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Letter: GIA approved for OHM trails

In 1984, and again in 1993, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) was delegated the responsibility by the Minnesota legislature to administer a cost-sharing program for the development and maintenance of public trails and areas for All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV), Off-Highway Motorcycles (OHM), and Off-Road Vehicles (ORV).

The goal of this program was the creation and maintenance of local trails, at the initiative of local trail organizations and local units of government. The state's intent was to offer financial assistance so that locally controlled trails could exist where none had before. This program was named the "Minnesota Trails Assistance Program," and has become popularly known as grants-in-aid or GIA, which also include grants for snowmobiling and cross-country skiing.

The location of the trails is in the Huntersville and Shell River Townships, Wadena County. They consist of 31.7 miles of existing trails, right of ways, and minimum maintenance roads. No new trails will be created or are planned at this time. The designation of this route as an official OHM grant-in-aid trail will enable OHMs to legally operate within county and township road rights-of-way. Written permission has been obtained from both county and township road authorities to allow this trail designation within the existing road rights-of-way. Grant-in-aid trail status will enable the Twin Cities Trail Riders to better monitor and more actively maintain these existing single-track routes using volunteer labor, tools, and equipment suited to the tasks.

State funding will also provide a welcome supplement to current road maintenance funding. The trail tread-way will be shaped and maintained to drain rainfall and storm-water runoff, as per permit conditions, and according to trail design and water quality 'Best Management Practices.'

The Twin Cities Trail Riders is a Minnesota based OHM (Off-Highway Motorcycle) trail riding club. TCTR was formed to address the lack of non-competition based riding clubs in Minnesota. We hope to attract new riders to our sport and be of some assistance to those just starting out and looking for someone to ride with.

Dale Jacobson

Eden Prairie