Friday, November 17, 2017

E-Bikes - New Technology for Access to the Great Outdoors

BH Product Manager, Ollie Dine, Explains E-Bicycle
Construction and Use at OHV Commission Meeting

QWR appreciates the effort put forth yesterday by the CA OHV Commission, staff, and E-vehicle manufacturers to present various vehicles and discuss the growing popularity of E-bicycles/motorcycles and just where they fit into the land-use equation.

OHV Commission Chair, Ted Cabral, Discusses Future of E-Vehicles 

OHV Commission Chairman, Ted Cabral, opened the “E module” with a discussion of current rules and regulations related to their use on the street, paths, and trails.

FS R5 Trails Lead, Garrett Villanueva, Tries Out E-Motorcycle

Participants were then given the opportunity to ride various E-bicycles/motorcycles.  Years ago, I rode one of the 1st Zero off-road motorcycles and thought then that they would become an important part of the OHV family.

Don Amador Getting Ready for his First E-Bicycle Ride

But for many of us, it was the first time to ride an E-bicycle.  Judging by the smiles of folks taking that initial ride, I feel that E-bikes are here to stay and will become an important transportation and/or recreation vehicle for many who want to get out and enjoy the great outdoors.

While some states have crafted regulations that allow for E-bicycle use on streets and mechanized trails, most, if not all, federal agencies are still restricting E-bicycle use to motorized trails.

Alta and Zero Representatives Give Thumbs-Up to Electric Motorcycles

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.

E-Vehicle Regulations in CA

With an aging population that continues to seek access to high-quality outdoor recreation, QWR believes that discussions should continue about use of E-bicycles on mechanized (non-Wilderness) public land trails.  

FS Multi-Use Trail that Allows E-Bike Use

Another option is for E-bike users to partner with the agencies to support new E-bike specific trail opportunities through grants, dedicated use fees, and volunteer efforts.

Trail Ethics an Important Factor 

QWR believes it is important for both the OHV and traditional mountain bike communities to work with E-bike enthusiasts and stakeholders as part of a “rising tide lifts all trails” ethos.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

ROHVA ROV Basic DriverCourse at Chappie-Shasta OHV Area - Skill Development, Safety, and Common Sense are Key Tenets

ROHVA RBDC Graduating Class 
BLM Chappie-Shasta OHV Area

QWR wants to congratulate the seven Forest Service and BLM recreation leads and field staff who completed the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association (ROHVA) ROV Basic DriverCourse (RBDC) taught at the Chappie-Shasta OHV Area near Redding, California on October 3, 2017.

Since Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles (ROVs) or Side-by-Sides (SxSs) are becoming increasingly popular and are the fastest growing segment of the powersports market and are seeing increased use by land agencies for recreation and resource management, QWR offered the RBDC course at the 2017 Interagency Ranger Ride and OHV workshop for agency staff who needed to get certified before operating a government SxS.

Student Path Selection and Stopping

The student’s pre-class off-road experiences included those with no OHV background to those agency staff that had driven 4WD trucks, motorcycles, ATVs, crew buggies, or fire engines in the backcountry.

Practice Turning

A lot of focus is placed on the proper use of personal protective gear or personal protective equipment (PPE) when sitting in or operating the SxS.  Just as it is important for certified chainsaw operators (both agency staff and trail volunteers) to use PPE, it is also critically important for SxS operators and passengers to wear an approved helmet, eye protection, gloves, boots, and long pants.

Precision Stop on 4 x 6

After becoming familiar with the operation of their vehicle and performing an inspection of various vehicle parts and controls including, but not limited to, the chassis, frame, wheels/tires, fenders, passenger seating and handholds, and the Rollover Protection Structure, they learned about proper hand positioning for steering, using both feet to control the gas and brake pedals, and many other aspects of safe vehicle operation.

The next five exercises are progressive in nature as they build the important skillsets needed for safe operation of the vehicle. 

