The 2005 Forest Service Travel Management Rule (TMR) directs the agency to designate roads, trails, and areas for motorized vehicle use. There has rightfully been a lot of focus on road and trail designations since inception of TMR. However, QWR believes that “area” designations may have not received as must attention as they should have on some units.
Rules of the Area - Prosser OHV Area
Open OHV areas can provide important motorized recreation opportunities for sand dune enthusiasts, play riders, youth training, beginner practice, 4WD obstacle courses, or trials riding.
Meadow Protection at Prosser OHV Area
The Forest Service Manual 7700 states in Section 7715.73 that areas should have natural resource characteristics that are suitable for cross-country motor vehicle use or should be so altered by past events that motor vehicle use might be appropriate. Examples might include sand dunes, quarries, the exposed bed of draw-down reservoirs, and other small places with clear geographic boundaries.
Also those areas should consider impacts to adjacent private property, including noise and the potential for trespass.
FSM 7700 – Chapter 7710
Recently, QWR toured the Prosser Pits OHV Open Area on the Tahoe National Forest near Truckee, California. This facility is managed with support from the California State Park Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division and offers an open play area for OHV enthusiasts. Its management prescriptions include signs for dust control, spark arrestors, and resource protection. There are also signs and trail barriers to protect nearby meadows.
Dust and Noise Control Sign - Prosser OHV Area
As various Forests review their current TMR plans, QWR believes that users should meet with agency recreation staff to review the potential for inclusion of historic or new OHV road, trail, AND area designations.
These proactive post TMR projects can help the agency and OHV community build on the base route and area network that was part of the initial planning effort. TMR is a dynamic process and the quality of the opportunity is directly proportional to the commitment of, and the relationship between, the user community and agency staff.