Thursday, October 4, 2018

POST WILDFIRE - No-Dig Natural Trail Delineators






Over the last 18 years, QWR has witnessed the increased frequency of reoccurring intense wildfires impacting popular federal recreation areas in the California and the West.

Pressure Treated OHV Route Delineator Destroyed by Wildfire


QWR believes this fire paradigm is going to be with us for the foreseeable future.  If that belief is correct, then it forces the trail community to reconsider more sustainable and cost-effective OHV management prescriptions including use of on-site natural wood products (i.e. downed fire damaged trees, etc.) to reestablish delineation of designated routes, highlight a trail entrance, or protect natural or cultural resources.

No Dig Natural Trail Delineators 
Deer Valley Trail - Eldorado National Forest


In September of 2017, QWR participated in a joint project between the U.S. Forest Service and Motherlode Rockcrawlers to armor portions of the historic Deer Valley OHV Trail. Part of that project included using downed trees as trail delineators to help protect a nearby alpine meadow from vehicle intrusion.

Post Wildfire Installation of Pressure Treated Wood Barriers
2012 Mill Fire - Mendocino National Forest


Using downed trees, trail crews comprised of Forest Service certified sawyers (both agency and volunteers) bucked up footings (about 20-24 inches in length) and then cut v-notches in said footings.

Example of Trail Delineator Using Downed Trees


Various lengths of trees were then laid into the v-notches of the footing which created a stable natural-looking no-dig delineator that highlighted the designated path of vehicle travel and/or the area that was protected.  

Tree Section in V-Notched Footing

Showing V-Notches in Footing


Over the last 10-15 years, QWR and other OHV volunteers have helped agencies with post wildfire recovery projects which often included installation of new pressure treated wood barriers to replace existing pressure treated barriers that were destroyed by wildfire.  Those efforts were time consuming and costly.

Example of Trail Entrance Using Downed Tree Sections


While that post wildfire model to “buy and replace” pressure treated barriers may still be valid and necessary depending on desired management objectives, QWR believes our new and more frequent wildfire reality requires us to reevaluate the automatic response to purchase miles of costly pressure treated wood vs. increased use of on-site dead or dying trees to construct trail delineators.


Monday, October 1, 2018

UPDATED FEDERAL REPORT – Outdoor Recreation has $412B Economic Impact



Florence Yamaha/Polaris Dealer
SxS Sales, Service, and Accessories
Near OR Dunes National Recreation Area

On September 20, 2018, the Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account (ORSA) and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released updated data that shows the outdoor recreation economy accounted for 2.2 percent ($412 billion) of current-dollar Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2016. The BEA report notes the outdoor recreation economy grew 1.7 percent in 2016 which was faster than the 1.6 percent growth for the overall U.S. economy.

LINK TO BEA NEWS RELEASE

These updated fiscal numbers are an increase from an earlier BEA preliminary report issued in February 2018 that showed the outdoor recreation economy accounted for 2.0 percent ($373.7 billion) of current-dollar GDP in 2016.

BEA Chart on Outdoor Recreation Economic Impact

The new report states that motorcycling/ATVing activities accounted for $20.3 billion of real gross output in 2016, representing one of the fastest-growing activities at 8.0 percent growth from the previous year.

Factor 55 - Aftermarket Company 
Manufactures Closed System Winching Products
Vendor at 2018 Pomona Off-Road Expo 


After an initial review of this new report, QWR believes BEA may be actually underreporting the economic impact of “off-road” motorized recreation.  While BEA should be commended for disaggregating motorcycle and ATV use from other motorized activities such as RVing,  it appears the agency has failed to capture the direct and growing off-road economic impact of larger OHVs such as Side x Sides (SxS), jeep-type vehicles, four-wheel drive pickups, and all-wheel drive SUVs.

SUV Exploring Designated OHV Route
Eldorado National Forest


QWR found it hard to identify where BEA captured the economic impact that comes from off-road motorized access to non-motorized recreation activities such as hunting, fishing, driving for pleasure, races, and wildlife viewing which are often highly dependent on motorized vehicle use.

SxS Touring on BLM Historic "Route 66" OHV Trail


Don Amador, President of Quiet Warrior Racing/Consulting, states, “I believe BEA should try and capture the ‘off-road’ motorized recreation economic benefits where the larger OHVs are used as the primary activity or they provide access to non-motorized recreation activities. Most federal and state land agencies consider any motorized vehicle to be an OHV or off-road vehicle when being operated on native surfaced routes.”

