Friday, July 7, 2017

Forest Service Collaborates to Improve OHV Program

Example of FS Road Serving as a Motorized Trail
Mendocino NF

QWR wants to commend the Black Hills National Forest for its continued efforts to provide sustainable high-quality OHV recreational opportunity.  Located in South Dakota, this Forest completed its initial travel management plan in 2010.

As the following Public Broadcast video shows, the Forest Service has worked in a collaborative manner with users and other stakeholders on subsequent post Subpart B trail projects to improve their OHV program.


QWR believes this unit has embraced a holistic approach to managed OHV recreation.   As the video shows, the agency has a “roads to trails” conversion process that utilizes existing system roads to provide varying degrees of challenge and touring opportunities for the riders.

They also install various soil erosion/water quality-related trail structures or construction techniques along with implementing a quality route information program that includes signs, updated motor vehicle use maps, and smart phone route applications.

The video also highlights the important role that OHV recreation has in supporting rural economies and related private sector businesses.

QWR thanks the Black Hills National Forest and other Forests that continue efforts to improve their managed OHV trail programs. 

PS- Thanks to our longtime friend of OHV, Mark Thome, for sending this great info!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Base Camp Adventure Ride in Trinity Alps Region

View from Bonanza King Lookout Road
(Trinity Lake and Trinity Alps in Background)

QWR wanted to close out “June is Great Outdoors Month” with a review of Adventure Bike (ADV) or Dual-Sport (DS) opportunities located on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest in the Trinity Lake area. 

Start of trip to Bonanza Creek Lookout

While many long-distance ADV riders are familiar with Highway 3 that runs north-south through the Forest, QWR believes there are additional high-value “one-day” backcountry touring opportunities where recreationists can range out on various designated native surfaced routes that stem off of Highway 3 or its companion road that snakes along the east side of the lake.

Start of Swift Creek Loop

The purpose of this blog is to give ADV/DS riders who are not familiar with this remote area of California some basic concepts for day-long excursions where there will be plenty of scenic views with opportunities for photos of the Trinity Alps and other mountains, tree lined roads, numerous streams, and wildlife.

Road Access to Swift Creek Trailhead

QWR has another goal and that is to reinforce the important role that Forest roads have in providing access to both motorized and non-motorized recreation on public lands.

View from Swift Creek Loop

Staging for this multi-day project was based in the Trinity Center area where there is gas/food and a number of developed and dispersed camping choices at sites managed by private parties or the Forest Service.  There are also several B&Bs nearby for those riders who like that type of lodging.

Dispersed Camping near Trinity Lake

Routes and general areas highlighted with pink markings (see map below) are where you may want to visit.  Besides the views, you will be presented with options to challenge yourself on motorized routes that are identified for use by high-clearance vehicles and OHVs.

Near top of Slate Mountain

QWR has divided the potential adventure routes into four areas which are the Swift Creek Loop, Bonanza King Lookout, Eagle Creek Loop, Scott Mountain Pass, Coffee Creek, and the Clear Creek/Slate Mountain Loop. 

Eagle Creek Campground 

All of these opportunities offer access to some high-quality recreation into undeveloped backcountry areas.  Again, there are many designated Forest dirt side roads that can be explored off of the looped route. 

Clear Creek Campground 

Coffee Creek is a cherry-stemmed route into the Trinity Alps Wilderness with spectacular views of alpine meadows and wildlife.  At the end of the 22 mile mostly dirt road, there is great family style dining at Mountain Meadows Resort.  Be sure and call ahead for reservations if you plan to visit them for a great dinner. Dinner is served at 7 p.m.

View of Trinity Alps from Mountain Meadow Resort

The Shasta-Trinity National Forest has over 5,000 miles of roads and trails that are designed for street legal and/or non-street legal motorized use.  Many of these routes are in the vicinity of your Trinity Lake-based multiday adventures.  

Adventure Opportunities

QWR encourages you to download the current Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) that identifies seasons of use and what vehicle types are allowed on the route system.

Clear Creek Campsites

MVUM for Trinity Lake Area

Like many National Forests throughout the West, this area has a lot of mixed private sector and federal land ownership.  One of the largest private landowners in this area is Sierra Pacific Industries and many of the roads go through their property.  QWR believes it is important to respect private property and only travel on routes that are signed or mapped open for motorized use.

