American Trails' 21st National Trails Awards Program honors people and programs at the 21st American Trails International Trails Symposium. The awards celebration was held at Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, Arizona, April, 2013.
This award is given to a business or corporation that has demonstrated significant, sustained, and exemplary service to trail planning, implementation, and/or recreation.
Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A.
volunteers and land managers at a big Yamaha OHV Access Initiative project
Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A., has demonstrated significant, sustained and exemplary service to trails planning, implementation and/or recreation through its Yamaha OHV Access Initiative, which was established in 2008, as well as through the hard work of its employees, who volunteered in September 2012, October 2011 and April 2010 to improve off-highway vehicle trails and staging areas and plant trees in the San Bernardino National Forest in California.
Yamaha's OHV Access Initiative, a program that aggressively supports the OHV community across the country, provides quarterly GRANTs (Guaranteeing Responsible Access to our Nation's Trails) to non-profit riding groups and organizations. Through the program, Yamaha has both directly and indirectly supported thousands of miles of trails, maintained and rehabilitated countless riding areas, improved staging areas, built bridges over fish-bearing streams and partnered with local riding communities across the country to improve the OHV experience.
Each quarter, Yamaha reviews grant applications from non-profit or tax-exempt organizations including OHV riding clubs and associations, national, state and local public land-use agencies and other members of the OHV community. A committee then reviews each application and awards GRANTs to deserving projects such as trail development, restoration and maintenance; trail signage and map production; staging area construction, renovation and maintenance; and land stewardship, trail safety and education.
In the summer of 2012, for example, Yamaha’s OHV Access Initiative approved nine projects supporting responsible, safe OHV riding and open, sustainable OHV access to trails and riding areas across the country. Those GRANTs exceeded $122,000, bringing Yamaha’s direct investment in the OHV community in 37 states nationwide to more than $2 million since the program’s inception in 2008.
The nine organizations awarded the grants in the summer of 2012 were the Missouri Mudders Enduro Riders Association in O’Fallon, Mo.; Mountwood Park ATV Adventures in Parkersburg, W.Va.; the National Wild Turkey Federation; the Off-Road Business Association (ORBA); the Red Rock Riders Association in Pengilly, Minn.; Ride With Respect in Moab, Utah; the Sierra National Forest in Clovis, Calif.; TreadLightly!; and the Tri-County ATV Recreation and Rescue Association in Heilwood, Pa.
In addition to financial support from the OHV Access Initiative for sustainable riding areas, Yamaha employees from the company’s Cypress, Calif., headquarters have taken on a personal obligation to support this mission as well.
Volunteers working on an OHV staging area project
In September 2012, Yamaha volunteers helped restore one of the San Bernardino National Forest's most popular multi-use off-highway vehicle staging areas. Volunteers, comprised of 80 Yamaha employees and their family members and friends, along with members of the San Bernardino National Forest Association, contributed approximately 240 hours of volunteer service to maintain and improve the popular Cactus Flats staging area in Southern California.
In October 2011, more than 60 employees, family members and friends convened in the San Bernardino National Forest, volunteering more than 200 work hours and kicking off a long-term restoration project at the Cactus Flats staging area. Volunteers reached some initial restoration goals through weeding, grubbing, seed collecting, planting native shrubs, watering and other important cleanup projects.
In April 2010, Yamaha employees volunteered more than 500 hours to improve OHV trails and staging areas, and plant 2,250 trees, in the San Bernardino National Forest.
The San Bernardino National Forest hosts about 2.4 million visitors a year and Cactus Flats is a popular location for OHV enthusiasts, providing access to some of the best riding trails in the region. Thousands of visitors, including OHV enthusiasts, hikers and mountain bikers, among others, enjoy the staging area and surrounding trails each year.
Mike Martinez, general manager of Yamaha's ATV/SxS operations and a San Bernardino National Forest Association board member who volunteered alongside his son over the weekend in 2012 said: “Yamaha employees are passionate about their volunteer efforts here in Southern California. We understand that these OHV areas are important to our customers and our business, and it means a lot to us personally to help keep these areas in good shape for current and future generations.”
Sarah Miggins, executive director of the San Bernardino National Forest Association, said: “Our heartfelt thanks to Team Yamaha for their commitment and service helping to restore more than 12 acres of forest land over the past five years. Yamaha's OHV Access Initiative has also supported our own OHV volunteer program with GRANT funds that helped train more than 5,000 students with ‘On the Right Trail’ safety education, provided educational materials such as the Yamaha Off-Highway Vehicle Guide and newsletters to our recreating public, and contributed towards our 30,000 annual OHV volunteer hours.”
The 2012 weekend's volunteer activities included planting and watering 250 native shrubs, slashing illegal riding areas, collecting more than 20 pounds of native seeds for future planting and in general, restoring more than an acre of forest and surrounding trails. This was the second of a three-year Yamaha project at Cactus Flats.More information on the Yamaha OHV Access Initiative can be obtained by going to www.YamahaOHVAccess.com, by calling 1-877-OHV-TRAIL (877-648-8724), emailing OHVAccess@yamaha-motor.com or writing to: Yamaha OHV Access Initiative Review Committee, 6555 Katella Avenue, Cypress, CA 90630-5101.