Volunteers clean trails and plant trees
Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A., employees volunteered for two important projects last month to support the San Bernardino National Forest in Southern California and its off-highway vehicle (OHV) trails. Over two days, approximately 100 volunteers including Yamaha employees and family members, planted 1,200 trees and cleaned up miles of ATV and Side-by-Side OHV trails.
On Saturday, April 25, a group of Yamaha employees along with staff from the non-profit, volunteer-based San Bernardino National Forest Association (SBNFA) scouted and worked on miles of trails that Yamaha has sponsored and adopted as part of the company’s OHV Access Initiative. Over years, Yamaha and the SBNFA have formed a strong partnership focused around the SBNFA’s own OHV program.
The San Bernardino National Forest is within driving distance to more than 20 million people in Southern California, contains the highest concentration of threatened and endangered species in the continental United States, and is the most visited national forest in the country. The SBNFA manages a number of educational, recreation and conservation programs complimenting the mission of its U.S. Forest Service partners, including its OHV program which is a model for national forests across the country.
“It is critically important that we support organizations like the SBNFA and their efforts to promote safe, responsible riding and open, sustainable OHV trails,” says Steve Nessl, Yamaha’s ATV/SxS marketing manager who participated in both events by cleaning up trails and planting trees. “We hope that Yamaha’s hand-on participation will inspire other OHV enthusiasts to get involved and support their own local riding areas and national forests.”
The SBNFA’s OHV patrol program has more than 300 volunteers who give more than 27,000 hours each year to help patrol the trails, educate riders, protect the public lands and help OHV enthusiasts recreate safely. It is a nationally known program for both its organization and success in managing a vast network of multi-use trails.
“The SBNFA sincerely appreciates the example Yamaha sets with their commitment to stewardship and public service,” says Ben vonDielingen, SBNFA OHV program manager, who helped lead both volunteer efforts. “Yamaha’s pro-active approach to helping maintain public lands and encourage responsible OHV use is of great help to the SBNFA. They help to show that stewardship is something that everyone needs to practice.”
Another important program supported by the SBNFA this spring was Forest Aid, a volunteer effort to replant and restore fire damaged areas of the National Forest. On Sunday, April 26, close to 100 Yamaha staff and family volunteers planted 1,200 trees in support of this program. Yamaha became involved through its ongoing relationship with the SBNFA, and Yamaha employees embraced the effort planting the most trees of any group on a single day.
“The San Bernardino National Forest is essentially in our corporate headquarters’ back yard, so it is important for employees to get involved when it comes to taking care of the riding trails and supporting other various programs,” says Mike Martinez, Yamaha’s general manager of ATV/SxS operations who also participated in both events and serves on the SBNFA board of directors. “Through the SBNFA’s leadership, other national forests can learn how to maintain a sustainable and prosperous OHV program in coordination with many other recreational and environmental activities.”