Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What days are TMTC Properties open? What are the planned days of operation for future parks?
A. BMRA is open Friday morning (8am) thru Sunday dusk on most weekends. Holidays and specials event will alter the schedule to add either a Friday or Monday. Some events will begin on Thursday evening but that happens only about 4 times per year.
These hours would be subject to change based on the needs of the local users; however, there are no current plans to be open except on weekends.
Q. What types of vehicles are allowed at TMTC Properties?
A. 4x4 Jeeps, Trucks and SUVs; Motorcycles; Quad Type ATVs; and various Trail Buggies. Keep in mind though that what TMTC supports on open weekends are recreational pursuits the majority of people using the property are families and friends simply out enjoying nature - the images that many outside this pastime have are only the ones seen on the news and heard around local race tracks and that is a far cry from what takes place as recreational pursuits.
Q. How many miles of trails are at TMTC property, Barnwell Mountain Recreational Area (BMRA)?
A. Don't have a clue as to the miles of Trails at BMRA - the top has been completely cleared due to gravel / strip mining operations prior to TMTC owning the property.
I would not expect any future properties to be managed or operated exactly as BMRA since they will be different areas. As stated above, BMRA was a gravel mine with miles of existing trail... any future properties will need much more attention to detail and planning for the trail system.
Not having an existing riding area will allow our trails and management team(s) to build a trail system with more of an eye towards mitigating environmental impacts. These plans will be a continually changing, working process that will evolve beginning with the initial scope of the property. The plan will be flexible to adjust as the needs and the area change.
Because of this effort to create a trail and management system that exists in harmony with the natural aspects of the property I would not expect any future properties to open for general usage immediately after the property purchase. It will take time to properly design an useable trail system.
Please note the Trails Committee Guidelines that help the management team to manage new trail requests and maintenance (beyond normal trimming) on the TMTC trail systems.
Q. Does TMTC currently have a wildlife management plan for their property BMRA? What is it?
A. BMRA is being managed as a defacto wildlife sanctuary; from casual observation both the fauna and wildlife are flourishing and helping to provide a pleasant atmosphere for those attending the park. While TMTC does not have a formal plan in effect at BMRA the needs are much different than the needs will be with any future properties.
Future properties will be managed to maintain and possibly even create additional habitat for the local wildlife and fauna. Current TMTC plans may include integrating Bird Sanctuaries for any endangered species that may live on or near the property.
Q. Does TMTC pay taxes to local counties and local school districts? Will these taxes be paid based on the property valuation alone or the property valuation with an agricultural exemption?
A. TMTC is a Texas Not-For-Profit Corporation and pays the same taxes as any other Not-For-Profit including ad valorem taxes to the local communities. As a Not-For-Profit it would be in their best interest; as it would be to any landowner in the county, to look for applicable tax exemptions.
TMTC will probably look into agricultural exemptions or possibly even a wildlife exemption based on the sanctuary area(s) that TMTC plans on placing on future properties.
TMTC is not in business to make a profit; it is in business to serve or help serve a large, historically neglected, population across the state of Texas and the goal of the parks including BMRA and future properties is to do nothing more then break even as TMTC serves the community.
It might be good to point out that all the BOD positions at TMTC are voluntary. No BOD member is paid by the organization (beyond normal expenses) and that is purposely written into the TMTC by-laws. In addition all BOD members must pay their annual dues and they maintain the same voting rights as all other members. This truly is an organization run by its member base.
All funds coming into TMTC or its properties are reinvested to further the efforts of TMTC or make the properties more beneficial to the community.
Q. Has TMTC had any complaints from their BMRA neighbors and what types of complaints were there?
A. In the 5 years that TMTC has operated at BMRA there have been fewer then a handful of complaints; most in the first year. These issues were worked out by imposing special rules about building trails near fence lines, certain trails that could not be used after dark, imposing a 12:00 midnight curfew and working with adjacent landowners to help build fences, bridges and flood control areas (on TMTC property and in some cases on a neighbors property to help them out - this includes helping to repair and create flood control areas where the initial problem was created by the previous owners strip mining). 1000's of volunteer hours have gone into making
BMRA a part of the community and a good neighbor. TMTC and its members are proud of their involvement in the local community.
Keep in mind that at BMRA some neighbors houses are within 100 yards of a property line as the area around BMRA is much densely populated. TMTC trail plans do not currently include building trail systems near the perimeter of future properties other than perhaps an emergency access route.
Q. Has TMTC had erosion control problems at BMRA due to the trails and how were the problems corrected?
A. Yes, we have had erosion control issues at BMRA after all it was a strip mine that had the vegetation and top soil completely ripped off across a vast portion of the upper part of the property. TMTC hires a professional property manager, appoints a local trails committee that reports to the BOD and holds three to four annual work weekends to address and make repairs across the property.
From the input received from these sources, water shed areas have been created, improved, and maintained, drainage ditches and culverts have been installed, proper water management breaks have been used and in some cases trails are closed down to use or re-routed in order to protect the trails and fauna and keep any improper runoff from occurring.
In addition users are to stay on the marked trail systems. Trail Blazing (cutting new trails or driving anywhere where a trail does not exist or is not marked) is specifically not allowed. That means that the areas used for trails are known, properly maintained and are not scattered willy-nilly around the property which allow the management team to better control all areas of the park.
Q. How many people/vehicles visit BMRA per day on average? How many people/vehicles are expected to visit any future properties per day on average?
