Los Padres National Forest recreation managers are seeking public comments on their proposals for the 2009-10 California Off-Highway Vehicle grant program.

According to state requirements, public comments can be submitted March 2 through April 5.

A two-step application process is used by the state to allow public comment and feedback before final submission. The preliminary application is due Monday. This will open a 30-day public review and comment period and will follow with final applications due May 3. The state is using an Internet-based online grant application process as the means to apply for state funding.

The Los Padres National Forest is soliciting public input specific to the forest’s 2009-10 grant application proposals for cooperative agreements with the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Division. The forest has submitted two grants applications. The first grant includes projects for ground operations, planning, restoration, and education and safety. The second grant is for law enforcement activities.

The preliminary application will be available online by clicking here. Hard copies may be requested by calling Jeff Bensen at 805.961.5744.

Los Padres officials are providing two opportunities to discuss the grant applications and submit public comments. A meeting will be held from 10 a.m. to noon March 25 at the Los Padres Supervisor’s Office at 6755 Hollister Ave, Suite 150 in Goleta. Additionally, an open house will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. March 25 at the Santa Lucia Ranger District Office, 1616 N. Carlotti Drive in Santa Maria.

State regulations require annual public participation in the fund allocation process. The agreements support OHV management activities on the national forest, including operations and maintenance, restoration, law enforcement, education and safety. The operations and maintenance category is divided into four project types: acquisition, development, ground operations and planning, with the emphasis on projects that sustain existing OHV recreation.

The California Department of Parks and Recreation and the Los Padres National Forest have maintained a partnership for more than 25 years, with funding assistance for well-managed OHV recreation on national forest lands.

In 2008, the forest was successful in obtaining $503,906 of grant funds to provide the public with outstanding OHV recreation opportunities.

— Andrew Madsen represents Los Padres National Forest.