Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Trail Management - Post-Fire Hazard Tree Mitigation Takes Collective Effort

QWR SxS Module on FS Post-Mill Fire Volunteer Project

Extreme wildfires have an immediate impact on OHV recreation such as public access bans in the burn area for periods of one year or longer.  They also destroy management tools such as trail delineators, signs, kiosks, and campground facilities.  Costly soil erosion and water quality trail structures can often be obliterated in the initial attack by dozers blading fire lines around the blaze.

While these immediate impacts and their associated mitigation measures are readily apparent, the long-term post-fire management efforts to address hazard trees (dead trees) falling across designated roads and trails for the next 2-15 years should not be overlooked.

As OHV users know, downed trees create a number of management issues which include completely blocked routes or riders creating impromptu reroutes to get around the obstacle.   The presence of hazard trees also requires both non-motorized and motorized recreationists to be aware of their surroundings when traveling through the forest.  Trail obstacles can impact both casual use and permitted events.

QWR believes it takes a committed partnership between the agency, volunteers, and other stakeholders to successfully manage a designated road and trail system on any National Forest.  This is especially true on units that have experienced a recent uncontrolled wildfire.

Team Effort to Clear Downed Trees

QWR suggests the best way for you to participate in volunteer trail management projects is to join a local OHV club that has an existing relationship with the Forest Service or BLM unit you like to visit.  If your local federal unit does not have a volunteer program, consider contacting them and inquiring how you can help partner with the agency. 

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