Friday, December 6, 2019

QWR NEWS RELEASE - Tribute to Access Icon Clark Collins

Clark Collins (C) on Trail Ride in Tahoe National Forest
Photo: Rick Guidice



Contact: Don Amador
Phone: (925) 783-1834
Date: December 6, 2019


OAKLEY, CA - Iconic visionaries are few and far between in the land-use arena.  John Muir, an avid naturalist, was an early visionary and is considered the father of the modern environmental movement.   Aldo Leopold, a U.S. Forest Supervisor and forester, was also a visionary who promoted a strong land stewardship ethic and fought for creation of federal Wilderness Areas.

I believe the history books will also recognize Clark Collins as a similar visionary that founded a national grassroots movement to promote access to, and responsible recreational use of, federal lands.

For me, Clark’s biggest contribution was securing a permanent seat at the national “land-use table” for managed OHV recreation.  In the B.C (before Clark) era, OHV was largely ignored by other well established federal land stakeholders such as the U.S. Forest Service, BLM, environmental groups, resource industry, and Wilderness advocates.  When those groups met, OHV was often not at the table.  Today we are.

Clark also worked hard to inspire the recreation community to become substantively engaged with land agencies, conservation organizations, elected officials, and other user groups as a way for them to help secure recreational access to designated roads, trails, and area for future generations.

Finally, Clark took it upon himself to mentor budding recreation advocates such as myself and many others.  That effort may be Clark’s most significant contribution to land-use in that it helped father today’s volunteer and professional OHV advocacy corps that is seeded in numerous local, state, and national organizations.

* Clark’s funeral is December 10, 2019 at 1:30 p.m at the Holy Spirit Catholic Church, St. Anthony Chapel, 524 North 7th Ave., Pocatello, Idaho 83201

# # #

Don Amador has been in the trail advocacy and recreation management profession for almost 30 years. Don is President of Quiet Warrior Racing/Consulting. Don is President/CEO of the Post Wildfire OHV Recovery Alliance. Don served as a contractor to the BlueRibbon Coalition from 1996 until June, 2018. Don served on the California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Commission from 1994-2000. He has won numerous awards including being a 2016 Inductee into the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame and the 2018 Friend of the AMA Award. Don currently serves as the government affairs lead for AMA District 36 in Northern California and also serves as the OHV representative on the BLM’s Central California Resource Advisory Committee.  Don writes from his office in Oakley, CA and can be reached via email at:

Thursday, November 28, 2019



THANKFUL FOR ED WALDHEIM – Being thankful for family and friends during this holiday season is important.  Expressing that thankfulness is also important especially for those who play or have played an important role in our lives.

With that thought in mind, I want to share a message (see below) from Ed Waldheim’s OHV network about expressing a kind note to Ed as he is placed on Hospice. As part of that network, I want to thank Ed in public for his friendship and leadership over the years.

Ed was an important mentor for me when I first got started in OHV advocacy about 30 years ago.  Ed set an example for me and many others.  Listed below are some terms that I like to use to describe Ed.


Show up at meetings/work parties

Educate elected officials

Facilitation/organization of meetings

Servant leadership


Passion for the sport

Growing role for non-profits

Engage with land managers


Don’t take no for an answer

Never give up

Present solutions

Have fun with family and friends

The bullet-points listed above are just a few of the personal and professional tenets that Ed helped instill in me.

If you are one of the many folks in OHV recreation that Ed has touched either directly or indirectly, please take time to read the message below and send Ed a message that will be read to him over this holiday season.

MESSAGE FROM ED’S OHV NETWORK (and where to send thank you notes)


As we enter this Thanksgiving season of giving thanks for our many blessings, we have a special request from anyone who has been touched by Ed Waldheim.
Ed's three years of treatment for stage IV lung cancer has ended and he has been placed on hospice.
Ed has impacted many people on his life’s journey, whether it was in the off-road community, the S.O.I. Motorhome club, or groups such as the Optimist Club, Relay For Life, and many other circles.

We are requesting thank you notes or cards to be sent to Ed to remind him how thankful we are of his help, support, and guidance along the way.
These will be delivered and read to Ed during this holiday season.

You can mail letters to:
Ed Waldheim
3550 Foothill Blvd.
Glendale, CA 91214

Or email to:

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

ROV DRIVER EDUCATION - Biologists Complete SxS Training

Biologists Complete ROHVA Basic Driver Course

QWR congratulates the biologists and specialists from AECOM and Applied Technology & Science (A-T-S) who recently completed the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association (ROHVA) ROV Basic DriverCourse (RBDC) taught at the Diablo MX Park located in Brentwood, California. 

