Sunday, May 31, 2015

Op - Ed -- No Silver Bullets in Relationship Cultivation

Op-Ed by Don Amador

After 25 years of working in the land-use arena, I believe the single most important key to effective advocacy for the long-term viability of OHV recreation on public and private lands is developing personal and professional relationships with important stakeholders.

There are no short-cuts in the relationship building process.  Relationships with supporters, sponsors, colleagues, agency staff, conservation/environmental representatives, media, and legislative staff are developed over many years and even decades.

Here are the three main relationship building blocks.


Regardless of who you are dealing with, they must be able to trust your word when it comes to confidentiality.  Advocacy leaders must never breech that tenet as it will tag you permanently as somebody who cannot be trusted.   The degree of your effectiveness is directly proportional to your ability to honor privileged conversations.


 If you expect to become a reliable source for correct information, one should make every effort to research a topic before offering information that may be factually incorrect, misleading, or false.  One should resist the temptation, in an effort to appear knowledgeable, to supply inaccurate information that may actually harm your position.  In addition, the most successful advocates have a core group of “advisors” where their ideas can be vetted.


There are no silver bullets. The most common assumption that new advocates make is that it will only take  1-2 years of a concerted effort on their part to set everybody straight, correct all problems,  and then get on, or in, their OHV of choice and ride off into the sunset. 

The stakeholders you interface with want to know that you are committed to building a strong professional and/or personal relationship with them.  They want to know their effort in this two-way process will not be a waste of time and resources.

If one adopts these three building blocks, they will find that agency staff will be more likely to work with you on trail issues.  After all, government officials are people too and they have a lot of discretion when it comes to providing, or not providing, high-quality recreational opportunities.

Sponsors and supporters will be more likely to fund your land-use efforts.  You will also find conservation leaders more willing to work with you on joint projects that directly enhance or maintain trail access and protect resources.

I believe these concepts, if adopted and put into practice, will establish you as a credible leader and valued friend.

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Don Amador is owner of Quiet Warrior Racing/Consulting and is a contractor for the BlueRibbon Coalition where he serves as their Western Representative.  Don works from his office in Oakley, CA and may be reached by email at:

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Full or Half Culvert OHV Bridges Address Water Quality on System Trails

QWR on New Full Culvert OHV Bridge

As federal and state land management agencies throughout the country continue to add or improve environmental protections to their designated trail systems, QWR wants to highlight several newly constructed full and half culvert OHV water crossing structures.

Example One - Trail Before Install of Full Culvert OHV Bridge

These OHV “bridges” were noted on a recent field tour of various trail system improvement projects on the Eldorado National Forest, Georgetown Ranger District.  The Mace Mill OHV Area is a popular motorized and non-motorized trail-based recreation area located in the Sierra Nevada.  Dirt-bike enthusiasts share many of the trails with local equestrians.  Several motorcycle events are held each year including the Fools Gold Enduro and the Crazy Miner Family Enduro.

Example One - Trail After Install of Full Culvert OHV Bridge

Increasing regulations related to water quality and soil erosion means that land agencies, partners, and volunteers will need to employ the most current trail management techniques to address resource concerns.

QWR believes that both full and half culvert trail bridges are appropriate structures depending on site-specific details - such as soil composition, amount of water flow, type of vehicle using the trail, or topography - of each installment.

Example Two - Trail Before Install of Half Culvert OHV Bridge

One advantage the half culvert has over the full culvert is that it maintains the original creek bed and has fewer disturbances to the stream channel.

Example Two -Trail After Install of Half Culvert OHV Bridge

John Ward, OHV Manager for the Georgetown Ranger District, Eldorado National Forest, states, "Modern trail management strategies include armoring stream courses to protect water quality.  The Eldorado National Forest appreciates the partnership it has with the California Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Division (OHMVR). The OHMVR grant program provides critical resources that enable the Forest to provide an environmentally sound and high quality OHV trail experience to the public."

One of the Mixed-Use Trails at Mace Mill OHV Area

As QWR has stated before, the future of OHV depends on our collective ability to successfully address motorized recreation-related water quality issues on state and federal lands.

*QWR wants to thank John Ward for his contributions to this article and for his work on the unit.