Monday, January 16, 2017

IMPORTANT PLANNING TOOL - FS Recreation Report Shows Current and Future Motorized/Non-Motorized Trends

Don Amador at BLM's Cow Mountain OHV Recreation Area
Northern California

In November 2016, the USDA/Forest Service released an important technical report entitled: Federal outdoor recreation trends: effects on economic opportunities.  QWR believes this 56 page document provides important information to recreation and trail advocates on current and future trends for both motorized and non-motorized recreation on federal lands between now and 2030.

LINK TO REPORT WEBSITE

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.

ATV Use at Oregon Dunes


QWR agrees with the report’s conclusion that states a major challenge for public natural resource managers and planners will be to ensure that recreation opportunities remain viable and adapt to a changing population. This could be accomplished through more creative and efficient management of existing federal recreation resources.

QWR believes that improvements to existing recreation resources can include a wide range of management options such designating connector trails, improved signing and maps, creating new trail opportunities within developed OHV areas, improved legal connectivity and looped opportunity for new OHVs such as UTVs, and consolidation of federal lands where appropriate to provide new staging areas or trails.

Connector Route for SxS Use
Stanislaus NF

As various Forest Service and BLM units continue or start their resource management planning efforts, QWR believes it will be important for OHV clubs to arm themselves with good information as they prepare their public comments.  Your comments (including site-specific examples of where a current or new use should or could occur) will play an important role in development of those management plans.

This report contains a lot of good information (including charts and graphs) about current and projected recreation needs related to developed sites, dispersed opportunities, backcountry activities, motorized uses, hunting, fishing, water sports, and skiing.

Active participation by local OHV clubs is a critical element in the land-use planning process.  Now more than ever… you are in charge of your own trail riding destiny.



Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Celebrating Great Motorcycle "Adventures" in 2017

Sean Coplen, Owner of Roseville Kawasaki, (L) and Don Amador (R)

Quiet Warrior Racing wants to thank Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. and Roseville Kawasaki, a Kawasaki dealer, for their generous support in helping us launch our official Adventure Bike trail stewardship module for 2017 with use of a new KLR 650. 

This “celebration” partnership highlights a number of key events.  Those signature components include; Kawasaki’s 50th Year Anniversary, the 30th year anniversary of the KLR 650, Roseville Kawasaki’s commitment to excellence, and Don Amador’s recent induction into the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame.

QWR believes there are a number of factors that are contributing to the rise in popularity of Adventure motorcycling.  First, the 2005 Forest Service Travel Management Rule resulted in the closure of many forest roads historically used by non-street legal dirt-bikes.  This resulted in riders purchasing street-legal adventure or dual-sport motorcycles so they could connect between various trail networks.

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.

Third, adventure motorcycles can also serve as commuter vehicles during the week.

QWR looks forward to using our Adventure Bike Module in 2017 to better serve the exploring community and promote the many benefits that backcountry motorcycling affords both riders and the economy. 

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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Red Cross First Aid Training for OHVers - Get Certified Now (Also a requirement for taking the FS chainsaw class)


As QWR gets ready to celebrate our 7th year anniversary in 2017, we thought it was important to send out a reminder to all of you who have taken a Forest Service chainsaw class (which requires current Adult First Aid/CPR/AED and Bloodborne Pathogens Training certification) to check the expiration date on your first aid card.  Now is a good time to get recertified and/or get your training if you plan on taking the FS chainsaw class in the near future.

QWR wants to encourage heads of households, club officers, trail bosses, vehicle safety course instructors, and others in leadership roles to get First Aid, CPR, and AED training from the American Red Cross.  This training will help you stabilize an injured rider in the field until the emergency responders arrive on scene.

Since my first aid certification expires in early January, I just scheduled my recertification class for late next week. It will give you the confidence to better stabilize critical injuries until professional emergency medical personnel arrive on the scene.

It will also give you the knowledge to better utilize the first-aid supplies that one should always carry during trail rides, safety training, or work parties.  Learning these basic skills can save a life and should be considered an important element of your off-road experience.