These ROHVA classes were offered in recognition of the growing partnership between the scientific community and OHV professionals that both share a common commitment to managed and sustainable high quality recreation opportunities for both non-motorized and motorized activities.

Students Practice Exercise 4
As many land agencies and environmental consulting firms know, Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles (ROVs) or Side-by-Sides (SxSs) are becoming increasingly popular and are the fastest growing segment of the powersports market.  These useful vehicles are also becoming an important land management or research tool.

QWR offers the RBDC course for agency staff, contractors, and 1st responders that need to get certified or recertified before operating a government or corporate SxS. 

QWR believes that external partners will have an increasingly important role to play in helping provide access to certified safety instruction for staff that needs training.

Don Amador, President of Quiet Warrior Racing/Consulting, states, “It is a privilege and also fun to help train agency or corporate employees about how to operate their SxS vehicles in a safe and environmentally sound manner.”

“I really enjoyed seeing the RBDC students (many of them were new to driving SxSs) gain confidence over the course of the day using the skills they learned to safely operate their vehicle,” Amador concludes.

QWR appreciates the dedication of the biologists who want to protect natural resources for future generations.  And on recreation projects to ensure that units are maintained in a sustainable manner.

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:

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

HONE OHV LEADERSHIP SKILLS - Apply for the Mendocino RAC

RAC Appointment Letter

QWR believes it is important for OHV club representatives, leaders, or those looking to become leaders to develop their public land advocacy skill-set by serving on boards, commissions, or resource advisory councils (RAC).

By serving on a local RAC, you will meet and work with agency, government, and community leaders.  It is a great way to learn about land management issues, government and stakeholder collaborative processes, and grant funding opportunities.

The Mendocino National Forest, which is a premier destination OHV recreation area, is looking for a person to represent OHV recreation on the RAC.  Please consider applying for this position as it is a great way to serve the OHV community.

Please review the FS News Release below for information.  Please feel free to contact QWR/Don Amador if you have any questions.  Contact via email at:


Officials of the Mendocino National Forest are conducting public outreach to fill four permanent seats and two replacement members to establish a full federal advisory committee for Glenn and Colusa Counties.

Once appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture later this spring, the RAC will solicit projects for implementation.  RACs were established as a provision of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000.  By law the 4-year term, fifteen-member committee is composed of a wide representation of National Forest interests organized into the three categories below. An additional member is also appointed as a replacement should a committee member leave for any reason.

The Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000 or Public Law 110-343 replaced an arrangement that gave counties 25% of Forest Service receipts from logging, grazing, recreation and other activities on national forest lands.

RAC projects must have broad community based support with objectives that may include, but are not limited to: road, trail, and infrastructure maintenance or obliteration; soil productivity improvements; improvements in forest ecosystem health; watershed restoration and maintenance; restoration, maintenance, and improvement of wildlife and fish habitat; control of noxious and exotic weeds; hazardous fuels reduction; and reintroduction of native species. Projects must be on public land but can occur on private land if it can be demonstrated that there is a benefit to public land resources.

Interested applicants can apply for the Glenn\Colusa County RAC membership.  An interest form is available on the Mendocino National Forest website at:
Applicants must complete a cover letter and the short interest form.  Please address your correspondence to Ann Carlson, Forest Supervisor, 825 North Humboldt Ave., Willows, CA 95988.   Once committee members are selected an additional background screening will occur by the FBI. 

For additional information about the Secure Rural Schools legislation, including Titles I, II and III, please visit the SRS website at  For further information or questions please contact, Christine Hill, District Ranger or Zach Rich, RAC Coordinator at (530) 934-3316 or Zach


Thanks for your review of this RAC opportunity.

Don Amador
Member, BLM Central CA RAC
Member, FS Region 5 Recreation RAC (2011-2015)

Thursday, October 10, 2019

PSA - Support Post Fire Winter Seasoning of OHV Trail Repairs

Post Fire Temporary Closure Sign on OHV Trail
Mendocino National Forest

As federal OHV recreation areas continue their post Mendocino Complex Fire phased reopening of designated roads and trails that provide looped opportunities or connectivity, it is important to respect signs on routes that remain temporarily closed so their post-fire reconstruction treatments can season or stabilize over the winter.

Post Fire Rebuilding of Soil Erosion Structures on OHV Trail
Mendocino National Forest

Many of those closed routes received extensive damage as a result of dozer lines blading out soil erosion control structures on the trail.  Other trails had OHV bridges destroyed by the fire or had huge gullies carved out by heavy post-fire rain events.

