Beatty, Nevada (December, 2014) – In an effort to boost tourism and support the local economy, a non-profit group is preparing to construct a large-scale, recreational trail system on land adjacent to the small mining township of Beatty—located in southwest Nevada’s Oasis Valley.
The non-profit group Saving Toads through Off-Road Racing and Mining–Oasis Valley (STORM-OV) plans to build hundreds of additional trails on public and private land in the area. Long-term plans call for accompanying infrastructure, signage and visitor maps to support the new trail system.
“Beatty is blessed with an abundance of open land and a close proximity to Death Valley National Park,” said Dave Spicer, president of STORM-OV. “Building this trail system will improve the quality of life and provide a new economic engine for Beatty.”
Beatty, located 90 minutes northwest of Las Vegas, has a population of approximately 1,000 residents. Historically supported by several metal mines, the community has been in a state of economic decline since the last major mining operation closed in 1998.
The initiative, named the Oasis Valley Recreational Tourism Enhancement Project, is expected to improve the economy through job creation, retail expenditures and lodging revenue. The project is backed by local businesses, the township and a $50,000 donation from Barrick Gold of North America.
“We are very proud to be a partner in this endeavor,” said Tim Buchanan, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility for Barrick Gold. “We hope our contributions will result in a lasting positive legacy for the community of Beatty.”
The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) initially assisted STORM-OV in the development of a conceptual plan for 300 to 500 miles of connecting trails for non-motorized, off-road racing and enjoyment riding.
It’s anticipated that the nearby Las Vegas metro area and its millions of annual visitors will provide a steady stream of participants for recreational events and races on Beatty’s new trail system.
“Turning to tourism is a logical and sustainable solution for Beatty,” said Cimarron Chacon, a veteran expert in the trails industry. “Other mining and farming communities in the West have seen great success from investing in infrastructure that attracts outdoor recreation.”
Economic data shows that hosting just one trail event with 400 participants can generate over $100,000 for the local economy, Chacon added. This estimate does not include the additional revenue from lodging, travel, and event expenditures that will benefit the economy on a regional level.
Because of her extensive background in environmental design and public lands policy, Chacon has been hired by STORM-OV to move forward with the next steps of creating a master plan and completing the detailed environmental work required by the Bureau of Land Management for the permitting of trails.
“The Oasis Valley is a perfect fit for this type of trail system,” Chacon said. “The typography offers great variety and the climate supports year-round riding.”
The cost of the first phase of the program is estimated at $300,000 and will provide up to 50 miles of new trails and the transformation of existing routes for a hut-to-hut-style mountain bike destination. STORM-OV hopes to break ground on the first trails as early as this February.
Barrick Gold of North America has promised to be actively involved in Beatty’s effort to become a premier location for outdoor recreation. The company has several active mines in Nevada and leads the state in gold production.
“It’s nice to see such a major industry in Nevada recognize the value of community-based conservation programs and partnerships,” said James Moore with The Nature Conservancy Southern Nevada Office. “This is a fantastic endorsement of the collaborative approach to solving environmental challenges.”
A public scoping meeting and trail feasibility study is scheduled for December 16th at the Beatty Community Center to gather information on the landscape, environmental issues, and desired trail locations. The public is invited to attend. More information can be found by calling 775-553-2050 or at www.beattynv.info.