By Dave Halsey, NOHVCC Contributing Writer
“A destination members can be proud to see and enjoy.”
That’s how an ATV club in Pennsylvania describes a project it completed last year. But it’s not a clubhouse, or a picnic area at a scenic overlook. It’s a bridge. A bridge built with ingenuity in its design, resourcefulness in its funding, and a great sense of pride by club members.
Al Sain, president of the Indian Creek Valley ATV Club, made a presentation about the club’s wow-filled project at the 2017 annual meeting of the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC), held last August in New Hampshire. The 750-member club was started in 2000. It maintains 42 miles of private trails open to members with ATVs, UTVs and dirt bikes in Fayette County.
The club needed to build a bridge over a fishing stream. It knew of an existing railroad beam structure crossing the stream on land adjacent to its trail system. So, the club bought the 5-acre parcel, and went to work. They had four goals for the bridge design:
Respect the area’s history
The club used a design similar to an existing railroad bridge in the area’s Ohiopyle State Park, which features spectacular scenery that attracts millions of visitors annually.
Build it wide and strong
This would allow all types of OHVs to use it, as well as trail equipment and emergency vehicles. Full-size, 2-by-8 inch decking provided strength. An arched railing with chain-link fencing provided safety and a great view.
Be safe for volunteers to build
The club used a section-design concept for the 56-foot bridge. Sections were built off-site and slid onto the existing beams resting on the original concrete buttresses.
Give all users a “wow experience”
Today, thanks to a lot of pre-planning and hard work by a crew of volunteers, the bridge is a true destination. It’s enjoyed by hundreds of trail riders, who take pride and joy in its design and their ability to safely cross a productive fishing stream.
They also take pride in the club’s resourcefulness in funding the project. The original estimate was $42,000 to have an engineering firm complete a comprehensive permit application and pay permit fees. Instead, the club completed the complex, 46-page application itself, saving $40,000. It also negotiated a price reduction on materials down to $6,000, then obtained a grant from Yamaha through its Outdoor Access Initiative program for that amount and used volunteer club labor. Total out-of-pocket club expenses: $2,000.
Bridge is part of club’s private trail system
Indian Creek Valley ATV Club is a private organization, with members having access to trails on 900 scenic, wooded acres. Those who volunteer on trail work get a 50% discount on their membership. “We have a private trail system,” said Sain. “We lease land from private landowners, and we buy an insurance policy that protects them. We have 10 different land owners that we lease from, and they all would tell you they love having us on their property.
“It’s almost all forest lands. Once you leave the trailhead you’re under a canopy of trees. It’s very pleasant riding. Club members can ride anytime. We don’t allow night riding, because we’re among a lot of houses. And we shut down for hunting seasons. Our landowners want to hunt their property.
“We do all the work ourselves: design, layout, mapping, building and maintaining the trails, everything is done by members as volunteers.”
The final slide of the powerpoint presentation summarizes the club’s experience building the bridge, with “Primary Points” for other OHV clubs to consider:
-Don’t let anyone tell you “it can’t be done.”
-Don’t let the government get in your way.
-There is money available…find it.
-Ask for help, you might get it.
-Think, think, think!
For more information on Indian Creek Valley ATV Club, with additional photos and videos of the bridge project, go to www.icvatvclub.com/ .