By KARLA POMEROY
The Northwest Wyoming OHV (Off-highway Vehicle) Alliance is moving forward to make sure there are plenty of trails and areas for OHV riders to recreate in the Big Horn Basin.
Alliance Vice President Dana Sander, member Dan O’Keefe and Bureau of Land Management outdoor recreation planner of the Cody office Rory Glueckert, came to the commissioners Dec. 4 seeking support of a grant application and special use permit for the Darnell Hills ORV (off-road vehicle) Open Area near Lovell.
Sander said the area is north and west of Lovell on the road to Horseshoe Bend. They are seeking a grant of $13,125 from the Wyoming State Parks, Historic Sites and Trails to lease land from the BLM at a rate of $525 per year for 25 years.
The grant is funded by the permit fees residents purchase for ATVs and snowmobiles.
In conjunction with the grant, the group is applying for a special use lease for the land from the BLM.
He said Alliance President Dennis Nagy visited with state department heads last week and got verbal support for both the permit and the grant. Sander said the alliance should receive official notification on whether the permit is granted and whether they receive the grant.
Sander said the best use of the land they are looking at for OHV trails is OHV use. The areas don’t have any grazing leases.
The Alliance was seeking approval from the commissioners to be the sponsoring agencies for both applications. Then Alliance would then enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the county to manage the lands.
Sander said Tuesday that the group was meeting with the Park County commissioners that day seeking similar approval for an area outside of Cody. Eventually they would like to develop trailheads in the two areas as well as on Basin Garden Road.
He said the area in Basin Gardens is designated for OHV use in the proposed new BLM Resource Management Plan and they can seek grant funding to develop trails and trailheads once they have obtained access to the areas.
O’Keefe said they would also like to see maps developed of the OHV trails in the Big Horn Basin to attract riders from around the state and surrounding areas.
“It’s hard to promote the area without a map and without parking areas,” O’Keefe said.
The commissioners approved applying for the special use permit and trails grant. The motion was approved unanimously with Chairman Jerry Ewen telling the group that the MOU with the county must be in place before the grant is executed and the lease signed with the BLM, if both are approved, by their respective agencies