A. I don't know the exact head count as TMTC monitors the gate by the number of vehicle operators signed in. Since BMRA opened, it averages just under 79 vehicles per open weekend - this is generally about a 60/40 split between full size 4x4's (Jeeps, Trucks and SUVs) and Bikes (ATVs & Motorcycles). The most ever on a single public weekend were 287 and we have had public weekends where only 3 vehicles were on the property.
Now before you think that 287 sounds like a lot of vehicles; keep in mind that this was over a three day weekend and even if they were all there at the same time thats still only 1 vehicle per 6 acres (BMRA is slightly over 1800 acres in size).
I wouldn't expect any more on average then BMRA sees. In many cases this is influenced by the local weather and other activities that may be going on in the area.
Q. What is TMTC policy on alcohol on their properties?
A. Alcohol is not allowed on the trails or outside the campsites for operators or passengers. Failure to follow the alcohol policy will result in expulsion from the park and suspension of membership. Alcohol and glass containers are allowed in camping areas.
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is not allowed on the property at any time.
Please note the Property Rules that each and every operator must sign before being allowed on the property.
Q. Will overnight camping cabins be provided at any future properties?
A. Because of the possible distance that will be traveled by many patrons it makes sense to provide basic camping for those that want to travel to our new properties... and eventually RV hookups. That will be dictated by volunteer hours and assessment of the use of the facility and park.
I would say that plan is to move forward with camping and RV hook-ups in the near term after new parks open. Typically Dry Camping is $5.00 per night for Annual Members and RV hook-ups are $12.50 with fees being slightly higher for those not wishing to buy an Annual Membership.
As for cabins this is something we have looked into at BMRA but the cost has proven to be prohibitive. This is something we may revisit in the future for BMRA or any future properties.
Q. How much money has TMTC contributed directly to the Gilmer, Texas economy by owning an off-road park in this community? How much money will a new property expect to contribute to the local economy?
A. No specific answer; however, in the case of our property BMRA, the Gilmer Chamber of Commerce (who changed their name from Upshur County Chamber to better accommodate people looking for the new recreational areas built around their community including BMRA) reports that in the first year alone the Hotel Revenue went up over 7%. There are undoubtedly increased purchases from local groceries, gas stations, restaurants and auto parts stores; unfortunately, these increases are hard to quantify.
I can tell you that a number of local charities including the Volunteer Fire Department and Windridge Therapeutic Riding Academy have benefited greatly from donations of money, real property and perishables provided by individuals and groups that frequent the property.
A number of 4 wheel drive clubs from outside the area have even adopted several miles of highway around the park and work through the State of Texas Adopt-A-Highway program to keep them clean and maintained.
Q. Will facilities and roads at new properties be built with local contractors and subcontractors?
A. Yes. When projects are more complicated or more involved than what can be completed with volunteer labor, local contractors are always the first contact... as was stated above TMTC is a not-for profit Texas Corporation that is working to support the citizens of Texas and, as such, we try to use local companies and generally smaller firms as much as possible. This is a grassroots organization and we want to support others in the state and surrounding communities as well.
At BMRA almost all work that is paid for has been done with contractors who live within a 25 - 50 mile radius of the property. As a point of fact, many of the local residents serve on committees, attend volunteer work weekends, assist with additional projects and spend time with their families at BMRA because they feel they are a part of the park and that they are empowered to help create the family atmosphere that TMTC wants its parks to maintain and uphold.
Q. In conclusion...
A. I would point out that TMTC is willing to pay for Environmental and Archaeological surveys of any new property in question. I highly doubt that very many if any land owners will do this. When these reports come back TMTC will use these to create the management plan(s) for the property these plans will include reserved areas and endangered species areas if applicable.
This information is very simple to find and it makes it rather difficult to accept that the land owners are better stewards of the land than people/organizations like TMTC that are going out to research what is on the land and how best to preserve it; not just make assumptions.
In fact, to further clarify that, there are many people opening up private land to recreational usage from hunting to off-highway use and in many cases the reason is entirely monetary (not all but in many cases). In contrast TMTC is not in this for any monetary gain. In fact the goal for TMTC parks is to simply break even and provide an area for people to ride and enjoy the outdoors with their families. This distinction alone says that TMTC wants these areas to survive; not working with the neighbors, destroying the Archaeological distinct areas, environmental resources and/or the areas natural resources makes absolutely no sense to an organization that wants to be around for the long haul right here in Texas.
Q. What are TMTC OHV Park Rules and Regulations?
- All Adults (18 and over) on the property MUST sign a waiver.
- All Minors (17 and under) MUST have a waiver signed by parent or guardian and must be accompanied by an adult.
- Helmets ARE REQUIRED at all times when riding ATVs or Motorcycles.
- No double riding on motorcycles or ATVs.
- Factory hardtop or rollbar AND Seat belts ARE REQUIRED for all occupants in OHVs / 4x4s or Trail Buggies.
- ALCOHOL IS NOT ALLOWED ON TRAILS AT ANY TIME.
- 15 MPH speed limit on all access roads.
- NO trail riding after 12:00 midnight.
- Observe ALL trail signs.
- NO winching to trees without a tree saver.
- NO winching to power poles, fences, or pipeline(s).
- All trash MUST be picked up and carried out with you.
- All illegal activities will be reported to the Sheriffs Dept.
We ask that all members and guests help us with these rules and to please be considerate of others. The rules and regulations are meant for your protection and enjoyment of the park. Failure to abide by these rules may result in immediate expulsion from the property.
Remember this is your park, please leave it and treat it they way you would want your property treated. TMTC wants to provide a family environment that is safe and comfortable for all. Please report any violations to the office.