Thursday, March 29, 2018

2018 CA TRAILS CONF. - Legwork and Collaboration in Management of eMTB Recreation

Tread Lightly!/FS Banner at eMTB Presentation

As many of you know, California State Parks has been in the “transformation” process of their agency which includes both motorized and non-motorized recreation programs.   QWR supports the ongoing efforts to increase staff efficiency and fiscal responsibility by cross-pollination of personnel (each with their own skillsets, equipment, and expertise) from Boating and Waterways, OHV, and non-motorized State Park units.

CA State Park Director Talks about Trail Recreation and eMTB Use

QWR believes inclusion/facilitation of an eMTB panel at the 2018 California Trails and Greenways Conference (historically a non-motorized event) was indication of the agency’s commitment to bring diverse recreation interests together in a collaborative manner to build relationships/trust and find solutions to managing trail-based opportunities in the 21st Century.

Good Turnout for eMTB Panel

The presentations from the Forest Service and regional/local eMTB interests highlighted the complexity of planning for legal and sustainable eMTB recreation on lands managed by local, state, and federal agencies.

Also, noted were efforts to find solutions including the FS using tenets of the Travel Management Rule to designate eMTB-only trails via “designation by motorized vehicle type.”   One current example cited is on the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit where the FS is working with eMTB recreationists to find new opportunity for said use.  Currently, eMTB use is restricted to OHV routes on federal lands.

eMTB Demo Trail Rides

Many states have  - or in the process of - creating legislative or policy/regulatory solutions to enhance eBike access on roadways, paths, and dirt trails managed by local and state jurisdictions.

After the panel presentations, there was an hour devoted to robust dialogue between non-motorized and motorized stakeholders and agency leads.

While not many solutions were identified on what is a very complex issue, QWR believes that CA OHV Commissioner, Ted Cabral, summed it up best when he stated it is important for the collective trail community to work more collaboratively and build partnerships going forward to address management challenges that face both motorized and non-motorized recreation in California and elsewhere.

Former CA IMBA Representative, Jim Haggen-Smit (L). and Don Amador (R)
Talking about eMTB Use and Decades Long Collaborative Efforts on Land-Use Issues

QWR also wants to thank the California Trails Conference Foundation for doing the “legwork” by hosting the eMTB event and for their ongoing efforts to promote sustainable trail-based recreation in the Golden State.

*Comments/feedback always welcome.

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