Off-Road-based Camping Products
Photo Credit - Del Albright

“There are huge economic benefits associated with off-road recreation.  A growing number of rural economies are based on SxS and/or street-legal OHV use.  Also, off-road recreation oriented manufacturing, aftermarket, and vehicle dealers deserve to have their economic impact factored into future BEA reports,” Amador concludes.

Off-Road Touring Event for Street Legal 4WD Vehicles
Rubicon Trail - Eldorado National Forest 

 QWR believes this BEA economic impact report provides land agencies and government officials with important information that can and should be used in current and future recreation planning efforts.

# # # 







Friday, September 21, 2018

SxS Training Part of Wildfire Recovery

ROV RBDC Graduating Class – September 19, 2018
Factory Pipe ROHVA Training Site – Ukiah, CA


QWR wants to congratulate the six BLM recreation leads and field staff who completed the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association (ROHVA) ROV Basic DriverCourse (RBDC) taught at the Factory Pipe Training Area located in Ukiah, California on September 19, 2018.

Developing Two-Feet Throttle/Brake Control
Exercise 4


This ROHVA class was offered in recognition of the long-standing partnership between OHV stakeholders and the BLM’s Ukiah Field Office which manages the Cow Mountain OHV Recreation Area.

Developing Two-Feet Throttle/Brake Control

Exercise 4



The River Fire damaged a significant number of popular OHV roads, trails, and related infrastructure on about 30,000 acres of BLM’s Cow Mountain Recreation Area.   Important wildfire recovery efforts are underway and the agency’s increased reliance on Side-by-Sides (SxSs) means there is also a growing need for ROHVA training opportunities since federal employees are required to get certification or recertification before operating a government SxS.

Practice Smooth Starting and Stopping 
Exercise 2


Don Amador, President of Quiet Warrior Racing/Consulting, states, “It is a privilege to help train agency staff about how to operate their SxS vehicles in a safe manner as they prepare to address post wildfire damage to OHV trails, campgrounds, and cultural resources.”

Cow Mountain OHV Recreation Area
Currently Closed by River Fire 

“The driving skills learned will help agency staff safely operate their vehicles while doing trail repairs and soil stabilization treatments,” Amador concludes.

QWR believes that non-federal partners will have an increasingly important role to play in helping provide access for agency staff to professional certified safety instruction for SxSs.

LINK TO ROHVA (Go ahead and take the free online ROHVA E-Course)
http://www.rohva.org/

*If you are interested in having Don teach a ROHVA ROV Basic DriverCourse, contact him at: damador@quietwarriorracing.com



Friday, September 14, 2018

Cool eMTB Trail Opportunity in Southern Oregon

MTB/eMTB Kiosk at Whiskey Run Trail System
Coos County Forest, Oregon


While on a recent trip on the Oregon Coast, QWR had the opportunity to stop by and check out a very cool 30 mile network of trails open for both MTB and eMTB (Type 1) use.

Rules of the Trail

Managed by Coos County, the Whiskey Run Mountain Bike Trail System is a relatively new recreation opportunity designed specifically for MTBs and pedal assist eMTBs.  This trail project was the result of a collaborative effort between trail enthusiasts and county officials.

MTB/eMTB Trail Entrance
Whiskey Run Trail System, Coos County Forest, Oregon


LINK TO ARTICLE ABOUT TRAIL PROGRAM FROM TRAVEL OREGON

The local user and county partnership appears alive and well since there was a new trail opened in the last few weeks.

New MTB/eMTB Trail Recently Opened
Whiskey Run Trail System, Coos County Forest, Oregon


QWR believes this is a good example of a land agency working with engaged recreationists to create new trail opportunities for traditional MTB use and to provide legal riding for pedal assist eMTBs.

QWR commends the ongoing efforts by local, state, and federal land agencies as they look for ways to create legal trail opportunities for eMTBs on non-motorized routes.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

QWR NEWS RELEASE - Launch of New Post Wildfire Recovery Program




NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Don Amador
Phone: 925.625.6287
Date: September 4, 2018

*Contact Don Amador if you need additional photos

 NEW OHV WILDFIRE RECOVERY PROGRAM

OAKLEY, CA (Sept. 4) –  Quiet Warrior Racing (QWR), a national recreation consulting company, is launching its new program in response to current and future wildfire impacts at popular Forest Service, BLM, and state off-highway vehicle (OHV) areas.  The Post Wildfire Recovery Strike Team module will work to help address the effects that catastrophic wildfires can have on OHV route and trail facilities.

