Thursday, December 19, 2013

Trail Highlights at Christmas - It's a Team Effort

Trail Santa at QWR with 2014 Trail Workshop Kawasaki Teryx

As 2013 comes to a close, I want to just express my heartfelt thanks to my colleagues in the OHV community.  Those extended family members include OHV clubs, land management agencies, user groups, industry, dealers, media, aftermarket, legislators, and conservation organizations.

This year certainly has had its challenges, but for today, I want to highlight some of our collective (team effort) positive accomplishments in 2013.

Old trails that have been overgrown and unused are being reopened for OHV use in some areas using modern trail reconstruction techniques to address soil erosion and protect water quality.

New Companion Trail at BLM's Chappie-Shasta OHV Area 

Some units are securing OHV corridors for more looped opportunities.  These efforts are important for both casual use and permitted events.

New Bypass for OHV Corridor on Mendocino NF

Land agency line-officers are taking time to come out in the field to better understand their managed OHV recreation programs.  This is a good trend and QWR hopes to help facilitate more field-oriented trail workshops and outreach programs with our county, state, and federal partners in 2014.

Regional Forester Inspects Trail Armor Project

OHMVRD Dep. Director, Chris Conlin, Takes Dirt Bike School Class
at 2013 Trail Workshop (Chris is on Blue Yamaha TTR230)

QWR is also thankful for agency efforts to continue motorized access to some of our beaches on the North Coast of California.  Those wave-slope opportunities are a highly valued treasure to local recreationists and tourists who want a coastal beach experience.

OHV Access to South Jetty at Humboldt Bay

Volunteer projects are an important part of OHV management and those partnerships between user groups and agency staff create value to the resource and instill a sense of pride and ownership for the participants.

Post Mill Fire Trail Rehab 

As many of you prepare to enjoy some time with family and friends, QWR wants to once again say thank you to all members of the OHV community that we have had the pleasure to work with and serve in 2013.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Systems Approach is Force Multiplier to OHV Management

RCD/BLM Trail Armor Project

Over the last 40 years, management of OHV recreation on public lands has evolved into a highly complex and diverse “systems approach” concept that is often at the core of successful programs.  QWR believes it is important to highlight those partnerships in order to illustrate the evolution of managed motorized trail opportunities.

Last week, QWR was privileged to do an area review of just such an effort at BLM’s Chappie-Shasta OHV Area near Redding, California.   The Western Shasta Resource Conservation District (RCD) and the Bureau of Land Management recently entered into a ten year stewardship agreement to cooperatively manage the Chappie-Shasta Off-Highway Vehicle Area.

RCD/BLM Agreement

RCD and the BLM will focus on projects related to road and trail maintenance, forest health improvement, fuel reduction, education and outreach and other efforts.  For example, trail armoring projects - as the result of this partnership - are being implemented.

This collaborative effort with the support from the Yamaha OHV Access Initiative Grant Program is also in the middle of an OHV staging area enhance project to remove invasive plants that are impacting access and use of the facility.

RCD/Yamaha OHV Access Initiative Enhancement Project

Yamaha OHV Access Initiative Grant Program

The aforementioned RCD/BLM agreement acts as a force multiplier when combined with this unit’s long-standing partnership with California’s Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division and Commission.

CA OHV Grant Funded OHV Bridge to Protect Watershed

This is a good case study of how a comprehensive “many-hands/partners” systems approach to OHV trail and resource management is working in a synergistic manner to protect our natural environment while providing high-quality motorized trail opportunities.

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Monday, November 4, 2013

2013 Ranger Ride - Trail Management, Partnerships, and Collaboration

QWR's Don Amador Tries Out DirtBike School Course at Event

QWR believes there is no substitution for OHV-related on-the-ground training for land managers and recreation professionals.  How can a decision-maker manage an activity they don’t understand? That strong belief is why QWR teamed up with the BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC) this year to host the 2013 Ranger Ride and OHV Campout.     The event was based on a very successful series of such field conferences held during the 1990s.