Damaged Timber Barriers and Natural Vegetation Barriers
Mendocino National Forest

Another “sign” to look for as you enjoy those routes reopened over the last few months are those trail or area delineators that were either completely or partially destroyed by the fire.

QWR urges the greater OHV community to respect those roads, trails, and areas that remain temporarily closed or burned over sections of the forest where delineators - or vegetation that functioned as natural delineators - were damaged or obliterated.

Be assured, the Forest Service, OHV clubs, and non-profit partners are working hard on various post-wildfire recovery projects so that an increased number of popular motorized routes can be reopened in a timely manner for casual trail riding and permitted events in 2020.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

INDUSTRY ECON UPDATE - Federal Economic Report Includes SxS Recreation

Designated SxS/ATV/MC Trail
BLM's Chappie-Shasta OHV Area

 As motorized recreation continues to grow as an important economic contributor, QWR believes it is important for both private and public sector researchers to detail vehicle-specific analytics to better inform decision-makers, planners, and other stakeholders.

Off-Road Motorcycle Trail
CA's Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area

A recent update from NOHVCC and the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) confirms that SxS recreation WAS included in the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.


Don Amador, QWR President, states, “Today, OHV recreation not only provides access to high quality casual use trail opportunities and permitted events, but also provides motorized access to non-motorized activities.  I have friends and colleagues from both the OHV and conservation communities that also utilize SxSs for resource management, wildlife viewing, hunting, and stewardship projects.”

Open Sand Riding for SxS/ATV/MC and other OHVs
Forest Service's Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area

“I believe outdoor recreation economic reports and updates are a critically important tool and breaking out data about the fiscal benefit that comes from specific vehicle types will better inform land management agencies as they plan for current and future OHV use on designated roads, trails, and areas,” Amador concludes.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019


SxS Touring on BLM Lands 
BLM, Needles Field Office, CA

QWR greatly appreciates the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) and their ongoing efforts to highlight the important fiscal contribution that outdoor recreation makes to the U.S. economy.

SxS Backcountry Exploring
Eldorado National Forest, CA

A news release last week from ORR about a new update from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) states this is the second consecutive year that the BEA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, has released formal, national-level data, a notable milestone for the industry now identified as a unique sector of the economy. For the first time, BEA also released preliminary data on the outdoor recreation economy at the state level for all fifty states and the District of Columbia. Having a rich set of both state and national data on outdoor recreation to draw upon will inform decision-making by businesses, policymakers, and managers of public lands and waters.


As you may remember, on September 20, 2018, the Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account (ORSA) and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s BEA released data that shows the outdoor recreation economy accounted for 2.2 percent ($412 billion) of current-dollar Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2016. The BEA report notes the outdoor recreation economy grew 1.7 percent in 2016 which was faster than the 1.6 percent growth for the overall U.S. economy.

SxS Trail Use
BLM, Eagle Lake Field Office, CA

At that time, QWR contacted the BEA about our concerns that the agency may actually be underreporting the economic impact of “off-road” motorized recreation.  While BEA disaggregated motorcycle and ATV use from other motorized activities such as RVing, it appears the agency again fails to capture the direct and growing off-road economic impact of larger OHVs such as Side x Sides (SxS), jeep-type vehicles, four-wheel drive pickups, and all-wheel drive SUVs.

Jeep on Rubicon Trail 
Eldorado National Forest/El Dorado County

QWR believes it is important for both private and public sector economists and researchers to “ground truth” their assumptions before starting their outdoor recreation economic studies.   This is not only important for BEA but for other government agencies as they try to quantify the recreation economic benefits to local communities and the U.S. GDP.

Thursday, September 5, 2019


CA OHV enthusiasts who like to visit AZ came back from the Labor Day Weekend to find that they are now required to purchase an AZ non-resident OHV decal before riding in that state.   The new decal program became operational on September 1, 2019.

According to the AZ Department of Game and Fish - Out-of-state residents wishing to legally ride their off-highway vehicle and support OHV trail maintenance, education and law enforcement efforts in Arizona can purchase a nonresident OHV decal beginning Sunday, Sept. 1.

The new decal was supported and pushed by the OHV riding community during the 2019 legislative session and was signed into law by Gov. Doug Ducey. The law requires nonresident OHV owners to purchase a decal to operate the machines within the state.

All OHVs designed by the manufacturer primarily for use over unimproved terrain and that weigh 2,500 pounds or less are required by law to display a valid OHV decal to operate on public and state trust lands. This includes “street legal” OHVs that meet these two requirements.

Before the law was passed, nonresident OHV owners could ride their machines within the state for up to 30 days only if their state had a similar in-state resident decal program. There is no longer a grace period allowing nonresidents to operate without an Arizona decal and owners are now required to purchase a decal before operating their machines within the state. 

