Williams County Commissioners continued discussions about the potential for off-highway vehicle trails with Anthony J. Hillig, Motorized Recreation Coordinator for North Dakota Parks and Recreation.
Williams County Parks Director Jeremy Ludlum will be coordinating with Hillig as he looks into possibilities for off-highway vehicle recreation in the Williston region.
Hillig projected a map that shows Williams, Mckenzie, and Mountrail counties have high numbers of registered off-highway vehicles. There are not many legal trails, however, for such recreation, which suggests that an off-road area in the county could attract a high degree of interest from the region.
Typically, individuals are willing to drive up to a couple of hours to get to such trails, Hillig said, and most of them will plan to make a day of it and spend at least some time doing other things in the community.
Hillig said the state has two grants that might be useful in helping to build off-road recreational facilities such as trails or a park in Williams County.
The Recreational Trails Program is an 80-20 matching grant that provides funds for both motorized and non-motorized trail projects. It is a federal-aid assistance program to provide funding to build or maintain trails with funding come from the Federal Highway Trust Fund, representing a portion of motor fuel excise taxes collected from non-highway recreational fuel use.
Grants range from $10,000 to a maximum of $200,000, and the priority is for building new trails.
The other program, the Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Grant Program, is also an 80-20 match program through North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department.
Grants are up to $150,000 for construction, improvement, or renovation of OHV facilities throughout North Dakota.
This program also provides additional funding grants to law enforcement agencies to assist with enforcement of OHV riding areas and to promote responsible OHV use. That can include overtime expenses for patrolling these areas, according to information from the North Dakota Parks and Recreation website.
Meanwhile, Darren Schmidt, who ran in the last election for a County Commission seat, told Commisioners he would be willing to help form a local group whose mission could include raising funds for OHV recreational facilities, as well as promoting safe and responsible OHV use.
Schmidt said the past-time is not just for youths. Many adults also participate in off-highway vehicle riding. The popularity of the sport is indicated by regional Facebook page, which Schmidt said each have hundreds of followers, which shows the demand is there for such recreational areas.
Commissioners suggested Schmidt could coordinate his efforts with Ludlum to maximize the benefit of such a group for developing an OHV option in the region.