Sunday, November 29, 2020





The Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Commission will hold a virtual meeting on Thursday December 3, 2020.  It is important for OHV club leaders, advocates, consultants, volunteers, and other stakeholders who support the CA OHV Program to attend this meeting to voice concerns and/or offer solutions to many of the items on the agenda.  Your input on critical topics such as the Park Transformation process (Path Forward 2026), access to lands at SVRAs that are currently closed to OHV use at Carnegie, Oceano, etc., management of SVRAs including event permitting, Park communications, outreach, collaboration, planning efforts such as the PWP, and other issues will help shape the future of the CA OHV Program.


The links below provide information on how to sign up for the meeting and various agenda items.





PATH FORWARD 2026 (Transformation Process)


COVID restrictions, wildfires, and political unrest continues to make this a very challenging year for both OHV recreationists and land agency staff that access or manage sustainable OHV recreation on local, state, and federal lands.


However difficult things have been, life goes on and so does the need for the public and OHV commission to hold government officials responsible for their actions or inactions.  See just a few of the questions that need answers at this commission meeting.


Question 1 - Will there be an update from Parks or the San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District to the August 2020 letter from the OHV Commission about the District forcing the OHV Trust Fund to spend over $16M dollars on dust mitigation measures and removing 48 acres from the riding and camping area at Oceano Dunes SVRA using a process that is out of step with tenets outlined in the May 18, 2018 Stipulated Order of Abatement?




Question 2 - Will the PWP be able to show it how it benefits OHV recreation?  So far the PWP has not included plans to address much needed dune access, camping,  and staging for OHVs on the sound end of the project area?


Question 3 – Will Parks have a response to the 2019 Petition filed by the Oceano Dunes Access Alliance requesting that it withdraws from the Stipulated Order of Abatement?  So far, there has not even been an acknowledgement by Parks they received that petition?


Question 4 – What has Parks and Transformation done to streamline and improve the event permitting process at SVRAs?


Question 5 – What is Parks doing to address the SVRA’s need for on-site Park Superintendents to make management decisions in real-time instead of being supervised by off-site Park leaders who may not have the expertise or time to devote to SVRA specific needs since they are now tasked with managing “Districts” which may include 23 park units?


Thanks for taking time to review this alert and I hope to see you at the OHV commission meeting on December 3.

Monday, November 23, 2020




By Don Amador

November 23, 2020


*Permission to share, repost, or reprint is hereby granted




There has been a bitter and constant fight to preserve and protect the California OHV Program since its creation in 1971.  For almost 50 years, public and private sector opponents of motorized recreation have used overt and covert means to “redirect” monies from the OHV Trust Fund to support non-motorized units of the State Park System.

In the early 1990s, one of my first battles was to help stop an effort by the California Natural Resources Agency to redirect almost 100% of the monies from the OHV grant program that allocates funds to the Forest Service, BLM, and counties that manage legal OHV recreation on public lands in their jurisdictions.

Another fight that I joined was to stop California State Parks from using OHV Trust Fund monies to purchase private property that provided no benefit to the Program.  Over the last 25 years, OHV organizations have defended the Program against a myriad of similar schemes to eviscerate or defund the Program.

In 2014, California State Parks launched the Park Transformation Process.  At that time, the State Park Director said the California Department of Parks and Recreation was going through a series of initiatives supporting strategic goals, such as improving visitors’ experiences and making the system more relevant to a broader and more diverse population. The effort, dubbed “Transformation”, would alter policies, procedures, guidelines, and organizational structures to support an entrepreneurial, service-oriented, creative and collaborative culture within the Department.

On the surface, Transformation sounded like it might offer some opportunities for highly-skilled OHV specialists and land managers within the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division (OHMVRD) to cross-pollinate with their counterparts at non-motorized units.    

State Park Director and CA OHV Commission Listen to Public Input on the Transformation Process  August 11, 2016, Ontario Double Tree Hotel

Unfortunately after reading Transformation documents and attending related public hearings in 2016, it was apparent it could devastate OHMVRD’s ability to manage its highly acclaimed system of State Vehicular Recreation Areas (SVRAs).  And that it might also negatively impact the grant program that supports managed OHV recreation on local, county, and federal lands.

