Thursday, October 10, 2019

PSA - Support Post Fire Winter Seasoning of OHV Trail Repairs


PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT
Post Fire Temporary Closure Sign on OHV Trail
Mendocino National Forest

As federal OHV recreation areas continue their post Mendocino Complex Fire phased reopening of designated roads and trails that provide looped opportunities or connectivity, it is important to respect signs on routes that remain temporarily closed so their post-fire reconstruction treatments can season or stabilize over the winter.

Post Fire Rebuilding of Soil Erosion Structures on OHV Trail
Mendocino National Forest

Many of those closed routes received extensive damage as a result of dozer lines blading out soil erosion control structures on the trail.  Other trails had OHV bridges destroyed by the fire or had huge gullies carved out by heavy post-fire rain events.


Damaged Timber Barriers and Natural Vegetation Barriers
Mendocino National Forest

Another “sign” to look for as you enjoy those routes reopened over the last few months are those trail or area delineators that were either completely or partially destroyed by the fire.

QWR urges the greater OHV community to respect those roads, trails, and areas that remain temporarily closed or burned over sections of the forest where delineators - or vegetation that functioned as natural delineators - were damaged or obliterated.

Be assured, the Forest Service, OHV clubs, and non-profit partners are working hard on various post-wildfire recovery projects so that an increased number of popular motorized routes can be reopened in a timely manner for casual trail riding and permitted events in 2020.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

INDUSTRY ECON UPDATE - Federal Economic Report Includes SxS Recreation

Designated SxS/ATV/MC Trail
BLM's Chappie-Shasta OHV Area

 As motorized recreation continues to grow as an important economic contributor, QWR believes it is important for both private and public sector researchers to detail vehicle-specific analytics to better inform decision-makers, planners, and other stakeholders.

Off-Road Motorcycle Trail
CA's Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area


A recent update from NOHVCC and the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) confirms that SxS recreation WAS included in the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

LINK TO MIC NEWS RELEASE ON SXS USE COUNTED IN BEA STUDY

Don Amador, QWR President, states, “Today, OHV recreation not only provides access to high quality casual use trail opportunities and permitted events, but also provides motorized access to non-motorized activities.  I have friends and colleagues from both the OHV and conservation communities that also utilize SxSs for resource management, wildlife viewing, hunting, and stewardship projects.”

Open Sand Riding for SxS/ATV/MC and other OHVs
Forest Service's Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area


“I believe outdoor recreation economic reports and updates are a critically important tool and breaking out data about the fiscal benefit that comes from specific vehicle types will better inform land management agencies as they plan for current and future OHV use on designated roads, trails, and areas,” Amador concludes.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

FEDERAL RECREATION ECON REPORT MISSES SxS USE - AGAIN

SxS Touring on BLM Lands 
BLM, Needles Field Office, CA



QWR greatly appreciates the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) and their ongoing efforts to highlight the important fiscal contribution that outdoor recreation makes to the U.S. economy.

SxS Backcountry Exploring
Eldorado National Forest, CA


A news release last week from ORR about a new update from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) states this is the second consecutive year that the BEA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, has released formal, national-level data, a notable milestone for the industry now identified as a unique sector of the economy. For the first time, BEA also released preliminary data on the outdoor recreation economy at the state level for all fifty states and the District of Columbia. Having a rich set of both state and national data on outdoor recreation to draw upon will inform decision-making by businesses, policymakers, and managers of public lands and waters.

LINK TO ORR NEWS RELEASE

As you may remember, on September 20, 2018, the Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account (ORSA) and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s BEA released data that shows the outdoor recreation economy accounted for 2.2 percent ($412 billion) of current-dollar Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2016. The BEA report notes the outdoor recreation economy grew 1.7 percent in 2016 which was faster than the 1.6 percent growth for the overall U.S. economy.

SxS Trail Use
BLM, Eagle Lake Field Office, CA


At that time, QWR contacted the BEA about our concerns that the agency may actually be underreporting the economic impact of “off-road” motorized recreation.  While BEA disaggregated motorcycle and ATV use from other motorized activities such as RVing, it appears the agency again fails to capture the direct and growing off-road economic impact of larger OHVs such as Side x Sides (SxS), jeep-type vehicles, four-wheel drive pickups, and all-wheel drive SUVs.

Jeep on Rubicon Trail 
Eldorado National Forest/El Dorado County


QWR believes it is important for both private and public sector economists and researchers to “ground truth” their assumptions before starting their outdoor recreation economic studies.   This is not only important for BEA but for other government agencies as they try to quantify the recreation economic benefits to local communities and the U.S. GDP.


Thursday, September 5, 2019

AZ OHV DECALS NOW REQUIRED FOR NON-RESIDENTS




CA OHV enthusiasts who like to visit AZ came back from the Labor Day Weekend to find that they are now required to purchase an AZ non-resident OHV decal before riding in that state.   The new decal program became operational on September 1, 2019.

According to the AZ Department of Game and Fish - Out-of-state residents wishing to legally ride their off-highway vehicle and support OHV trail maintenance, education and law enforcement efforts in Arizona can purchase a nonresident OHV decal beginning Sunday, Sept. 1.

The new decal was supported and pushed by the OHV riding community during the 2019 legislative session and was signed into law by Gov. Doug Ducey. The law requires nonresident OHV owners to purchase a decal to operate the machines within the state.

All OHVs designed by the manufacturer primarily for use over unimproved terrain and that weigh 2,500 pounds or less are required by law to display a valid OHV decal to operate on public and state trust lands. This includes “street legal” OHVs that meet these two requirements.