OHMVRD Dep. Dir., Chris Conlin (on TTR230), Stops for Instructor

Although the shutdown prevented a number of historic event participants such as Trails Unlimited from attending, the Ride saw representatives from the Forest Service, BLM, California Conservation Corps, and the California OHV Program.   The trail workshop was held on October 29 – November 1 at the Stonyford OHV Area on the Mendocino National Forest.

DirtBike School Classroom Instruction

The event kicked off with MSF’s  DirtBike School.  Paul Hart, a certified DirtBike School coach and OHV program manager for the Shasta Trinity National Forest, taught this one-day hands-on training session to agency students from the Forest Service, BLM, California Conservation Corps, and the California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division (OHMVRD).  Students learned basic riding skills, trail ethics, and environmental responsibility.

DirtBike School Students Prep for Post-Graduation Trail Ride

After graduation from the course, students took part in several days of trail riding where they could polish up on their newly acquired skills.

Tahoe NF's Trail Lead, Joe Chavez, on 80 Mile Trail Ride/Review 
of OHV Management on Grindstone and Upper Lake Ranger Districts

A foundational component of these Ranger Rides is the fostering of discussion and debate related to management of OHV recreation on public lands.  Trail rides, resource tours, and campfire chats are designed to highlight important current and/or evolving management concepts. 

Mendocino NF's Forest Supervisor, Sherry Tune, Takes 1st Ever OHV Ride
Review Includes Post-Mill Fire Trail Rehab

Topics covered at this event included construction of companion trails, the value of green-sticker connector trails or mixed-use routes/corridors, new streamlined NEPA process for OHV-related watershed-based restoration projects, traditional rolling dips vs. new “tabletop” erosion control structures, hand maintained single-track trails vs. machine groomed routes,  the need to train dozer operators in the proper construction of rolling dips, creation/management of SxS-oriented routes, collaboration between stakeholders, volunteer programs, post-fire road and trail repairs/management, and many other subjects.

California Conservation Corps Review of Trail Management Structures

QWR wants to commend Region 5 for sending their trails coordinator out to the event to show support for these types of field workshops.   The Forest Supervisor for the Mendocino National Forest also attended and took her 1st ride in an OHV.  Leadership and key personnel from other units including the Shasta Trinity National Forest, California Conservation Corps, Tahoe National Forest, BLM’s Redding Field Office, and OHMVRD were there as well.  

QWR and our Sound Trails Initiative want to thank our partners and sponsors for their ongoing generous support of our efforts to champion responsible OHV recreation on public lands.  We could not do this without your help.  QWR also wants to thank RK/Excel for their support at this event for the public land volunteers who donate their personal time to help maintain our trail systems.

Stay tuned for updates as plans are already in the works for the 2014 Ranger Ride and OHV Campout.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Post Rim Fire Update - Trail Stabilization on Stanislaus National Forest/Hull Creek OHV Area

Post Rim Fire Trail Work on Stanislaus National Forest

With winter rains approaching in the next few weeks, QWR wants to commend agency staff on the Stanislaus National Forest for their work to stabilize or stormproof motorized routes in the Hull Creek OHV Area that were impacted by the Rim Fire.

According to an October 21, 2013 update from the Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) program, implementation is well underway ahead of the rainy season and assessment of additional needs is ongoing. Emergency response actions being taken include falling hazard trees near roads trails and campgrounds; improving and stormproofing roads to restore drainage; repairing and constructing rolling dips (drivable dips that remove water off the road); stabilizing and repairing trails; installing public warning signs gates and barricades for public safety; applying mulch and chipping woody material to protect exposed soil; and protecting cultural and natural resources.

Example of a Post Fire Rolling Dip

The BAER program also stated that while these treatments will help to reduce post-fire effects it must be recognized that not all effects can be mitigated and potential threats to life and property remain during runoff events. The projects underway are listed below.

Restoring drainage - 61% complete:
Clean the ditches and culverts
Pull floatable debris from uphill of the culverts
Water bars – helps with the drainage of water and
grading the road.