Those caught riding without a current decal can be fined.


Don Amador, QWR President, states, “I think the new AZ decal program caught a lot of CA OHVers  off-guard.  As a trail recreation professional and former CA State Park OHV Commissioner, I have always taken pride in our reciprocity with other states that have an off-road recreation decal or sticker program.”

“It appears this plan may have a lot of unintended consequences that include placing an additional fiscal burden on non-AZ residents who like to enjoy OHV recreation opportunities there or forcing states with long-standing OHV decal programs to reconsider reciprocity with AZ riders,” Amador continues. 

“I have reached out to the proponents of this new decal program for their rationale so CA OHVers can understand how this regulation was created,” Amador concludes.

# # #

Monday, August 5, 2019

COLLABORATION FOR RECREATION – Understand, Respect, and Protect

2011 Agency-User Field Trip - Start of Collaborative Process
Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area

QWR remains a strong supporter of the collaborative process as it relates to public land recreation planning and management efforts at local, state, and federal areas.

The important role that collaboration plays was acknowledged by the California Coastal Commission at a recent hearing where they directed California State Parks to develop a local collaborative where various land/regulatory agencies, elected officials, businesses, OHV groups, and conservation organizations can work together to help develop responsible management concepts for Oceano Dunes SVRA.

A good example of successful collaboration at a popular recreation area can found at the U.S. Forest Service’s Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. 

Recent Collaborative Open Dune Restoration Project
                                                 Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area

In 2014, the Save the Riders Dunes, a local OHV non-profit organization, met with conservation groups to discuss finding common ground with a goal of both protecting open sand resources and providing a high-quality outdoor experience.  That stakeholder process was centered on attending meetings and field trips where information was shared, values appreciated/respected, and new relationships formed.

QWR believes that robust collaborate effort is largely responsible for “Saving” the Oregon Dunes and creating a positive future there for both motorized and non-motorized recreation opportunities.

QWR encourages all those engaged in recreation planning efforts to take time to read the highly informative 23 page The Oregon Dunes Restoration Collaborative Report on how this diverse set of interest groups came together in a substantive manner to develop a strategy for managing the Oregon Dunes for current and future generations.


QWR has an axiom that “The quality of your local FS/BLM/State Park OHV recreation program is or will be directly proportional to the quality of your engagement with agency staff and other users.”

If your club has not done so already, now is the time for your organization to appoint a designated representative(s) to attend local land use planning meetings and make that long-term commitment to help ensure that you and your family continues to have access to high quality trail-based or open sand recreational opportunities.  It is the future of OHV.

# # # 

Friday, July 26, 2019


 "Logging-type" FS Road Designated for Non-Street Legal OHVs
Mendocino National Forest

QWR wants to commend the agency for their current effort to increase the efficiency of environmental analysis to help with implementation of its core mission to enhance forest health and encourage access to sustainable outdoor activities including casual use and permitted events for OHV recreation.

Current Revisions to NEPA Procedures (36 CFR 220) – Comments Due Aug, 12, 2019

QWR has long believed in, and advocated for, the increased use of categorical exclusions (CEs) for various OHV related projects and events especially at destination OHV areas where motorized use is well established and managed.  

Increasing the use of CEs for trail reroutes, designating new OHV trails/roads, authorizing permitted events such as enduros in areas where the agency has a designated route network is a smart way to reduce red-tape, cost, and increase public access to high quality outdoor recreation.

These proposals could also help create new opportunities for SxS recreation by streamlining the agency decision-making process so they could designate more of their street legal-only “logging-type” roads to routes that can be used by non-street legal SxSs.

# # # 

Wednesday, July 24, 2019


Designated "jeep-type" Route for Street Legal Vehicles Only
Eldorado National Forest

Backcountry exploration on Adventure (ADV) motorcycles continues to be a popular recreation activity on public lands that also creates a significant economic benefit.  Recent studies by the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Outdoor Industry Association highlight that fact.  In addition, those reports are being supported by other research such as an economic study by the Backcountry Discovery Routes organization.

BDR Adventure Bike Study

QWR believes it is important for new ADV riders - who are not familiar with “OHV” travel management programs on Forest Service lands – to be sure and download a Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) before planning a big ride on your favorite National Forest.

Link to MVUM Maps

According to agency information, the MVUM is a product of the Forest Service 2005 Final Travel Management Rule.  Those maps detail what routes have been designated for use by both street-legal and non-street legal motorized vehicles.

