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.


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:


Thursday, February 1, 2018

Great Basin Plan - Engage in Scoping Process to Protect OHV Recreation

Don Amador at BLM Pine Nut Mountain Staging Area

QWR believes the quality of our trail future is directly proportional to the level of your involvement with the Forest Service or BLM.  That engagement also includes your robust participation in all agency planning efforts that can and often do impact OHV recreation.

Historically, OHV organizations have mainly focused on how motorized recreation is incorporated into landscape level programmatic plans such a Forest Plan or Resource Management Plan.   OHV stakeholders are also engaged in project level efforts (such as local travel plans, trail projects, new trail construction, etc.)

OHV Route Covered by Vegetative Debris
Photo by Doug Holcomb

As some of you know, there are other agency “non-OHV” management planning efforts related to vegetation or timber projects to address fuel loading and forest/range health via prescribed fire and/or mechanical treatments.

Popular OHV Route Erased by Vegetative Debris
Photo by Doug Holcomb

QWR believes the current public scoping period associated with the BLM’s Programmatic Environmental Impact Statements  to analyze potential effects of constructing fuel breaks, reducing fuel loading, and restoring rangeland productivity within the Great Basin Region (specifically Idaho, Oregon, Nevada, northern California, Utah, and eastern Washington) is an important learning tool for OHV and other recreation interests to better understand how this vegetation management plan could impact OHV use on roads, trails, and open areas.  

OHV Route Cleared by Volunteers 
Photo by Doug Holcomb


For example, in 2013 the BLM’s Carson City District Office developed a Draft Environmental Assessment to improve Bi-State Sage Grouse habitat via a vegetation management project.   While they did public scoping and other forms of outreach, it seems that the project’s potential impacts to historic OHV routes used for both casual trail riding and permitted events were not substantively addressed nor were mitigations adopted to protect important trail facilities in the project area.

OHV Route Covered with Woody Debris
Photo by Doug Holcomb


The various pictures in this article illustrate just how OHV routes can be either “decommissioned” or functionally closed to legal OHV use when vegetative debris is left on the route.  PS - Local trail volunteers worked very hard to clear many of the historic OHV routes that were impacted by the vegetation project.

OHV Route Reopened by Volunteers
Photo by Doug Holcomb

QWR believes it is important for OHV and other trail users to attend the Great Basin local scoping meetings and highlight OHV trail and other riding opportunities in the project area.  Then follow up with written comments asking the agency to analyze potential impacts to OHV recreation and then develop mitigation measures to minimize said impacts.

Thanks as always to all of you who attend these public meetings and submit comments!!!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

CA OHV Grant Workshops - Jan. 8-12 - Fiscal Support/Partnership is Force Multiplier

CA OHV Grant Supported Trail Management - Eldorado NF

QWR believes that 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.

Plumas County Sheriff - Supported with CA OHV LE Grant

Grant opportunities often act as an important fiscal support mechanism for local and federal agencies that are faced with increased demands for high quality OHV recreation while at the same time dealing with decreasing or stagnant recreation budgets.

A good example of key grant partnerships is the CA OHV Grants Program where it is hosting its annual OHV Grant Workshops next week in Northern and Southern California.



Dates:   Monday, January 8, 2018
Tuesday, January 9, 2018
Bakersfield Marriott at the Convention Center
801 Truxtun Avenue
Bakersfield, CA 93301
Phone: (661) 323-1900


Dates:   Thursday, January 11, 2018
Friday, January 12, 2018
Lions Gate Hotel
3410 Westover Street
North Highlands, CA 95652
Phone: (866) 258-5651

According to the CA OHMVR website, the Grants and Cooperative Agreements Program (Grants Program) provides for well managed off-highway vehicle recreation in the State of California by providing financial assistance to cities, counties, districts, federal agencies, state agencies, educational institutions, federally recognized Native American Tribes, and nonprofit entities.

Wetland Restoration Project - Mendocino NF

The Grants Program supports the planning, acquisition, development, maintenance, administration, operation, enforcement, restoration, and conservation of trails, trailheads, areas, and other facilities associated with the use of off-highway motor vehicles, and programs involving off-highway motor vehicle safety or education.

