Thursday, March 24, 2016

Trail Ethos for E-Bike Community

QWR believes that all outdoor recreational activities should have a responsible land-use ethic.

Land managers today face a growing number of new trail-related technologies.   QWR believes many of these new vehicle types are encouraging the public to get off the couch and hit trail… which is a very positive development.

However, with new vehicle types comes the responsibility of that sport to adopt and embrace a sound trail ethic that imparts respect for the land and other user groups.

Over the last several years at various recreation events, QWR has visited with local, state, and federal recreation officials about the explosive growth of E-bikes on both motorized and non-motorized trails.

According to Wikipedia, “An electric bicycle, also known as an e-bike or booster bike, is a bicycle with an integrated electric motor which can be used for propulsion…  E-bikes use rechargeable batteries and the lighter varieties can travel up to 25 to 32 km/h (16 to 20 mph), depending on the laws of the country in which they are sold, while the more high-powered varieties can often do in excess of 45 km/h (28 mph).”

In numerous areas, the trail-use laws and regulations are unclear as they relate to E-bike cross-county travel or use on public land trail systems.   This is not the fault of the E-bike community or the agency.  Rather it is a sign that E-bike stakeholders should be proactive and work with trail managers to create a strong land-use ethic and regulatory platform that both protect the resource and the long-term viability of the sport.

QWR is encouraging the E-bike community to consider developing a common sense national trail ethos through the collaborative process with agency staff and other user groups.   This will be good for the sport and the land.

Comments and feedback are encouraged.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

TRAIL NEWS UPDATE – FS National Trails Strategy

Don Amador on FS System Trail
Mendocino NF

QWR commends the Forest Service for its effort to develop a national trails strategy for sustainable motorized and non-motorized trails.


According to the agency, for the past two years, the Forest Service has gathered the body of knowledge which now forms the core of the Trails Strategy discussion draft. Through engagement with employees at all levels of the agency, non-governmental organizations and partners, other trail management agencies, and the health care and private industry, we are striving to define and implement a strategic approach for closing the gap between where we are and where we want to be.

Trail Inventory
Six Rivers NF

QWR encourages trail professionals and advocates to download the discussion draft strategy.  QWR believes this is a very positive program and will provide important high-level guidance to line-officers and agency trail champions at the Regional Office, Forest, and District levels.

Rubicon Trail

This is a very exciting process and bodes well for the future of trail-based recreation on lands managed by the Forest Service.

# # # 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

OHV Recreation Key Partner in National Monument Dedication

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on
4x4 Tour

Article by Don Amador
March 20, 2016
Word count: 529

Note to editor: Permission is hereby granted to reproduce this article

OHV Key Partner in National Monument Dedication

COWBOY CAMP, CA (March 19) - A popular BLM equestrian campground was the site for the official dedication ceremony for the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument.  Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell was joined by Members of Congress, local elected officials, state dignitaries, Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, BLM National Director Neil Kornze, other FS/BLM officials, and diverse user groups including OHV recreationists.

Mendocino NF's Ann Carlson and BLM Ukiah Field Office's Rich Burns
Welcome Folks to Dedication

California Secretary of Natural Resources John Laird 

What made this event unique is that OHV recreation was featured as a key partner in development of the plan to bring additional resources to enhance both conservation efforts and existing/ future non-motorized and motorized recreational opportunities within the Monument boundary.  

Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell

Congressmen Mike Thompson and John Garamendi Hand Out
Certificates of Appreciation

All of the speakers noted that OHV recreation has been, and will continue to be, an important part of the recreation program in the Monument.

OHMVR Commission Chairman, Ted Cabral, Visits
with Jay Watson, Director of the Student Conservation Association

In addition to the official dedication ceremony, the event had two other official activities.  Those were a morning hike on non-motorized trails and an afternoon 4x4 tour of the BLM’s Walker Ridge where the agency is getting ready to start the route designation process.