Precision Stop on 4 x 6

Those exercises include starting out, stopping, driving a good path, experiencing low speed steering limits, backing-up/turning, driving a serpentine course both forward and in reverse, and practicing a quick stop and doing an evasive maneuver.

Don Amador, President of Quiet Warrior Racing/Consulting, states, “I am passionate about helping train both public and private sector SxS users about how to operate their vehicles in a safe and environmentally sound manner.”

Don Ready for RBDC Class

“I was proud to see the RBDC 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,”  Amador concludes.

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:

Monday, October 16, 2017

Dynamic Management of Trail Recreation – 2017 Interagency Ranger Ride and OHV Workshop

45 Mile Group Trail Ride to "Top of the World"
Vista for Lunch Stop

QWR believes a new term “Dynamic Management of Recreational Opportunities” might be the best way to describe an emerging post-event theme from this year’s Ranger Ride and OHV Workshop held on October 3-5, 2017 at the BLM’s Chappie-Shasta OHV Area near Redding, California.

Approximately 45 agency leads, recreation staff, and non-profit partners attended this annual interagency trail management and education workshop that was graciously hosted by the BLM’s Redding Field Office.

Small Group Discussions - Important Networking Opportunity

The focus of this year’s workshop was centered on looking for management strategies that might allow for or create new high-quality trail opportunities for Side x Sides (SxS) or Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles (ROVs).   

New Route Signed and Managed for SxS Use

 Other topics or education modules included, OHV sound test certification,  E-Bike recreation, public/private partnerships,  SxS and Dirt Bike driver/rider certification, mentored trail rides/tours  of unit, OHV grants, and soil conservation plans.

The Chappie-Shasta OHV Area was selected for this year’s event because of its ongoing efforts to employ various SxS-related travel management strategies.   Those routes help provide a growing number of SxS enthusiasts with signed routes that include varying degrees of challenge and looped touring opportunities.  

SxS Tour Stop to Check Trail Management Prescriptions

The workshop provided ample “seat time” for agency staff to experience the unit’s effective SxS management prescriptions from behind the wheel on many of the 200 miles of roads and trails in this 52,000 acre area.

State Park Ranger Gets some Seat Time on Trail Tour

The event also offered the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association’s (ROHVA) Basic Driver Course for agency staff that needed certification to operate government SxSs and was taught by QWR’s Don Amador, a ROHVA DriverCoach.

Garrett Villanueva (R5 Trail Lead) Practices Exercise 4
of the ROHVA BDC 
(Garrett was one of seven agency staff who took the course)

 Paul Hart, a certified DirtBike School coach and Trails Manager for the Yuba River Ranger District on the Tahoe National Forest, taught a one-day hands-on training session to agency students that needed Dirt Bike certification. 

Dirt Bike School Riders Waiting for Instructions

Grant administration from the California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) Division gave federal and non-profit partners an update on OHV grant opportunities and policies for obtaining fiscal support for OHV-related trail maintenance, restoration, law enforcement, and education/safety.

Chris Real - SAE J1287 Technical Certification Class

Chris Real, President of DPS Technical, Inc. taught agency staff and volunteers the technical inspector class on sound (SAE J1287) and spark arresters.

Will Harris (OHMVRD) Gave Soils Presentation

Will Harris, Senior Engineering Geologist at the OHMVR Division, talked to the group about the importance of clearly defining a project area and/or route network in their soil conservation plans.  There was a robust discussion about what defines a project area which led to the potential for follow up presentations at the OHMVR Division Grant Workshops in early 2018.

E-Bike Sign - Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit

The need to review and possibly amend current rules and regulations governing the use of E-bicycles/motorcycles on public lands was also discussed including the apparent necessity to address said issues at a national conference of agency professionals, recreation groups, and manufacturers.

An event wrap-up with attendees identified the following key tenets for agency recreation leads to consider when planning for SxS trail-based recreational opportunities.

OneLook for appropriate level 2 roads, trails, or routes where SxS use could be encouraged through signing and public outreach.

TwoLook for looped touring opportunities on federal roads and/or route networks that can be signed or designated for SxS use.