To learn more about the American Red Cross training programs, please visit:


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Thursday, December 8, 2016

POLARIS Dealer Helps Launch 2017 OSV Trail Stewardship Module

QWR’s Don Amador (L) and Cal Custom Trailers/Powersports’ Trevor Messersmith (R) 
Power-Up for OSV Recreation in 2017


As the snow season kicks off in California and the West, QWR wants to thank POLARIS, Klim, and California Custom Trailers and Powersports, a Northern California POLARIS dealer,  for their generous support in helping us launch our official OSV trail stewardship module for the 2017 winter riding season with use of a 2017 Polaris PRO-RMK 800.  

Winter 2016 Travel Management Tour
Stanislaus NF

OSV-based recreation brings an important economic benefit to many rural areas and supports local dealerships and the jobs they create.   According to the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association, OSVs contribute $26 billion annually in the United States.   Over 100,000 full time jobs are generated by the snowmobile industry in North America. Those jobs are involved in manufacturing, dealerships and tourism related businesses.

2016 Travel Management Review 
Sonora Pass - Stanislaus NF

Trevor Messersmith, Sales Manager for Cal Custom Trailers/Powersports, states, “Our dealership is proud to once again sponsor Don’s work to champion responsible OSV recreation on Forest Service trails and open areas.  Access to public lands is important for our customers and for the shop’s staff who love to enjoy snowmobile recreation with their family and friends.”

QWR supports the efforts of the Forest Service and other land agencies to update and enhance their OSV management programs.   Tenets of managed snowmobile recreation should include designated trails and open areas, adequate staging/parking, quality signing, partnerships, maps, education, and enforcement.

QWR’s OSV module will continue to represent our partners and clients in various federal and state OSV planning or legislative efforts.  Such initiatives include the Forest Service Subpart C OSV Travel Planning Process, reauthorization of the CA OHMVR Program, and promotion of the SAE J2567 OSV sound standard for field level enforcement.

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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Tahoe National Forest Adopts New Wet Weather Trail Management Tool

Tahoe NF Uses New Wet Weather Management Tool
(Trail 25 will be open when conditions allow)

QWR is proud to announce - that because of pro-active work by agency scientists, researchers, recreation specialists, volunteers, and partners - the Tahoe National Forest recently issued a DECISION NOTICE and FINDING OF NO SIGNIFICANT IMPACT for the 2017 Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) that removes fixed seasonal closures on a number of access roads and motorized trails in the Burlington area.


Over the last several years, QWR has posted updates in regards to ongoing Forest Service field studies to help develop an evidence-based method for opening trails based on direct soil moisture measurements and trail condition.  Four pilot studies were conducted on the Los Padres, Mendocino, and Tahoe National Forests.

Don Amador Helping with Wet Weather Field Study
Mendocino NF

The field studies involved measuring soil strength and soil moisture, and correlating those measurements with observed levels of trail damage. This prediction of risk is now being used to develop threshold values to determine when to open or close trails as highlighted in the aforementioned announcement.

QWR commends the agency research team and partners for helping develop this important new tool for managing trails – in a flexible manner -  for public enjoyment when soil  conditions allow.


Monday, November 21, 2016

Perfect Storm Mummifies Forest Timber/Fuel Program

2012 Post Mill Fire Viewshed/Resource Impacts 
M5 - Mendocino NF

Op Ed
By Don Amador
November 21, 2016

Perfect Storm Mummifies Forest Timber/Fuel Program

I believe Californians are facing an environmental disaster of biblical proportions based on recent media accounts and surveys that detail over 100 million dead and dying trees currently exist on federal timber lands.

As a native Californian, I witnessed the creation of a complex set of factors that have mummified the fuel/fire/timber management programs of most land agencies. 

2012 Mill Fire - System Trail Closed 
Mendocino NF

Over the last 30 years, a massive regulatory wet-blanket has been cast over the federal timber and fuel programs.  That “perfect storm” of factors presented in an academic manner include: litigation, court decisions, budget cutbacks, restrictive policies, environmental regulations, legislation, closure of sawmills, and political agendas.

2013 Rim Fire - Route/Area Closure
Stanislaus NF

The trail-based recreation community has a lot to lose in this high stakes game of gridlocked forest management and the resultant Mega-fires that consume lives, property, wildlife, natural resources, and recreation-related facilities and opportunities.