Travel Management Sign - Eldorado National Forest

The MVUM also displays allowed uses by vehicle class (street-legal vs. non-street legal, roads managed as trails for larger OHVs such as SxSs, vehicles less than 50 inches wide such as dirt-bikes/ATVs, and motorcycles), seasonal allowances, distance allowances, and provides information on other travel rules and regulations.

Backcountry Adventure Awaits - Eldorado National Forest

The MVUM is a black and white map with no topographic features and can be hard to read. QWR recommends that you have other information handy such as GPS tracks or a Forest Visitor Map that is more detailed.

ADV or dual-sport riding is a lot of fun and having good information on what routes are open or closed is an important key to a successful and safe backcountry experience.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

ENJOY WITH CAUTION - Mendocino Reopens Some Key OHV Routes

Post 2015 Route Complex Wildfire Hazard Sign on Trail
Mad River Ranger District - Six Rivers National Forest

QWR commends the Mendocino National Forest for its decision on July 12, 2019 to reopen a number of important designated roads and trails on the Forest including many popular OHV routes that loop out from, and back to, the main camping area at Fouts Springs near Stonyford, CA.

Post 2018 Ranch Fire Hazard Sign at Forest Entrance
Mendocino National Forest

Although the Forest and volunteers have already done a lot of post wildfire recovery work,  the Forest Supervisor, Ann Carlson, correctly points out in the reopening news release that , “There is still a vast amount of restoration work to do, but we are very pleased to be able to reopen much of the Ranch Fire closure area for summer visitors. We hope that visitors pay close attention to warning signs when entering the area and maintain awareness of their surroundings.”


Having spent a couple of weeks helping with those recovery efforts at Stonyford, QWR wants to join with Supervisor Carlson in advising OHV enthusiasts who visit the burn area to be aware that hazards may persist in the fire area for several years.  Some of the most common hazards out on the trail include downed trees across trails, washouts, burned out stumps or their root systems that are in or near the designated route.

July 12, 2019 Reopening Map on Mendocino NF

The Forest has a good list with illustration of those potential hazards cited in the link below:

An additional “hazard” that was not mentioned in the list is there may be a lot of burned carsonite route markers that help visitors understand where they are.  Getting disoriented could be an issue for riders who are unfamiliar to the area or only ride there during a permitted enduro or dual-sport ride.  Be sure and get a map and don’t venture on routes that you are not familiar with.

QWR/s Post Wildfire Strike Team Trail Clearing Project
Grindstone Ranger District - Mendocino National Forest

Riders should also remember to avoid riding on non-restored or restored “cross-country” dozer lines that were cut in to attack and manage the 450,000 acre Ranch Fire.  These are not legal OHV routes.

Also, respect private property in the area.  There are many inholders on the Forest and the wildfire severely impacted their property as well.  

Dirt-Bike Trail Crews are an Important Post Wildfire Recovery Partner

QWR encourages OHVers of all vehicle types to get out and enjoy/celebrate the reopening of key recreation assets on the Forest.  Also consider volunteering for wildfire recovery efforts or support organizations that are engaged in those projects.

If you would like to find out more about volunteer work opportunities on the Forest or how support ongoing recovery efforts, please contact QWR/Don Amador at –

Friday, July 12, 2019


Packed Main Hearing Room
CA Coastal Commission Hearing, July 11, 2019

By Don Amador
July 12, 2019  
Historic OHV Turnout Stems Closure Tide at Oceano Dunes  

A huge crowd of 850-1,000 OHV enthusiasts, related businesses, elected officials, and partners made access history yesterday at the Coastal Commission hearing held in San Luis Obispo, California where the long-term future of motorized recreation at Oceano Dunes SVRA was hanging in the balance.  They packed the main hearing room and a number of overflow rooms.

CA State Park Director, Lisa Mangat, Talks About Need
for Coastal Commission to Allow PWP Process to Move Forward

The 8-2 vote to defer the Coastal Commission’s staff recommendations - so as to allow the California State Park Public Works Plan (PWP) public process for Oceano Dunes SVRA to play out - was also the result of State Parks taking a strong position against the Coastal Commission report and a lot of hard work by various parties before the hearing as highlighted in the LA Times article below:


It’s not often the Coastal Commission is forced to look affected citizens in the eye about how their closure proposals will devastate local businesses and communities where shop owners will be forced to close and lay-off staff and the newly unemployed will not be able to pay their mortgages or put food on the table.

San Luis Obispo County District 4 Supervisor, Lynn Compton
Speaks in Strong Support of Oceano Dunes SVRA 

The Coastal Commission was also confronted with the fact their staff did not consult with local government agencies that were also blindsided by the staff report.

