The Great Outdoors Fund (TGOF) enabled a public-private partnership to improve recreational access and infrastructure in the Chattahoochee National Forest in Georgia.
The project began with partners converting a disused campground into a quality recreation area where people can picnic and enjoy themselves any time between sunrise and sunset while visiting the Oakey Mountain OHV area.
TGOF forged the partnership between the USDA Forest Service, the Georgia Recreational Trail Riders Association (GARTRA) and Yamaha Motor Corporation, which provided funding from its Outdoor Access Initiative (OAI). Yamaha also encouraged its employees across the company to participate in the six (6) voluntary work days planned through the last Saturday in June.
The project started with the Forest Service and GARTRA providing money and volunteer services to reuse the abandoned campsite. TGOF was then able to secure funding from Yamaha’s OAI, which the forest service continued to leverage by acquiring a Recreational Trail Program (RTP) grant from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. The additional funding increased the size and scope of the project and included trail maintenance, parking lot improvements, a new loading dock, and interpretive education kiosks throughout the area.
“We are pleased to welcome an increasing number of visitors to the National Forests. These trends allow us to provide equal and quality access and safe recreation opportunities to more and more members of the public,” he said Michelle Mitchell, Director of Recreation, Heritage and Volunteer Services for the Southern Region of Forest Service. “Volunteers and partnerships help keep land open to the public and foster a sense of shared ownership in communities. These advantages are all components of this project and are our top priority. We appreciate Yamaha, The Great Outdoors Fund and all the individual volunteers who made this success possible!”
“My family and I, along with other visitors Oakey Mountainhas specifically asked the Forest Service to repurpose and reopen this area,” said the President of GARTRA Bill Schilling. “That’s why we’re excited about the investment of money, time, and energy to clean up the brush and install new infrastructure, all compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).”
“We continue to see a huge funding gap to maintain or enhance our outdoor spaces,” said the founder of TGOF Lori McCullough. “It is estimated that there are more than 100 billion dollars in residue management nationwide, which is why public-private partnerships like this are crucial 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 Georgiawhere we have been able to use funding from the Yamaha Outdoor Access Initiative along with our corporate commitment to volunteering and giving our employees the opportunity to invest their time and energy in a local equestrian area,” he said Mike MartinezPresident of Motorsports at Yamaha Motor Corporation, United States of America “Our ongoing partnership with The Great Outdoors Fund is a case study in public-private companies benefitting public outdoor spaces to ensure access to motorized recreation for generations to come.”
“There are so many perks to being outside,” McCullough noted. “And it’s up to us to steward this land and ensure that future generations can enjoy it as much as we do.”
To support these types of projects or the mission of TGOF, please visit thegreatoutdoorsfund.org.
For more information on Yamaha’s Outdoor Access Initiative, visit: http://www.YamahaOAI.com
SOURCE The Great Outdoors Fund