Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Trail Enthusiasts Strike Gold at BLM’s Fort Sage OHV Area

BLM's Fort Sage OHV Area
Eagle Lake Field Office

Many OHV enthusiasts today are searching for hidden trail treasures where they can explore new opportunities and experience the thrill of discovering high-quality outdoor recreation activities.

Single-Track Trail
Fort Sage OHV Area

QWR believes users who are looking for that special “trail treasure” can find just such a gem at the BLM’s Fort Sage OHV Area located about one hour north of Reno, Nevada.

Trail at Fort Sage OHV Area


According to the BLM, the Fort Sage Special Recreation Management Area, located in the high-desert region of northeastern California, provides access to over 100 miles of roads and trails for OHVs, such as motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, utility terrain vehicles and four-wheel drive vehicles.

Link to the BLM Fort Sage OHV Area


Sign at Fort Sage OHV Staging Area

The Fort Sage OHV Staging Area offers destination-type opportunities for both single and group-style RV and tent camping and access to various levels of challenging trails for a wide array of OHVs (including eMTBs).

Clean Restroom at Fort Sage OHV Staging/Camping Area

Recognizing that local government also has a responsibility to help provide connectivity for OHV recreation in rural areas; Lassen County passed a “Non-Highway” Ordinance (2011-007) that designates a number of important county dirt roads as open for use by non-street legal OHVs.   

Link to Lassen County OHV Access Ordinance

The unit also provides motorized access to many non-motorized recreation activities such as hiking, viewing of flora and fauna, MTBs, rock climbing, and scenic vistas.

Sail Rock -Unique Rock Formation
Fort Sage OHV Area

Using restoration funds from the California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Division’s (OHMVRD) Grant Program, the BLM has completed a number of habitat improvement and cultural protection projects.


Wildlife Restoration Project 
Fort Sage OHV Area 

The BLM also partners with the Lassen County Sheriff’s Department to have them help with law enforcement activities at the site. 

Desert Primrose
Fort Sage OHV Area


The BLM’s Eagle Lake Field Office also manages a significant amount of OHV recreational opportunities which exist nearby in Nevada.  One such area is the BLM’s Dry Valley OHV Area.

BLM's Dry Valley OHV Traihead in Nevada

QWR commends the recreation staff at the BLM’s Eagle Lake Field Office for their work over the last 10-15 years to develop one of the best managed and maintained federal OHV programs in the country.

Scenic Vista Looking North Towards Susanville, CA
Fort Sage OHV Area

Maybe the single most important factor in modern OHV recreation is the use of diverse partnerships as a synergistic force multiplier when it comes to the management of motorized use on designated roads, trails, and riding areas.

Famous Black Diamond OHV Trail
Fort Sage OHV Area

The high standard set for this unit by its outdoor recreation staff with support from line-officers could not have happened without cultivating long-term partnerships with the California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Division’s Grant Program, local OHV groups, county agencies, and other stakeholders.

For those of you who are OHV trail treasure hunters, QWR suggests you plan a trip to the BLM’s Fort Sage OHV Area where you can explore and enjoy our public lands.

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Sunday, May 20, 2018

OPINION - ADV to our Forest Past to Guide our Future

ADV Journey to Understand our Past

Opinion
By Don Amador
May 20, 2018

ADV to our Past to Guide our Future

Adventure (ADV) riding is not just a recreation activity where outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy spectacular views, natural wonders, and good times with family and friends.  On occasion, it can be a solemn journey to better understand how important historical and tragic events have shaped - or continue to shape - management of public lands.  



Rattlesnake Fire Info Board Directs View to Fallen Heroes


Recently while helping support the 2018 SheetIron Dual Sport Ride, hosted by the Oakland Motorcycle Club, I took an ADV ride on Forest Highway 7 that bisects the Mendocino National Forest.  The purpose of the trip was to pay respect to the wildland firefighters who lost their lives battling the 1953 Rattlesnake Fire.

