Signage and thousands of feet of rustic log fencing installed to guide visitors to designated trails
The National Forest Foundation (NFF), Yamaha Outdoor Access Initiative and Pink Adventure Tours have partnered to protect an iconic meadow south of Flagstaff, AZ after the meadow began to see impacts of overuse from the nearby Kelly Motorized Trail system.
The Kelly Motorized Trails provides an extensive riding opportunity just south of Flagstaff, Arizona and is a favorite among motorized trail users. The nearby Ward Camp meadow area is a popular spot for recreationists to park their vehicles and enjoy the shade of the Ponderosa pine forest and the picturesque meadow. Fueled by the uptick in outdoor recreation in recent years, the Ward Camp meadow has seen increased negative impacts from overuse.
To improve riding access and protect the meadow, the partners, led by the NFF and funded by Yamaha Outdoor Access Initiative and Pink Adventure Tours, worked with the Coconino National Forest and Conservation Legacy to install 5,000 feet of rustic log fencing to help guide OHV users to authorized areas. A grant of $28,000 was awarded to the NFF for this project to help advance Yamaha’s Outdoor Access Initiative’s mission to support safe, responsible riding and open, sustainable riding areas.
“Defending access to public land is grounded in responsible use. Yamaha OAI funds are often used to protect environmentally sensitive areas near motorized riding opportunities to support public land managers’ abilities to accommodate recreational diversity,” said Steve Nessl, Yamaha’s motorsports marketing manager.
The Kelly Motorized Trail project led by the National Forest Foundation is a showcase example of how to address issues on the ground that foster responsible access for motorized recreation.
The NFF also installed a two-panel informational kiosk at the junctions of Forest Road 700 and 236 in Ward Camp to advise Kelly Motorized Trail System users about riding opportunities, regulations, and maps with preferred routes.
“By setting clear OHV routes and trails, we can protect a beautiful meadow and help visitors recreate responsibly,” said Coconino National Forest recreation staff Pat McGirvey. “The U.S. Forest Service hopes that the installation of the fencing will decrease improper OHV usage by at least 50% and will allow OHV users to find the official OHV trail nearby.”
Meadows are particularly susceptible to trampling and improper OHV usage, which can cause erosion and sedimentation into nearby waterways, as well as loss of vegetation which provides important habitat.
“Together we can promote responsible recreation, maintain adventure opportunities, and protect special places. We appreciate everyone involved in supporting and implementing this project,” said NFF Southwest Program Senior Manager Sasha Stortz To learn more about the Ward Camp Meadow protection project, visit NFF's Blog and Yamaha Outdoors Access Initiative.