CA OHV Grant Funds at Work - BLM's Chappie Shasta OHV Area

QWR encourages current and potential new grant applicants to consider attending the aforementioned workshops.  There will be some important updates for grant applicants.  QWR looks forward to seeing many of the CA OHV grant participants at the workshop in Sacramento.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

QWR's 2017 Quotes on OHV Recreation, Various Reports/Events, and eBikes - HAPPY NEW YEAR

2017 was an important year for both summer and winter motorized recreation.  Also, eBike use on public lands has become a critical factor in the outdoor recreation equation.  As trail enthusiasts get ready to ride into 2018, QWR wanted to share some quotes from our various 2017 articles covering trail management for OSV/ SxS/ MC/ ATV/eBikes, outdoor recreation economic reports, agency studies, etc.

Feel free to send in comments on the following quotes or article and/or send in or post your own quotable quotes.  Send feedback to:

Dec. 11 - QWR continues to believe it is important for both the OHV and traditional mountain bike communities to work with eBike enthusiasts, legislators, regulators, manufacturers, and other stakeholders to try and find common ground on joint trail use where appropriate.

Nov. 17 - QWR believes that E-bike stakeholders should be proactive and work with trail managers to create a strong land-use ethic and regulatory platform that both protect the resource and the long-term viability of the sport.

Oct. 18 - I was proud to see the RBDC [SxS basic driver course] graduates use the skills they learned at class during the group trail ride the next day.  Several students told me the safe use of a SxS requires a healthy dose of common sense when out on the trail and to not be afraid to stop before attempting a challenging route segment that is beyond their comfort zone or ability.

Oct. 16 - QWR understands that Adaptive Management is the current term used by land agencies to describe how they look at new issues and challenges and include them in the decision-making process.  However, the term “Dynamic” infers a more energetic or enthusiast process that agencies can embrace as they engage with users, partners, and other stakeholders in collaborative efforts.

Aug. 6 - QWR believes that signs are the most effective (and often the only management tool the public sees) method by which a land agency communicates its commitment to the public and the resource.  And, the quality of an agency’s signing program is directly proportional to the level of user enjoyment, public compliance with regulations, and success of the unit’s mission, vision, and values.

July 26 - While OHV management certainly has its challenges, QWR believes it is important for agencies and partners to highlight success stories where new trail opportunities are being created and/or trails are being reopened after mitigation measures are completed that address important resource concerns.

May 16 - QWR believes successful OHV programs are the result of substantive collaboration between agency leadership and the user community.

May 9 - QWR believes there are three key components (3 Cs) to successfully managing a unit that offers mixed-use or shared-use trail-based opportunities for motorized and non-motorized recreation.  Those factors are commitment, communication, and collaboration.

May 2 - Managing sustainable OHV and other recreation programs on federal lands is a complex challenge in the 21st Century.  QWR believes 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 fiscal impacts such as budget cutbacks.

April 25 - LINK TO OIA 2017 REPORT

This report highlights and details the significant economic impact that both motorized and non-motorized recreation has in this country.

QWR believes this comprehensive and inclusive report indicates the growing collaboration and partnership between motorized and non-motorized user groups as they work with agency staff and elected officials to support sustainable and diverse recreation opportunities on public lands.
April 20 - One of those critical issues [in OSV subpart C planning] is related to the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) which is a non-motorized trail that runs north-south through the western U.S. and along the crest of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range in California.  It exists primarily on Forest Service lands including the Tahoe National Forest where the PCT crosses the current OSV route network.  QWR believes the agency should ensure that it designates PCT crossings that retain the current form and function of the OSV program.

April 11 - With that increased popularity [of SxS/UTVs] comes the responsibility for land agencies and their OHV partners to look for opportunities to designate and sign legal routes for SxS recreation in areas where that use is appropriate and sustainable.

March 1 - QWR believes that trails can provide an important link to our past.  For car enthusiasts, nowhere is that statement more relevant than on a short section of Historic Route 66 that has been designated by the BLM as an OHV trail near Needles, CA.

