That’s the distance between Carson City, state capital of Nevada, and Columbus, our state capital. What is going on in Carson City presents an important lesson to the off road community nationwide, and here in Ohio. Like many states Nevada has a trail fund to pay for the myriad of projects to keep trails open and maintained. Also like many states they have a grant system to dole out those funds. Groups requesting funding for trail projects submit a grant application that describes the project and how it will be executed in detail. When the submission cycle is complete all the submissions are scored on the same criteria. Since there are more applications than can be funded the ones that score the best get funding.

The whole point of this is that projects are awarded funding based on their own merit, and are not subject to the whims or political leanings of any one person or group. It protects the trail funds from being misspent, and also prevents anti access political appointees from simply not using any of the funding. It’s a good system, and one we hope to eventually have in Ohio. That is until the person or persons running the program decide to just ignore the rules, which is what happened recently in Nevada.

In Nevada the OHV funding programs are run by the Nevada Commission on Of Highway Vehicles, chaired by Paul Jackson.  In meeting held January 31st and February 1st of this year, which was the inaugural round of grant awards for the newly minted grant system, Mr. Jackson and the rest of the NCOHV decided to set aside the scoring sheets and scoring guidelines for the submitted grants, and make arbitrary award decisions with no regard for the NCOHV’s own published rules for awarding those grants. Furthermore the scoring sheets were to be made public, and to date as of this writing they have not. In the short time this program has existed the NCOHV has managed to accrue over 50 documented violations of Nevada’s Open Meeting laws.

Maybe the NCOHV didn’t think the off road community would notice, or that it would be no big deal. Turns out they did notice, both state and national organizations including the Nevada Trail Stewards, Nevada 4 Wheel Drive Association, Blue Ribbon Coalition, American Motorcyclist Association, the Off Road Business Association, and others. Letters of protest from individuals and organizations are piling up on Governor Brian Sandoval’s desk from across the nation, as well they should. Today OMTA will be adding our voice, and we are encouraging our member clubs and members to do the same, as well as anyone who believes government should be beholden to the citizens. You see while one reason to be ticked off is that here we have another OHV program being abused, the larger issue is that here we have government officials ignoring established rules for the program they oversee and doing what they please with money that belongs to the citizens they are representing. That my fellow riders is wrong no matter what the program.

~Mat

Below you will find a down load for a letter template to add your voice of protest to help our fellow riders in Nevada.

TemplatePublicReleaseModerate

 

 

One Response to “2,221 Miles.”

  1. Doug Holcomb
    March 2, 2014 at 11:39 am #

    Matthew,

    Thank you for your support and letter of concern.

    It’s really a shame that what should be a very straight forward grant awards process has become such a debacle.

    Many western Nevada OHV users are transplants from California and have brought with them a distrust of government misappropriating their “dedicated” OHV funds. This hasn’t helped develop trust.

    While I don’t know many of the NCOHV Commissioners personally, the majority of them seem like good people that do truly care about the future of Nevada OHV recreation and the economic benefits that it will bring to the state.
    I hope that this is just extreme growing pains, and the Commission is learning.

    This also serves as a warning to all OHV users to stay involved and stay vigilant. This is your money being given out. You must decide where it goes.

    Thank you,

    Doug Holcomb
    President, Pine Nut Mountains Trail Association
    Gardnerville, Nevada