Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Companion Trails Complement Federal Land Road Networks

ATV/MC Companion Trail Along Road 1
Chappie Shasta OHV Area - BLM Redding Field Office

As the Forest Service and BLM continue to plan for motorized travel management throughout the country, QWR believes the agencies should add the concept of the “companion trail” to the planning process. 

In regions of the country where federal units have been planning for and implementing travel management,  the companion trail often plays an integral role in creating a high quality motorized route network that is both functional and fun.

ATV/MC Companion Trail Along Forest Road M5
Stonyford OHV Area - Mendocino National Forest

Construction of new companion trails along existing high standard roads can separate vehicle types for safety and an enhanced trail experience.   Adding a companion trail for OHVs will create a “trail” opportunity for non-street legal motorized recreation.

Companion Trail Along Road 3
Chappie Shasta OHV Area - BLM Redding Field Office

Often, the environmental review process is less complicated if the companion trail is sited within the road’s sphere of influence or prism.

In many cases, companion trails can utilize pre-TMR routes (where OHV use was allowed), existing skid roads, or old mining paths.  Often, no new construction is needed.  The old road/trail bed simply needs to be brushed and the downed trees cleared.

Companion Trail Along Samoa Road
Provides Access from County Park to Samoa Dunes Recreation Area

Companion trails for non-street legal OHVs can provide access from a camping/staging area to the trail network. 

Companion Trail Along Forest Road M5
Stonyford OHV Area - Mendocino National Forest

Ultimately, the goal of a companion trail is to complement existing OHV opportunities.

Companion Trails Along Paved Road
Access from Staging/Camping Area to Main Riding Area
Samoa Dunes Recreation Area - BLM Arcata Field Office

QWR believes there are a lot of quality OHV recreational opportunities that can be enhanced through better utilization of roads and trails within an existing riding area and we urge users and land agencies to look for projects where use of the companion trail makes sense. 


  1. A comment from a user in the Sierra NF - We fought very hard for this during travel management phase 1 but, the USFS template considered these duplicate trails and thus, most were closed and restored. Thank you for fighting for common sense!

  2. Another comment from a user - Vital with the growth of UTV use!