Proud Duner Stands in Support of OHV Recreation

While the vote result was significant, the key element in the Coastal Commission decision was to direct staff to work with State Parks to create a collaborative stakeholder group that would include representatives from the Coastal Commission, CA OHV Commission, State Parks, local government, OHV groups, businesses, and conservation interests.  That venue would allow for more robust and meaningful discussions between the Coastal Commission and other members of the group.

Rugged Radio Shows Up to Defend Local Business

I don’t view the Coastal Commission decision as a major “OHV Victory” but rather an event that earned its place as a seminal moment on the land access timeline alongside other significant issues such as the S21/CA Desert Protection Act, Clinton/Gore Roadless Initiative, 2005 Forest Service Travel Management Rule, and the 2007-2017 fight to restructure and permanently reauthorize the CA OHV Program.

Coastal Commission Staff Continue to Front OHV "Dust Plume" Hoax

While OHV lives on to fight another day in the battle for Oceano Dunes SVRA, we have some immediate action items and those are:

Encourage OHV Stakeholders to Be Active in the PWP Process

Challenge False APCD/Coastal Commission OHV Generated “Dust Plume” Assertion

Challenge Stipulated Order of Abatement

Continue to Build OHV Political Force  

Be Prepared for Future Legal Challenge

The greater OHV community should be proud of what they accomplished at the hearing.  Your attendance and testimony made more of an impact than you can ever know.  Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to attend what will go down as a major milestone in OHV political history.

# # #

Don Amador has almost 30 years in the field of land use management, policy, and politics.  Don writes on recreation and environmental issues from his office in Oakley, CA.  He may be reached via email at:

Sunday, July 7, 2019

TAKE THE PLUNGE - U.S. Forest Service Seeking OHV Representatives to Service on Recreation Advisory Council

2010 R5 RRAC Site Visit to Campsite Armor Project
Inyo National Forest

According to a Forest Service news release, The United States Department of Agriculture’s Pacific Southwest Region of the Forest Service is seeking nominations to fill the eleven-member Recreation Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) in California.  Recreation RAC members provide recommendations to the Agency on recreation fee changes at national forest sites throughout the state of California. This includes making recreation fee program recommendations on implementing or eliminating standard amenity fees; expanded amenity fees; and noncommercial, individual special recreation permit fees; expanding or limiting the recreation fee program; and fee-level changes. Nominations are now being accepted through August 1, 2019.


As a former member of the R5 RRAC (2009 - 2014), I urge those of you in an OHV leadership position - or if you are working to enhance your leadership skills - to consider applying for an appointment to the RRAC.  You have until August 1 to submit your application.

Inyo National Forest Supervisor, Jeff Marsolais, Gives Recreation Overview
to RRAC Members - Inyo National Forest

QWR has an axiom that “The quality of your local FS/BLM trail recreation program is or will be directly proportional to the quality of your engagement with agency staff and other users.”

Don Amador, QWR President and Former Member of the R5 RRAC, states, “The future of OHV depends on folks like you devoting some of your time to engaging with other land-use stakeholders in collaborative processes like the RRAC.   Opportunities like this can be a great learning experience and will help you develop your leadership skills.”

QWR has an axiom that “The quality of your local FS/BLM trail recreation program is or will be directly proportional to the quality of your engagement with agency staff and other users.”

Now is the time for you to consider making that long-term commitment to help ensure that you and your family/friends continue to have access to high quality trail-based recreational opportunities.  Fill out that application today!

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Important Role for Dirt-Bike Based Trail Crews in Post Wildfire Recovery

Dirt-Bike Based Post Wildfire Recovery Project of 50 Inch Trail
Mendocino National Forest - Grindstone Ranger District

One of the lessons QWR learned during the ongoing post wildfire recovery efforts of  three federal destination OHV areas devastated by the 2018 450,000+ acre Mendocino Complex Fire highlight the need for skilled dirt-bike based “strike teams” to perform important hazard mitigation tasks on the narrower 50-inch or single-track motorcycle trails.

Downed Trees on 50-Inch Trail
Mendocino National Forest - Grindstone Ranger District

While some BLM Field Offices, National Forests, and Ranger Districts have excellent trail crews or volunteers that can buck out downed trees or repair trail damage on routes used by larger OHVs such as SxSs or 4x4 vehicles, it appears that many units do not have the staff in-house with those advanced dirt-bike rider skills to deploy on narrow trail-based hazard mitigation projects.

Bucked Out Downed Trees on 50-Inch Trail
Mendocino National Forest - Grindstone Ranger District

As you know, intense wildfires can destroy important OHV management tools along narrow routes such as trail delineators and signs.  Debris flows and downed trees can also impact trail access and in many remote areas they are most effectively addressed by dirt-bike based post wildfire recovery trail crews or strike teams.

