Monday, August 24, 2015

Tesla Fire Spares Carnegie SVRA Core Riding Area

Carnegie SVRA Currently Closed to OHV

QWR just got back from a quick recon of the Tesla Fire which burned about 2,700 acres in eastern Alameda County.  The fire started on August 19, 2015 and appears to have spread eastward onto the currently closed expansion property at Carnegie SVRA.  On August 22, CALFIRE stated the fire was 100% contained.

Carnegie SVRA Core Riding Area Spared

Viewing the landscape from the Tesla/Corral Hollow Road today, it appears that most of the trails and supporting infrastructure, including the Park’s Sector Office, at the 1,500 acre riding area was spared from the wildfire.

Looking West Past SVRA Work Yard to Alameda Hills

QWR believes that wildfires in Oak grasslands are an important part of the environmental equation.  Grassland fires can help with the control of insects and disease.  Oak trees in general are fire resistant and we believe a lot of them will return next year in a stronger state of health.

Looking East from SVRA Sector Office 

 QWR also believes that fire can often be a benefit on landscapes where trail design and layout is planned.   With the vegetative cover removed, it is easier to see the lay of the terrain and how a proposed route can be constructed to take advantage of natural features to reduce water runoff and soil erosion.

Entrance to Tesla Mine 

QWR urges riders to monitor the Carnegie SVRA website for updates on when the park will reopen.  There may also be post-fire rehabilitation efforts that need the help from trail volunteers.  Let’s be supportive of SVRA staff as they work to reopen the park as soon as possible.

Carnegie SVRA Website

With wildfires burning throughout the West, QWR wants us all to remember the fire crews out on the frontlines working tirelessly to protect life, property, and natural/cultural resources.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Archeological Site Stewardship Training is Valuable Trail Tool

The evolution of a well-trained and multi-disciplined volunteer OHV trail workforce is both impressive and important.  In the 21st Century, it has become a critical tool and force-multiplier for land management agencies to utilize in taking care of recreation facilities.

In many areas, highways, roads, and OHV/OSV trails overlay historic routes used by Native Americans and early pioneers to travel cross-country or for trading goods and services.  Because of their history, these trails and nearby areas have significant archeological value.

Kyburz Petroglyph Open to the Public

Three good examples of historic pioneer routes are the world famous Rubicon Trail, the Mormon Emigrant Trail, and the Henness Pass (Kyburz) Trail.  Segments of said routes provide important OHV and/or OSV opportunities.


QWR believes that trail volunteers have an increasingly important role to play in assisting Forest Archeologists as stewards to monitor cultural sites.  Trail volunteers are equipped to travel long distances and can access remote archeological sites under supervision by the Forest Archeologist.

Recently, Don Amador took the California Archaeological Site Stewardship Program (CASSP) Volunteer Workshop held on the Eldorado National Forest.  QWR believes this training is important for engaged trail volunteers because it expands their ability to assist the agency in managing OHV recreation as it relates to protecting archeological resources.

The volunteer training is managed by CASSP.  It received a 2014/2015 grant from the California OHMVR Division because it is an innovative partnership program designed to assist federal land management agencies balance the statutory requirements to protect cultural resources with their responsibility to sustain long-term OHV opportunities on public lands.

Through services provided by CASSP volunteers, agencies have been able to maintain OHV opportunities that would have been restricted in order to protect cultural resources. CASSP training workshops and CASSP volunteers also help agencies to educate the public about environmental responsibility, safety, and respect for private property. CASSP has become a critical element in conserving significant historical and prehistoric cultural resources.

According to the grant application, CASSP workshops and volunteers enhance existing OHV opportunities in three ways: helping to keep trails open, improving the visitor experience by providing information about the prehistory and history, and increasing communication, education, and understanding among different groups.

Historically, the management response has often been to close trails or restrict OHV opportunities. By monitoring and protecting archaeological and historical resources, CASSP helps maintain a balance between protecting cultural sites and responsible OHV recreational use of trails and OHV areas. Also OHV site stewards serve as role models and inform other off-highway vehicle users to follow the designated trails, ride responsibly, and remember to ride safely. As a result, the cultural resources, agencies, and volunteers all benefit.

With intense wildfires burning out important trail areas on National Forests throughout California and the West, QWR believes that post-fire trail rehabilitation efforts lends import to the CASSP training since wildfires often burn vegetation or trail delineators that protect archeological and cultural sites. 
QWR looks forward to incorporating the CASSP training into its ongoing trail stewardship module.

Big thanks to all of you trail volunteers out there that are already doing a great job!  Also, helmets off to the CA OHMVR Division for funding this grant in partnership with Region 5, USDA Forest Service.

To find out more about the CASSP training go to:

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

REPORT - Mega Fires Gut FS Recreation (and other) Accounts

Only "We" Can Prevent Mega-Fires

QWR believes the August 4, 2015 report; The Rising Cost of Fire Operations: Effects on the Forest Service’s Non-Fire Work, gives OHV recreationists and other public land stakeholders an easy to understand explanation on how catastrophic mega-fires are burning through agency resources.

This report highlights how funds are diverted from important accounts that support road/trail maintenance, recreation facilities, restoration projects, forest planning efforts, and cultivation/utilization of partnerships as force multipliers.