Rolling dips: (repair and construct) - 13% complete

Erosion control measure - 46% complete
Trail stabilization - 100% complete
Hazard tree mitigation - 100% complete
Install route markers - 100% complete
Install public warning signs gates and barricades

Hazard tree mitigation - 94% complete along priority roads.
Cultural resource protection: erosion control measures are 69% complete and hazard tree mitigation is 100% complete.

QWR again wants to commend agency staff on the Stanislaus National Forest for their work to stabilize motorized trails that are so important to the OHV community.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

"Stay the Trail" During Hunting Season

With the fall hunting season in full swing in many public land states, QWR believes it is important for that user group to “Stay on the Trail.”

QWR had a recent discussion with federal land managers regarding the importance of hunters using designated roads and trails when operating an OHV.   Hunters often do not view themselves as an operator of an OHV.  For many of those sportsmen, their ATV or SxS was purchased to replace the family jeep-type vehicle or pack animal.   There is an understandable disconnect between OHVs purchased for hunting vs. primary use for OHV recreation. That appears to be one of the main reasons that many hunters believe OHV-specific rules and regulations (helmet laws, use restricted to designated routes, prohibition of cross-country travel) do not apply to their use.

This ongoing land management challenge was highlighted recently in the Spokesman-Review where Idaho’s OHV Public Outreach Campaign was featured.  That program is working hard to help educate hunters to use designated routes.

Spokesman-Review Article on OHV Use during Hunting Season

Idaho “Stay on Trails” Hunting Season Campaign

Our good friends at Tread Lightly! have a great hunting-related education program as well.  Feel free to check out that campaign at:

QWR believes that OHV stakeholders (industry, aftermarket, dealers, users, and land agencies) must continue to help with outreach to the hunting community on this important topic.  Education about responsible OHV use is a key enforcement tool and more of an effort must be made to encourage hunters to “Stay on the Trail.”




Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Post Fire Travel Management Tools - Trail Delineators

Mill Fire's Landscape Alteration
Post-fire rehabilitation of destination OHV areas on Forest Service lands requires a lot dedication, determination, and dollars/labor.  Sometimes, the landscape is altered for several generations.
Key trail entrance landmarks such as trees and boulders are often destroyed by the wildfire or impacted by heavy equipment used to blaze dozer lines around the fire.
Dozer Lines Can Also Remove Trail Entrance Features
On a recent work detail, QWR’s Sound Trails Initiative had the opportunity to help restore trail entrance features and vehicle-type control devices on the Mendocino National Forest.
Trail Delineators Ready for Installation on MC/ATV Trail
As many of you know, the 2012 Mill Fire destroyed about 82,000 acres within the boundaries of the Stonyford OHV Area on the Grindstone Ranger District in Northern California.  Much of the landscape is now unrecognizable and important trail entrance features are no longer there.
Delineators Installed on Designated MC/ATV Trail
To help identify trail entrances and vehicle-type restrictions, the Forest has been installing new trail delineators on important route entrances.  Over the last year, hundreds of trail delineators have been installed with the help of agency staff and volunteers to help prepare the unit for the fall riding season.
Trail Delineators Installed on Trail for Full-Size Vehicles
This summer’s fire season has devastated a lot of federal timber lands in the West including portions of the Stanislaus National Forest burned by Rim Fire.  Installing managed OHV recreation trail control structures will be important to reopen those routes in an expeditious manner.
QWR believes that volunteers will continue to play an important role in those trail projects.   It is a team effort to repair post-fire damage and will require continued partnerships with users, agency staff, grant funds where available, and other stakeholders.
Agency/Volunteer Work Party
Lastly, QWR wants to thank our partners and sponsors for the support over the last year which has enabled us to help with the ongoing post-fire trail rehabilitation efforts on the Mendocino National Forest.
Tools of the Trade