Crosses Mark Spots where Fire Overran Firefighters

According to the Forest Service, on July 9, 1953, a brush fire was reported in Grindstone Canyon several miles northwest of Elk Creek on the Mendocino National Forest. As the fire raged out of control, the Forest Service requested volunteers from the New Tribes Mission that was located about 25 miles south of the fire to help.

Tribute to Fallen Firefighters

That evening, the main fire was contained and 24 men were sent down into the canyon to put out a spot fire. After this was accomplished, the crew sat down to eat their supper. They had just begun to eat when the wind shifted direction and the original fire jumped its line and started down the canyon.

One of the firefighters from above ran down to warn the crew to get out of the canyon. Nine of the men scrambled up the hill to the firefighter who was warning them and made it to safety. The other 15 men tried to run down the canyon to a road below, but were overtaken by the rapidly moving fire.

Bell at Rattlesnake Fire Overlook


Fourteen firefighters from the New Tribes Mission and one Forest Service employee from the Mendocino National Forest lost their lives making it one of the deadliest in Forest Service history. The brush fire burned over 1300 acres before being brought under control on July 11, 1953.

Response to the tragedy led to changes in wildland fire training, firefighter safety standards, firefighter knowledge and awareness of fire weather and fire behavior. The Rattlesnake Fire is reviewed every year by wildland firefighters across the nation in basic firefighting training and fire refresher training as part of "Lessons Learned".

LINK TO FOREST SERVICE RATTLESNAKE FIRE OVERVIEW


Sitting on the bench at the Rattlesnake Fire Overlook where the information board directs your vision across the canyon to the white crosses that mark where the fire overran our fallen heroes is a somber experience.

Rattlesnake Fire Overlook


It also gave meaning to, and strong motivation for, the ongoing efforts of collaborative forest health efforts where diverse interest groups seek to enhance programs that reduce the number of Megafires by increasing fuel reduction projects on private and public lands. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

FS Chainsaw Training – Enhanced Curriculum/Field Instruction with Sharp Focus on Safety

Instructors and Graduates for 2018 Saw Class
Mendocino National Forest

The Forest Service requires that volunteers - who use chainsaws to clear trails of downed trees - get certified or recertified every 3 years.   It was that recertification requirement that prompted QWR’s, Don Amador, to attend a recent chainsaw class guided by tenets of the new National Forest Saw Policy.

The chainsaw class was hosted by the Mendocino National Forest and students included agency staff and trail volunteers from the BlueRibbon Coalition/Sharetrails.org, Quiet Warrior Racing, Polka Dots Motorcycle Club, Mendocino 4x4 Club, and the California Four Wheel Drive Association.  The class instructor was Captain of the Mendocino Hotshots, a highly skilled wildfire suppression team.

New Sawyer Card


According to the Forest Service, volunteer sawyers covered by those policies often maintain trails on national forests and grasslands or work in Wilderness where crosscut saws are required. The national saw directive standardizes training, evaluation, certification, and safety procedures for sawyers operating on lands managed by the agency.

The safety planning components are related to Felling, Bucking, Brushing and Limbing Plans that uses a planning logic strategy which includes the following analysis and project description categories; Objective, Hazards/Obstacles, Leans/Binds, Escape Routes, and Cut Plan (OHLEC).  This process is applied to all phases of the saw operation.

Class Completion Certificate

Historically, the chainsaw certification levels were largely based on tree size or Diameter at Breast Height (DBH). The current certification rating is more focused on the complexity of the specific felling or bucking task using OHLEC as a decision matrix.  The sawyer certification levels are listed below.

A Sawyer.  An apprentice sawyer who may saw only in the least complex situations or, for training purposes, at the next higher level and in either case only under the immediate supervision of a B or C Sawyer qualified to supervise the work.

B SawyerBucking Only (not applicable in the fire management context). An intermediate sawyer who may independently buck and limb any size material in moderately complex situations and who may saw at the next higher level, but only under the immediate supervision of a sawyer qualified to supervise the work

B SawyerFelling and Bucking.  An intermediate sawyer who may independently fell, buck, and limb any size material in moderately complex situations. This person may saw at the next higher level under the immediate supervision of a sawyer qualified to supervise the work. This person may also conduct classroom and field training for A and B Sawyers with prior written approval from the Saw Program Coordinator.