Bucking Out Single Track Motorcycle Trail
Mendocino National Forest - Grindstone Ranger District 

QWR believes that OHV recreation sites in California and the West will continue to face the likelihood of more intense wildfires over the next 10-20 years.  And, that creation of skilled agency and/or volunteer dirt-biked based strike teams will have an ever increasingly important role to play in delivery of timely and strategic post wildfire recovery efforts on narrow OHV trails that are largely inaccessible by larger vehicles.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

POST MENDOCINO COMPLEX FIRE UPDATE - OHV Recreation Reopens on Federal Lands in Northern California

BLM and OHV Partners Reopen Cow Mountain OHV Area
June 3, 2019 - BLM Ukiah Field Office

The 2018 Mendocino Complex fire scorched over 400,000 acres of public lands managed by the BLM and U.S. Forest Service.  The Mendocino Complex fire included the 30,000 acre River Fire that impacted BLM lands near Ukiah and the 410,000 acre Ranch Fire that burned mostly on federal and non-federal lands within the Mendocino National Forest boundary.

BLM Signs in over 30 Volunteers at Cow Mountain Work Party
 BLM Ukiah Field Office

It is the largest such wildfire complex in California history.  The wildfire also resulted in the closure of three federal OHV areas that are key destination recreation sites that provide casual trail use, motorized access to non-motorized activities, and permitted motorized events.

BLM OHV Program Lead, Ashley Poggio, Reopens Motorcycle Trail on June 3, 2019
Cow Mountain OHV Area - BLM Ukiah Field Office 

The closure of the BLM Cow Mountain OHV Area and the Forest Service OHV Areas on the Grindstone and Upper Lake Ranger Districts had a direct and significant economic impact on gateway communities, powersports dealerships, and related businesses.

Trail Crew Installs No-Dig Barriers on Dozer/Cat Line
Cow Mountain Volunteer Work Party - BLM Ukiah Field Office

The recreational access prohibitions within the burn footprint also had an indirect resource impact on other OHV areas as trail enthusiasts had to seek their outdoor experiences at federal recreation areas not burned in the 2018 wildfire season.

Understanding the aforementioned hardships the fire closures have had on stakeholders, the BLM and Forest Service have been working diligently to reopen campgrounds and the route network once the most serious post fire mitigation treatments were completed.

OHV Volunteers Install New Route Markers
Cow Mountain OHV Area - BLM Ukiah Field Office

In late 2018, the BLM Ukiah Field Office stated at several public meetings that their post fire reopening strategy was to get the Cow Mountain OHV Area reopened once a majority of the hazard trees were addressed and damaged trail and campground infrastructure was repaired.

Volunteer Trail Recon and Trail Clearing
Grindstone Ranger District - Mendocino National Forest

QWR believes that early communication and substantive engagement with volunteer partners was a critical element that led to the reopening of Cow Mountain on June 3, 2019.

Grindstone RD OHV Program Manager, Sarah Ridenour, doing Post Fire
Recovery of Trails in the Stonyford OHV Area - Mendocino National Forest

The Forest Service also made a similar commitment to restoring public access in a timely manner with an understanding the much larger size and scope the Ranch Fire had on the agency and its recreation facilities.

Don Amador is Member of Trail Clearing Crew on Trail 36
Grindstone Ranger District - Mendocino National Forest

Just as the BLM is honoring its pledge to reopen their unit to public use, the Mendocino National Forest is implementing their “phased” reopening strategy with today’s publication of Forest Order # 08-19-02.  The order reopens certain areas that have received post fire mitigation work by either agency staff, contractors, and recent/ongoing volunteer efforts.

LINK TO FOREST ORDER (with maps) # 08-19-02

Here are the areas/routes reopened on the Mendocino NF

On the Grindstone Ranger District, the following campgrounds are open: Davis Flat,
North Fork, South Fork, Fouts, Mill Creek, Gray Pine Group, and Mine Camp. In
addition, the RV Dump Station, Nail Track OHV Play Area and Day Use, Little Stony
Day Use (all OHV trails and roads remain closed in the area) and Little Stony
Campground (all OHV trails and roads remain closed in the area) are open as well as
the following trails and roads:

Trail 85342 - loop out of Davis Flat Campground
Trail 85341 - north of County Road 43A (M10) - connector trail to campgrounds in Fouts
18N10 - leads to Mine Camp
17N64 - spur to South Fork Campground
17N47 - spur to Fouts Campground
17N60 - spur to RV Dump Station
18N03D - spur to Davis Flat Campground
18N03 - open to junction of 18N03A
18N03A - spur to North Fork Campground
18N08 and 18N08A (access roads to Happy Camp private property)
County Road 42 (Goat Mountain Road) to Little Stony Day use area
County Road 43A Fouts Springs Road open to M10 (Fouts Campground Complex)