In fact, I echoed those concerns and similar warnings voiced by former OHMVR Commissioner, Ed Waldheim, at the 2016 CA State Parks Joint Commissions meeting about the OHV Program being absorbed into the CA State Park System.  And, reminded the Transformation Team that back in 1982 the OHMVRD and OHMVR Commission were both created to address California State Park’s failure to effectively implement the 1971 bipartisan bill that created the OHV Program.

The hallmark of that 1971 bill was the creation of the OHV Trust Fund to provide an independent, sound, ongoing funding source. OHV gas tax and Green & Red Sticker fees continue to fund the OHV Trust Fund that is now threatened by Transformation.

I believe that active forms of recreation such as OHV and boating are most effectively managed by line-staff at the local level where they have on-the-ground knowledge and meaningful relationships with their customers.  Historically, decisions to administer event permits, designate routes, and manage other park operations have been made by SVRA District Superintendents.  The same on-site decision-making holds true for units managed by county park departments, the Forest Service, and BLM.


On page 5 of the 2017 Operational Transition Plan, it states, "District boundaries and grouping of state parks were evaluated as part of this process, and the number of districts will be reduced from 22 to 21. In addition, districts will now be structured to include multiple forms of recreation, including off-highway motor vehicle recreation. As such, state vehicular recreation areas (SVRAs) will be incorporated into districts with different types of park units including state parks, state recreation areas, and others to create equal footing with other state park activities. As described in this Plan, the remapping of district boundaries will create more effective management and unified operation of park districts, which will in turn provide greater services to the public."




I believe that statement highlights a strategy on how the independence of the OHMVR Program that made for a successful world-wide recognized program has been reduced to a dependent, fiscally combined neutered transformation where OHV Trust Fund monies can easily be redirected to support non-OHV operations at State Parks. That would be in direct conflict to the 1971 bill that created the program and the 1982 legislation that created the Division and Commission.


The Transformation Process has now morphed into Path Forward 2026 and is scheduled for presentation at the upcoming OHV Commission meeting on December 3, 2020. 





Again, it is important to remember the OHMVR Division has a distinct mission that is carried out by a highly-skilled team of OHV-trained trail specialists, environmental scientists, law enforcement personnel, and grant administrators.  


Those staff members at Division Headquarters are then led by an on-site management team that consists of an appointed Deputy Director, Division Chief, and Senior Environmental Specialist.  

Since 1982, there has been a direct chain of command/communications between the Division and SVRA District Superintendents that is necessary for the Program to continue delivering sustainable world- class OHV recreation to CA residents and tourists.  Thanks to Transformation that effective chain of command no longer exists because the SVRAs have been moved into mega park districts. 


The OHV districts and their District Superintendents had separate but equal management and budgeting powers compared to “regular” state park districts that were essential to the fast-paced recreation needs of the OHV community. That local decision-making power has been diluted by routing many decisions to a mega district with twenty or more park units competing for workload.


Based on my current observations of the Division and Program, I fear those concerns expressed in 2016 and at subsequent meetings have been realized as there appears to be a significant turnover of personnel at key leadership positions with no visible signs of urgency by Parks to fill, and/or if filled, the Division Chief position would not be sited at the Division headquarters.  This turmoil is not good for Division employee morale nor does it do anything to address the historically deep level of distrust that exists between the OHV community and State Parks HQ.


On April 15, 1912, the Titanic sank after hitting an iceberg while crossing the North Atlantic Ocean on its way from England to New York.  It was considered a state-of-the-art ocean liner and was thought to be unsinkable.   Many think misguided agendas and ill-advised plans were to blame for that disaster.


The greater OHV community must stand up to mount a vigorous challenge to ill-advised proposals in the Transformation Process and urge Parks to amend serious flaws in their plan so our Program will not meet a similar fate. 


