According to this press release from the AMA Washington State governor Christine Gregoire vetoed a portion of the state’s annual budget that included a last-minute rider to ban all new ORV trail construction until 2009.

The AMA today praised Washington State Gov. Christine Gregoire’s line-item veto of a measure that would have banned all construction of new trails or facilities for off-road motorized recreation for at least a year.

The measure, which had been inserted in the state budget in a last-minute maneuver, without the opportunity for public debate, would have prohibited the state’s Department of Natural Resources from building or expanding trails or facilities for off-road recreational vehicles until July, 2009. It was one of seven sections of the proposed capital budget that Gov. Gregoire vetoed.

The AMA attributes the veto to activist participation, and credits the 500 members who used the AMA’s Rapid Response Center with having an impact on the outcome.

Maybe so. But 500 people – just 500 people – using this simple, easy tool from the AMA is pathetic. There are thousands (maybe tens of thousands) of off-road motorcyclists in Washington State. And only 500 used the system. This is wrong on so many levels. It speaks to the incredibly poor job the AMA has done in serving the off road community. It speaks to the weak nature of the AMA’s media reach. And it speaks to a certain amount of apathy on the part of off road riders in Washington.

No doubt many riders used some other method for contacting their state representatives, or the bill would not have been defeated. Then again, maybe it was the snowmobilers and 4×4 guys who did all the work. I don’t know. But in any case you would think the AMA should muster more than a measly 500. Maybe it’s just me, but we have to do better than this if we’re ever going to have a prayer of beating the eco-Nazis at their own game.