ATV jamboree organizers ask Douglas County for $47,000 |

ATV jamboree organizers ask Douglas County for $47,000

by Susie Vasquez

Douglas County commissioners could approve spending $47,000 to support an all-terrain vehicle event tentatively scheduled for May in the Carson Valley.

Douglas officials say they are pursuing the project to increase tourism and room stays in Douglas County.

Derived from Douglas County’s contingency reserves, the funding would be combined with money from ATV rider registrations, sponsors and a $9,000 grant by the Nevada Department of Tourism.

The total budget is estimated at $75,000, used to fund everything from advertising to T-shirts and food.

Douglas County staff and community members met with Kevin Arrington, coordinator of a similar event in Utah, in February to discuss the possibility of developing a “Northern Nevada Jamboree.”

The county has worked with volunteers to identify trail routes and 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.

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The Rocky Mountain Jamboree in Utah draws nearly 600 riders a year from the United States, Canada and Germany, Douglas officials said.

But one area resident sees things differently.

“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?” wrote 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 wrote. “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 route, 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 mid-80s, and are 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 riders would be supervised by volunteer trail guides who promote safety and encourage treading lightly on the environment, Holler reported.

The issue is on the agenda of the Douglas County Board of Commissioners at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Douglas County Administration Building, 1616 Eighth St. in Minden.