Wednesday, October 18, 2017

ROHVA ROV Basic DriverCourse at Chappie-Shasta OHV Area - Skill Development, Safety, and Common Sense are Key Tenets

ROHVA RBDC Graduating Class 
BLM Chappie-Shasta OHV Area

QWR wants to congratulate the seven Forest Service and BLM recreation leads and field staff who completed the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association (ROHVA) ROV Basic DriverCourse (RBDC) taught at the Chappie-Shasta OHV Area near Redding, California on October 3, 2017.

Since Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles (ROVs) or Side-by-Sides (SxSs) are becoming increasingly popular and are the fastest growing segment of the powersports market and are seeing increased use by land agencies for recreation and resource management, QWR offered the RBDC course at the 2017 Interagency Ranger Ride and OHV workshop for agency staff who needed to get certified before operating a government SxS.

Student Path Selection and Stopping

The student’s pre-class off-road experiences included those with no OHV background to those agency staff that had driven 4WD trucks, motorcycles, ATVs, crew buggies, or fire engines in the backcountry.

Practice Turning

A lot of focus is placed on the proper use of personal protective gear or personal protective equipment (PPE) when sitting in or operating the SxS.  Just as it is important for certified chainsaw operators (both agency staff and trail volunteers) to use PPE, it is also critically important for SxS operators and passengers to wear an approved helmet, eye protection, gloves, boots, and long pants.

Precision Stop on 4 x 6

After becoming familiar with the operation of their vehicle and performing an inspection of various vehicle parts and controls including, but not limited to, the chassis, frame, wheels/tires, fenders, passenger seating and handholds, and the Rollover Protection Structure, they learned about proper hand positioning for steering, using both feet to control the gas and brake pedals, and many other aspects of safe vehicle operation.

The next five exercises are progressive in nature as they build the important skillsets needed for safe operation of the vehicle. 

Precision Stop on 4 x 6

Those exercises include starting out, stopping, driving a good path, experiencing low speed steering limits, backing-up/turning, driving a serpentine course both forward and in reverse, and practicing a quick stop and doing an evasive maneuver.

Don Amador, President of Quiet Warrior Racing/Consulting, states, “I am passionate about helping train both public and private sector SxS users about how to operate their vehicles in a safe and environmentally sound manner.”

Don Ready for RBDC Class

“I was proud to see the RBDC graduates use the skills they learned at class during the group trail ride the next day.  Several students told me the safe use of a SxS requires a healthy dose of common sense when out on the trail and to not be afraid to stop before attempting a challenging route segment that is beyond their comfort zone or ability,”  Amador concludes.

LINK TO ROHVA (Go ahead and take the free online ROHVA E-Course)

*If you are interested in having Don teach a ROHVA ROV Basic DriverCourse, contact him at:

Monday, October 16, 2017

Dynamic Management of Trail Recreation – 2017 Interagency Ranger Ride and OHV Workshop

45 Mile Group Trail Ride to "Top of the World"
Vista for Lunch Stop

QWR believes a new term “Dynamic Management of Recreational Opportunities” might be the best way to describe an emerging post-event theme from this year’s Ranger Ride and OHV Workshop held on October 3-5, 2017 at the BLM’s Chappie-Shasta OHV Area near Redding, California.

Approximately 45 agency leads, recreation staff, and non-profit partners attended this annual interagency trail management and education workshop that was graciously hosted by the BLM’s Redding Field Office.

Small Group Discussions - Important Networking Opportunity

The focus of this year’s workshop was centered on looking for management strategies that might allow for or create new high-quality trail opportunities for Side x Sides (SxS) or Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles (ROVs).   

New Route Signed and Managed for SxS Use

 Other topics or education modules included, OHV sound test certification,  E-Bike recreation, public/private partnerships,  SxS and Dirt Bike driver/rider certification, mentored trail rides/tours  of unit, OHV grants, and soil conservation plans.

The Chappie-Shasta OHV Area was selected for this year’s event because of its ongoing efforts to employ various SxS-related travel management strategies.   Those routes help provide a growing number of SxS enthusiasts with signed routes that include varying degrees of challenge and looped touring opportunities.  

SxS Tour Stop to Check Trail Management Prescriptions

The workshop provided ample “seat time” for agency staff to experience the unit’s effective SxS management prescriptions from behind the wheel on many of the 200 miles of roads and trails in this 52,000 acre area.

State Park Ranger Gets some Seat Time on Trail Tour

The event also offered the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association’s (ROHVA) Basic Driver Course for agency staff that needed certification to operate government SxSs and was taught by QWR’s Don Amador, a ROHVA DriverCoach.

