Monday, April 4, 2016

User/Agency Trail Field Trips Important Part of Collaborative Process

Stonyford OHV Program Manager - Sarah Ridenour-Chamberlin (R) Explains 
Soil Erosion Structures to Forest Supervisor - Ann Carlson (L), 
and Forest Recreation Officer - Katy Rich (C)

QWR is committed to the collaborative process as a strategy to bring land agency staff and the trail-based recreation community together with a common goal of both protecting resources and providing a high-quality outdoor experience.

Much of the collaborative or stakeholder process is centered on attending meetings where information is shared, values are appreciated, and relationships are formed.

QWR believes that “out-of-the office” field trips where private sector partners invite agency staff to review the development and management history of an OHV area is also an important element of the stakeholder process.

Mendocino Forest Supervisor - Ann Carlson, Reviews
St. John's Mountain Restoration Project (Funded by a CA OHV Grant)
with Agency Staff

Recently, leadership from the Mendocino National Forest toured the multiple-use recreation program on the Grindstone Ranger District.  With one of the largest destination OHV programs in the country, the District is a good case study on how OHV management prescriptions have evolved over the last 36-40 years.

Mendocino NF OHV Manager Reviews Work Order
with Trails Unlimited Crew

On the Mendocino and several other National Forests/BLM units, managed recreation didn’t start with the 2005 Travel Management Rule.   Rather, it has been a multi-decade process where the 1960s-era mining, firebreak, or logging road-based route network was gradually converted to a sustainable trail system that consists of engineered contour trails, soil loss structures, and road-to-trail conversions.

Functioning Sediment Catch Basin on System Trail

Managed federal OHV trail-based recreation programs are hard to sustain on current (and future) recreation budgets appropriated by Congress.   In some regions of the country, the Forest Service and BLM receive grants from state funding sources such as the CA OHV Division Grant Program or OR’s ATV Grant Program.

In the 21st Century, successful OHV trail programs must also rely on partnerships with the private sector such as OHV clubs, conservation groups, and other local stakeholders.   Those entities can be the source for the agency’s professional volunteer workforce where users are given chainsaw certification classes or other trail maintenance training.

Getting Ready for a Day of Trail Clearing

QWR commends those user groups and agency units where an all-hands-approach has been adopted and implemented.   QWR understands that it can take a lot of agency staff time to manage a substantive volunteer program.   However, a robust volunteer corps can also play a supportive role in helping the agency obtain non-federal resources/monies (i.e. grants to help manage their trail program, fund projects such as an OHV bridge, or donations for construction labor/materials).

Post 2012 Mill Fire Volunteer Work Party

 The collaborative process is a two-way street.  Don’t wait for agency staff to call for a meeting or workshop.  As a private sector partner, looks for ways to engage your federal contacts either at meetings, field trips, or volunteer work parties.  Be willing to do some heavy lifting yourself. 

Successful Day of Trail Clearing

QWR believes the quality of our trail future is directly proportional to the quality of the collaborative process/stakeholder involvement on your Forest or BLM unit.


  1. I was surprised (and impressed) of how well those sediment catchment basins were working. I think more than half had standing water or wet sediment in them- and it has been dry weather for a while. Definitely a well-engineered and fun trail system. In fact, the whole program at Stonyford is the showcase working model for Forest Service-run OHV system. With bottom-up support from the stakeholders/user groups, Trail Managers, Ranger District/Management Unit, Forest Supervisor's Office and Regional Office recognition; other forests need to emulate this successful program.

  2. Gary ChristopherApril 5, 2016 at 2:36 PM

    Don, thanks so much for all you do--not only in hands-on work to open and sustain trail systems, but in working to build collaborative efforts with the private sector and government agencies. Keep up the good work my friend and a hearty tip of the helmet from Texas. Best regards, Gary Christopher

  3. This was a really informative tour. Thank goodness Quiet Warrior Racing is willing to make things like this happen!