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By: Robert Janis

New Mexico OHV Alliance

New Mexico Off-Highway Vehicle Alliance Partners to Improve Trails

Continued from page 1...

he Rocky Mountain Youth Corps of Taos, New Mexico has been contracted to provide the labor

“Everything was done, one step at a time, in terms of how we wrote the agreement application, what we wanted to do, what they wanted us to do. There was a lot of back and forth.” said Winscott. NMOHVA and the ranger district staff worked out the details. Throughout the planning stages, NMOHVA also had to consult with New Mexico State Parks, who administers the RTP grants in New Mexico.

The RTP program approved the proposal and awarded a grant of $322,392. An additional $126,120 in “matching funds” (required under the RTP program) was identified and committed for a total project budget of $448,512. The matching funds are coming from various sources. The value of the work that the Forest Service does for the engineering aspects counts as does the value of NMOHVA’s volunteer labor. Other sources of the required match are labor and material donations from NMOHVA’s members and supporters including the Blackfeather Trail Preservation Alliance, New Mexico 4 Wheelers, and R&S Powersports.

Pan Pacific Services was hired to plan and manage the construction of the project. “Jim Cooper and Nora Hamilton are Pan Pacific Services,” said Winscott. “Jim is known nationwide as an expert trail designer and a career BLM planner. He is also a lifelong dirt bike rider. He knows how to lay out a great trail system which is also sustainable. Pan Pacific Services has done major projects for the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, and for state agencies in Idaho, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming."

Cooper will manage the labor and material resources for the trail enhancements, signage, and trailhead improvements. “He will be overseeing the work,” said Winscott. The Rocky Mountain Youth Corps of Taos, New Mexico has been contracted to provide the labor. Cooper has worked with many Youth Conservation Corps groups on projects he has managed. “Their labor rates are very reasonable, and it’s a great experience for the kids,” explained Winscott.

All of the affected project trails in the Cedro Peak area are designated for motorized use. But none of the trails are designated ONLY for motorized use. The motorized trails are used by everyone, and the entire public will benefit directly from the project’s trail improvements.

Winscott gave some advice on what it takes to do a project like Cedro Peak:

  • A member or direct representative of the organization who will create the grant and manage the application process. “For continuity, that person needs to be dedicated for two to three years,” said Winscott, “Someone has to be willing to see it through. It could take months or a year just to work out the details with the Forest Service or BLM, and with your RTP grant administrators. None of these things happen overnight.”
  • People in your organization to stay involved during the implementation of the project, track the costs and paperwork, and manage the money.
  • A knowledgeable and experienced contractor who knows OHV trail design and construction.
  • An agreement with whatever entity manages the riding area. That could be local (city or county), state or federal.
  • A plan to come up with the 20% matching funds required by a RTP grant.  The matching requirement is met by items like donated labor, donated materials, and donated use of machinery.

A groundbreaking for the project was done on March 26. The actual construction work is scheduled to begin May 2, and the project should be complete by summer’s end. Mark Winscott said, “We’re looking forward to the big celebration when the project is finished. It’s taken a lot of time and hard work; but once it’s done, the future of our trails will be much more secure.”

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