# # #


Don Amador has been in the trail advocacy and recreation management profession for 30 years. Don is President of Quiet Warrior Racing/Consulting. Don served as a chairman and member 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. 





Tuesday, November 10, 2020



Take Survey for New Recreation Projects

As a NOHVCC CA State Partner, I want to share a great opportunity for recreation leads to take a survey from OR State University and the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) with comments due by November 13, 2020. 


 By taking this survey, you will help ORR create a list of Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)-eligible recreation projects for FY22-FY25 from businesses and partners around the country.

This list will complement the recent passage of the Great American Outdoors Act by showcasing the outstanding potential for recreation projects supporting rural development and providing access and equity in diverse communities around the country. Further, this list will be used to inform future priorities for the outdoor recreation economy and to educate Congress and the administration.

As you may know, LWCF monies were recently used to acquire the 1,300 acre Blue Oak Ranch from a willing seller to help provide enhanced camping, staging, and vehicle access to the BLM’s Cow Mountain OHV Recreation Area near Ukiah, CA.


QWR believes the Blue Oak Ranch story is a great example of how the LWCF can be used to help acquire additional high quality recreation opportunities for future generations.


Summary of the Great American Outdoors Act below

Public Law No: 116-152 (08/04/2020)

Great American Outdoors Act

This bill establishes the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund to support deferred maintenance projects on federal lands.

For FY2021-FY2025, there shall be deposited into the fund an amount equal to 50% of energy development revenues credited, covered, or deposited as miscellaneous receipts from oil, gas, coal, or alternative or renewable energy development on federal lands and waters. Deposited amounts must not exceed $1.9 billion for any fiscal year.

The fund must be used for priority deferred maintenance projects in specified systems that are administered by

  • the National Park Service,
  • the Forest Service,
  • the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
  • the Bureau of Land Management, and
  • the Bureau of Indian Education.

The Government Accountability Office must report on the effect of the fund in reducing the backlog of priority deferred maintenance projects for the specified agencies.

Additionally, the bill makes funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) permanent. The President shall annually report to Congress specified details regarding the allocation of funds to the LWCF. Congress may provide for alternate allocations using specified procedures.

Thanks for taking the survey!



Thursday, November 5, 2020


Ranch Owner, Craig Blencowe Gives Presentation
2019 CA OHMVR Commission Tour - BLM Cow Mountain OHV Recreation Area


Don Amador

November 5, 2020




As the recreation community anxiously awaits the results of the 2020 Presidential Election, I want to share an article published by the American Motorcyclist Association that gives the backstory on how the BLM was able to acquire a 1,300 acre ranch that will be used to provide enhanced staging, camping, and riding opportunities at the Cow Mountain OHV Recreation Area near Ukiah, California.


The article highlights the herculean 15-year collaborative effort by pro-recreation agency leads and private sector advocates at the local, state, and federal levels to purchase a private ranch from a willing seller using monies from the Land and Water Conservation Fund and a grant from the California OHV Program.


LINK TO ARTICLE (Permission to share was granted by the AMA)


One additional factor to the success of this project - that was not specifically noted in the article - is the growing partnership between the non-motorized and motorized recreation communities over the last 20 years to find common ground and embrace shared values in support of sustainable trail opportunities on public lands.


That paradigm shift in collaboration between diverse interest groups combined with ever growing bipartisan support for sustainable recreation on public lands helps chart a positive future for access to public lands regardless of who is in office.


Feel free to post comments on the blog site or send a comment to Don Amador at –



Wednesday, October 7, 2020



QWR is proud to announce that it has partnered with the Tehama District Fair to offer the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association (ROHVA) ROV Basic DriverCourse (RBDC) at the Tehama County Fairgrounds.  This site is located in Red Bluff, California.

 Many federal/state agencies and cooperators have increased the use of ROVs for recreation/resource management and fire suppression activities.  QWR offers the RBDC course for agency or cooperator staff that need to get certified or recertified before operating a government or corporate SxS/ROV.

