By: Robert Janis
Off-Highway Vehicle Alliance Partners to Improve
“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
- 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.”