NOHVCC Associate Partner Devotes Retirement To County Park’s ATV Trails

 

NOHVCC Associate Partner Devotes Retirement To County Park’s ATV Trails

 

by Dave Halsey, NOHVCC Contributing Writer

 

Welcome to Warfield Park sign

Warfield Point Park in Greenville, Mississippi, is 80 acres of camping and picnic facilities, horseshoe pits, an 18-hole disc-golf course, a 38 ft. observation tower overlooking the Mississippi River and, thanks to Wally Morse, a fun 9-mile ATV trail.

 

Morse, 76, worked in food sales, and retired in 2002. “It’s great to be retired, and there’s nothing better than to follow your passion,” said Morse. “I’ve been involved in the park ever since. I saw such a need for this out there.”

 

With no local ATV clubs to work with him, Morse was on his own. “I devised a plan for an ATV trail, and showed it to the Washington County Board of Supervisors. They thought I lost my mind. They said it was the liability issue and this and that. I showed them the facts and figures (on other riding areas), and said it’s just a case of need. It is an absolutely beautiful park, right on the edge of the river. We need these trails.”

 

The County Board told Morse if he could find the money, the trail would be a go. “That was in 2008,” said Morse. “I went to work. I found out about the RTP (Recreational Trail Program) funds. I got to talking about RTP at the State level. They told me how competitive the funding was with walking trails but not competitive at all for motorized trails. I said, ‘How much money are we talking about?’ They said, ‘We have $700,000.’ I said, ‘What? How much can I get?’ They said, ‘How much do you need?’ ”

 

ATV Students receiving instructions from a coach trainer

With funding secured, Morse became a one-man trail-building machine. With the County’s blessing, he funded the ATV trail system through the federal RTP program, administered by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. Matching funds were provided by the Washington County Board of Supervisors and the Yamaha OHV Access Initiative Grant.

 

“Then I contacted the NOHVCC (National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council) and found a contact person there to help me build the trail,” Morse said. “Glenn Myers in Alabama (NOHVCC Associate State Partner). He helped me design it. He stayed here for a week, got a bulldozer out there, and worked and sweated and made us a trail. That was in 2010. Glenn said we had to put in some ‘aha moments,’ something that makes your heart jump. If we don’t have those, the kids aren’t going to ride. They want a little excitement. So we laid it out with lots of twists and turns and bumps.”

 

Five years later, the ATV trail is a big success, attracting 25 to 30 riders a week, sometimes 25 a day, says Morse, when local riders plan their rides on Facebook. There is a daily fee of $5 to ride the ATV trails. Helmet rental is $3. There is an ATV cleaning station complete with a ramp.

 

Building the trail was just the beginning. Last year, Morse added rider safety training through the ATV Safety Institute. “We got some more money and put in a big shed,” he said. “I bought 8 ATVs and accessories to conduct training. We have a youth instructor on site.” The classes are booked up through the end of the year.

 

What’s this year’s project? “I’m in the park now, making an obstacle course,” Morse said. “It will have slaloms and hills and log runs in it. I just had a photo taken of me giving a Yamaha check for $7,600 to the Board of Supervisors. That’s going to our obstacle course, which I will name the Yamaha Adventure Obstacle Course. It will be fun and help everyone improve their skills. After they do the training and obstacle course, they have the opportunity to go straight to the trails.

 

“We want to get more people to leave the computer and cell phone at home, and come out and play.”

 

Wally Morse is the NOHVCC Mississippi Associate State Partner. For more information on the ATV Trail at Warfield Point Park, visit their web site: http://www.warfieldpointpark.com/admission.html

Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.