Monday, September 16, 2013

Trails are Important Part of Life's Journey - Kyburz Interpretive Center

Kiosk at Kyburz Flat Interpretive Center
At QWR we believe “The Trails You Take on Life’s Journey are Important.”   Trails and forest roads can offer adventure riders a link to our past via interpretive centers often found along both well-traveled and less-traveled routes.
Station One: Kyburz Petroglyph
While participating in the 2013 Reno 200 Dual Sport Ride this past weekend,  I stopped at the Kyburz Interpretive Center to learn about what took place in this remote valley over the last 2,000 years.  This center is located on the Tahoe National Forest’s Sierraville Ranger District.
According to information at the kiosk, the valley was inhabited as early as 2,000 years ago by ancestors of the Washoe Indians who lived and hunted in the area.  At one of the three interpretive sites, there are rocks that contain cupules which are a form of petroglyphs.  Cupules are round pits that were etched into the rocks and are believed to be associated with various Native American rituals.  This site remains important to the Washoe Tribe.
Link to GPS Coordinates for Kyburz Flat Interpretive Center
In the 1850s, emigrants began to travel through this area.  Henness Pass Road had a stagecoach stop in the 1860s at this site and the route also provided access to this valley for grazing and timber. Basques also ran sheep in this area starting in the early 1900s. 
                                                             View of Kyburz Valley
Next time you are in this part of the Sierra Nevada Mountains just north of Truckee, California, take time to enjoy this information center and reflect on the many treasures that are part of our collective history.
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Friday, September 13, 2013

"Sound" Advice DS Trail Tip - Two Mirror Law in Nevada

As QWR prepares to attend the 2013 Ride Reno 200 Dual Sport and Adventure Ride to operate our OHV sound education booth, we want to remind riders that two mirrors are required when you are operating a motorcycle on roads in the State of Nevada.

Link to 2013 Ride Reno 200

According to NRS 486.311  (Mirrors) -  Every motorcycle or moped shall be equipped with two mirrors, each containing a reflection surface not less than 3 inches in diameter, with one mirror mounted on each handlebar, in positions enabling the driver to view clearly the highway for a distance of 200 feet to the rear.

QWR is providing this reminder so that riders coming from “one-mirror” states such as California can comply with the law and reduce the risk of being pulled over by a law enforcement officer.

Our good friends at the AMA have a handy website that contains current motorcycle-related laws for all 50 states.

AMA Motorcycle Laws

If you are coming up to the ride, be sure and stop by the sound station and say hi.




Wednesday, August 21, 2013

OHV Amateur Events are Foundational Aspect of Motorized Recreation

By Don Amador
August 21, 2013

*Permission to reprint or publish is hereby granted

I believe that OHV club events are culturally significant and are a foundational component of motorized recreation.  Amateur events such enduros, poker-runs, and dual-sport rides have become an important part of the recreational opportunity spectrum on state and federal lands.  They strengthen the family, create a sense of stewardship, and provide an economic benefit to the local community.

Amateur events are where the entire family usually attends to participate and/or support that relative who has signed up to ride.  Vacations are often planned to coincide with the event.  Vehicle and equipment preparation is where many valuable lessons are handed down from parent to child.

Long standing events such as the Oakland Motorcycle Club’s Jackhammer Enduro have taken place on Forest Service lands for over 40 years.  I believe these club “legacy events” creates generational ownership, pride, and stewardship of affected public lands.

Amateur events can also stimulate the local economy as riders patronize area restaurants, grocery stores, hotels, and gas stations.

In California, amateur event participants contribute directly to the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division’s grant program via their vehicle registration fees and fuel taxes.  Those trust funds are then used to support public land-related trail maintenance, law enforcement, environmental restoration, and safety.

I believe that public land agencies should be encouraging club events as a way to strengthen partnerships, support family togetherness, stimulate volunteerism at the club level, and to provide an economic benefit to the local community.   