 Don Amador, President of Quiet Warrior Racing/Consulting, states, “It is an honor to help train agency and cooperator staff about how to operate their SxS vehicles in a safe and environmentally sound 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:



Thursday, October 1, 2020

FS PLAN UPDATE TO E-BIKE DIRECTIVES - Avoid Pitfalls/Find Solutions

Current Status for E-Bikes on FS Lands




Avoid Pitfalls/Find Solutions


On September 24, 2020 the Forest Service placed a notice in the Federal Register about their proposal to revise its directives to update and clarify guidance on management of electric bicycle (e-bike) use on National Forest System (NFS) lands.  They are seeking public comments on their proposal with said comments due on October 26, 2020.


 As the agency states, e-bikes have become increasingly popular nationwide among outdoor recreationists on NFS and other federal lands. E-bikes expand recreational opportunities for many people, particularly the elderly and disabled, enabling them to enjoy the outdoors and associated health benefits. Currently e-bike use is not allowed on NFS roads, on NFS trails, and in areas on NFS lands that are not designated for motor vehicle use. To promote designation of NFS roads, NFS trails, and areas on NFS lands for e-bike use, the proposed revisions include new definitions for an e-bike and a Class 1, Class 2, and Class 3 e-bike, as well as guidance and criteria for designating e-bike use on NFS roads, on NFS trails, and in areas on NFS lands.

E-Bike Use on OHV Trail

With the rapid growth of e-bikes, QWR believes it is important for both the OHV and traditional mountain bike communities to work with e-bike enthusiasts, legislators, land agencies, manufacturers, and other stakeholders to support agency efforts to address the rather confusing array of rules and regulations that may actually be keeping people at home instead of helping them enjoy the great outdoors.

Over the last 4-5 years, QWR has been working, writing, meeting with user groups, and attending recreation conferences to discuss e-bike related management concerns, potential conflicts, and find possible solutions to e-bike land-use issues.

 One of the main concerns QWR has heard from the dirt-bike community is their fear that land agencies will convert some of our highly-valued single-track motorcycle trails to “e-bike only” trails where dirt-bike use would be now prohibited.

 Similarly, I have heard that same fear expressed by some in the MTB community where they are adamantly opposed to the Forest Service or other land agencies reclassifying some of their prized mechanized trails to allow for e-bike use.

 At this point, QWR supports the Forest Service’s proposal to align with DOI's proposed e-bike rules by adopting a standard definition for an e-bike and a three-tiered classification for e-bikes and align with DOI's proposed e-bike rules in requiring site-specific decision-making and environmental analysis at the local level to allow e-bike use.


AVOID CONVERSION OF MOTORIZED SINGLE-TRACK TRAILS and OTHER OHV ROUTES -Currently, e-bikes are allowed on OHV routes because they are also defined as a motorized vehicle.   Conversion of OHV routes to e-bike only routes – where historic OHV use would be prohibited - has the potential to cause huge conflicts between affected user groups.  

COMPANION ROUTES FOR E-BIKES – On land allocations where motorized and mechanized trail use is authorized, consider looking for new trail opportunities where connector or transport single-track trails could be constructed and designated for both e-bike and MTB use within the management prism of designated motorized roads, trails, and areas.   As appropriate, also consider designating these new single-track trails as multi-use routes that will allow dirt-bike use.   Avoid designating e-bike routes in land classifications where mechanized and motorized use is prohibited such as federal Wilderness areas.

E-BIKE USE ON FOREST ROADS – Authorize e-bike use on Forest roads where motorized use by either street legal or non-street legal motorized vehicles has been authorized.  This is especially important where e-bike riders need connectivity between trail systems.

COLLABORATION – Trail recreation cultures vary greatly throughout the country.  Robust collaboration between diverse user groups and the agency will be important to the planning team.   Planning decisions should be site-specific and based on input gleaned from the collaborative process.

USER FEES – The agency should use existing fee authority or, if needed, create a new fee structure and vehicle decal for e-bikes so they can contribute to trail-related construction, maintenance, restoration, law enforcement, and safety/education programs.