The following are open on the Upper Lake Ranger District:
Middle Creek Campground Novice area
Forest Trail No. 60 Erickson Ridge 4x4
Forest Trail No. 61 Coyote Rock
Forest Trail No. 63 Browns Gulch
Forest Trail No. 65 Powder House 4x4 (north of M1)
Forest Trail No. 66 Refuge 4x4
Forest Trail No. 67 Rattlesnake 4x4
Forest Trail No. 69 Windy Point

Please remember that there is a seasonal closure, from May 18 to September 8, which
affects the following trails on the Upper Lake district:

Forest Trail No. 62 Oak Flat Access (also known as Forest Road No. 18N40)
Forest Trail No. 64 Powder House
Forest Trail No. 65 Powder House 4x4 (south of M1, also known as Forest Road No. 19N46)

QWR commends the OHV community and agency leads for exercising patience with, and lending support to, each other during the challenging post fire recovery and reopening process.   It speaks volumes to the substance and quality of a very dynamic private/public partnership that was made stronger by the flames of last year’s wildfire season.

# # # 

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

UPDATE - Efficacy of Lincoln Log No-Dig Trail Delineators

May 2019 Review of Lincoln Log Barriers Installed
in October 2018 - Post Carr Fire Recovery Update
BLM Chappie-Shasta OHV Area

Efficacy is the ability of achieving a goal or objective to produce the intended result.  In the case of post-wildfire recovery of recreation facilities those efforts often include travel management-related projects to reestablish delineation of designated routes, highlight a trail entrance, or protect natural or cultural resources.

Over the last 18 years, QWR has witnessed the increased frequency of reoccurring intense wildfires impacting popular federal recreation areas in the California and the West.

Lincoln Log Barriers Installed in Oct. 2018

Many land management agencies have historically relied on a post wildfire model to “buy and replace” milled timber barriers to meet desired travel management objectives. Often purchasing, constructing, and transporting a milled timber barrier with footings and rebar stakes to its destination at a remote trailhead or cultural site can exceed $100 to $150 dollars each.

While milled timber barriers or trail delineators may still be valid and necessary depending on desired management objectives, QWR believes our new and more frequent wildfire reality requires us to reevaluate the automatic response to purchase miles of costly milled timber barriers vs. increased use of “free” on-site dead or dying trees to construct “lincoln log” trail delineators.

Milled Timber Barriers Installed in Oct. 2018
BLM Chappie Shasta OHV Area

To review the effectiveness of lincoln log delineators to restrict OHV travel on routes impacted by dozer lines, QWR reviewed post-Carr Fire recovery efforts at the Chappie-Shasta OHV Area near Redding, California.

In October of 2018, OHV volunteers and BLM recreation staff installed both milled timber and non-dig lincoln log barriers/trail delineators on several dozer lines created during fire suppression efforts.

The “No Dig” Strike Team was directed to a dozer line that needed barriers installed. The team cut various lengths of dead trees on-site which were then laid into the v-notches of natural footings also cut on-site from fire damaged trees. 

This created a stable natural-looking no-dig barrier/delineator that highlighted the designated path of vehicle travel and/or the area that was protected. 

A recent field review in May 2019 showed those no-dig lincoln log barriers were meeting their management objective and were just as effective to date as the milled timber barriers.

May 2019 Review of Milled Timber Barriers that were
Installed in Oct. 2018 - BLM Chappie Shasta OHV Area

QWR believes that some credit to the effectiveness of both the no-dig and milled timber barriers can be attributed to ongoing travel management efforts by the Forest Service, BLM, and the California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division to encourage OHV travel on designated roads, trails, and areas.

Freshly Installed Lincoln Log Trail Delineators Installed
May 2019 at Post River Fire Recovery Project
BLM Cow Mountain OHV Area

While the 2005 Forest Service Travel Management Rule that directed all National Forests to designate roads, trails and areas for motorized use was at the time controversial, it appears that post-2005 travel management planning efforts and subsequent implementation strategies may be contributing to the user community’s willingness to stay on designated routes at popular OHV areas in the West that are at risk from intense wildfires.
Lincoln log barriers/delineators are just one of many post wildfire recovery travel management tools that may not be as effective in high use areas such as campgrounds and staging areas where milled timber or rock barriers are more appropriate.

However in more remote areas where OHV recreationists are simply passing through on a designated road or trail, the no dig delineator might prove to be a more cost-effective option.