Pioneer: Advocate category “Gene” Chappie was a Jeep enthusiast who was elected to the California Legislature in 1964 and immediately became the champion for off-road recreation at a time when many in the legislature were seeking ways to ban off-roading from state parks and other public lands. Rather than join a growing chorus to ban the sport from our parklands and beaches, Chappie proposed landmark legislation, AB 2342, the Chappie-Z’berg Off Highway Vehicle Act of 1971 that was designed to identify and set aside areas specifically for the use of off-road vehicles. As a result of his vision and foresight, hundreds of thousands of miles of roads and trails have been set aside for off-road recreation and the state park department manages several “state vehicular recreation areas” and many counties also manage ORV areas using funds derived from Chappie’s original legislation. Throughout his career as a state legislator and later as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Gene continued to champion off-road recreation causes and helped create safe and environmentally appropriate areas for generations of off-roaders to enjoy their sports.
Chappie Shasta OHV Area in northern California is named in honor of Gene Chappie. Photo credit: ORMHOF Inductee Don Amador