QWR believes that e-bikes are here to stay and have become an important transportation and/or recreation vehicle for many who want to get out and enjoy the great outdoors.


QWR continues to support agency efforts to update their land use or travel plans to create opportunities for this new and evolving recreation activity.


Feel free to post a comment on this important topic.


# # #






Monday, September 28, 2020

FIGHT AHEAD - Newsom EO Vehicle Ban is Counterproductive

Long Distance Remote Backcountry Exploration at Risk from EO


By Don Amador

September 28, 2020



 Fighting for our rights is nothing new for many of us that work in the field of recreation advocacy and/or resource management.  Over the last 7 months, we have experienced a plethora of executive orders issued by local and state government officials in response to both the COVID and wildfire crisis. Some of these emergency directives have made sense to either streamline the regulatory process to expedite fuel reduction projects, meet critical electrical power demand, or protect public safety.

Electric OHV Trail Sign

 Unfortunately, it appears that some of these executive order-prohibitions have infringed on our Constitutional rights of freedom of assembly or freedom of speech.   And, have created a culture of management by executive orders often with little or no debate in the public arena.

 By now, many of you have expressed legitimate concerns about the recent climate crisis inspired Executive Order (EO) issued by California Governor Gavin Newsom that proposes to ban the sale and use of gasoline-powered OHVs and passenger cars/trucks. The main tenets of that EO are listed below:

 1 - It shall be a goal of the State that 100 percent of in-state sales of new passenger cars and trucks will be zero-emission by 2035. It shall be a further goal of the State that 100 percent of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles in the State be zero-emission by 2045 for all operations where feasible and by 2035 for drayage trucks. It shall be further a goal of the State to transition to 100 percent zero-emission off-road vehicles and equipment by 2035 where feasible.

 2 -  The State Air Resources Board, to the extent consistent with State and federal law, shall develop and propose:

 a) Passenger vehicle and truck regulations requiring increasing volumes of new zero-emission vehicles sold in the State towards the target of 100 percent of in-state sales by 2035.

 b) Medium- and heavy-duty vehicle regulations requiring increasing volumes of new zero-emission trucks and buses sold and operated in the State towards the target of 100 percent of the fleet transitioning to zero-emission vehicles by 2045 everywhere feasible and for all drayage trucks to be zero emission by 2035.

 c) Strategies, in coordination with other State agencies, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and local air districts, to achieve 100 percent zero-emission from off-road vehicles and equipment operations in the State by 2035. In implementing this Paragraph, the State Air Resources Board shall act consistently with technological feasibility and cost-effectiveness.

 However well-intentioned this EO is – I believe it ignores, disrespects, and damages the ongoing and robust collaborative process that has been occurring between diverse interest groups from motorized/non-motorized recreation, land agencies, industry, business, and other stakeholders to address and solve many of our public land management and resource issues.

Don on e-MTB on OHV Trail

The shift to electric passenger cars and OHVs is already taking place.  Many state parks and other land management agencies have added electric vehicles to their fleet in appropriate areas.  OHV manufacturers are making electric dirt-bikes, mountain bikes, youth OHVs, SxSs, and dual-sport motorcycles and a growing number of customers are buying them.

 Forest health collaboratives and their members are working to address fuel loading on our forest and grasslands.   Often these projects are funded by the state Climate Change Investment grant program.  Good things are happening!

 Executive Orders have a role to address an immediate and specific emergency when there is not enough time to address said issue through the legislative process.  

 It’s my concern that a significant number of users and other constituents who vehemently oppose this EO will now be forced to abandon the aforementioned collaborative efforts to band together to fight a plan that is an affront our culture and highly treasured way of life.