Before the law was passed, nonresident OHV owners could ride their machines within the state for up to 30 days only if their state had a similar in-state resident decal program. There is no longer a grace period allowing nonresidents to operate without an Arizona decal and owners are now required to purchase a decal before operating their machines within the state. 

Those caught riding without a current decal can be fined.

LINK TO AZ GAME AND FISH NEWS RELEASE


Don Amador, QWR President, states, “I think the new AZ decal program caught a lot of CA OHVers  off-guard.  As a trail recreation professional and former CA State Park OHV Commissioner, I have always taken pride in our reciprocity with other states that have an off-road recreation decal or sticker program.”

“It appears this plan may have a lot of unintended consequences that include placing an additional fiscal burden on non-AZ residents who like to enjoy OHV recreation opportunities there or forcing states with long-standing OHV decal programs to reconsider reciprocity with AZ riders,” Amador continues. 

“I have reached out to the proponents of this new decal program for their rationale so CA OHVers can understand how this regulation was created,” Amador concludes.

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Monday, August 5, 2019

COLLABORATION FOR RECREATION – Understand, Respect, and Protect

2011 Agency-User Field Trip - Start of Collaborative Process
Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area

QWR remains a strong supporter of the collaborative process as it relates to public land recreation planning and management efforts at local, state, and federal areas.

The important role that collaboration plays was acknowledged by the California Coastal Commission at a recent hearing where they directed California State Parks to develop a local collaborative where various land/regulatory agencies, elected officials, businesses, OHV groups, and conservation organizations can work together to help develop responsible management concepts for Oceano Dunes SVRA.

A good example of successful collaboration at a popular recreation area can found at the U.S. Forest Service’s Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. 

Recent Collaborative Open Dune Restoration Project
                                                 Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area

In 2014, the Save the Riders Dunes, a local OHV non-profit organization, met with conservation groups to discuss finding common ground with a goal of both protecting open sand resources and providing a high-quality outdoor experience.  That stakeholder process was centered on attending meetings and field trips where information was shared, values appreciated/respected, and new relationships formed.

QWR believes that robust collaborate effort is largely responsible for “Saving” the Oregon Dunes and creating a positive future there for both motorized and non-motorized recreation opportunities.

QWR encourages all those engaged in recreation planning efforts to take time to read the highly informative 23 page The Oregon Dunes Restoration Collaborative Report on how this diverse set of interest groups came together in a substantive manner to develop a strategy for managing the Oregon Dunes for current and future generations.

LINK TO OR DUNES COLLABORATIVE REPORT

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

If your club has not done so already, now is the time for your organization to appoint a designated representative(s) to attend local land use planning meetings and make that long-term commitment to help ensure that you and your family continues to have access to high quality trail-based or open sand recreational opportunities.  It is the future of OHV.

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Friday, July 26, 2019

FS RULE CHANGE IS WELCOME NEWS FOR OHV RECREATION

 "Logging-type" FS Road Designated for Non-Street Legal OHVs
Mendocino National Forest



QWR wants to commend the agency for their current effort to increase the efficiency of environmental analysis to help with implementation of its core mission to enhance forest health and encourage access to sustainable outdoor activities including casual use and permitted events for OHV recreation.

Current Revisions to NEPA Procedures (36 CFR 220) – Comments Due Aug, 12, 2019

QWR has long believed in, and advocated for, the increased use of categorical exclusions (CEs) for various OHV related projects and events especially at destination OHV areas where motorized use is well established and managed.  

Increasing the use of CEs for trail reroutes, designating new OHV trails/roads, authorizing permitted events such as enduros in areas where the agency has a designated route network is a smart way to reduce red-tape, cost, and increase public access to high quality outdoor recreation.

These proposals could also help create new opportunities for SxS recreation by streamlining the agency decision-making process so they could designate more of their street legal-only “logging-type” roads to routes that can be used by non-street legal SxSs.

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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

BACKCOUNTRY ADV – DESIGNATED ROUTES KEY TO SUCCESS

Designated "jeep-type" Route for Street Legal Vehicles Only
Eldorado National Forest


Backcountry exploration on Adventure (ADV) motorcycles continues to be a popular recreation activity on public lands that also creates a significant economic benefit.  Recent studies by the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Outdoor Industry Association highlight that fact.  In addition, those reports are being supported by other research such as an economic study by the Backcountry Discovery Routes organization.

BDR Adventure Bike Study

QWR believes it is important for new ADV riders - who are not familiar with “OHV” travel management programs on Forest Service lands – to be sure and download a Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) before planning a big ride on your favorite National Forest.

Link to MVUM Maps


According to agency information, the MVUM is a product of the Forest Service 2005 Final Travel Management Rule.  Those maps detail what routes have been designated for use by both street-legal and non-street legal motorized vehicles.

Travel Management Sign - Eldorado National Forest


The MVUM also displays allowed uses by vehicle class (street-legal vs. non-street legal, roads managed as trails for larger OHVs such as SxSs, vehicles less than 50 inches wide such as dirt-bikes/ATVs, and motorcycles), seasonal allowances, distance allowances, and provides information on other travel rules and regulations.

Backcountry Adventure Awaits - Eldorado National Forest


The MVUM is a black and white map with no topographic features and can be hard to read. QWR recommends that you have other information handy such as GPS tracks or a Forest Visitor Map that is more detailed.

ADV or dual-sport riding is a lot of fun and having good information on what routes are open or closed is an important key to a successful and safe backcountry experience.