C SawyerBucking Only (not applicable in the fire management context). An advanced sawyer who may independently buck and limb any size material in highly complex situations based on the Regional Saw Program Manager’s or Saw Program Coordinator’s written recommendation. The recommendation must be supported by demonstrated advanced saw knowledge, skills, and in most cases certification as a B Sawyer. This person may conduct classroom and field training within that person’s skill level for A and B Sawyers, and may conduct field proficiency evaluations within that person’s skill level for A Sawyers and B Sawyers ̶ Bucking Only.
    

C Sawyer ̶  Felling and Bucking. An advanced sawyer who may independently fell, buck, and limb any size material in highly complex situations based on the Regional Saw Program Manager’s or Saw Program Coordinator’s written recommendation. The recommendation must be supported by demonstrated advanced saw knowledge, skills, and in most cases certification as a B Sawyer. This person may conduct classroom, field training, and proficiency evaluations for A and B Sawyers.

LINK TO INFO ON THE FOREST SERVICE NATIONAL SAW PROGRAM
https://www.fs.fed.us/about-agency/regulations-policies/saw-policy
  
Don Amador, President of Quiet Warrior Racing/Consulting, states, “I believe the agency has improved its chainsaw training program for trail volunteers with enhanced classroom curriculum and plenty of time allocated for field instruction.”

“I agree with a number of trail volunteers that I talked with (who had been certified under the old saw program) that the new complexity-based certification system makes a lot of sense.  I also appreciated the program’s sharp focus on safety with a primary goal of getting you and your crew back home for dinner at the end of the day,” Amador concludes.

Again, the training is very comprehensive.  Topics include, but are not limited to: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), area size up, proper body positioning and stance,  familiarity with OSHA requirements and regulations, physics of “binds”,  physics of “kickback”, sawyer/swamper communication, cutting area control, danger tree awareness,  job hazard analysis and emergency evacuation plans,  Forest Service radio communication, radio procedures and how to use a Forest Service radio;  parts of the chainsaw,  how to sharpen chainsaw chain,  and saw maintenance;   and of course the inclusion of safe chainsaw handling, starting and stopping procedures, use of escape routes,  and safe fueling of the saw to avoid “fuel geysers.”

QWR continues to believe the need for a trained professional volunteer workforce will continue to grow as federal agencies roll out new programs such as the Forest Service’s National Trail Strategy or face challenges such as recreation budget cutbacks or staffing shortages.

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Monday, May 14, 2018

QWR NEWS RELEASE - eMTB Module Added to Trail Advocacy Program

Scott Sisto, BH (L), Don Amador, QWR (C), Johnny Moore, Moore & Sons (R)



NEWS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: 5/14/18
Contact: Don Amador, Quiet Warrior Racing
Phone: 925.783.1834


eMTB Module Added to Trail Advocacy Program


QWR is proud to announce the launch of its official eMTB module in support of sustainable high quality trail-based recreational opportunity for Type 1 pedal assist electric bicycles in partnership with Moore and Sons Motorcycles in Santa Cruz, California and Easy Motion Electric Bikes by BH.

QWR believes it is important to work with diverse motorized and non-motorized recreation interests in a collaborative manner to discuss current and future eMTB-related opportunities and management options on local, state, and federal lands.

Don Ready to Rock on Atom Lynx 27.5 Pro


Electric bicycles are here to stay and are becoming an important transportation and/or recreation vehicle for many who want to get out and enjoy the great outdoors.

While California and other states have crafted regulations that allow for eBIKE use on streets and mechanized trails, the Forest Service, BLM, and National Park Service define eBIKEs as motorized vehicles.  This basically restricts all eBIKE use to OHV routes if they want to travel on a dirt trail.


eMTB Allowed on Designated OHV Trail
Eldorado National Forest


Johnny Moore, eMTB Manager at Moore and Sons Motorcycles, states, “Our shop has been a long-time supporter of proactive efforts by land-use professionals to promote a sound trail ethic on designated roads, trails, and areas.  Electric MTBs have become an important member of the trail community and we look forward to working with other recreationists and government agencies to utilize existing routes where eMTB use is authorized and to create new opportunities for this growing sport.”