# # #

Don Amador has been in the trail advocacy and recreation management profession for almost 30 years. Don is President of Quiet Warrior Racing, a recreation consulting company. Don is President/CEO of the Post Wildfire OHV Recovery Alliance, a non-profit post fire recovery organization. Don is Core-Team Lead for FireScape Mendocino, a forest health collaborative. 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 is a contributor to Dealernews Magazine.  Don may be reached via email at:






Tuesday, September 15, 2020


Ridgetop/Roadside Fuel Break along M5 
Mendocino National Forest
(Photo taken one year after the 2018 Ranch Fire)

*This is article #1 in a series of pro-active common sense wildfire-related forest health management prescriptions ranging from shaded fuel breaks to biomass power plants sited in close proximity to fuel reduction or post-fire salvage projects.


By Don Amador

September 15, 2020


  The numerous mega wildfires that continue their devastating march across the landscape in California, Oregon, and Washington highlight the need for enhanced collaborative efforts between  land agencies, recreationists,  property owners, and elected officials to plan for and implement common sense cost-effective “low-hanging fruit” forest health, fuel reduction, and post fire recovery projects.

Shaded Fuelbreak Info Sign along Highway 88 Corridor
Eldorado National Forest

I believe the wildfires currently burning this season have not been caused by any one person, specific agency, or group.   Rather, they are the collective result of a decades-in-the-making firestorm of a well-intentioned but misguided fire suppression policy, analysis paralysis, lack of capacity, and litigation.


Based on my experience in resource and recreation management, I believe we should focus on common sense and effective forest health projects starting with roadside or ridgetop shaded fuel breaks where a crown fire will drop down – given the right conditions - to the ground and pass through with less severity.


Shaded Fuelbreak Along Highway 88 Corridor 
Eldorado National Forest

The objective of a shaded fuel break is to reduce, modify, and manage fuels within designated areas in order to enhance mitigation efforts in the event of a wildland fire situation. A shaded fuel break does not remove all vegetation in a given area.

These shaded fuel breaks can provide wildlife with important post-fire food and shelter.   These projects can also protect system trails, developed facilities, cultural sites, and dispersed camping or day-use opportunities.  Armoring recreation assets makes good sense and is a wise investment for current and future generations.

Also, local agencies such as the Fire Safe of San Mateo County supports creation of shaded fuel breaks that are placed in strategic locations along a ridge, access road, or other location such as around a subdivision.

Fire Safe San Mateo County Shaded Fuel Break Program

It’s hard to focus on future solutions while deadly megafires continue to torch millions of acres of public and private lands in the West, but working with our partners in a proactive manner and making a commitment to be part of the solution at this time is smart and the right thing to do.


# # #




Saturday, September 12, 2020


Mechanical Fuel Project


By Don Amador

Date: Sept. 12, 2020


It seems right now that everything is upside down.   Growing up in Northern California in the 60s/70s, there were busy timber towns that employed a lot of people with well-paying jobs - I know because I worked in one of them.  Now many of those communities are ghost towns that are surrounded by federal timber land where the trees, wildlife, and property owners have been – or are waiting - for one of the current wildfires to burn them out.

 Outdoor enthusiasts who have had their homes destroyed or a forest closed to all public access by the ongoing firestorm now have a better understanding of just how important forest health fuel projects - such as logging, mastication, prescribed fire, or fuel breaks - are as active management tools to help protect recreation facilities and other structures from intense uncontrolled wildfires that burn mostly in the summer and early fall.

Many of the same regulatory agencies such as EPA and CA Air Resources Board that govern vehicle engine emissions also have regulations that, for the most part,  functionally eliminate  the meaningful use of prescribed fire  to address excessive fuel loading on Forest Service, BLM, state, and private lands.

 While there has been some movement by state and federal government officials to support and fund mechanical forest health fuel projects in the West, many of those efforts are often blocked due to political opposition or litigation.

  As some of you know, I serve as a volunteer on a Forest Health Collaborative in Northern California in an effort to try and find common ground with other stakeholders on fuel projects that could help reduce the threat of uncontrolled intense wildfires.

 It’s my hope that I live long enough to see some common sense brought back into the environmental equation.  Maybe the deadly 2020 Wildfire Season will be that catalyst to help increase the pace and scale of important resource management and fuel reduction projects. 

