Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Climate Change Favors Single-Track Motorcycle Trail Revival

The "Climate" is Right for Single Track Motorcycle Trail Revival

It’s been 14 years since the Forest Service launched the 2005 Travel Management Rule that directed all National Forests to designate roads, trails, and areas for motorized vehicle use.  Unfortunately, thousands of miles of historic recreation roads and single-track motorcycle trails were eliminated from consideration and subsequently closed once those initial planning processes were completed.

Single Track Trail
Tahoe National Forest

QWR believes a number of relatively new factors are in play that may help bolster a National Single-Track Revival in both the agency and user community.  Those 4 significant developments include the Forest Service National Trails Strategy, agency commitment to collaboration/partnerships, creative trail design/construction concepts, and an empowered local user community.

ONE - The agency must continue to use its National Trails Strategy as a motivational tool to encourage a “can-do” culture on units that are (or should be) in the process of creating and managing a sustainable high-quality trail network. 


In recent years, some units are building new, or reconstructing old, single-track motorcycle trails as part of their promise to the OHV community to review those early travel management decisions.  Again, support for trails is coming from Washington D.C. and should be cited by OHV recreation groups as an onus for local units to enhance trail opportunities.

Single Track Trail
BLM Pocatello Field Office

TWO- The collaborative process can bring land agency staff, conservation groups, local government, other diverse stakeholders, and the trail-based recreation community together with a common goal of both protecting resources and providing a high-quality outdoor experience.  This stakeholder process is centered on attending meetings and field trips where information is shared, values are appreciated, and relationships are formed.

Single Track Trail
Carnegie SVRA

Federal land agencies have made a long-term commitment to a substantive stakeholder process on the front-end of the NEPA process.   This is a welcome and significant change from historic NEPA planning efforts where the agency had already made the decision and was simply going through the required public process as more or less of a formality.

THREE - Concepts such as the construction of new “companion-trails” along existing road-based ATV, SxS, and 4WD routes to separate vehicle types for safety and an enhanced trail experience should be embraced by the agency and trail groups. 

As appropriate, the agency’s vegetation management and forest-health NEPA planning efforts could or should address important trail-based recreation needs as part of a holistic and cost-effective approach to forest planning. 

FOUR - The agency’s shift to investing more time up front in collaborative efforts also requires the recreation community to make a similar commitment to getting some skin-in-the-game by attending meetings, hosting a field trip, and substantively engaging with agency recreation staff and decision-makers.

Club’s should appoint a designated representative(s) to attend local land use planning meetings and make that long-term commitment to help ensure that new single-track motorcycle trails will be included in future planning efforts.

At the end-of-the-day, QWR believes you will find 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.

JOIN the Single-Track Revival today!

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