Three Federal agencies and county government should look for ways to partner with each other to designate appropriate routes for looped OHV touring opportunities that provide connectivity between jurisdictions.

Both seasoned and newbie agency riders expressed their appreciation for the event’s focus on SxS recreation and the opportunity for plenty of trail time in which to hone their riding skills and view the management prescriptions from the ground level.  

Jane Arteaga - Trail and Recreation Lead at CA BLM State Office -
Getting some seat time on the trail

It was appropriate that this year’s workshop was held at an OHV area that was named in honor of the CA OHV Program’s co-founder, Gene Chappie. 

According to the OHMVR Division, the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) Program was created in 1971 by two state legislators, "off-roader" Gene Chappie and "environmentalist" Ed Z'berg. The Chappie-Z'berg Law aimed to balance the demand for off-highway recreational opportunities with natural and cultural resource management. The intent was also to foster respect for private property rights and protect California's natural and cultural resources through sustainable management of OHV areas.

Sky Zaffarano (L), OHV Program Lead for Chappie, Explains Resource
and Trail Management Program on the Unit

It was also more than fitting that California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law on October 3, 2017 legislation that reauthorized the CA OHV Program and gave it permanent status.  And, that announcement was made at the Tuesday night BBQ hosted/donated by the Redding Dirt Riders, one of the unit’s key non-profit partners.

Successful events don’t happen by accident.  They come as the result of a lot of hard work by non-profit partners, agency leadership, and recreation staff.  

The 45 participants from the following organizations and agencies should be commended for their commitment to providing access to high-quality OHV recreation and related educational activities.  Those agencies and organizations include the Forest Service’s R5 Regional Office, BLM California State Office, BLM Redding Field Office, BLM Ukiah Field Office, BLM Eagle Lake Field Office, Tahoe National Forest, Eldorado National Forest, Shasta-Trinity National Forest, California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division, and the Redding Dirt Riders who are official non-profit volunteers for the Chappie Shasta OHV Area.

List of Partners that Support Chappie Shasta OHV Area

QWR also wants to thank these event sponsors and partners for their support of this educational endeavor to help train agency staff about safe vehicle operation and review new recreation strategies to address emerging technologies and uses.  Those supporters include the Right Rider Access Fund, Kawasaki Motors Corp, USA, RZ Mask, BlueRibbon Coalition/, and Redding Yamaha- Sea Doo.   They join a long list of partners (see above) that continue to make Chappie-Shasta OHV Area a premier West Coast designation site.

 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.


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Off-Road ADV Gem in S.F. Bay Area

Hilltop Vista Looking into Towards the Central Valley
Carnegie SVRA

With a cooling delta breeze blowing this morning, QWR wanted to do an on-site review of an excellent off-road ADV/DS opportunity in the Greater S.F. Bay Area for those new to the sport or those seasoned veterans who want to get some dirt-time without traveling several hours to a National Forest or BLM unit.

Front View of Carnegie SVRA

Located near Livermore, California, Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA) is one of nine OHV parks managed by the California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division. Those OHV parks are part of the 280 California State Park System units.

Entrance to Carnegie SVRA

Carnegie SVRA is approximately 1,300 acres in size that offers the rider a broad selection of motorized trail opportunities.  The trail ratings range from easy to extremely difficult.  There are hill-climbs, engineered contour single-track motorcycle trails, and wider routes that are more ADV friendly for those riders who want to hone their off-road skills.

One of the Wider ADV Friendly Route

When visiting Carnegie SVRA, be sure and note the numerous and ongoing resource and cultural protection efforts which include, but are not limited to, designated motorized crossings through the Park’s valley riparian area, hillside restoration fencing, and educational signing. 

Designated Riparian Area OHV Crossing

Be sure and check out online information regarding their outstanding wildlife monitoring and mitigation programs.  Also review the many amenities at the unit which include camping, staging areas, shaded picnic ramadas, and a store.