Don Amador at Wildfire Recovery Area
BLM's Fort Sage OHV Area

Intense wildfires can destroy important OHV management tools such as trail delineators, signs, kiosks, and campground facilities.  Costly soil erosion and water quality trail structures can often be obliterated by dozers creating access routes for firefighters or blading fire lines around the blaze.

The program will help facilitate numerous volunteer post-fire recovery projects at OHV recreation sites in collaboration with stakeholders such as OHV clubs, volunteers, OHV Industry and other grant programs, land agencies, and conservation groups in the delivery and implementation of post-fire mitigation efforts.

Chris Conlin, Former Deputy Director of the California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division and Boating and Waterways Division, states, “I strongly endorse QWR’s efforts to create a trail stewardship program that is sharply focused on important post-wildfire recovery efforts on federal and state recreation units that are being devastated in the 2018 Wildfire Season.”

“Both Don Amador and I have been long-time advocates for creation of OHV-specific post-wildfire recovery and rehabilitation programs.  I believe this Strike Team will have a strategic role in current and future collaborative efforts to deliver crucial post-fire recovery assets at important public land recreation sites,” Conlin concludes. 

“Don Amador, President of Quiet Warrior Racing/Consulting, states, “It’s clear to me that OHV recreation sites in California and the West will continue to face the likelihood of more intense wildfires over the next 10-20 years.  I believe creation of our wildfire recovery program it relevant and timely given the impacts that the Mendocino Complex, Carr, and Ferguson Fires had on popular destination OHV areas.”

“I look forward to working with our land agency, OHV club, and conservation partners to recover and reopen recreation areas devastated in the 2018 Wildfire Season,” Amador concludes.

For information about opportunities to partner, sponsor, or support the program please contact Don Amador at: damador@quietwarriorracing.com

LINK TO THE POST WILDFIRE RECOVERY STRIKE TEAM MODULE


# # #

Don Amador has 28 years of experience in the field of OHV recreation management, federal/state land-use policy, and post-wildfire recovery.  Don is president of Quiet Warrior Racing/Consulting, an OHV recreation consulting company. Don serves as Core-Team Lead for FireScape Mendocino, a forest-health collaborative that is part of the National Fire Learning Network.  Don also serves as Operations Chief for the Post-Wildfire OHV Recovery Alliance.   Don is a contributor to ModernJeeper.com.





Thursday, August 30, 2018

WILDFIRE UPDATE - Get Red Cross First Aid Certification BEFORE Taking FS Chainsaw Class




The Forest Service requires that volunteers - who use chainsaws to clear trails of downed trees - get certified or recertified every 3 years.  

According to the Forest Service, volunteer sawyers covered by those policies often maintain trails on national forests and grasslands or work in Wilderness where crosscut saws are required. The national saw directive standardizes training, evaluation, certification, and safety procedures for sawyers operating on lands managed by the agency.

 
Valid Red Cross Adult First Aid Card


The FS requires volunteers to have a valid Red Cross First Aid/CPR certification card BEFORE you can take the FS Chainsaw Certification class.  Depending on where you live, the Red Cross
Classes (usually ½ day or so) are either online or you attend in person. Costs vary from $25 dollars for the online course to $115 for the classroom.

 To learn more about the American Red Cross training programs, please visit:

The safety planning components are related to Felling, Bucking, Brushing and Limbing Plans that uses a planning logic strategy which includes the following analysis and project description categories; Objective, Hazards/Obstacles, Leans/Binds, Escape Routes, and Cut Plan (OHLEC).  This process is applied to all phases of the saw operation.

Historically, the chainsaw certification levels were largely based on tree size or Diameter at Breast Height (DBH). The current certification rating is more focused on the complexity of the specific felling or bucking task using OHLEC as a decision matrix.  The sawyer certification levels are listed below.

A Sawyer.  An apprentice sawyer who may saw only in the least complex situations or, for training purposes, at the next higher level and in either case only under the immediate supervision of a B or C Sawyer qualified to supervise the work.

B Sawyer – Bucking Only (not applicable in the fire management context). An intermediate sawyer who may independently buck and limb any size material in moderately complex situations and who may saw at the next higher level, but only under the immediate supervision of a sawyer qualified to supervise the work

B Sawyer – Felling and Bucking.  An intermediate sawyer who may independently fell, buck, and limb any size material in moderately complex situations. This person may saw at the next higher level under the immediate supervision of a sawyer qualified to supervise the work. This person may also conduct classroom and field training for A and B Sawyers with prior written approval from the Saw Program Coordinator.

