5/4/05 Draft VI
The data suggests that the number of trail maintenance and restoration grant sponsors is static to slightly declining. In particular, very few organizations are involved in ORV damage restoration. Over the three year period, expenditures are slightly declining trail maintenance and mixed in damage restoration. Annually, these reported expenditures for trail maintenance and ORV grants represent approximately 45% of the annual revenue from ORV licenses, while 324.81119 provides a formula that 62.5% of the appropriated revenues will be used for these two functions (50% for trail maintenance and 122.5% for damage restoration).
A number of factors account for this difference. First, legislative appropriations have not kept pace with the annual growth of ORV license sales (see Table 11, page 41). Further, some grants/projects that are funded come in under budget or the grantee is unable to perform and the grant lapses with the money returning to the Trail Improvement Fund. The upshot is that as of September 30, 2004, the DNR Office of Budget and Support Services reported there was a balance of $4,027,400 in the ORV Trail Improvement Fund. This fund balance provides a unique opportunity to fund substantial capital improvements to the system, but also poses a risk that needs for trail maintenance, law enforcement, environmental damage restoration and administration are not being fully met or that the current fee structure is more than sufficient to cover program costs and money could be appropriated for other purposes.
Annually, not less than 31.25% of the ORV Trail Improvement Fund shall be distributed each year for enforcement and purchase of any necessary equipment used for enforcement. Of this amount, 24% shall be available to county sheriffs and the remaining balance shall be used by the DNR for enforcement and the purchase of any necessary equipment for enforcement. In considering funding for county sheriffs, the DNR shall consider the:
Number of miles of ORV trails, routes or areas within the county
Number of sheriff department employees available for ORV enforcement
Estimated number of ORVs within the county and that are brought into the
Estimated number of ORV days within the county
Any other factors the DNR considers appropriate
County sheriffs are also required to file reports with the DNR Office of Contracts, Grants and Customer Systems concerning their enforcement activities to verify expenditures. The US Forest Service also provides enforcement of ORV rules in the Lower Peninsula, as the Huron-Manistee National Forests have the same ORV regulations as Lower Peninsula state forests. However, currently the Forest Service is not eligible to receive ORV enforcement grants. The following table provides payments to counties for ORV enforcement for 2001-2005 (Table 2).
Table 2. County ORV enforcement grant activity, 2001-05 (a).