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By: Robert Janis


Stimulus Money Funds BLM Projects, Too

By now we have all heard of the Obama stimulus program, officially known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). What you probably did not know is that much of that money was given to agencies and departments to use to finance projects under their direct authority. Even the Bureau of Land Management got funds from the program. In fact, it is now funding 18 projects totaling $3,433,500.

According to the BLM, most of these projects are signing, mapping, and maintaining motorized routes authorized by recently completed travel management plans. Most of the routes are primitive roads and trails that are open to off-highway vehicle use.

One BLM-sponsored project is taking place in the Shotgun OHV Trail System in Eugene, Oregon. The $103,000 plan will locate, design, and construct. It will allow for the development of a staging area with amenities such as a bathroom, tables, parking, and an OHV-ride training area.

Elizabeth Aleman, outdoor recreational planner for the Shotgun OHV Trails Development, is directing the project. According to Aleman, she has been preparing for the project and has already lined up people to assist with design.

The staging area will include a beginner's riding loop and training area along with the basic amenities.

The project has only recently started and has completed an environmental assessment as well as an environmental impact assessment. Currently, Aleman is working with recreation and engineering staff on the design. The group will also be working in conjunction with riders who use the facilities. “We have a complement of volunteers who are very helpful and will give us good insight into specific design features that need to be incorporated into the site,” she said.

Currently, she is providing the basic layout of the site to two people who are a part of the recreation staff. Next, she will provide the same information to assigned engineers, and they will fine tune the plan. All of this will include components, approximate location, and dimensions of the site. The engineers will formalize the design and then the project will prepare any contracts for private companies to bid on. Then the bid will be accepted with input from financial people of the Bureau and then construction will begin.

It is apparent that the project still has a long way to go. Aleman said the timetable calls for construction to take place and to be completed within the 2010 fiscal year.

“This project has been long in waiting. We have prepared for it; and fortunately, we have received funds to actually do something on the ground. It should be a great asset to the riding area,” concluded Aleman.

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