On page 2, the report states that the depletion of non-fire programs to pay for the ever-increasing costs of fire has real implications, not only for the Forest Service’s restoration work that would help prevent catastrophic fires, but also for the protection of watersheds and cultural resources, upkeep of programs and infrastructure that support thousands of recreation jobs and billions of dollars of economic growth in rural communities, and support for the range of multiple uses, benefits and ecosystem services, as well as research, technical assistance, and other programs that deliver value to the American public.

Prescribed Fire is a Forest Management Tool

On pages 11/12, the report notes the decrease in funding resulting from increased fire costs has limited the agency’s ability to provide vital recreational opportunities on NFS lands, which jeopardizes the thousands of jobs that are part of a growing recreational economy.

Logging is a Forest Management Tool

The agency has been unable to more fully implement sustainable Recreation, Heritage, and Volunteer Services and Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers programs to provide consistent, quality recreation opportunities to the public. Reductions in recreation funding have a direct impact on local economies
supported by these activities, including many small outfitter and guide businesses that depend on
recreation sites and programs on NFS lands. Additionally, the Forest Service’s ability to leverage funds and implement projects with partners and volunteers is constrained by the reductions in funding and staff, substantially affecting services.

A Shaded Fuel Break is a Forest Management Tool

The report concludes that Congress must address the way the agency pays for fighting wildfires by supporting legislation that treats mega-fires as natural disasters such as tornadoes or hurricanes.

QWR believes that approach is worthy of consideration, but falls short in addressing the underlying cause of these mega-fires and that is the agency’s inability to engage in substantive, robust, and multi-dimensional forest health projects.  The solution may be a combination of both concepts?

QWR welcomes comments, criticisms, or observations.  Use the comment box so others can benefit from your comments or send them directly to:

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Forest Supervisor Notes Import of Wildfire Impacted Roads and Trails

Dual-Sport/Adventure/SUV Route to the
Lassics Botanical Area on the Six Rivers NF
(Area Closed Due to the Lassic Fire which is part of the Mad River Fire Complex)

Both street-legal and non-street legal OHV recreation is impacted by wildfires.  Many of the lightning-sparked fires burning in California and elsewhere in the West have understandably resulted in the immediate closure of popular routes used by dirt-bikes, ATVs, dual-sports, SxSs, 4WDs, SUVs, and adventure bikes.

In the long-term, what is most important for recreationists is the closure period of the Forest Order related to a fire event.  Some Forests institute a mandatory one-year or longer closure order to all public entry.  On the other hand, some Forest Orders state the closure is in effect until… “the fire is declared out” or the “fire season has ended.” 

QWR commends the Six Rivers National Forest Supervisor, Merv George Jr., for his commitment to reopening roads and trails once safe conditions are restored.


“We recognize the impact these roads, trails and area closures have on the public and these decisions have not been made lightly. These closures are necessary for public safety and fire operations,” said Merv George Jr., forest supervisor. “Knowing your desire to get into some of these areas as soon as possible, we will work with the incident management team and local law enforcement to lift the closures when it can be done safely.”

Once again, QWR urges riders to check in with your local Forest Service or BLM office to find out what roads, trails, and areas are closed due to wildfires.  A link with updated info is listed below:


Stay safe!  Also, feel free to post comments on how things are going in your neck of the woods.

Knoxville OHV Staging Area

*QWR is concerned the Jerusalem Fire is headed for the BLM’s Knoxville OHV Area

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Wildfire Impacts Popular NW CA Coastal Mountain Adventure Routes

Dan East Trail - Closed
"It may not look like this after the fire"

The wildfires raging in California and the West are having a dramatic impact on natural resources, small businesses, private in-holders, fire crews, and recreationists.  In addition, these fires are occurring right in the middle of the adventure-bike and dual-sport riding season.

Many of these fires have resulted in the closure of very popular inland transportation corridors used by adventure riders to explore the backcountry in the Six Rivers National Forest.  

Forest Highway One

For example, the Route Complex Fire is burning through one of the only motorcycle-only OHV trail systems in the coastal mountain range in NW California.  The fire has resulted in the closure of Forest Highway One (Route 1) and many of the associated “Pilot Creek OHV” motorcycle, ATV, and 4WD roads/trails.

Route Complex Fire Footprint - 8.5.15

QWR urges the adventure/DS community to be sure and check for fire closures before starting off on any ride that includes traveling up the center of the Six Rivers NF between Mendocino County and the Oregon border.

Six Rivers NF Fire and Closure Update

While the impacts of the Route Complex and other fires have yet to be fully assessed, QWR believes that riders and/or clubs should ready themselves to help the agency with post-fire volunteer trail rehabilitation efforts.

Post Mill Fire Volunteer Work Party

QWR knows from experience that keeping post-fire trails open and maintained is a long-term project that will require dedication and a multi-year commitment by agency leadership, recreation staff, and a volunteer workforce.

Once the fires are out in your favorite area, be sure and contact the appropriate land agency and ask what you or your club can do to help with post-fire volunteer efforts.

Examples of Post Fire Volunteer/Partnership Efforts

2012 Mill Fire – Post Fire Trail Rehab – Trail Tools

2012 Mill Fire – Post Fire Trail Maint. – Hazard Trees