American Motorcyclist Association Commends U.S. Forest Service For Pulling Offensive Smokey Bear PSA Off The Air

PICKERINGTON, Ohio--The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) thanked U.S. Forest Service Chief Abigail Kimbell for asking media outlets to stop airing a Smokey Bear public service announcement (PSA) that unintentionally implied all all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) pose a fire hazard in national forests.

Kimbell made the request after off-highway vehicle (OHV) organizations, including the AMA, complained that the video not only implied to non-riders that ATVs start forest fires, but also sent a message to OHV riders that they should stay out of the forests during the summer.

"The Advertising Council, U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters put the public service announcement together to educate riders about fire safety," said Ed Moreland, AMA vice president for government relations. "But the PSA completely missed the mark and questioned the intentions of responsible OHV riders everywhere."

The PSA in question showed a woman riding an off-road bicycle, approaching two ATV riders at a trailhead. The video then morphed the woman into Smokey Bear, who suggested to the riders that they go home so that they didn't risk starting a forest fire with their machines.

Concerned OHV groups told Kimbell that the PSA should have educated riders about having U.S. Forest Service-approved spark arresters on their machines, and staying on designated trails as ways to prevent forest fires. Spark arresters are original equipment on new ATVs and are provided by aftermarket manufacturers for exhaust systems intended for trail riding.

AMA Government Affairs Manager Royce Wood and Duane Taylor, government relations specialist with the Motorcycle Industry Council, had a face-to-face meeting with Kimbell's staff to discuss the PSA. Other groups that expressed concerns to the U.S. Forest Service included the BlueRibbon Coalition, the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council, and the Off-Road Business Association.

"Chief Kimbell is to be commended for listening to the concerns of the OHV community," said Moreland. "We support public service announcements that promote responsible riding, and we have asked the U.S. Forest Service to consult with OHV experts when producing OHV-related PSAs in the future. The OHV community is certainly willing to help."

To that end, members of the Americans For Responsible Recreational Access (ARRA), which includes the AMA, delivered a letter to Kimbell on Monday, August 4, endorsing the proper use of a USDA-approved spark arrester on all OHV vehicles and offering assistance in the development of a PSA that educates riders about the importance using such a device, as well as the need to stay on designated trails.

"Our common interest with the Forest Service makes it imperative that we work cooperatively on all initiatives intended to address responsible OHV use and the prevention of wildfires," Moreland said.

About the American Motorcyclist Association
Since 1924, the AMA has promoted and protected the motorcycling lifestyle. AMA members come from all walks of life and they navigate many different roads on their journey to the same destination: freedom on two wheels. As the world's largest motorcycle organization with nearly 300,000 members, the AMA advocates for motorcyclists' interests in the halls of local, state and federal government, the committees of international governing organizations and the court of public opinion. Through member clubs, promoters and partners, the AMA sanctions more motorsports competition events than any other organization in the world. Through its Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum, the AMA preserves the heritage of motorcycling for future generations. For more information, visit