Garrett Villanueva (R5 Trail Lead) Practices Exercise 4
of the ROHVA BDC 
(Garrett was one of seven agency staff who took the course)

 Paul Hart, a certified DirtBike School coach and Trails Manager for the Yuba River Ranger District on the Tahoe National Forest, taught a one-day hands-on training session to agency students that needed Dirt Bike certification. 

Dirt Bike School Riders Waiting for Instructions

Grant administration from the California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) Division gave federal and non-profit partners an update on OHV grant opportunities and policies for obtaining fiscal support for OHV-related trail maintenance, restoration, law enforcement, and education/safety.

Chris Real - SAE J1287 Technical Certification Class

Chris Real, President of DPS Technical, Inc. taught agency staff and volunteers the technical inspector class on sound (SAE J1287) and spark arresters.

Will Harris (OHMVRD) Gave Soils Presentation

Will Harris, Senior Engineering Geologist at the OHMVR Division, talked to the group about the importance of clearly defining a project area and/or route network in their soil conservation plans.  There was a robust discussion about what defines a project area which led to the potential for follow up presentations at the OHMVR Division Grant Workshops in early 2018.

E-Bike Sign - Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit

The need to review and possibly amend current rules and regulations governing the use of E-bicycles/motorcycles on public lands was also discussed including the apparent necessity to address said issues at a national conference of agency professionals, recreation groups, and manufacturers.

An event wrap-up with attendees identified the following key tenets for agency recreation leads to consider when planning for SxS trail-based recreational opportunities.

OneLook for appropriate level 2 roads, trails, or routes where SxS use could be encouraged through signing and public outreach.

TwoLook for looped touring opportunities on federal roads and/or route networks that can be signed or designated for SxS use.

Three Federal agencies and county government should look for ways to partner with each other to designate appropriate routes for looped OHV touring opportunities that provide connectivity between jurisdictions.

Both seasoned and newbie agency riders expressed their appreciation for the event’s focus on SxS recreation and the opportunity for plenty of trail time in which to hone their riding skills and view the management prescriptions from the ground level.  

Jane Arteaga - Trail and Recreation Lead at CA BLM State Office -
Getting some seat time on the trail

It was appropriate that this year’s workshop was held at an OHV area that was named in honor of the CA OHV Program’s co-founder, Gene Chappie. 

According to the OHMVR Division, the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) Program was created in 1971 by two state legislators, "off-roader" Gene Chappie and "environmentalist" Ed Z'berg. The Chappie-Z'berg Law aimed to balance the demand for off-highway recreational opportunities with natural and cultural resource management. The intent was also to foster respect for private property rights and protect California's natural and cultural resources through sustainable management of OHV areas.

Sky Zaffarano (L), OHV Program Lead for Chappie, Explains Resource
and Trail Management Program on the Unit

It was also more than fitting that California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law on October 3, 2017 legislation that reauthorized the CA OHV Program and gave it permanent status.  And, that announcement was made at the Tuesday night BBQ hosted/donated by the Redding Dirt Riders, one of the unit’s key non-profit partners.

Successful events don’t happen by accident.  They come as the result of a lot of hard work by non-profit partners, agency leadership, and recreation staff.  

The 45 participants from the following organizations and agencies should be commended for their commitment to providing access to high-quality OHV recreation and related educational activities.  Those agencies and organizations include the Forest Service’s R5 Regional Office, BLM California State Office, BLM Redding Field Office, BLM Ukiah Field Office, BLM Eagle Lake Field Office, Tahoe National Forest, Eldorado National Forest, Shasta-Trinity National Forest, California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division, and the Redding Dirt Riders who are official non-profit volunteers for the Chappie Shasta OHV Area.

List of Partners that Support Chappie Shasta OHV Area

QWR also wants to thank these event sponsors and partners for their support of this educational endeavor to help train agency staff about safe vehicle operation and review new recreation strategies to address emerging technologies and uses.  Those supporters include the Right Rider Access Fund, Kawasaki Motors Corp, USA, RZ Mask, BlueRibbon Coalition/, and Redding Yamaha- Sea Doo.   They join a long list of partners (see above) that continue to make Chappie-Shasta OHV Area a premier West Coast designation site.

 QWR understands that Adaptive Management is the current term used by land agencies to describe how they look at new issues and challenges and include them in the decision-making process.  However, the term “Dynamic” infers a more energetic or enthusiast process that agencies can embrace as they engage with users, partners, and other stakeholders in collaborative efforts.