry deserts has shrunk from 50% open use on public lands in 1976 to 12.5% in 2007. Only 2% of the California desert is currently open to off-highway