City to build off-road park
By this time next year, Jacksboro could be home to a new off-road vehicle park. The City of Jacksboro was recently awarded a $218,600 recreational trail grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission for the Twin Lakes Moto Trail.
Jacksboro Parks and Recreation Director John Moffit said plans are in the works to create a 30-40 acre motorized trail for dirt bikes, ATVs and UTVs. Originally planned to be located across State Highway 59 from the Twin Lakes, Moffit said planners are now also considering an area behind the Jacksboro Convenience Station located just east of the Jack County Sheriff’s Posse Rodeo Arena on US Highway 380.
“Either way, it’s going to be right here local in Jacksboro,” Moffit said.
He has been working with Robert E. Lee and other organizers of the dual-sport bike event which Jacksboro has hosted twice, most recently the last weekend of April.
“They’ve already committed to bring 20 to 30 guys each year to help with maintenance of the trails so it gives me free labor. I’m not doing it all,” said Moffit.
There will be trails through trees, some open areas and as of now, plans for small motocross track.
“Not horribly big jumps, but user-friendly with some hills for the safety aspect of it. We don’t want people out there jumping 100 feet across,” Moffit said.
Lee also brings a lifetime of motocross racing expertise to the park’s design and construction.
“With him being involved in the dual sport event which we hope gets bigger every year, we want him to help because they’ll be using it during the event,” Moffit said.
When the park opens, visitors will have to buy an off-highway vehicle permit through Texas Parks and Wildlife which is a $16 per year sticker and the park will have a daily admission fee.
Part of the grant money will be spent on an electric gate with a combination code which changes daily and will be controlled by staff at the activity center.
With the city’s in-kind contribution of man-hours and equipment use, the total with the grant money for the construction of the park comes in at just under $300,000.
“There’s going to be quite a bit of dozer work and heavy equipment work,” Moffit said. “There’s dirt for the track itself, parking lots and all that stuff.”
Construction of the park depending on the weather, Moffit estimates will only take about a month. Getting the go-ahead from the state and federal government is what will take the greatest amount of time. The state will perform an environmental study with the federal government giving the final sign-off on the plan.
“They said it could be early spring next year before they release the funds,” Moffit said.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission approved $3.81 million dollars in grants to fund 22 motorized and non-motorized recreational trail-related projects across the state.
The National Recreational Trails Fund funds recreational trail construction, renovation and acquisition. The grants are funded from a portion of the federal gas tax generated by gasoline purchases for off-road motorcycles and four-wheelers. Thirty percent of the total NRTF grants must be earmarked for motorized recreational trails, while another 30 percent must be spent on non-motorized trail projects. The remaining 40 percent is discretionary.
Several projects funded in previous years were completed under budget and four were canceled, creating an additional $700,000 available for re-allocation this year. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has been utilizing the re-allocated funds for trail improvement projects in state parks. The result is a total of $4.67 million dollars in federal funding available to fund eligible trail construction projects.