Free Money to OHV? – Not So Fast

This is the first in a series discussing grant funding, some general editorial comment on the processes, and uses. 

Nevada Offroad Association (NVORA) has been approached by some of the smaller OHV clubs with questions about grant programs, processes and seeking input on how they could compete against some of the larger grant applications to take on projects here in Nevada.

The short answer is “you can’t know – if you don’t apply”. 

To a new applicant, the enormity perceived in taking on such a process is daunting, and it is one of the reasons NVORA was created, to help you put your registration dollars back where they belong, your home dirt. 

(For transparency NVORA is positioned to help any applicant forward a quality grant application, with details on those services to be published in 1Q22) 

So, this blog series will offer commentary and references on topics to include:

1. Where the money can be used

2. Partnerships

3. Projects 

4. Funding ‘in kind’

5. Should you be funding the government?

6. Should you be funding studies?

7. Is there room to make the process better?

8. Successes

One of the most common misconceptions is that your registration dollar goes to the Nevada State General fund and is spent on things that are not targeted to Offroad Recreation. 

This is not true. With the members of the OHV Commission being all volunteers, they make sure your dollars go into your sport.  This is also the law, and your registration dollars cannot be spent on anything but OHV projects.

NRS 490.069 tells us what your registration dollars can be spent on. 

(1) Studies or planning for trails and facilities for use …off-highway vehicles…to prepare environmental assessments and environmental impact studies that are required… 

(2) The mapping and signing of those trails and facilities.

(3) The acquisition of land for those trails and facilities.

(4) The enhancement or maintenance, or both, of those trails and facilities.

(5) The construction of those trails and facilities.

(6) The restoration of areas that have been damaged by the use of off-highway vehicles.

(7) The construction of trail features…(including), a trailhead or a parking area near a trailhead…

(8) Safety training and education relating to the use of off-highway vehicles.

(9) Efforts to improve compliance with and enforcement of the requirements relating to off-highway vehicles.

That’s it. No luxury yachts for the volunteers, no secret payments to anyone, no pet projects of Senator Joeblowski – Just things that directly improve your offroad experience.

If your application does not fall solidly into one or more of these nine areas, the Nevada OHV Grant Program is not the appropriate funding source.

One area that is always on our mind that we would love to change is the ability to fund Search and Rescue teams. Regretfully they are excluded in the statutes. This problem and concern for us as riders, as when one of us needs to be rescued, it seems like a reasonable expense to help fund those first responders who are going to be out looking for you. 

There have been some grants awarded in the history of the program wherein hindsight could have been better directed to those actively working to improve OHV. Thankfully we see the members of the Nevada OHV commission laser-focused on these grant programs, and ensuring your money goes to your projects, not to groups traditionally allied with movements that do not embrace, or outright target OHV use. 

Not finding what is important to a rider drives registration compliance down, and discourages rank and file user participation in quality OHV focused projects. 

We are here to encourage all applicants to make a better offroad experience, promote safety, and education. This is also why NVORA tracks every application and reviews the sources cited. We learn as much from a quality written grant application as we do with a poorly executed application because they tell us what may need more attention.  

Next up – Partnerships

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