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Don Amador writes on environmental and land-use issues from his office in Oakley, CA. He may be reached via email at:


Monday, August 12, 2013

Alpine OHV Trail Success Story in Lake Tahoe Area

Armored Water Crossing on Blackwood OHV Trail
Addressing water quality concerns on OHV trails is not a new concept.  In fact, federal and state agencies have been doing just that for over 30 years. 
Cresting a Rolling Dip on Blackwood OHV Trail
The Blackwood Canyon OHV trail on the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit is a good case study of a successful 20+ year-old joint project between the U.S. Forest Service and the California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division’s grant program.
Video of Jeep on Rolling Dips Installed on Blackwood OHV Trail
While on a recent SUV tour of the trail, QWR was able to document many of the (circa mid 1980s – early 1990s) stream armoring efforts and rolling dips (historically called water-bars) that are now important environmental features of the route.
Rolling Dip and Water Runout
QWR believes the success story at Blackwood Canyon highlights the import of OHV being proactive in supporting soil erosion/water quality-related projects on motorized trails.  Installation of modern stream armoring structures and rolling dips can help secure the future of OHV recreation on public lands in even the most sensitive areas including those regions that contain our historic alpine routes.

Monday, July 29, 2013

California North Coast Adventure Ride Report

QWR's Don Amador at Intersection of Bald Mountain Road
and Snow Camp Road
The coastal mountain range in the Eureka, California area offers the dual-sport or adventure rider a lot of high-quality backcountry experiences.  While on a recent 190 mile dual-sport trip with local off-roaders to review travel management issues on the Six Rivers National Forest, l had the privilege to enjoy many of the historic non-paved and paved road segments that circle north from Eureka and out through the old logging towns of Blue Lake and Korbel, south through sections of the Forest, and back west to Eureka via Highway 36 and the Kneeland Road.

Bald Mountain Road and Snow Camp Road Intersection GPS

East Intersection of Chism Road and Hwy. 299

Leaving Korbel we took Bald Mountain Road east and turned left on Snow Camp Road to Lord Ellis Summit where we hit Highway 299.  After following Highway 299 east for a few miles, we turned left on Chism Road and stayed on that route until it joined up once again with Highway 299.  A short jaunt east on that highway took us to the top of Berry Summit where we turned right on Titlow Road. 
Forest Highway One
Route One GPS
After lunch at the world famous Burger Bar (located in a circa 1960s-era travel trailer) in Mad River, we headed west on Highway 36 where we gassed up at Dinsmore.  After gas, our journey took us west to Bridgeville (I think the entire town is still for sale!) where a right turn placed us on the Kneeland Road which is the mostly non-paved back entrance to Eureka.
Bridge at Yager Creek
We stopped at Yager Creek for a break and saw some pretty large trout in the steam below the bridge.  Not too far north of the bridge was the Iagua Ranch where supposedly some scenes were shot in a recent sci-fi movie.
Road Through Iagua Ranch
Many of you have journeyed on these routes before, but I wanted to share this info with the growing number of new riders who have joined the dual-sport/adventure family.  There are plenty of great hotels or campgrounds to stage from in the Eureka area.  The town also has a lot of cool places to visit including the Carson Mansion, Fort Humboldt, and the Samoa Cookhouse.
Carson Mansion
Be sure and stop by the Six Rivers National Forest HQ in Eureka and get one of their Forest Maps as there are lots of  two-track dirt roads to explore off of Route One.
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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

QWR Trail Tip for CA - Purchasing a Dual-Sport Motorcycle in 2013

QWR's Factory Plated 500 EXC Dual-Sport
QWR has been getting a number of questions from riders in California asking about the purchase of a dual-sport motorcycle or doing a dual-sport conversion on a “Green-Sticker” off-highway motorcycle.
In the late 1990s, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) determined that it was illegal to register off-highway motorcycles for street use unless they were CARB or EPA certified for highway use.   QWR believes that decision was based on an ever changing regulatory climate that has become a foundation block of this state.
Today, the dual-sport enthusiast has only two legal options in the State of California.  One, they can purchase a street-legal dual-sport that came from the factory as such.  Or, they can purchase a used “Green-Sticker” off-highway motorcycle that was purchased new by December 31, 2003 and where the owner had initiated its dual-sport conversion with the DMV no later than January 31, 2004.
The 1st Land-Use Battle Bike - a 1995 Honda XR600 that was
Plated BEFORE the DMV Deadline
QWR believes that travel management and other land-use restrictions has increased the demand for street-legal dual-sport motorcycles so that riders can connect various trail networks that are separated by paved roads where non-street legal motorcycles are prohibited.
Based on that demand, the Industry has responded with a wide variety of factory plated dual-sport motorcycles.  QWR urges riders who are getting into the dual-sport market to do their research and find that new or used dual-sport motorcycle that both meets their need and complies with California law.
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Thursday, June 27, 2013

