Dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles kicked up dust at last week’s red sticker weekend, the annual start of the season for certain off-highway vehicles at Hollister Hills.
“Red stickers refer to competition and two-stroke off-highway vehicles manufactured in 2003 or later that do not meet the emission standards established by the California Air Resources Board,” explained Sam Hamilton, an office technician at Hollister Hills State Vehicular Recreation Area.
Red sticker season is from October 1 to May 31.
The season kicked off on Saturday with an annual celebration that brought out hundreds of riders and brands such as Bell, Fox Racing and Motion Pro.
Hosted by Faultline Powersports for the last 10 years, the main event was an afternoon raffle ticket giveaway where lucky riders walked away with a selection of motorcycle gear and other merchandise, such as t-shirts and caps.
The state park is a destination for off-road vehicle enthusiasts and campers with five campsites in the lower section and two in the upper area, which is used for 4-wheel drive recreation.
Park elevations range from 660 to 2,425 feet in the Gabilan Mountains. In the lower 3,300-acre area, open for motorcycle and A.T.V. use, there are 128 miles of trails and several hill climbs, all of which are maintained by a top-notch resource crew. The crew is also responsible for habitat restoration.
“We have maintenance staff out every day working on special projects, cleaning out the bathrooms,” said Hamilton.
To keep riders safe in case of a fall or other incident, there is a volunteer patrol run by the Hollister Hills Off-Road Association, which also puts on special events and helps raise money for the park.
Park rangers are also on regular patrol throughout the site in case of medical emergencies and to ensure riders have all the correct registrations and safety gear.