Watch for These eBike Decals on Public Land Trails

“Easy Motion Electric Bikes by BH is proud to be brand partners with Moore & Son’s Motorcycles to offer our complete line of Easy Motion eBikes as an alternative form of recreation and transportation in greater Santa Cruz County,” states, Scott Sisto, Northwestern Regional Sales Manager for BH.

Sisto continues, “We are extremely excited to collaborate with Johnny Moore & Don Amador to professionally create next steps with future eMTB-related opportunities and management options on local, state, and federal lands. BH (Beistegui Hermanos translated "Beistegui Brothers") Bicycles is a 107 year old cycling brand from the Basque region of Spain with an extraordinary brand heritage. We have been developing and producing Easy Motion Electric Bikes for off-road and urban use for over 20 years. Our electric bicycles are designed and engineered as bicycles, equipped with a pedal assistance and are aligned with California State E-Bikes Laws. BH Bicycles is annually reinvesting in cycling at every level to offer premium level bicycle transportation for however you like to ride.”

QWR applauds the eMTB panel facilitated by California State Parks at the recent 2018 California Trails and Greenways Conference as indication of the agency’s commitment to bring diverse recreation interests together in a collaborative manner to build relationships/trust and find solutions to managing eMTB trail-based opportunities in the Golden State.


New eBIKE Division at Moore and Sons Motorcycles
Santa Cruz, CA


Don Amador, President of Quiet Warrior Racing/Consulting, states, “I look forward to working with  California State Parks, CA OHV Division/Commission, federal land agencies, local jurisdictions,  electric bicycles associations, and other stakeholders on this important land use issue.”

Moore and Sons eBIKE Facebook Page

EMOTION Electric Bikes by BH

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Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Access to ROV Safety Training for Federal Staff

ROV RBDC Graduating Class - April 26, 2018
Mendocino NF

QWR wants to congratulate members of the Mendocino Hotshots and Forest Recreation/Resource specialists who completed the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association (ROHVA) ROV Basic DriverCourse (RBDC) taught at the Fouts Springs OHV Area near Stonyford, California on April 26 and 27, 2018.  Fouts Springs is on the Grindstone Ranger District of the Mendocino National Forest.

Mendocino Hotshot Practices "Two-Feet" Control in Exercise 4
Fouts Springs OHV Area


These ROHVA classes were offered in support of the long-standing partnership between OHV stakeholders and the Mendocino National Forest and in recognition of the agency’s commitment to providing chainsaw training to help create and maintain a professional volunteer workforce. 

This unit has a very active OHV volunteer program that helps clear trails after winter storms and performs other important trail or facility maintenance efforts. 

As many land managers know, Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles (ROVs) or Side-by-Sides (SxSs) are becoming increasingly popular and are the fastest growing segment of the powersports market.



Practicing Backing Up in Exercise 4
Fouts Springs OHV Area


Many federal and state agencies have increased the use of ROVs for recreation/resource management and fire suppression activities.  QWR offered the RBDC course for agency staff that needed to get certified or recertified before operating a government SxS.

Due to decreasing federal funding for recreation and related staff (including on-site agency personnel who are certified ROHVA instructors), QWR believes that unit partners will have an increasingly important role to play in helping provide access to certified safety instruction for OHVs (or other education modules) to agency staff.

Hotshots and Recreation Staff from the Mendocino NF

Don Amador, President of Quiet Warrior Racing/Consulting, states, “It is an honor to help train agency staff about how to operate their SxS vehicles in a safe and environmentally sound manner.”

“I was great to see the RBDC students (many of them were new to driving SxSs) gain confidence over the course of the day using the skills they learned to safely operate their vehicle,” Amador concludes.

QWR appreciates the dedication of Forest Service and BLM officers who have embraced the concept of “trail volunteers” as a key element in maintaining sustainable and high-quality recreation on public lands.

