State funds help Grand Valley Ranger District maintain OHV trails in area national forests
Your face is dusty, your ATV muddy and your adrenaline is at an all-time high. You have just finished riding one of your favorite trails in Grand Mesa National Forest and couldn’t be happier.
Have you wondered how all these miles of off-highway-vehicle (OHV) trails traversing a vast and diverse landscape stay in good shape?
Forest services across the nation have the annual challenge of maintaining hundreds of miles of trails with limited budget and personnel. The Grand Valley Ranger District, along with the thousands of recreational trail users who frequent Grand Mesa, benefit greatly from outside funding sources such as the Colorado OHV Grant Program and numerous valuable partnerships with local groups and associations that help maintain their system trails.
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife OHV Program manages and makes available grants for OHV trail projects on public lands. The Grand Valley Ranger District has regularly applied for and received grant funds, derived from OHV registration and permit fees, on an annual basis. Through this program, the district has been able to hire trail dozer operators and trail crews to conduct trail construction, reconstruction and maintenance work on hundreds of miles of trail over the past 20 years.
Partnerships have been instrumental in the maintenance and improvement of the many recreational opportunities in the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests. The Grand Valley Ranger District currently has partnerships with 10 different organizations that volunteer to help clear trail corridors, conduct volunteer trail patrols and organize work parties to help with specific projects.
These partners have been essential in providing thousands of hours of help each year to maintain trails, and they have leveraged and acquired additional monies to help fund trail-improvement projects.
One such project completed during the 2015 season was the Young’s Connector Trail No. 508 on Grand Mesa. The Western Slope ATV Association volunteered many hours clearing the trail corridor, and the U.S. Forest Service’s trail dozer crew, funded by a state OHV grant, built the new one-mile trail linking two routes and creating a 15-mile loop opportunity.
In addition to funds for specific projects, the Forest Service receives annual funding under a “Good Management Grant” that allows the Grand Valley Ranger District to hire two OHV crews, totaling four people, throughout the summer and fall when motorized use is at its peak. These crews clear downed and hazardous trees from trails, ensure all routes are properly signed, conduct trail maintenance and provide public education on OHV use through visitor contacts and handouts.
So now with a little more background on what goes on with the care and upkeep of your motorized trails on Grand Mesa National Forest, get out and enjoy another ride.
Matthew Meyer works for the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison national forests.