Thursday, February 1, 2018

Great Basin Plan - Engage in Scoping Process to Protect OHV Recreation

Don Amador at BLM Pine Nut Mountain Staging Area

QWR believes the quality of our trail future is directly proportional to the level of your involvement with the Forest Service or BLM.  That engagement also includes your robust participation in all agency planning efforts that can and often do impact OHV recreation.

Historically, OHV organizations have mainly focused on how motorized recreation is incorporated into landscape level programmatic plans such a Forest Plan or Resource Management Plan.   OHV stakeholders are also engaged in project level efforts (such as local travel plans, trail projects, new trail construction, etc.)

OHV Route Covered by Vegetative Debris
Photo by Doug Holcomb

As some of you know, there are other agency “non-OHV” management planning efforts related to vegetation or timber projects to address fuel loading and forest/range health via prescribed fire and/or mechanical treatments.

Popular OHV Route Erased by Vegetative Debris
Photo by Doug Holcomb

QWR believes the current public scoping period associated with the BLM’s Programmatic Environmental Impact Statements  to analyze potential effects of constructing fuel breaks, reducing fuel loading, and restoring rangeland productivity within the Great Basin Region (specifically Idaho, Oregon, Nevada, northern California, Utah, and eastern Washington) is an important learning tool for OHV and other recreation interests to better understand how this vegetation management plan could impact OHV use on roads, trails, and open areas.  

OHV Route Cleared by Volunteers 
Photo by Doug Holcomb


For example, in 2013 the BLM’s Carson City District Office developed a Draft Environmental Assessment to improve Bi-State Sage Grouse habitat via a vegetation management project.   While they did public scoping and other forms of outreach, it seems that the project’s potential impacts to historic OHV routes used for both casual trail riding and permitted events were not substantively addressed nor were mitigations adopted to protect important trail facilities in the project area.

OHV Route Covered with Woody Debris
Photo by Doug Holcomb


The various pictures in this article illustrate just how OHV routes can be either “decommissioned” or functionally closed to legal OHV use when vegetative debris is left on the route.  PS - Local trail volunteers worked very hard to clear many of the historic OHV routes that were impacted by the vegetation project.

OHV Route Reopened by Volunteers
Photo by Doug Holcomb

QWR believes it is important for OHV and other trail users to attend the Great Basin local scoping meetings and highlight OHV trail and other riding opportunities in the project area.  Then follow up with written comments asking the agency to analyze potential impacts to OHV recreation and then develop mitigation measures to minimize said impacts.

Thanks as always to all of you who attend these public meetings and submit comments!!!