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.


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.


  1. Don, thanks for this great report and information. I am downloading the report myself to review.
    Dave Pickett D36 LAO

  2. Hey Don,
    Your absolutely right. The individual FS unit is usually unaware of the amount of activity that goes on in their backyard. We need to keep them honest or they will dictate what recreation activities they think we should enjoy. Cam

  3. Cam, 10-4 on getting good info to each planning unit.

  4. Interesting. Thank you for putting this out, it will be useful for future comments I'm sure. I just read the summery and conclusions and while "the five activities expected to grow the least" include motorized snow activities and motorized off-road use, the following statement "Projected
    population growth is high enough that the total number of participants and the total
    number of days for most recreation activities are projected to increase regardless of
    the direction of the trends in participation rates or days per participant", suggests that they know we are out there using out public lands. I'm also going to download the report and keep it handy for my local RMP draft that should be out soon. Thanks Don