Rigs Lined Up for Start of 4x4 OHV Tour

Secretary Sally Jewell, former CEO of REI, was very engaged with the 4x4 tour’s participants which included the Mendocino 4x4 Club, Matson Breakey/MetalCloak, CA OHV Program staff, BRC, Tuleyome, and FS/BLM officials.

Official 4x4 Tour Map

The group got to visit with Secretary Jewell on a broad range of subjects including the CA OHV program, trail volunteerism, partnerships, modern trail management prescriptions, potential new trail designations within the Monument, special recreation permit reform, and other OHV recreation topics.

Secretary Sally Jewell Talks with 4x4 Tour Group 

 A lot of credit for this collaborative effort goes to Tuleyome, the regional conservation group that has been working with OHV and other stakeholder groups for the past 6-7 years to help ensure a bright future for multiple-use recreation on lands managed by the Forest Service and BLM.

This part of California is host to numerous destination OHV areas including BLM’s Cow Mountain Recreation Area and the Knoxville OHV Area.  The Mendocino National Forest manages both the Upper Lake and Stonyford OHV Areas.  This area is also home to many OHV permitted events including enduros and dual sport/adventure rides.

OHMVRD Booth at Dedication

The California State Park Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division (OHMVRD) was at this event to highlight the important long-term relationship between the FS/BLM and OHMVRD’s grant program that helps support trail maintenance, restoration projects, and law enforcement on the federal units.

Site of Monument Dedication

OHV recreation will continue to play an important role in helping shape its future by participating in development of the Monument Management Plan.  This will be a multi-year process where local input will be critical. 

California Conservation Corps is an Important Trail Partner

OHV clubs and individuals will also continue to be an important volunteer workforce to help maintain current and new trail opportunities. 

Mendocino NF Staff 

These types of bipartisan partnerships between OHV, land agencies, and conservation groups will continue to evolve as a key element to managed recreation in the 21st Century.

 # # # 

Don Amador is a contractor to the BlueRibbon Coalition and serves as their western representative.  Don is also president of Quiet Warrior Racing/Consulting.  He writes from his office in Oakley, CA.  Don may be reached by email at:

Monday, March 7, 2016

Be a Trail Champion - Start an E-Club

Agency Staff and Trail Volunteers 
Mendocino NF

As the Forest Service and BLM continue to improve their trail-based recreation programs throughout the country, it is important for agency officials and community leaders to appreciate the two key elements needed for long-term success.  Those critical tenets are substantive interaction/collaboration between an agency recreation lead/point-of-contact and a local club/organization.

Trail Volunteers Review Restoration Project with Agency Staff
Tahoe NF

Virtually any successful fed/state/local OHV recreation program has both an agency and local “champion.”  The agency lead meets with local recreation groups to discuss trail management issues.  They develop a robust volunteer program that engages trail enthusiasts in caring for the land by maintaining recreation facilities which include staging areas, campgrounds, and trail systems.

Trail Volunteers Help with Post-Fire Rehab
Mendocino NF

The community user group provides important feedback to the agency in regards to historic uses and cultural norms.  Local trail organizations can provide the labor pool to help the agency with volunteer work projects and fundraising.  Community groups can often help act as a bridge between the agency and local county/city government.

Trail Volunteers Work with Agency to Install Trail Delineators to Protect Resources
Mendocino NF

Line-officers have an important role to play in this equation since it is up to them to identify and appoint the appropriate agency staff lead that will be a “trail recreation champion.” In areas of the country where there is no organized trail group, a local user should “answer the call” to step forward and help organize a trail association.

Local Club Leaders Tour Route Project with FS District Ranger
Six Rivers NF

That new local group does not need to worry about incorporating at first.  An “E-Trail Group” comprised of an email network of interested riders and businesses can be a very effective organization that has standing with the agency and local government.

OHV Club Leaders Tour Trail System/Post Fire Rehab with FS Staff
Stanislaus NF

If you or your club has already “adopted” a local land agency, then good on you!  However, if your area does not have a club or network formed to assist the agency in helping care for the land, then consider starting an association.  The agency will appreciate it more than you know and it can lead to a successful relationship/partnership between the public and private sectors.