It’s not often one gets to be ‘first’ but Logandale Trails was recognized at a ground-breaking ceremony on Thursday, Jan. 26 for just that—the first on-the-ground project funded by state OHV registration fees.
“Nevada is one of the last western states to require registration for ATVs and other non-street-legal OHVs,” said Elise McAllister, administrator for Partners In Conservation (PIC). “Residents pay $21.00 a year to register their ATVs, UTVs, motorcycles, etc., and fully 60 percent of that money is dedicated to fund physical projects to benefit OHV users. Some money is dedicated to law enforcement, education, and safety, and about 5 percent is set aside to administer the program. But the lion’s share goes straight back to the OHV enthusiast. That is a wonderful thing!”
Physical, or on-the-ground projects include signage, trail maintenance or actual trail construction, new or enhanced trailheads, parking areas, kiosks, and facilities, including restrooms. And that brings us back to Logandale Trails; the ground-breaking event was to celebrate both restrooms being replaced at the popular trails system.
“The use for this area has grown from very few 25 years ago when these original facilities were built, to over 200,000 people a year,” said Gail Marrs-Smith, Field Manager for the Las Vegas BLM office. “It is a fantastic area. Who wouldn’t want to come here?”
Logandale Trails is the most heavily used area that the BLM manages in southern Nevada. Based on a visitor-to-acre ratio, Logandale Trails receives 7.97 visitors per acre. The next most heavily used area is only 1.7 visitors per acre—a statistic that proves the popularity of this area beyond doubt. People flock here to rock crawl through rugged red rock canyons, to glide across shimmering sand, to ride a variety of trails atop ridges, through washes and up and over, down and through. And with all those visitors, the restrooms have simply outlived their intended lifespan.
PIC applied for two grants; one from the Nevada OHV Commission (the OHV registration program) which provided funding for the restroom at the main trailhead. The second grant was submitted to the RecTrails program administered through Nevada State Parks. Funds from this program come from a small percentage of the federal gas tax that is dispersed to each state for recreational use. This funds both motorized and non-motorized projects and in this case, these funds will replace the second set of restrooms in the southwest corner of the trails system.
“Mesquite resident and Kokopelli ATV Club member Charlie Cox is a Nevada OHV Commissioner and was very instrumental in helping us submit our grant and providing his support for this project,” McAllister said.
Thus, the occasion to celebrate! PIC, working with the BLM, both funding programs, other partners, the public, and vendors was able to save funds by having both restrooms constructed at the same time. Plans, still being finalized, will build the new restrooms first, so that folks can still use the old facilities. Once the new ones are done, the old ones will be demolished. This is a fairly innovative way as most often the old restrooms are removed first.
The BLM deserves much credit for approving this unique timeline. Plus doing the project this way also saves money, which benefits everyone, McAllister said. Any and all money saved is returned to the general funds of each program and will be used to fund other projects in Nevada.
Not your average ground-breaking ceremony, dignitaries were outnumbered by members of the public who love and use Logandale Trails and came out to show their support for the projects. The Mesquite Kokopelli Club was well represented with members riding across the mesa and enjoying the whole day while participating in the event. Bob Adams, President of Kokopelli ATV club said, “We are happy to be here supporting PIC today. We come help with clean-ups or whatever is needed. It’s exciting to support anything that makes it better for people to enjoy outdoor stuff.”
McAllister said, “The Mesquite Kokopelli ATV Club always attends every clean-up or volunteer event. I simply make one phone call and they show up enmasse every time. Friends like that are priceless! We appreciate their dedication, hard work and friendship. Saying ‘thanks’ always feels so inadequate.”
Other groups from Las Vegas as well as the Moapa Valley Rotary Club, the Moapa Valley Chamber of Commerce and other local entities attended, swelling the crowd to over 70. Now THAT is a ground-breaking ceremony!