Nonhighway and Off-Road
Vehicle Activities (NOVA)
The Nonhighway and Off-road Vehicle Activities program provides funding to develop and manage recreation opportunities for such activities as cross-country skiing, hiking, horseback riding, mountain bicycling, hunting, fishing, sightseeing, motorcycling, and riding all-terrain and four-wheel drive vehicles.A portion of the funding also is available for education and enforcement programs that encourage environmentally responsible use of the outdoors and for helping to minimize conflict between visitors through positive management techniques.
Except for off-road vehicle facilities, activities supported by this program must be accessed via a non-highway road, which is a public road that was not built or maintained with gasoline tax funding. Non-highway roads are found most often in state and national forests and national parks and include such popular routes as those leading to Paradise and Sunrise in Mount Rainier National Park, Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park, and Windy Ridge in the Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument. Across the state, non-highway roads are used by recreationists to access rivers and forests.
Education and enforcement activities may include field contacts with visitors, law enforcement, providing information and education materials for public distribution, and protecting resources and facilities.
- Building, renovating, and rerouting trails
- Maintaining trails and associated campgrounds and trail heads
- Operating off-road vehicle parks
- Education to trail users
Funding SourceFunding comes from a portion of the state gasoline tax and off-road vehicle use permits.
Who can apply?
- Local agencies
- Special purpose districts, such as park districts and port districts
- Native American tribes
- State agencies
- Federal agencies
Match requirementsMatch is not required but it is strongly encouraged. Additional points are awarded during evaluation for projects that have match contributions. Examples of match:
- Appropriations or cash
- Donations of cash, land, labor, equipment, and materials
- State, local, and private grants
- Applicant’s labor, equipment, and materials
- Prison labor
Planning RequirementComprehensive planning documents required. For more information, see Manual 2: Planning Policies and Guidelines and Washington Administrative Code 286-26-080.
|Category||Maintenance and Operation||Land Acquisition, Development, Planning|
|Nonhighway Road||$150,000 for each project||$200,000 for each project|
|Nonmotorized||$150,000 for each project||$200,000 for each project|
|Off-road Vehicle||$200,000 for each project||No limit|
|Education and enforcement||$200,000 for each project|
Funding Anticipated (Average)$7 million biennially
- Planning: Comprehensive plans, construction drawings, environmental assessments, feasibility and preconstruction studies, route surveys and reconnaissance, and site master plans
- Land acquisition: Purchase in fee title, or lesser interests such as leases and easements. Grants may not be used for land acquisition by federal agencies. Leases must be for at least 25 years.
- Parking, trails, and trail heads
- Sanitary facilities including sewer systems and other related utilities
- Route and interpretive signs and informational bulletin boards
- Picnic and camping areas
- Wildlife viewing facilities
- Nonmotorized boating access facilities
- Utilities, including water, electric, and telephone service
- Extensive reconstruction of existing improvements when they have deteriorated to the point where their usefulness or safety is impaired (although not because of inadequate maintenance) or when the facility has become obsolete
- Off-road vehicle sports park facilities including, but not limited to, motocross tracks, sand drag strips, four-wheel drive competitive and play facilities, spectator facilities, concession buildings, and park administration and maintenance facilities.
- Employee residences (typically related to an off-road vehicle sports park facility). The construction of residences must be for employees directly involved in the operation and maintenance of a NOVA-assisted project provided. For more details, see the grant manual.
- Maintenance and operation of existing trails may be interpreted broadly to include any kind of trailside, trailhead, or trail maintenance, operation, restoration, rehabilitation, or relocation. "Rehabilitation" means extensive repair needed to bring a facility up to standards suitable for public use. "Operation" means non-capital costs such as cleaning restrooms, garbage service, septic service, etc.
- Education and Enforcement: Education and enforcement activities may include field contacts with NOVA users and groups to encourage responsible recreational behaviors, providing information and education materials for public distribution, and protecting resources and facilities. Employing law enforcement staff and purchasing some equipment, both of which must be dedicated to NOVA enforcement and education activities, are a few of the eligible projects.
Ineligible planning projects
- Projects containing cost elements designed to produce planning information on items ineligible for NOVA acquisition or development funding.
- Plans unlikely to lead to future NOVA facilities that meet Recreation and Conservation Funding Board funding eligibility criteria.
- Plans for private facilities, except non-public administrative areas such as employee residences, garages, workshops, etc.
- Ineligible acquisition projects
- Land already owned by the applicant
- Land to be used for any activity not eligible for NOVA development funding
- Lands with revenue producing potential where the cost of acquisition could be financed completely through revenue accruing to the project
- Property interests for a period of less than 25 years
- Ineligible development projects
- Areas to be used primarily for semi-professional or professional activities on a commercial basis
- Commercial facilities such as "go-cart" tracks and amusement facilities, even when these elements are part of a larger off-road vehicle project
- On property to be acquired on a conditional sales contract unless the applicant holds the deed to the property
- On property acquired with conflicting reversionary clauses within the deeds, or with clauses that significantly affect public recreation use of the property
- On property which there is expected to be future unacceptable or immitigable impacts to the NOVA project as part of an ongoing land management program by the project applicant
- Ineligible maintenance projects
- Maintenance of facilities not open and available to NOVA program activities.
- Work on snowmobile trails.
Grant Application ScheduleGenerally grant applications are accepted in even-numbered years. See this year’s schedule.
Grant Evaluation Process (9 months)
- Applicants submit an online application:
- Applicant's To-Do List for the Nonhighway Road, Nonmotorized, and Off-Road Vehicle Categories
- Applicant's To-Do List for the Education and Enforcement Category
NOVA Advisory CommitteeThe Advisory Committee is made up of 15 members that meets several times each year to advise the Recreation and Conservation Office director on NOVA issues. Volunteer for the Evaluation Committee.
Long-term Commitments for Funded Projects
In most cases, any land purchased must be kept for recreation purposes forever. Leases must be for at least 25 years.