February 22 - Roberta Pickett, who currently serves as Assistant Governor for the Amador County clubs of Rotary’s District 5190, states, “I feel Don deserved this award for his integrity in the way he does business and collaborates even with those with whom he may have significant disagreements.  His work with land managers, elected officials, recreation clubs, conservation groups, and environmental organizations promotes peaceful resolution to difficult challenges.”

February 2 - QWR believes the [Forest Service] National Trails Strategy outlines a path for success that can be used by units that are in the process of creating and managing a sustainable trail network.  The report can also be used by ranger districts to help infuse new energy and ideas into their existing recreation program and partnerships.


The report states that between 1999 and 2009, nature-based outdoor recreation generally increased, although trends differ across individual activities. The number of U.S. participants1 in 50 nature-based outdoor recreation activities increased 7.1 percent between 1999 and 2009, while the number of activity days increased at least that much. Activities oriented toward viewing and photographing nature have been among the fastest growing activities, both in terms of number of participants and activity days of participation. Off-highway vehicle driving realized a 34-percent increase in participants. Several physically challenging activities, such as kayaking, snowboarding, and surfing also had relatively large increases in this timeframe.

January 3 - Second, many non-traditional  “off-road motorcycle” interests from the tech world, conservation movement, 4x4 community, and other stakeholder groups have found that Adventure riding is a great way to escape the city and experience the great outdoors.

QWR wants to thank you for your support over the past year and for being engaged in OHV recreation.

Happy New Year,

Don Amador/QWR

Monday, December 18, 2017

A Special Christmas Message from Trail Santa

Merry Christmas from Trail Santa

As my extended trail family gets ready to celebrate Christmas 2017, QWR wants to send its warmest wishes to you and yours during this very blessed and special season.

Many of you will be attending various holiday-related concerts, parties, church plays, donating to charities, helping feed the homeless, religious services, and family gatherings.   Some of you will be spending the holiday season with your family riding OHVs at your favorite state, federal, or private recreation site.   All of which is a very good thing!

Trail Santa Wearing RZ Mask in Dusty/Smokey Areas

QWR also wants you to know that we deeply appreciate the friendship, support, and advice that came over the course of 2017 from our colleagues, agency partners, clients, conservation representatives, powersports sponsors, elected officials, industry leaders, OHV clubs, recreation groups, and individual enthusiasts.

2018 will no doubt be filled with new challenges and opportunities.  But for the next week or two, let’s focus on our faith, family, and friends.   May you all have a very blessed Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Trail Santa  

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Los Vaqueros MTB Trail Review - East Contra Costa County

Multi-Use Dirt Road/Trail Los Vaqueros Watershed

As many outdoor enthusiasts get ready for Christmas this year in the SF/East Bay Area, QWR wanted to continue its efforts to gear up for launching an eBike/Vehicle module in 2018 by visiting some of the local or regional parks that have multi-use trails or paths that are open to MTBs and potentially eBikes.

Enjoying The Fresh Air

One such facility is the Los Vaqueros Watershed located south of Brentwood and just below the newly reopened Diablo MX Ranch. 

Dirt Road/Trail Snaking Up Through the Canyon

The area is about 18,000acres of open space that surrounds the 1,900 acre Los Vaqueros Reservoir.  Most of the trails are hiking or horseback, but there are a number of fun MTB trails on the north end of the facility that stem out from the Walnut Staging Area.

The staging area has clean restrooms and a number of concrete picnic tables.  While there are no “no e-Bike” signs posted, I don’t want to encourage you to take your eBike there until I get formal acknowledgement from the agency that they are allowed.  *** Update, I heard back from the agency and  the MTB  dirt trails are not open to eBikes at this time.

At Your Service - Enjoy the Christmas Trail Season

The gravel and dirt MTB trails in the area are mostly pretty easy, but once you get up into the hilly area in the backcountry there are some pretty fun grades where you can get a workout.  Remember to close the fences when you go through them as the unit has an active cattle grazing program.  In fact, you may have to dodge a few cows if they are on the trail.

Solid and Dash Green Lines are Open for MTBs

If you live in the area, you may want to consider visiting these MTB trails.  There is some pretty scenery and you may see some wildlife like I did today when a coyote was running beside me in a nearby field.

Hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy Trail New Year!