T.R.A.I.L.S. stands for: Trail Development, Responsible Riding. Access, Initiatives, Lobbying and Safety.
Launched in January 2006, the T.R.A.I.L.S. program makes funds available to not-for-profit national, state and local organizations in what Polaris calls an effort to ensure the future of legal ATV riding in the U.S.
Polaris says the grant program encompasses two main objectives — promoting safe and responsible riding, and preserving access. Funds can be used by organizations for trail development and maintenance projects, safety and education initiatives, lobbying and other projects to increase and maintain land access.
The most recent grants ranged from $8,500 to the maximum $10,000 and will be applied toward: trail development, expansion, improvements, reconstruction and connections; an off road adventure park; ATV safety training school and DVD; national forest trail mapping; and lobbying efforts to re-open state forests for off-road vehicle use.
Grant applications are reviewed two times per year — in March and September, with corresponding submission deadlines of March 1 and Sept. 1. Organizations must have 501c3, 501c7 or non-profit organization status. Project funding, or matching funding, from other sources is an important criteria to be considered for a T.R.A.I.L.S. grant.
"The consistently growing interest in this program is evidence enough of the dire need to secure legal riding places in the United States," says Mike Dougherty, VP of the ATV division at Polaris. "We are committed to the ongoing success of our program and hope riders at every level will have a more positive riding experience be it locally, statewide or nationally because of our efforts."
The fifth round of T.R.A.I.L.S. grant recipients granted $108,400 to 11 organizations in 11 states:
- North Alabama Trail Riders Association (Alabama)
- Harlan County Ridge Runners ATV Club Inc. (Kentucky)
- Gila Rough Riders (New Mexico)
- Gold Country ATV Association (Nevada)
- Cedar Mountain Sledders & OHV Club (Utah)
- Florence County ATV Club Inc. (Wisconsin)
- ATV Maine
- New Jersey Off-Highway Vehicle Association
- New York Specialty Off Road Vehicle Association
- South Dakota Off Highway Vehicle Coalition
- USDA Forest Service, Cibola Ntl. Forest, Black Kettle District (Oklahoma)