Respect Private Property

Many readers of this forum are already doing important volunteer work for the Forest Service or BLM.  In that vein, it is also important for you to help be the eyes and ears for the agency when ADV riding by reporting back to them with information on road conditions, seasonal gates that might still be closed after the winter, travel management signs that are missing, and campground or other facility maintenance needs. In addition, you can send in comments on ideas you might have to enhance motorized recreational opportunities on the road and trail network. 

Welcome to the National Recreation Area

MVUM Comment Form

Info on Historic Stage Road

This area of California has a rich cultural heritage that helps link us to our past, informs the present, and charts a path forward to our future. 

Historical Marker at Scott Mountain Pass

Please give this area some consideration the next time you get the urge to explore the great outdoors in Northern California.

Here are some links to various camping and dining sites.

Trinity Center KOA

Shasta-Trinity National Forest

Mountain Meadow Resort

Trinity Center Dining

PS- Special thanks to Mike Mitchell (retired FS recreation lead and current officer with the Redding Dirt Riders) for running the base camp for this project.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Adventure to Backcountry Treasure Kicks-Off Great Outdoors Month

Level 2 FS Road - Off of M2

Adventure and Dual Sport motorcycle enthusiasts often ask QWR if it has any suggestions on where to explore new (at least to many riders) remote federal land backcountry areas  with forests, scenic views, access to challenging motorized routes, and high elevation camping opportunities.

Ride Through Conifer Forest

While on a recent multi-day post-winter storm route assessment in the Northeast portion of the Mendocino National Forest, QWR was impressed to highlight and share an approximately 120-mile loop of high elevation native surfaced Forest Service System Roads (designated for street legal vehicles) that provide public access to both motorized and non-motorized backcountry recreational opportunities including the Yolla Bolly Middle Eel Wilderness area.

Map of Adventure Loop

QWR staged from the Stonyford Rodeo Grounds which hosts the annual Oakland Motorcycle Club’s SheetIron Dual Sport Ride.  QWR works with club members to staff the event’s tech inspection where vehicles are checked for sound compliant mufflers spark arrestors, and current registration.

Start of Adventure Loop

For the purposes of this article, the trip starts at Stonyford and continues north on County Road 306 for about 25 miles where the 1st leg of the 120-mile loop begins at the CR 313/306 intersection.  This too is where M9 starts.

Designated OHV Trail in Doe Peak Area

The road quickly gains altitude through a chaparral landscape to the ridge near Doe Peak (elev. 3557 ft.). The Doe Peak area has a number of designated OHV routes that offer varying degrees of difficulty for both street legal and non-street legal OHVs.

Looking West from Valley View Fire Lookout

QWR suggests that you travel a few more miles up M9 and watch for the Valley View Lookout sign which directs you a short distance to the site of the historic Valley View Fire Lookout.  Although the lookout is no longer there, the site gives you a breathtaking view across a “big forested valley.”  You will want to spend some time here taking in the scenery.

Log Springs Station

If you are trying to do this loop in one day, you will want to continue on to the Log Springs Summer Fire Camp.  This is a historic Forest Service fire station where you can stop and enjoy the big trees and shade.

Nome Cult Trail

Also at Log Springs is where the Nome Cult Indian trail crosses the route.  300 Indians from Chico and other northern California Tribes camped at this site in 1863 on their journey to Round Valley.  (see above pic for more info).   It is important to spend time here in contemplation of that event. 

Sugar Springs Campground

Just a short distance to the north of Logs Springs, you will enter the M9/M4 intersection where you will take a left and travel west through a conifer forest.  In about 5-7 miles you will want to take a lunch break at the Sugar Springs Campground.  This high-elevation site is in a stand of large trees.  It has a developed campsite with picnic table and fire ring.  There is also a vault toilet.

Depending on how many side routes you decided to explore, you may want to consider spending the night at this high elevation campground.  I know I plan to come back up here later this summer.

After leaving Sugar Springs Campground, you will travel a few miles to the M4/M2 intersection.  Take M2 north where it skirts the Yolla Bolly Middle Eel Wilderness area.  There are also many dispersed camping opportunities with scenic views of the Yolla Bolly Mountains including Sugar Loaf Mountain (elev. 7367 ft.).

View of Yolla Bolly Middle Eel Wilderness Area

On your 60 mile path east towards Paskenta, the road takes you past many dirt roads that are also open for non-street legal OHVs.   Watch for signs to Cold Springs, Post Pile, Kingsley Glade, and many other interesting sites.

