TGOF forged the partnership between the USDA Forest Service, Georgia Recreational Trail Riders Association (GARTRA), and Yamaha Motor Corporation which provided funding for its Outdoors Access Initiative (OAI). Yamaha has also encouraged its employees, company-wide, to participate in the six (6) volunteer work days scheduled until the last Saturday in June.
The project began with the Forest Service and GARTRA committing money and volunteer services to repurpose the disused campground. TGOF was then able to secure funding from Yamaha’s OAI, which the Forest Service further leveraged by acquiring a Georgia Department of Natural Resources Recreational Trails Program (RTP) grant. The additional funding increased the size and scope of the project to include trail maintenance, parking improvements, a new loading ramp and interpretive educational kiosks throughout the area.
“We are thrilled to welcome increasing numbers of visitors to the National Forests. These trends allow us to provide equitable, high-quality access and safe recreation opportunities to ever-increasing numbers of members of the public,” said Michael Mitchell, Director of Recreation, Heritage and Volunteer Services for the Forest Service’s Southern Region. “Volunteers and partnerships help maintain public lands and foster a sense of shared stewardship in communities. These benefits are all elements of this project and our top priorities. We appreciate Yamaha, The Great Outdoors Fund and all volunteers who made this success possible!”
“My family and I, as well as other people who visit Mount Oakeyspecifically directed the Forest Service to reallocate and re-open this area,” the GARTRA President said. Bill Shilling. “So we’re excited to see the investment of money, time and energy to help clear brush and install new infrastructure that is all Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant.”
“We continue to see a huge funding gap to maintain or improve our outdoor spaces,” said the TGOF founder. Lori McCullough. “It is estimated that there are more than $100 billion in servicing the backlog, nationwide, which is why public-private partnerships like this are essential to ensure that people of all ages and abilities can access and enjoy our great outdoors.”
“It was important to have a project like this, in Georgiawhere we could combine funding from the Yamaha Outdoor Access Initiative with our corporate commitment to volunteerism and give our employees the opportunity to dedicate their time and energy to a local riding area,” said mike martinezPresident of Motorsport at Yamaha Motor Corporation, UNITED STATES “Our ongoing partnership with The Great Outdoors Fund is a case study in public-private ventures benefiting from public outdoor spaces to ensure access to motorized recreation for generations to come.”
“There are so many advantages to being on the outside,” McCullough noted. “And it’s up to us to steward these lands, ensuring that future generations can enjoy them as much as we do.”
To support these types of projects or TGOF’s mission, please visit thegreaoutdoorsfund.org.
For more information on Yamaha’s Outdoor Access initiative, visit: http://www.YamahaOAI.com
SOURCE The Great Outdoors Fund