2014 King Fire - Viewshed/Resource Impacts from FS Road
Eldorado NF


Outdoor recreationists have good case studies in recent years of how Mega-fires (e.g. Mill Fire, Rim Fire, King Fire, etc.) impact designated trails and related soil loss mitigation structures, campgrounds, staging areas, visual enjoyment, and often close the fire’s footprint to all public entry for one year or more. 

2012 Mill Fire - One Year Closure to All Public Entry
Mendocino NF

Post-fire recreation rehabilitation can cost millions of dollars.  Designated roads, trails, trail delineators, kiosks, signs, and trail-based soil loss structures often have to be replaced or reconstructed.

2012 Mill Fire - Post Fire Volunteer Project Installing Route Delineators
Mendocino NF

Agency staff and volunteers must be committed to clearing downed trees off of routes for the next 10-20 years post-fire.



2012 Mill Fire - Post Fire Trail Clearing
Mendocino NF


I am glad to see the Forest Service is looking to redirect funds to protect or armor roads, trails, and recreation facilities.

Fuel/Forest Health Project
Sierra NF


Given the limited amount of staff resources and funding available, I support the agency’s focus on recreation-based pre-disaster fuel reduction projects.

Prescribed Fire Project

I have also rededicated myself to helping facilitate those fuel reduction efforts on federal timber lands by working with the agency and various stakeholder groups.  The status quo is simply not acceptable any longer.

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Don Amador writes on environmental and recreation issues from his office in Oakley, CA.  He may be reached via email at: damador@cwo.com
  
  

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

BLM Focused on High Quality OHV Experience at Nor Cal Recreation Area


Opinion
By Don Amador
Date: 11/8/16

Bright Future for BLM OHV Area in CA Coastal Mountain Range

In 2006, the NORTHERN CALIFORNIA COASTAL WILD HERITAGE WILDERNESS ACT established the Cow Mountain Recreation Area.  This was the first congressional designation of lands that codified OHV use by stating: Motorized recreation shall be a prescribed use within the South Cow Mountain OHV Management Area.

I give a lot of credit to Congressmen Mike Thompson and Richard Pombo for crafting up a bill that continues to be a great example of bipartisan land use “win-win” legislation that serves both the motorized and non-motorized recreation communities.

According to the BLM, the South Cow Mountain OHV Recreation Area (CMRA) emphasizes off-highway vehicle use.  Over 120 miles of vehicle trails interweave 23,000 acres, and offer challenges to motorcycle, all-terrain vehicle, and four-wheel drive enthusiasts alike.

BLM Recreation Lead, Sarah Mathews, Checks Spark Arrestor at Event

The North Bay Motorcycle Club also holds several permitted motorcycle events on that unit.

BLM State Director, Jerry Perez (L), and Don Amador on SxS Tour

Recently, I had the privilege of participating in a field trip-based 10th year anniversary celebration of that designation with the CA BLM State Director, Jerry Perez, BLM Deputy State Director, Joe Stout, Ukiah Field Office Manager, Amanda James, Ukiah Field Office Recreation Planner, Sarah Mathews, Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument Manager, Rebecca Carr Wong, BLM State Office Public Affairs Officer, Dave Christy, and the Mendocino 4x4 Club.

We discussed the various partnerships that have developed over the years which help support the agency’s effort to provide high-quality OHV recreation.  I believe it is because of those partnerships and collaborative efforts that created momentum for the BLM to acquire the 1,391 acre Blue Oak Ranch along the Highway 175 corridor to provide much needed high quality public access to the area.

Mendocino 4x4 Club Explains Volunteer Efforts

This new land acquisition will provide substantive parking for RVs and trailers.  Currently, there is very limited camping and staging to the CMRA.   The acquisition will help the area realize its full potential as a world-class destination recreation site.

BLM Deputy State Director, Joe Stout (L), and Don Amador Enjoy SxS Tour

It was great to spend time on the trail with BLM leadership and local users.  I continue to believe that relationships and partnerships will continue to be the cornerstone upon which quality OHV programs are built.

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Don Amador writes on recreation and land-use issues from his office in Oakley, CA.  Don is a contractor to the BlueRibbon Coalition/Sharetrails.org and serves as their Western Representative.  Don is also president of Quiet Warrior Racing/Consulting.   Don may be reached via email at: damador@cwo.com