C Sawyer – Bucking Only (not applicable in the fire management context). An advanced sawyer who may independently buck and limb any size material in highly complex situations based on the Regional Saw Program Manager’s or Saw Program Coordinator’s written recommendation. The recommendation must be supported by demonstrated advanced saw knowledge, skills, and in most cases certification as a B Sawyer. This person may conduct classroom and field training within that person’s skill level for A and B Sawyers, and may conduct field proficiency evaluations within that person’s skill level for A Sawyers and B Sawyers ̶ Bucking Only.
   

C Sawyer ̶  Felling and Bucking. An advanced sawyer who may independently fell, buck, and limb any size material in highly complex situations based on the Regional Saw Program Manager’s or Saw Program Coordinator’s written recommendation. The recommendation must be supported by demonstrated advanced saw knowledge, skills, and in most cases certification as a B Sawyer. This person may conduct classroom, field training, and proficiency evaluations for A and B Sawyers.

LINK TO INFO ON THE FOREST SERVICE NATIONAL SAW PROGRAM

Again, the training is very comprehensive.  Topics include, but are not limited to: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), area size up, proper body positioning and stance,  familiarity with OSHA requirements and regulations, physics of “binds”,  physics of “kickback”, sawyer/swamper communication, cutting area control, danger tree awareness,  job hazard analysis and emergency evacuation plans,  Forest Service radio communication, radio procedures and how to use a Forest Service radio;  parts of the chainsaw,  how to sharpen chainsaw chain,  and saw maintenance;   and of course the inclusion of safe chainsaw handling, starting and stopping procedures, use of escape routes,  and safe fueling of the saw to avoid “fuel geysers.”

It is important to set aside two days for the FS Chainsaw Class which includes one day in the classroom and one day in the field.  And again, plan for ½ a day to attend a Red Cross First Aid class.

As OHV stakeholders and partners wait for volunteer post-wildfire projects to be scheduled  -- once the fires are out, mop up operations are concluded, and the FS or BLM are ready to starting planning for volunteer projects -- you can be proactive and get your Red Cross First Aid certification NOW and be ready to attend a FS chainsaw class when they are announced.

The need for a trained professional volunteer workforce will continue to grow as we face the current and future impacts of wildfires on federal recreation areas.

*Don Amador also serves as the Operations Chief for the Post Wildfire OHV Recovery Alliance

# # #

Monday, August 13, 2018

POST WILDFIRE ACCESS - Avoid Economic Impact to Local Communities





Alert Public to Post Fire Hazards

Extreme wildfires have both immediate and long-term impacts on OHV recreation. They can destroy  trail delineators, signs, viewsheds, kiosks, and campground facilities.  Costly soil erosion and water quality-related trail structures can often be obliterated by dozers blading fire lines around the blaze.

According to the National Interagency Fire Center, “…  many lands sustaining wildfire are naturally stimulated and recover to healthy conditions, some catastrophic fire can damage the land, causing threats to human life, property, and biological and cultural resources downstream. In these situations, land managers may decide to apply "first-aid" immediately after the wildfire to help stabilize and repair the landscape.

The USDA Forest Service and Department of the Interior (DOI) agencies use Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) to manage post-fire response actions within a year of a wildfire being contained. These efforts, also known as Emergency Stabilization, prevent further degradation of natural and cultural resources, and protect life and property.

In some cases, DOI may provide additional funding to improve burned areas and achieve desired conditions for up to 3 years after containment. "Burned Area Rehabilitation" (BAR) supports the healing process and provides a "bridge" to long-term recovery. Allocation of BAR funds involves a rigorous and competitive process to evaluate projects. This ensures the needs of greatest concern on DOI lands are addressed first.

Further rehabilitation and maintenance of healthy conditions are the responsibility of local land managers through agency natural resources programs.

Caution Signs - Post Fire Management Tool


A recent main stream media story (see link below) also illustrates that loss of road and trail access can have a devastating impact to the local community’s culture and economy.

LINK TO ROADS ARE MONEY ARTICLE

QWR understands that land agencies are faced with a lot of difficult decisions on how to recover the land after the wildfire has been put out and that temporary closures can be an important tool for when a bridge or road is washed out. 

Post Fire Trail Management Tool


However, given the important role that outdoor recreation has as a critical economic driver in many rural areas, QWR believes that land agencies should avoid - if possible - landscape level closures of the burn area and work with various partners in post-fire recovery planning and implementation of subsequent “first aid” travel and resource management prescriptions that are focused on reopening affected areas in a timely manner so as to avoid prolonged impacts to recreation access and local communities.