Your face is dusty. Your All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) is muddy. Your adrenaline is at an all-time high. You have just finished riding one of your favorite trails on the U.S. Forest Service’s Grand Mesa National Forest and couldn’t be happier.
But, do you ever wonder how all these miles of off-highway vehicle, or OHV, trails traversing a vast and diverse landscape stay in good shape? The fact is forests across the nation have the annual challenge of maintaining hundreds of miles of trails with limited budgets and personnel.
One such example of this national trails preservation effort is happening on the Grand Valley Ranger District. The district, along with the thousands of recreational trail users who frequent the Grand Mesa, benefit greatly from outside funding sources such as the state of Colorado OHV Grant Program and numerous partnerships with local groups and associations that help maintain their system trails.
Partnerships have been instrumental in the maintenance and improvement of the many recreational opportunities on the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests. The Grand Valley Ranger District currently has partnerships with ten 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 not only in providing thousands of hours of help each year to maintain trails but, have been able to leverage and acquire additional monies to help fund trail improvement projects on the forest.
One such project completed during the 2015 season was the Young’s Connector Trail #508, located on the Grand Mesa. The Western Slope ATV Association volunteered many hours clearing the trail corridor and the 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 4 people, throughout the summer and fall when motorized use is at its peak.
So now, armed with a little more background on what goes on with the care and upkeep of your motorized trails on the Grand Mesa National Forest, get out and enjoy another ride!