Yamaha tops $2M in grants with $20,000 award to NWTF to enhance Coronado National Forest trails

Yamaha Motor Corp. has awarded the National Wild Turkey Federation a $20,000 grant to improve access to an 18,500-acre area within Coronado National Forest in Arizona as part of the company’s Guaranteeing Responsible Access to our Nation’s Trails (GRANT) program.

Launched in January, 2008, Yamaha USA’s GRANT program has awarded more than $2 million in grants and equipment in 37 states to enhance access and trails on public lands not only for off-highway vehicle (OHV) enthusiasts, but for hikers, hunters, anglers, horseback riders and others.

“The Yamaha Access Initiative is about access and safe, responsible use of our equipment and our resources,” Yamaha’s ATV/SxS Group Marketing Manager Steve Nessl said in a press release. “Yamaha is proud to partner with the NWTF and to support its initiatives that will create new, sustainable access for outdoors enthusiasts.”

The grant will allow access to a trail beyond the end of Frye Mesa Road to access the 18,500 acres on Mt. Graham, the highest point in the Coronado National Forest. Current access to these lands has been possible through the cooperation of local landowners who allow the public to cross their property to reach the area.

The Frye Mesa Access Project secures a half-mile of road right-of-way, which ensures permanent public access to approximately 45 miles of roads and trails on 18,500 acres of public lands. According to the NWTF, this area receives approximately 10,250 days of recreational use annually.

“The Frye Mesa Access Project is a great example of how we will accomplish the goal of opening a half million acres for public hunting,” NWTF Director of Western Conservation Planning Joel Pedersen said. “By working with like-minded partners on strategic opportunities, a small investment can be made to produce huge dividends for sportsmen.”

In addition to NWTF and Yamaha USA, others contributing to the Frye Mesa Access Project include the Arizona Department of Game and Fish, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Mule Deer Foundation, and the Arizona State Chapter of Safari Club International.

The Yamaha USA grant is part of NWTF’s “Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt” initiative to conserve and enhance four million acres of critical upland wildlife habitat to increase wild turkey populations, create 1.5 million new hunters and establish 500,000 additional acres of hunting access. NWTF chapters have spent more than $10.8 million to acquire 473,000 acres of land for public hunting since 1987.

Yamaha USA’s GRANT program is supported by Yamaha dealers and customers nationwide promoting safe, responsible riding and sustainable, open riding areas. It is designed to provide financial assistance, equipment and volunteer coordination to organizations, such as the NWTF, to improve access and enhance trails on public lands.

Each quarter, Yamaha accept applications from organizations such as non-profit or tax exempt OHV riding clubs, national forests and associations and national, state, local government agencies and associations. A committee then reviews each application and awards GRANTs to deserving projects.

Some examples of how these GRANTs will be used include:
• Trail development, restoration and maintenance.
• Trail signage and map production.
• Staging area construction, renovation and maintenance.
• Safety and education.

Since its establishment in January 2008, Yamaha USA’s GRANT program has not only contributed more than $2 million to improve trails and access, but Yamaha employees have donated their time as volunteers to plant trees, clear trails and support restoration efforts on “company-adopted trails.” Yamaha employees have volunteered more than 1,500 hours of labor in California’s San Bernardino National Forest alone.

“Yamaha is very proud of everything the OHV Access Initiative has accomplished throughout these five years, but the challenges before us remain,” Nessl said “Yamaha will continue to focus on the OHV program’s mission and reach out to riding groups and other appropriate organizations to strengthen opportunities for motorized recreation today and in the future.”

Among groups receiving Yamaha USA GRANT program assistance in 2012 were:

  1. Johnson County, Tenn.
  2. Egg Harbor Township Police Athletic League, N.J.
  3. Great Falls Trail Bike Riders Association, Montana
  4. Straddleline ORV Park, Ore.
  5. Thousand Islands Land Trust (TILT), N.Y.
  6. Western Shasta Resource Conservation District (WSRCD), Calif.

For more information on Yamaha USA’s GRANT program, including application forms and guidelines, go to www.yamahaohvaccess.com, or call 1-877-OHV-TRAIL (877-648-8724), or email OHVAccess@yamaha-motor.com or write to: Yamaha OHV Access Initiative Review Committee, 6555 Katella Avenue, Cypress, CA 90630-5101.

(Editor’s Note: Yamaha is a sponsor of Outdoor Life’s Open Country program, which includes this Open Country blog.)