Hands up Gimme all your money

This is the fifth in a series discussing grant funding, including some general editorial comments on the processes, and uses.

The Government Just Wants Your Money, – 

That is the refrain we all have in the back of our heads, usually as part of the mantra, one falls into when our government is spending our tax money on a project or program where we fail to find value.

But here is the good news – your registration dollars are directed to projects by people who are not “the government” – we spoke to that in the first of this series.

Should The Nevada OHV Grant (NV-OHVG) Commission approve sending your registration dollars to the government?

In the perfect world where all the Public Lands managers (PLM) were fully funded and fully staffed, and all the projects for offroad were completed ahead of schedule, the answer would be a firm – arms crossed- head-shaking- resounding -NO!!

But here in the real world – the answer is – sometimes yes. 

Thankfully we are not talking about funding the salaries of the PLM. When NV-OHVG funding is approved it is for projects and studies required for those projects that specifically benefit OHV owners and users. 

Remember, not all projects qualify for funding. Irrespective of the applicant is a government entity or wheels in the dirt riding club. It all gets back to the nine permissible categories. 

When any government office applies for funding, it does take a bit more effort on behalf of the NV-OHVG commission to vet the application. As we all know the same group that bought the $600 hammer, needs a bit more of a focused review.   

Once an application is vetted showing the project is clearly focused on improving areas beneficial to the owners of OHV, it can move forward. Some other areas of direct funding to the government include purchasing equipment for different agencies, this equipment may be directed to law enforcement for their duties supporting OHV on your Public Lands. This is often done in conjunction with an education and outreach effort. We feel Education and Outreach is the most important function to come out of the NV-OHVG program. 

For example, in 2019 BLM was awarded funding for a UTV and a trailer to be wrapped in educational graphics- images portraying positive OHV interactions, logos of the funding program, and OHV partners. To be used at public events. Having these types of outreach opportunities is important to all users, but specifically to the new younger riders. Plus showing the equipment purchased with your registration dollars adds tremendous value and transparency to the grant program. 

In addition to the government seeking direct funding everyone who is looking to do a project on federally managed Public Lands, that disturbs earth, or are we like to say ‘sticks a shovel somewhere in the dirt’, must bring the National Environmental Protection Act into the process. (NEPA -is on our list to cover in the future) Sometimes it is as simple as the jurisdictional manager making a quick review allowing the project to move forward, other times it is a separate request that is necessary for a future project. 

The upside for a non-government-led project is nearly all of the components required of NEPA can be done with private contractors. These studies and their components are the ONLY studies allowed under NRS 490.

NRS 490.069-2(c)1 (1) Studies or planning for trails and facilities for use by owners and operators of off-highway vehicles. Money received pursuant to this subparagraph may be used to prepare environmental assessments and environmental impact studies that are required pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 4321 et seq.

This phrase is important, studies … “for trails and facilities for use by owners and operators of off-highway vehicles” 

That is it.

· No policy studies

· No economic impact studies

· No facility or trail use studies

· No traffic studies

· No public opinion studies 

This allowance or restriction depending on one’s point of view was codified because at the time other funding sources did not support any kind of study in the field of offroad recreation, and with the obvious physical impact that OHV can have on a poorly planned or managed project area the legislature saw the need to specifically allow and restrict the studies to those that will be leading to building or maintenance of trails and facilities for OHV use.

This is yet another reason we appreciate Nevada, when this law was created, the legislature specifically tagged where your registration dollars can be used, so when some politician somewhere in Nevada sees your money that you have paid into the OHV grant fund, and want to redirect it to their pet project, they can’t.  Not without Violating Nevada law.  And the good news is the commission knows this, The program manager knows this the Nevada Offroad Association knows this, and should any of your registration dollars go to things that can not be covered by those nine items, you will hear about it from us.

next – Success

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