Monday, January 4, 2016

2016 "Quiet" Kickoff of OSV Recreation in the Sierra - Travel Management Tools

Don Amador at Vista Point
China Wall OSV Area, Tahoe NF

QWR supports the efforts of the Forest Service and other land agencies to update and enhance their OSV management programs.   Tenets of managed snowmobile recreation should include designated trails and open areas, adequate staging/parking, quality signing, partnerships, maps, education, and enforcement.

OSV Trail in the China Wall OSV Area
 Tahoe NF

One important and effective management tool is the enforcement of reasonable sound laws for motorized vehicles.

Winter Recreation Travel Management Sign

The greater OHV community (users, agencies, clubs, local government, etc.) realized many years ago that excessively loud exhaust noise from modified dirt-bikes and ATVs created conflicts with other user groups.  In some cases, those conflicts resulted in riding areas being closed to motorized recreation or prevented new trails from being designated for OHV use.

Responsible Use is Key to Trail/Area Access

QWR believes it is important for winter-based recreation advocates to proactively support the adoption of the SAE J2567 stationary sound test for OSVs.   Recently, QWR’s OSV Trail Stewardship Module had the opportunity to practice the application of the J2567 sound test at the China Wall OSV Staging Area on the Tahoe National Forest.

Open Areas are Important Part of OSV Recreation

Located about 1 hour east of Sacramento, California, China Wall is a popular multi-use winter recreation facility that is used by both motorized and non-motorized trail enthusiasts.   It has an extensive OSV trail network that provides a high-quality recreation experience for snowmobile riders.  It is operated in partnership with the California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division’s Winter Program.

OSV Route Marker

After a few hours of touring some of the OSV trail system, QWR set up a sound check station using our Quest/3M Type 1 law enforcement grade sound meter and guidelines from J2567.  J2567 requires that the sound meter microphone is placed 4 feet above the ground, in-line with the exhaust outlet/center point of multiple exhaust outlets, on the side of the snowmobile toward which the exhaust is directed, 4 meters distance from the snowmobile longitudinal centerline. The operator holds the brake during the test, starts and runs the engine up to normal operating temperature, then slowly opens the throttle until a steady 3,750 to 4,000 rpm is achieved for not less than 4 seconds. The test is immediately repeated and the two readings averaged.

Application of J2567 Sound Test

With the help of a local dog sledder who acted as the operator of the sled, QWR recorded a 76.7 dBA sound level on our 2015 Polaris RMK 600 which is way below the 88 dBA test threshold.  The operator commented that it is the quietest OSV she had heard.

According to a 2014 report: Facts and Myths about Snowmobiling and Winter Trails (developed by the American Council of Snowmobile Associations (ACSA) with funding provided by the Recreation Trails Program) protocol for the SAE J2567 was issued in January 2004 and has since been adopted by several states.  This new test established a sound level threshold of 88 dBA at 4 meters (13 ft.) which, due to the logarithmic nature of sound levels, corresponds to the ’78 decibels at 50-feet’ sound law.

Side View of J2567 Sound Test Station

The report goes on to state the result of this test is that illegally altered exhaust systems can now be identified with an enforcement tool that is safe to administer in the field and will also hold up in court.

Parking Area for Large Vehicles
China Wall OSV Area

OSV is an important part of the winter recreation matrix and provides a critical economic benefit to rural areas.  The use of modern OSV management tools is a smart way to ensure the long-term viability of this popular form of motorized winter recreation.



Stay tuned for updates on J2567 and other management prescriptions to help preserve and protect sustainable OSV recreation on public and private lands.

No comments:

Post a Comment