Monday, April 20, 2015

Amateur Off-Road Events are Educational Opportunities

Youth at Tech Station
2015 Shasta Dam GP

Amateur off-road events are great family-oriented venues where competitors challenge their skills on designated OHV trails.  In addition, they can provide an important real-time in-the-field educational opportunity for professional advocates, volunteers, club members, and land managers to share new management concepts, review trail maintenance and restoration projects, and practice enforcement of OHV-related rules and regulations.

Recently, QWR had the privilege to help with tech services at the AMA National Shasta Dam Grand Prix held at the BLM’s Chappie-Shasta OHV Area near Redding, California.   Hosted by the Redding Dirt Riders, this event afforded us chance to help educate riders - young and old alike - about riding with current vehicle registration, sound compliant exhaust, and U.S. Forest Service approved spark arresters.

QWR Riding with BLM Staff on Trail Review
Chappie-Shasta OHV Area

Before and after the event, QWR was able to tour a number of recent and proposed trail and restoration projects with BLM recreation and fire/fuels staff.  This was a great opportunity to see how the use of modern trail management techniques are used to address water quality and soil erosion.  In addition, it was important to see how fire/fuel reduction projects might help reduce the intensity of a wildfire.

BLM's, Sky Zaffarono, at Current Trail Maintenance Project
Chappie-Shasta OHV Area 

This last weekend, QWR was at Round One of the AMA Sanctioned SRT D36 Northern California Championship Enduro Series.  The 61st Annual Sawmill Brand Q Enduro was hosted by the North Bay Motorcycle Club. 

Sara Mathews, the Outdoor Recreation Planner for the BLM’s Ukiah Field Office, was on hand to help oversee the event and to practice the field-level application/enforcement of California’s OHV regulations related to spark arresters, registration, and sound compliant exhaust.   QWR, RDR, and BLM were also able to tour trail and restoration projects.

BLM's, Sara Mathews, Checking Spark Arrester
Cow Mountain National Recreation Area

Trail Armor on Climbing Turn
Cow Mountain National Recreation Area

The 2015 Sawmill Enduro was held at the BLM’s Cow Mountain National Recreation Area (NRA) near Ukiah, California. This NRA was designated by Congress specifically for OHV use in 2006.

The ever growing number of retiring BLM and Forest Service recreation staff and line-officers who are experienced with managing OHV recreation is problematic.  QWR believes a lot of corporate knowledge is being lost.  Additionally, said retirements have even a greater impact on OHV because those personal and professional relationships that have been developed over the last 20-30 years are lost as well.  

QWR believes it is incumbent on the OHV community to make sure that relationships are cultivated with new federal and state recreation staff and leadership.  It is not just enough to ask for a meeting at the district office.  While those meetings are important, it is even more critical that you ask for agency staff to meet you in the field to review issues, ideas, and solutions.

Often times, new agency staff are not familiar with OHV recreation and in some cases have never taken a ride in a 4WD, ATV, dirt-bike, or SxS.  At that introductory meeting in the office, try and schedule a time when you can meet recreation staff in the field or at an event.  There is no substitute for taking a ride together in a SxS or other OHV and discussing trail and resource management from that close perspective.

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