Intersection in Paskenta

There is a small market in Paskenta that sometimes sells fuel.  It would be wise to check with them if you think a gas fill-up is in order.

M4/M9 Connector Intersection

From Paskenta, head southeast about 6 miles on Round Valley Road to the M4 intersection.  Head west on M4 a few miles until you reach the M4/M9 connector route intersection.  Take a left at the intersection and go a short distance to 23N05.  Stay left on 23N05 for about 6 miles until it intersects with M9.  Turn left on M9 and head back down the mountain to CR306 where this journey started.

Forest Management Project along M4

As we alluded to in the first part of this article, this is a very remote and rugged portion of California.  There are basically no services.  Riders have to be well prepared to take on bike repairs, etc.  A good first aid kit is recommended and also a satellite locator that can be used in an emergency.

Enjoy the Ride

QWR was unable to do about a 25 mile section in the NW part of this loop due to a large downed tree across M2 (it was reported to the FS).  Be sure and contact the Mendocino National Forest to see if the roads are clear. 

LINK to North FS MVUM Map (mostly M4/M2)

LINK to North Central FS MVUM Map (mostly M9)

June is Great Outdoors Month and QWR’s adventure bike module hopes some of you might decide to challenge yourself on this loop.  If you go, please let us know how you liked this remote portion of the Forest.  It will be an adventure to be remembered. 

# # # 

PS – This would also be a great adventure loop for those of you with high clearance SUVs and 4WDs.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Kawasaki KLR 650 Camo “Trail Recon” ADV Bike Project Report

QWR's 2017 Kawasaki KLR 650 Camo "Trail Recon" Project Build

QWR believes the 2017 SheetIron Dual Sport Ride was the perfect venue from which to announce a long overdue vehicle upgrade to our “Adventure Bike” module.  

Hosted by the Oakland Motorcycle Club, the annual event stages from the Stonyford Rodeo Grounds where approximately 500 dual sport and adventure bike enthusiasts travel on public land routes and county/state paved/non-paved roads from the eastern border of the Mendocino National Forest through BLM’s Cow Mountain OHV Area to the coastal town of Fort Bragg, California.

QWR selected Kawasaki’s KLR Camo 650 for our “Trail Recon” Adventure bike project.  The goal was to build a trail-worthy and dependable bike capable of both single and multi-day long range trail recon trips on Forest Service and BLM lands to inventory and/or assess current road/trail conditions and to analyze routes for future designation recommendations to enhance high quality backcountry access for adventure motorcyclists.

TUSK ADV/DS Crash Guards

The first order of the day was to contact our friends at Rocky Mountain ATV/MC for a set of their popular TUSK Dual Sport/ADV Crash/Engine Guards to protect the bike should it have any unplanned meeting with trail obstacles.  Installation was straight forward.

TUSK Aluminum Panniers w Pannier Racks

 Next on the list was a set of their TUSK Aluminum Panniers with Pannier Racks.  They were ordered in size Medium so as to keep a slimmer profile while still being able to hold tools, tire tubes, first aid kit, BIG BOY Silky Folding Saw, modest camping supplies, and other necessities. 

SW-Motech Centerstand
The folks at Twisted Throttle signed on to help with some cool SW- Motech products to further improve the functionality of the bike with a center stand to aid with tire/tube repairs out in the boondocks.

SW-Motech Skid Plate

Next was installation of the SW-Motech aluminum skid plate/engine guard which helps protect the bike’s underbelly from unexpected impacts from sharp rocks or other hard obstacles.

SW-Motech DAYBAG 600

The SW-Motech Day Bag 600 was selected for those multi-day overnight trips where extra clothes and other gear are needed to improve any overnight stay in the backcountry.

IMS ADV 2 Footpegs and Shifter

Being a fan of IMS products, QWR wanted to add the IMS ADV 2 stainless steel footpegs which offer the rider a large platform upon which to stand.   They are very comfortable and help instill a sense of security.  The IMS shifter enhanced the rider’s shifting ability with adventure boots on.

QWR has chosen to evaluate the bike with the current factory suspension that was recently upgraded.  Having done 450 miles over the last few days on paved and native surfaced roads might have proved to be a wise choice.

Seat Concepts KLR 650 Seat

Over the years, QWR has become a big fan of Seat Concepts and the giant strides they have made in off-road and adventure seat comfort.   Getting one of Seat Concepts' KLR seats was a must have and was put to good use during this recent trail recon ride.