GAO Issues Report on Forest Service Trails

QWR's Don Amador Helping FS Trail Rehab Project
The Western Congressional Caucus announced today that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its report regarding the maintenance of system trails on National Forest lands.
Link to GAO Report
In 2012, Rep. Lummis (R-WY), Rep. Simpson (R-ID), and Rep. Moran (D-VA) asked the GAO to analyze   various challenges faced by the agency to maintain over 158,000 miles Forest Service System Trails in motorized and non-motorized areas.
Volunteer Support for Trail Projects
QWR believes the report highlights the need for the agency to better utilize partnerships with volunteer groups and other trail stakeholders.  We also believe the report correctly notes how NEPA-related red-tape (and subsequent lawsuits) hinders the agency’s ability to effect on-the-ground services such as trail maintenance and environmental mitigations that both protect resources while allowing public use of route networks.
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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

FS OHV Program Manager Becomes Dirt Bike Coach

*Training Photos Used by Permission from Paul Hart

Paul Hart is 2nd from Right
Quiet Warrior Racing wants to congratulate Paul Hart on his graduation from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s (MSF) Dirt Bike Coach School.  Hart is the OHV Trails Coordinator for the Shasta-Trinity National Forest.  The certification class was held at the Honda Rider Education Center in Southern California.
Paul Hart is 2nd from Right
Paul Hart stated he will be able to train agency employees, volunteer organizations, and non-profits on how to safely and responsibly ride off-road motorcycles. 
QWR believes it is important for agency line-officers, specialists, and recreation staff to learn how to ride OHVs so they can have 1st hand knowledge of how travel management is being implemented on their unit.
Paul Hart on TMR Tour with QWR in April 2013
There are a lot of important resource protection efforts that deserve on-trail review by decision-makers and riding an OHV on those surveys is the best way to appreciate those projects.
QWR again wants to congratulate Hart and the other graduates from the MSF program.  QWR looks forward to helping support the training efforts of Hart and other instructors
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Friday, June 14, 2013

SxS Trails and Training Serve Greater Sacramento Area and Delta Region

Located just 25 miles east of Sacramento California, Prairie City State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA) offers a lot of diverse recreational opportunity for the OHV enthusiast.   There are a number of trails for dirt-bikes, ATVs, SxSs, and 4x4 vehicles. 

The unit also has several 4x4 obstacle courses for full-size vehicles, an environmental training center, kiddie tracks, and is home to the world-famous Hangtown MX.
QWR believes it offers the residents of the Greater Sacramento Area some great OHV recreation that is convenient, well-managed, and fun.

The park offers SxS training as well.  Last year, Prairie City SVRA, Hollister Hills SVRA, and a site in Irvine were designated as official training centers for the Basic DriverCourse created by the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association (ROHVA).

After taking the free 2 hour online ROV E-Course, students 16 years of age or older which have a valid driver’s license are eligible to take the 3 hour closed-range driving program taught by a licensed ROHVA DriverCoach.  The cost for the Basic DriverCourse is $150 per driver and a passenger can attend for free.    

At some locations, the DriverCourse offers additional Open Trail Experiences which allows the driver to put some of their new skills into practice on a variety of terrains. 
Link to ROHVA Main Website for info about all the Courses

Link to ROHVA DriverCourse Video about the Training

Link to ROHVA Free ROV E-Course

If you live in the Greater Sacramento or Delta Region of California and don’t have time to take a family OHV vacation into the mountains and are looking for a place where you or your family members can ride or drive their motorized vehicle,  Prairie City SVRA is certainly an alternative that is worthy of consideration.  It is also a great place to get trained up on that new SxS you just purchased.

Link to Prairie City SVRA


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