ATV group wants $47,000 from county
MINDEN – Douglas County commissioners could approve spending $47,000 to support an all-terrain vehicle event in the Carson Valley. The event is tentatively scheduled for May.
Douglas officials say they are pursuing the project in an effort to increase tourism and room stays in Douglas County, but at least one resident sees it from a different perspective.
Derived from Douglas County’s contingency reserves, the funding would be combined with money from rider registrations, sponsors and a $9,000 grant by the Nevada Department of Tourism.
The total budget is estimated at $75,000, the money used to fund everything from advertising to T-shirts and food.
Douglas County staff and community members met with Kevin Arrington, the coordinator of a similar event in Utah, in February to discuss the possibility of developing a “Northern Nevada Jamboree.”
Since that time, the county has been working with volunteers to identify trail routes and has submitted a preliminary trail application to the Bureau of Land Management to start the permitting process, according to a report written by Douglas County Manager Dan Holler.
The Rocky Mountain Jamboree in Utah draws nearly 600 riders a year from the United States, Canada and Germany, Douglas officials said.
“Is the county so flush that it can consider spending $47,000 on an obscure sporting event of interest to only a tiny fraction of the population?” said Gardnerville resident Stephen Parrott in a letter to The Record-Courier. “If so, shouldn’t a reduction in property taxes be under serious consideration?
“It seems probable that such a concentration of all-terrain vehicles would cause a lot of ecological damage, as well as inconvenience to people who live in the area,” Parrott said. “But even if there were no damage or annoyance, what could possibly justify such a large disbursement of public funds for an event which confers no substantial public benefit?”
The Utah Jamboree has been staged since 1993. In 2002, about 65,000 riders used the event’s trail system during the summer. The majority weren’t locals and the trail, known as the Paiute Trail, generated more than $65 million for the local economy, according to a study by the Forest Service.
Most participants range in age from mid-30s to -80s, primarily retired or semi-retired enthusiasts. Utility quads far outnumber sports quads.
If approved, the event would be staged at the Douglas County fairgrounds and the rides would be supervised by volunteer trail guides who promote safety and encourage treading lightly on the environment, according to Holler’s report.