By Bill ArmstrongMarch 30, 2009
FORT RILEY, Kan. - Whether riders are beginners or experienced, the all-terrain vehicle and dirt bike riding area in Fort Riley's Training Area 10 has plenty of room for full-throttle adventure.
Now entering its second year of service, the riding area on Williston Point Road just north of the roundabout by Camp Funston recently was certified as a training area by the All-Terrain Vehicle Safety Institute, said Richard Hearron, garrison safety manager.
"We used to send people out to Wakefield and School Creek to train. Now we can do the training here on Fort Riley," Hearron said. "It saves them about a 30-mile drive out to School Creek or to Wakefield to use the areas out there. Those areas are uncontrolled, whereas ours is a semi-controlled environment."
The area is operated by Outdoor Recreation, Building 9011 on Rifle Range Road. Riders can choose their own path within the 247-acre plot set aside solely for ATVs and dirt bikes. They won't have to make way for larger vehicles when they're out for a ride.
"So tactical vehicles and privately owned vehicles shouldn't be roaming up and down it, four-wheeling in the mud," Hearron said.
Gaining access to the area requires riders to attend ATV training or dirt bike training, for whichever vehicle they are riding on. Riders also are required to sign a waiver at Outdoor Rec, releasing the government from any liabilities they may incur while riding.
The riding area is open to all Fort Riley Soldiers, their Family members, including children ages 6 and above, and Department of the Army civilians. Parents will need to sign waivers for child riders, in addition to attending the ATV training through the Garrison Safety Office and matching the proper vehicle size to the child.
If someone already had safety training on their vehicle, Hearron said, he can verify the rider's documentation before sending him on to Outdoor Rec.
"At Outdoor Rec, they will verify that he has been trained and they will have him watch a video on unexploded ordnances," he said. "Then they will issue him a pass that is good for a year. They do not have to get a pass each time they use the area."
The pass must be displayed on the dashboard of the vehicle a rider leaves in the riding area parking lot, Hearron added.
People who have not yet received training can sign up for it on post.
"It doesn't cost them a dime," Hearron said. "I'm budgeted; I pay for it and schedule the training. I have a contractor who comes in and conducts it."
All riders must use a buddy system when entering the riding area, where safety is the top priority. The area is open seven days a week, and only during daylight hours.
To learn more about the ATV and dirt bike riding area, call Outdoor Rec at 239-2363 or 239-6368. For information about training, call the Garrison Safety Office at 239-2514.