LINK TO ROHVA (Go ahead and take the free online ROHVA E-Course)

*If you are interested in having Don teach a ROHVA ROV Basic DriverCourse, contact him at: damador@quietwarriorracing.com




Thursday, March 29, 2018

2018 CA TRAILS CONF. - Legwork and Collaboration in Management of eMTB Recreation

Tread Lightly!/FS Banner at eMTB Presentation

As many of you know, California State Parks has been in the “transformation” process of their agency which includes both motorized and non-motorized recreation programs.   QWR supports the ongoing efforts to increase staff efficiency and fiscal responsibility by cross-pollination of personnel (each with their own skillsets, equipment, and expertise) from Boating and Waterways, OHV, and non-motorized State Park units.

CA State Park Director Talks about Trail Recreation and eMTB Use


QWR believes inclusion/facilitation of an eMTB panel at the 2018 California Trails and Greenways Conference (historically a non-motorized event) was indication of the agency’s commitment to bring diverse recreation interests together in a collaborative manner to build relationships/trust and find solutions to managing trail-based opportunities in the 21st Century.

Good Turnout for eMTB Panel


The presentations from the Forest Service and regional/local eMTB interests highlighted the complexity of planning for legal and sustainable eMTB recreation on lands managed by local, state, and federal agencies.

Also, noted were efforts to find solutions including the FS using tenets of the Travel Management Rule to designate eMTB-only trails via “designation by motorized vehicle type.”   One current example cited is on the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit where the FS is working with eMTB recreationists to find new opportunity for said use.  Currently, eMTB use is restricted to OHV routes on federal lands.

eMTB Demo Trail Rides


Many states have  - or in the process of - creating legislative or policy/regulatory solutions to enhance eBike access on roadways, paths, and dirt trails managed by local and state jurisdictions.

After the panel presentations, there was an hour devoted to robust dialogue between non-motorized and motorized stakeholders and agency leads.

While not many solutions were identified on what is a very complex issue, QWR believes that CA OHV Commissioner, Ted Cabral, summed it up best when he stated it is important for the collective trail community to work more collaboratively and build partnerships going forward to address management challenges that face both motorized and non-motorized recreation in California and elsewhere.

Former CA IMBA Representative, Jim Haggen-Smit (L). and Don Amador (R)
Talking about eMTB Use and Decades Long Collaborative Efforts on Land-Use Issues

QWR also wants to thank the California Trails Conference Foundation for doing the “legwork” by hosting the eMTB event and for their ongoing efforts to promote sustainable trail-based recreation in the Golden State.

*Comments/feedback always welcome.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Federal Outdoor Recreation Economic Report Shows Motorized Use is Significant Contributor

Backcountry Touring in 4WD Vehicles
Tahoe National Forest

QWR commends the U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)recent release of new prototype statistics from the Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account (ORSA) that shows that the outdoor recreation economy accounted for 2.0 percent ($373.7 billion) of current-dollar GDP in 2016 (table 1). In addition, the outdoor recreation economy grew 3.8 percent in 2016, compared to growth of 2.8 percent in the overall economy.

Riders and Families Enjoy Shasta Dam GP
BLM Shasta-Chappie OHV Area - Redding, CA


The BEA stated that the historical lack of detailed federal data regarding outdoor recreational activities has handicapped both the private and public sectors. They also said the release is a milestone for business executives, small-business owners, entrepreneurs, and government officials, who will rely on these detailed data to plan, grow, and gain new insights into this dynamic part of the U.S. economy.

LINK TO BEA REPORT


The BEA data (see chart below) showed that Motorized Vehicles was the largest activity within conventional outdoor recreation in 2016, accounting for $59.4 billion of gross output. Recreational vehicles accounted for more than half of this value at $30.0 billion.



QWR believes this analysis supports other recreation-based economic impact reports which show that motorized recreation is a significant contributor to the economy.

RVs with OHV Line Up to Enter a KOA Campground
OR Dunes National Recreation Area

QWR also encourages both private and public sector stakeholders to contact the BEA with comments on this preliminary report.  Your comments are due by April 27, 2018. 

Send comments to: OutdoorRecreation@bea.gov