MRA-Vario Touring Windscreen

Another product to help complete the initial build was a MRA-Vario Touring Windscreen from Twisted Throttle.  It deflects the wind stream at highway speeds to just above the visor on my KLIM F4 helmet while allowing an unobstructed view of the trail.

Kawasaki KLR 650 Tank Bag

 Holding small items like cameras, maps, air gauge, power bar, cell phone, reading glasses, etc. was given to Kawasaki’s TRANS TANK BAG.  The padded tank bag has numerous zipped pockets or sections where you can stow items neatly away.  It has a very custom fit and blends in well with the overall “Camo” or Team Stealth concept of the bike build.

Emgo Rear Trunk

Lastly, QWR wanted a small locking trunk so we selected the Emgo Travel Trunk that holds additional small to medium sized items.

QWR believes that riding 450 miles over the last few days on county paved and/or gravel roads and Forest Service dirt roads and trails in elevations from 1,500 ft. to 6,000 ft.  was a good initial test for our Trail Recon Project Build.  The Kawasaki Camo KLR 650 performed flawlessly and got 50 mpg which gives it a range of about 250 miles or so.

Trail Recon ADV Bike on Mendocino NF

All of the products worked in harmony to help create our official Trail Recon Adventure Bike that has been dedicated to help ADV and DS riders enjoy continued access to high-quality backcountry recreational experiences for current and future generations.

FS OHV Route - Mendocino NF

QWR wants to thank our following partners and sponsors;  Kawasaki Motor Corps., U.S.A, Roseville Kawasaki, Rocky Mountain ATV/MC, Twisted Throttle, IMS, and Seat Concepts for their generous support of this project and our efforts to promote and protect responsible motorized recreation on public lands.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Collaboration/Engagement/Commitment Reflected in CA DOT OHV Fuel Tax Report

State Park Director, Lisa Mangat, Speaks to OHVers
2015 OHMVR Commission Field Trip/NOHVCC Workshop
Prairie City SVRA, CA

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

QWR wants to commend the California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) for engaging with the OHV community at various OHMVR Commission meetings in Northern and Southern California over the last couple of years.

That engagement also included a number of OHV-related Parks Transformation Team hearings where DPR Director, Lisa Mangat, and OHV commissioners gathered input on just how important the CA OHV Program is to millions of recreationists, federal partners, county law enforcement, rural economies, and conservation efforts.

2016 DPR/OHV Commission Public Hearing on Transformation Process
Ontario, CA


QWR believes that two-way collaboration is acknowledged by the administration’s strong support for continued funding for the CA OHV Program as stated in the Cover Letter for the CA Department of Transportation’s Report: “Assessing the State Fuel Tax Paid on Gasoline Used for Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Recreation.”

QWR also believes the Administration supports full funding for the CA OHV program in both SB 1 and the Governor’s Budget May Revise.

Thanks to all who have taken the time to engage with decision-makers.    

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Big View – Sustainable Shared-Use Trail Management

The Big View Trail (Trail 10) 
Rock Creek Trail System- Eldorado NF

Modern trail management is not just about OHV recreation.  It also applies to a wide variety of other outdoor trail-based activities which include mountain bikes, equestrians, and hikers.

Trail Management Sign for Shared-Use 

As outdoor trail-based recreation continues to grow in popularity throughout the country, QWR supports those public land agencies and private sector units that have embraced wet weather-based and other management prescriptions that help protect trail integrity and conserve natural resources.

Sediment Catch Basin/Rolling Dip - Shared-Use Trail

A recent review of the Mace Mill (Rock Creek) trail network, prompted QWR to highlight the ongoing effort by Eldorado National Forest recreation staff to manage and maintain mixed-use trail opportunities to sustain high-quality outdoor experiences for a diverse user community.

Shared-Use Trail

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.

FS Information Booth at 2017 Fools Gold Enduro

3C engagement between agency staff and user groups can occur in a number of ways.  Those venues or methods may include formal recreation advisory councils (RACs), substantive and updated websites/social media, joint field trips, volunteer projects, agency staff attending club meetings or events to provide current information, and/or just picking up the phone to ask a question or offer help.

Trail Courtesy Sign

QWR has an axiom that “The quality of your local trail recreation program is or will be directly proportional to the quality of your engagement with agency staff and other users.”

If you have not done so already, QWR urges both user groups and agency staff to make that long-term commitment to help ensure current and future access to high quality trail-based recreational opportunities.