Wednesday, February 17, 2016

"Share the Road" is Sound Travel Ethic

"Share the Road" Sign
Shasta Trinity NF

As federal and county agencies designate more of their non-paved road networks for use by both street legal and non-street legal motorized vehicles, it becomes increasingly important for land managers and user groups to champion a strong “Share the Road” travel ethic.

Many new-to-the-sport OHVers may not be aware that most federal and county non-paved roads are open for two-way traffic.

Forest and BLM roads are not just used by traditional OHVs which include dirt-bikes, ATVs, SxSs, and jeep-type vehicles.  Rather, they are also used by hunters driving pickups, tourists driving for pleasure in SUVs, loggers and miners using heavy equipment, agency staff driving large fire trucks, property owners towing a horse trailer, and many other users and vehicle types.

QWR commends those clubs and government agencies that promote a Share the Road strategy that incorporates a substantive signing program and strong narrative on related websites and/or event flyers.  If you are an entity that does not articulate a Share the Road philosophy, consider establishing a related program.

When government agencies designate a road for mixed-use by various vehicle types, it is important that all stakeholders appreciate their respective role in helping spread the word to “Share the Road” with other users.

QWR believes that OHVers should use common sense when operating on public roads since you never know who or what is coming around the corner.   You should ride on the correct side of the road with the anticipation that a logging truck, another OHV, or fire engine IS coming around the bend and adjust your speed accordingly.

Common sense combined with a better understanding of who is using public roads is a good recipe for a safe experience for you, your family, and those you meet on the trail (or road in this case).

Monday, February 15, 2016

"Seat Time" Important Part of Trail Education

Region 5's Regional Forester, Randy Moore, (Far Right)
on Tour of Stonyford OHV Program

QWR believes that spending quality time out in the field and on the trail with local club representatives, agency staff, and OHV business leaders is a critical factor in land-use education efforts.

Attending meetings and hearings related to trail use are important and will remain so for decades to come.  In addition, OHV professionals and advocates should also include on-site field/trail reviews with local experts and key decision-makers as part of their advocacy/education program.

Eric Anderson,Vroom Network, Tours "Wash"
Designation  and Grouse Issues in Northern Nevada

Today, many public land agencies have embraced the collaborative process where key interest groups are invited to participate in ongoing meetings where unit management ideas are discussed.  Eventually, those concepts addressing forest health, impacts of intense wildfire, and OHV recreation might be used to help shape future agency planning efforts.

Forest Supervisor Tours OR Dunes With Users to Review
OHV Management Program

Staff turnover is not just affecting the Forest Service and BLM.  Clubs often select new presidents or task members with being their point-of-contact for trail issues.   On many units, agency leadership and recreation staff are rotating out at an alarming rate do to retirement, move-to-promote, or other factors.

Local Club Officials and Volunteers Engage with
FS Recreation Staff in Trail Monitoring

OHV industry representatives are also important to include in the trail education process since they often have both a professional and personal stake in sustainable motorized recreation.

OHV Representatives Tour Hull Creek OHV Program
with FS Recreation Staff Lead

Modern 21st Century trail management has many tenets that are best experienced out in the field.  Those prescriptions/concepts include trail signing, connectivity, erosion control structures, route armoring, public information programs, quality of the user experience, law enforcement, resource restoration efforts, potential trail projects, and safety programs.

FS Recreation Lead Tours Trail Program

There are also potential impacts from ongoing or future agency planning efforts that might impact the current OHV program.  Over the next 5-20 years, land managers will be making trail decisions based on everything from major landscape level plan revisions to OHV route and event restrictions driven by environmental regulations or court ordered mandates.

Riders and Agency Recreation Staff Tour/Discuss FS Restoration 
Grant Project

 QWR wants to encourage the OHV education community to continue efforts to spend some quality “seat time” out on the trail with our key partners.  There is no substitute for stopping on the tour and discussing just how a planning process or proposed regulation might impact OHV use.  That stop might also be the best time to see if a solution is possible.  

See you on the trail.