Sunday, June 5, 2016

Access Preserved Through Partnerships

OHV Trail in Designated "Play" Area
Plumas National Forest

QWR believes the quality of an agency’s OHV trail program is directly proportional to the quality of their partnership with affected communities.   Successful recreation programs do not operate in a vacuum.

Designated OHV Trail
Plumas National Forest

Those trail axioms were further validated at the field tour and public meeting of the California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) Commission held on June 2 and 3 in Plumas County and the Plumas National Forest.

Scenic View of Crystal Lake and Valley

The Plumas National Forest is over 1.1 million acres and is located north of the Lake Tahoe area in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range.  Over 80 percent of Plumas County is federal land.

On June 2, the 2-day event kicked-off with a pre-tour welcome by the OHMVR Commission Chair, Ted Cabral. 

OHMVR Commission Chair, Ted Cabral, Welcomes Partners

Self-introductions soon followed by officials from the state legislature, state park director’s office, county board of supervisors, county planning commission/public works,  and sheriff’s department.

Also in attendance were representatives from Forest Service Region 5, CA BLM State Office, Plumas National Forest, BLM Eagle Lake Field Office, local businesses, private sector trail maintenance professionals, volunteers, and local/state/national OHV recreation groups.  

Forest Recreation Lead Explains OHV Program and BDT
Plumas National Forest

 The tour stopped at a number of locations where Forest staff highlighted existing OHV opportunities on designated roads, trails, and areas.  Agency staff also noted a number of ongoing resource protection efforts to armor meadows.

Meadow Protection/Armor Project

Forest recreation officials and local users were especially proud of their Plumas Backcountry Discovery Trail (BDT) that consists of about 150 miles of non-paved Forest roads and trails. Many of the BDT routes are open to non-street legal “Green Sticker” OHVs.

BDT Route on Plumas National Forest

 The concept of a formal statewide system of motorized adventure routes was first noted in the California Recreational Trails Act of 1974.  Over the years, subsequent BDT-related legislation was passed and on-the-ground planning efforts were undertaken by Division staff, federal partners, and other stakeholder groups.

BDT Map for Multi-Day Tour

Unfortunately in the late 1990s, work on the partially completed route network was halted when the state was challenged by legal action filed by opponents of the plan.  They stated that a full EIR/EIS must be completed to implement and sign the statewide trail system.

BDT Route Marker

QWR strongly supports development of a programmatic state/federal planning effort that will create a formal network of non-paved backcountry routes that connect many of the Golden State’s scenic areas. 


At several of the stops, local user groups and other partners talked about their supportive role in helping the agency ensure that trails are maintained and critical resources protected.  Agency staff credited their partnership with the OHMVR Division’s Grant Program, Plumas County, and local users for helping them fulfill their mission to serve the public in managing a high quality OHV program.

Plumas County Sheriff's OHV Patrol Jeep

 Several of us toured some of the non-paved county roads that were designated by Plumas County as “non-highways.”  

County Road 113 Designated as "Non-Highway" for OHV Use

County roads often play an important role in Forest Service Travel Management planning efforts where non-paved routes can help users access and better utilize agency system roads and trails.

Nick Haris (L), Ted Cabral (C), and Don Amador (R)
Tour of County Non-Highway Designation

Lisa Mangat, CA State Park Director, stated at the formal public meeting on June 3, that “Access is Preserved through Partnerships.”  QWR believes that statement from a top official in Governor Brown’s administration serves to prove their current and future support of the OHMVR program. 

Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship Presentation 

QWR also believes the recent OHMVR commission meeting/tour, underscores the important role that partnerships have in sustaining trail-based high-quality recreation programs on federal units.


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