QWR suggests that ADV riders who live in the regional may want to consider a morning excursion to the unit where they can enjoy off-road routes that take them high into the backcountry of the park.

Enjoying the Juniper Trail

There will be plenty of opportunities along those main routes to venture onto more challenging trails where you can test you dirt prowess.

Juniper Trail Sign

When you get on up on some of the many vista points, you will find spectacular views of the Central Valley and surrounding landscape.

Carnegie SVRA might just be the ADV off-road gem (well worth the $5 dollar day use fee) you have been looking for.

*Feel free to download and review the 2017 OHV Commission Report which details many of the ongoing environmental and conservation programs that are key components of the nationally recognized CA OHV Program.  It also highlights many of the federal and county partnerships that are also key to this model program.


Sunday, August 6, 2017

Non-Motorized Trails Need Love Too

Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

A recent trip to the Pacific Northwest to hike and observe non-motorized travel management prescriptions reminded QWR that off-route travel including shortcuts on trails with switchbacks can present land managers with significant challenges.

Non-motorized travel management becomes even more acute at popular federally designated sites such as National Scenic Areas and National Monuments.  Often these sites are visited by thousands of domestic and international tourists each day. 

Such intensive use can place a stress on agency resources and staff in maintaining visitor services such as day use areas, interpretive centers, and trails.

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.

Shortcut Trail - Larch Mountain Trail
Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area

Last week, QWR had the privilege to hike the Larch Mountain Trail up to Multnomah Falls at the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area and tour various trails at the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.

Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument appears to have a modern signing program that uses a combination of more traditional travel management signs with the addition of more universal or “picture” signs to convey where the public should travel.

Effective "Picture" Travel Management Sign
Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument

Evidence of illegal cross-country non-motorized travel at the Monument was virtually non-existent which pays tribute to the unit’s management strategy and team.

Traditional Travel Management Sign
Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument

The Larch Mountain Trail up to Multnomah Falls was in overall good condition but it appeared that additional measures might be needed to address a number of non-legal shortcuts across some of the 11 switchbacks on the 1.25 miles of paved trail up to the falls.

Effective Sign with Trail Delineator - Larch Mountain Trail

Since this trail literally gets thousands of hikers from various parts of the world each day, QWR believes the unit should consider modernizing its signing program by integrating some “picture” signs that convey the importance of users staying on the paved route.

A "Picture" Shortcut Sign
Mendocino National Forest

This is particularly important since this area of the country has a long wet season where off-route travel can have significant impacts when the soil moisture content is elevated.

QWR has suggested the agency also enhance their signing program by increasing the number of trail delineators (e.g. spilt rail fences, etc.) and consider using woody debris to help camouflage old ghost trails or shortcuts.

The purpose of this article is to highlight the import role that both the motorized and non-motorized recreation community has in helping support sustainable travel management practices on public lands. 

And, those high use areas require more intensive travel management strategies and prescriptions.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

A Rising Tide Lifts All Trails - Highlight Those OHV Success Stories

Trail Armor and Restoration Projects - Rubicon Trail
Eldorado NF

QWR has long believed that partnerships and collaborative efforts are key elements in any 21st Century OHV recreation program.   Those joint efforts in support of sustainable OHV recreation continue to be the backbone of successful OHV programs in Region 5 and throughout the West.

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.

Sediment Catch Basin and Rolling Dip - Mace Mill
Eldorado NF

QWR commends the Eldorado National Forest’s outstanding communication efforts as highlighted in their recent:  42 Route Project Update #7

Link to 42 Route Project Update #7

As this report illustrates, various non-federal OHV grant programs (e.g. state, industry, etc.)  can help support the efforts of federal land agencies manage high-quality and environmentally sound OHV recreational opportunities.

Half Culvert OHV Bridge - Mace Mill
Eldorado NF

The document also notes the California State Park’s OHMVR Division has a grant program that supports their management efforts on the Forest and also shows that OHV recreation on public lands has evolved into a highly complex and diverse, partnership-based “a rising tide lifts all trails” concept.
QWR closes by stating 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.

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!