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.