By Mona Ehnes, Secretary Treasurer, Montana Trail Vehicle Riders Association

First, a BIG THANK YOU to all of you who paid your membership dues on time and added a couple of extra bucks to MTVRA’s coffers.

In your July 2015 issue, an article about a new trail fund first appeared. Here’s the update promised and some other money items of interest. Any figures are through the end of August.

On the new renewals, you will see or have seen a spot to check to donate funds to the Little Belts Trail Fund. The fund name was put together simply because most of the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) funding for trail maintenance projects had been in the Little Belt Mountains. Read the article on MTVRA’s ‘Big Grant’ and you will see that now there is ongoing work on many National Forest and BLM trails designated for motorized recreation. MTVRA’s ‘Big Grant’ addresses 50” trails while the Great Falls Trail Bike Riders grants, OHV and RTP, are for 50” and the single track trails on the Lewis & Clark National Forest. This new fund can be used as matching funds for RTP grants awarded to MTVRA or the Great Falls Trail Bike Riders Association. First things first: We need to accumulate enough dollars to make that a reality.

The fund has a good start, with $755.00 coming from the Great Falls Trail Bike Riders fund raiser and MTVRA member donations in a couple of months totaling $613.00. This is a great start and know that we are working on the t-shirt. The design is complete, the shirt & printing lined up, and our graphic designer (another volunteer with a full time job) is working the wording/set up into his busy schedule. Anyone who has donated $50 will receive their shirts just as soon as we can get them done.

A couple of comments that came with donations:

• “This is for the New Trail Fund. ($500.00) Use it as a donation match and get double!”

• “Put me on the Yard Sale List, enclosed is a check for $75 to fund a yard and a half. When you get the t-shirts, I’d be proud to wear a medium. Good luck getting the upfront money to leverage the RTP Grants.”

Other money matters of interest:

As you know, your membership dues include $4.00 (single) and $8.00 (family) donations for the Legal defense fund. On the membership form, you can also donate extra for the legal defense fund. The extra donations received in 2015 amounted to $2,019.00. 

It may have occurred to you by now, that the upfront funds needed to pay the contractor to make the ‘Big Grant’ a success must have come from the sky. Not really. The MTVRA Board of Directors approved a temporary loan from the Legal Defense Fund to be used for the ‘Big Grant’. Once the grant is completed and the final phase reimbursed, the Legal Defense Fund will be repaid. Match is provided in the volunteer time and the contributed time from the agencies.

It is important that our Legal Defense Fund remain intact, as there are upcoming issues MTVRA may need to address. This is the heart and soul of the New Trail Maintenance Fund. Your donations will be greatly appreciated.