The Yamaha Outdoor Access Initiative (OAI) focuses on the fundamentals: protect public land for the future of outdoor and motorized recreation. We’re inclusive. It doesn’t matter if you ride 2-wheels or four; dirt, sand, or snow. OAI funds are available for those projects working to keep public land available for fun and adventure.
Because the threat to OHV access is very real. And, if you’re reading this, you likely know that as well as anyone. If history has taught us anything it is the fact it is much easier to say “no” than to say “yes”. This is particularly true when resources are limited, and demand is high. Sadly, this is always the case for public land managers. So, when problems arise – created either by time, weather, conflicts, or over-use – the simplest solution is to shut it down. Limit access. Say no.
We’re here to turn “no” into “yes” as much as possible, for as many people as possible. We’ve been here for twelve years, injecting $4.5 million into projects happening on the ground across the country. These projects include bridges, maps, signs, bathroom facilities, kiosks, and trail maintenance supplies. OAI funds have planted trees and redirected trails to keep riders away from sensitive areas and user conflicts.
We want to do more. The OAI funds grants four times a year. That’s right. Every quarter.
Launched in 2008 with a simple premise – protect access to public lands supporting motorized recreation opportunities. By helping riding groups participate in the care and maintenance of riding areas, Yamaha provides a much-needed resource to those motorized recreation enthusiasts who understand the value of the land they ride on.
The Yamaha OAI is intended to supply those working to prevent, minimize, or eliminate problems and challenges to access to public land. To make it easier for public land managers to say yes. And, today, the Yamaha OAI takes a broader view. Outdoor recreation of all types requires access to the outdoors. Grant funds from the Outdoor Access Initiative are applied to a range of projects spearheaded by those who care about access to land.
Here we answer some of the frequently asked questions about the Yamaha Outdoor Access Initiative.
What Types of Projects does the Yamaha OAI fund?
The types of projects that are most likely to get funded are those that protect, reclaim, maintain, expand or improve access to public land for fun and adventure. A few examples:
- Trail signs that keep users (riders, hikers, bikers) on trails intended for their specific use. Signs like these keep everyone safe and helps avoid unnecessary conflicts.
- Maps are important tools for everyone spending time on public lands. Maps that are up-to-date and accurate help people plan their activities and use the land appropriately.
- Bridges are beautiful and functional ways of securing access. They connect trails and land access while protecting sensitive waterways and the creatures that live in them.
- Trailheads and staging areas provide a place for people to get ready for adventure. Where information about the land and how to use it responsibly is readily available. Perhaps a few essential amenities to make the day a bit more comfortable.
- Responsible and sustainable trail building and maintenance efforts are important to the health of public land.
- Programs educating on the importance of land stewardship, safe practices, and responsible use of public lands to protect access.
And, yes, those projects directly supporting motorized recreation are likely to gain attention in the grant review meetings.
What types of projects aren’t appropriate for the Yamaha OAI?
Nothing is specifically disqualified. However, certain requests are lower priority including:
- Purchasing heavy equipment (excavators, tractors, etc.); these are expensive to own and maintain and often require training to operate. Renting this type of equipment is preferred along with contracting a certified operator.
- Non-essential amenities. Restrooms, kiosks, and loading ramps are more likely to be funded than meeting pavilions.
- Operating OHVs on paved surfaces is not recommended. Therefore, how paved surfaces relate to OHV use should be fully disclosed in the project description and considered in project design. Those projects specifically intended to reduce or, ideally, eliminate OHV use on paved surfaces are a priority for the Yamaha OAI.
What about Yamaha vehicles?
The Yamaha OAI does not donate vehicles but does have a limited number of discount vouchers for certain vehicles. The need for and use of these vehicles will be a deciding factor in awarding a discount voucher. Vehicles needed for trail maintenance, trail ambassador programs, and other activities in service to the safety and sustainability of a riding area are reasonable requests.
Emergency response vehicles may be requested through the Yamaha Law Loan program which is administered directly by Yamaha dealerships. Requests made to the Yamaha OAI for vehicles for patrol, search & rescue, and other first responder activity will be referred to the Yamaha Law Loan program.
What does it take to apply for a Yamaha OAI grant?
The Yamaha OAI team has worked hard to make it relatively simple to apply for a grant. The basic requirements are:
- Nonprofit or tax-exempt status. This is typically defined by the I.R.S., but state designation is acceptable as well. Grant recipients will need to supply a Federal Tax I.D. number.
- Project description and itemized budget.
- A letter of support from a local Yamaha dealer.
- Description of the motorized recreation opportunity, including what types of vehicles are allowed and how many miles of trails are available.
- Consideration of how Yamaha will be recognized for its support, ideally including both online and “hardscape” forms.
How much money will the Yamaha OAI give?
The answer is: it depends. While the average grant is between $10,000 and $20,000, grants have been awarded for far less and far more. Factors that determine larger awards include:
- Is access to a trail or area significantly threatened?
- Is a significant number of miles of trail or acres of land are impacted (positively or negatively)?
- Is the project area inclusive? Meaning are many different types of OHVs allowed on a given trail or in a given area?
The Yamaha OAI funds are often used as a match to larger grant programs operated at the state and federal level (i.e. RTP or GAOA). Importantly, the application needs to provide a budget for how the OAI funds will be used within the project, beyond serving as a match for other grants.
How do you apply for a Yamaha OAI grant?
The grant application and guidance for submitting it are available at www.yamahaoai.com. It is strongly recommended to spend some time reviewing the submission guidelines as it details how to build out a successful application. The application itself can be downloaded (PDF format) and used as a worksheet for the online submission process. Alternatively, the application can be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to:
Yamaha Outdoor Access Initiative
Yamaha Motor Corp, USA
3065 Chastain Meadows Pkwy Bldg. 100
Marietta, GA 30066
How long does it take to hear back from the Yamaha OAI?
The Yamaha OAI review committee considers applications after each quarter. Generally, an applicant can expect to have their grant decided within 6 months of submission.
The Yamaha Outdoor Access Initiative is dedicated to supporting access to public land for outdoor recreation. Finding ways to turn “no” into “yes” is at the foundation of this work. Often, the review committee has questions or feedback designed to help refine an application request to better suit the mission of the Yamaha OAI. While all dollars are precious, the purpose of the Yamaha OAI funds is to directly support productive efforts to advance the cause of access to public lands for outdoor recreation.
If you have such a project in your community, we strongly encourage you to apply for a Yamaha OAI grant.