|Joan Powell, Castle Country OHV Association, Don Keele, Castle Country OHV Association, Wade Allinson, Sage Riders Motorcycle Club, Bonnie Keele, Castle Country OHV Association, Clayton Campbell, Castle Country OHV Association, Glenys Sitterud, SouthEastern Utah OHV Association, and Bob Cochrane, US Forest Service Recreation Specialist, accept the check from Polaris.|
The Manti LaSal National Forest, Arapeen OHV Trail System has some of the best OHV trails in the Western United States. The Arapeen Trail System provides scenic high mountain desert riding opportunities. The system has riding opportunities that are directed towards riders of all skill levels.
In 2001, members from various clubs, both locally and statewide recognized the need to bring all of the resources together from the various organizations to assist the US Forest Service in managing responsible OHV use. Resulting from this concept was the birth of the Arapeen Trail Council.
The Arapeen Trail Council is composed of 8-10 members. The council members are representatives from the Castle County OHV Association, the Southeastern Utah OHV Association, the Utah Trail Machine Association and the Sage Riders Motorcycle Club. The members respectfully represent each of the aforementioned clubs and organizations in management issues on the Manti LaSal Forest and San Rafael desert with the council. In essence the ATC represents hundreds of users from four different organizations.
The purpose of this committee is to provide an organization to assist the Manti National Forest Service in managing, maintaining and patrolling the off highway routes on the forest. The council has monthly meetings wherein the Manti Forest recreation staff and supervisor attend. At these meetings, management issues, concerns, educational needs and volunteer projects are coordinated between the forest service staff and the club representatives.
The goal of the ATC is to assist public land managers in providing acceptable off highway recreational opportunities while protecting the resource and environment. Over the last six years the ATC has created a very positive partnership with the forest service and has been successful in achieving our goal.
One major project that was undertaken by the ATC was the creation of the Arapeen Trail System. A core and founding principle of the ATC is that motorized impacts on public lands are minimized by a universal marking system, education and maintenance. This system is the second largest ATV system in Utah (second to the Paiute ATV system). The Arapeen Trail System is entirely on the Manti National Forest.
The Arapeen Trail system requires a large amount of volunteer effort to preserve the environment and the integrity of the system. Because of staff shortages, the forest service relies heavily upon the associated clubs with the ATC to provide the necessary maintenance. The ATC and represented clubs provided an average of 1,550 hours of volunteer service for 2006 on the Manti Forest and the Arapeen Trail System. The ATC and associated clubs by far are the most active in terms of volunteering in the State of Utah and possibly the nation. The ATC has been instrumental in protecting access to hundreds of miles of off highway trails on the Manti Forest.
In April, the Arapeen Trail Council in conjunction with the Castle County OHV Association applied for a grant from Polaris. On June 18, Polaris announced the Arapeen Trail Council/Castle Country OHV Association had been awarded a grant in the amount of $8,500.
This grant will be used to protect and preserve current trail systems on the Manti National Forest and the San Rafael Swell. Several projects have been identified in conjunction with the associated public land managers that this grant will help fund.
This grant was awarded through the Polaris TRAILS program. The TRAILS program makes funds available to not-for-profit national, state and local organizations in the United States to ensure the future of ATV riding.
T.R.A.I.L.S. stands for: T=trail development, R=responsible riding, A=access, I =initiatives, L=lobbying, and S=safety.
The grant program encompasses two main objectives - promoting safe and responsible riding, and preserving access. Funds can be used by organizations for trail development and maintenance projects, safety and education initiatives, lobbying and other projects to increase and maintain land access.
This is the third round of 'TRAILS' grant recipients, with grants totaling $105,320 for a grand total of $500,458 granted to national, state and local ATV clubs since the program was launched in 2006. In this round, Polaris issued grants to 12 organizations in 12 states. To date, Polaris has assisted 59 ATV organizations in 35 states across the U.S.
The first of its kind in the ATV industry, the 'TRAILS' grant program was launched in January 2006 for ATV clubs, associations and grass roots groups. ATV riders and the trails they use are the lifeblood of the sport and Polaris aimed to create a program to help.
The grants ranged from $3,000 to the maximum $10,000 and will be applied toward: land acquisition, trail mapping, marking and maintenance; trail development, stabilization and reforestation; bridge building; Bureau of Land Management, National Forest Service and State Forest ride area enhancements and trail mapping projects.
With annual 2006 sales of $1.7 billion, Polaris designs, engineers, manufactures and markets snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, Victory motorcycles and the Polaris Ranger for recreational and utility use.
Polaris is a recognized leader in the snowmobile industry; and one of the largest manufacturers of ATVs in the world. Victory motorcycles, established in 1998 and representing the first all-new American-made motorcycle from a major company in nearly 60 years, are rapidly making impressive in-roads into the motorcycle cruiser marketplace.
Polaris also enhances the riding experience with a complete line of pure Polaris apparel, accessories and parts, available at Polaris dealerships.
Information about the complete line of Polaris products, apparel and vehicle accessories is available from authorized Polaris dealers or anytime from the Polaris home page at www.polarisindustries.com.
The Arapeen Trail Council is encouraged by the commitment Polaris has made to the Arapeen Trail System and the San Rafael Swell. This grant shows Polaris takes seriously the preservation of OHV recreation while protecting the resource.
The Arapeen Trail Council would welcome OHV users that have an interest in preserving OHV recreation to get involved with a club that is represented with the council.
Most of all, they would encourage users to join, participate and donate.