                                                                                    # # # 

Don Amador has been in the trail advocacy and recreation management profession for almost 30 years. Don is President of Quiet Warrior Racing, a recreation consulting company. Don is President/CEO of the Post Wildfire OHV Recovery Alliance, a non-profit post fire recovery organization. Don is Core-Team Lead for FireScape Mendocino, a forest health collaborative.  Don is also a member of the CA Northern Regional Prioritization Group that is made up of state, local, tribal and federal agencies and non-governmental organizations and is tasked with strategically prioritizing prescribed fire, forest health, and fuel reduction projects for funding consideration by the Forest Management Task Force. 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 is a contributor to Dealernews Magazine.  Don may be reached via email at:



Sunday, August 30, 2020


M9 Road Heading to Doe Peak - Circa 2017
Mendocino National Forest

*All of these pictures are near or in the August Complex Fire burn footprint


The one-two punch of COVID-19 and the 2020 wildfire season continues to devastate families, private homes, and public lands in the Golden State.  One wildfire of keen interest to many backcountry trail enthusiasts is the August Complex Fire that is advancing across the northern part of the Mendocino National Forest.

M3 Road North of SheetIron Mountain - Circa 2014
Mendocino National Forest

Historically, this region of the Forest provides access to a lot of mid to high-elevation “deep woods” type dispersed/remote backcountry recreation for both motorized and non-motorized outdoor enthusiasts vs. the southern end of the Forest that is home to more developed OHV use, boating, camping, and fishing. 

OHV Route at Doe Peak Area - Circa 2017
Mendocino National Forest

The August Complex’s destructive path continues north from where the 2018 Ranch Fire was stopped near SheetIron Mountain.   Much of this area is a heavily wooded conifer forest that has not seen a significant fire event in some time.  This area is (or was) also prime habitat for the Northern Spotted Owl.

M9 Ridgeline Route - Circa 2017

Most of the OHV recreation on this part of the Forest occurs on designated roads with some trail networks in the Doe Peak area that are enjoyed by dirt-bikes, ATVs, SxSs, and 4WDs.  However, the vast majority of motorized recreation opportunity is for street legal dual-sport/ADV motorcycles and 4WDs.  

4WD Route in Hull Fire Footprint - Circa 2016
Mendocino National Forest

According to a Forest Service update today on the August Complex – comprised of the Hull, Doe, Tatham, and Glade fires- it sits at 221,284 acres and has 18 percent containment.


Based on what I know of the fire and the area, the fire appears to have impacted a lot of the heavily wooded areas north of SheetIron Mountain along the M3 corridor, the Doe Peak trail system on the north side of FH7, and many dispersed camping and backcountry touring opportunities along the M2/M4/M9 route network.

Sugar Springs Campground along M4 - Circa 2017
Mendocino National Forest

Let’s hope that as other fires are contained that firefighting resources can be redeployed from those battles to help with the August Complex.

Stay tuned for future updates.


Thursday, August 20, 2020


View of August Complex Fire near Doe Peak
Picture taken from Stonyford, CA


Not sure where to start or what to say as I watch over 300 wildfires cut a swath of destruction across public and private lands in California.  Just as many of us in recreation stewardship or management are recovering from the 2018 Wildfire Season in Northern California, we are now facing another round of challenges that stem from the devastating wildfires that were ignited by thousands of recent lightning strikes.

For those of us who recreate on the Mendocino National Forest (home of the largest wildfire in CA history) that have been working on post 2018 Ranch Fire efforts to recover and reopen that area to multiple-use recreation, it’s hard to fathom the still growing 116K acre August Complex Fire that is now torching additional important recreation opportunities and cultural/natural resources. 

Cabins, ranches, homes, and private timber lands are also being destroyed or threatened by the August Complex Fire.

As somebody who spends a lot of time on the Mendocino NF in either a professional or personal basis, I want to share a couple of stories with pictures of resources that are in the path of the wildfire.

For ADV or Backcountry enthusiasts, the article below highlights important roads, scenic views, and cultural resources that are at risk.  


Also, I want to share an article about an historic wildfire that took the lives of firefighters back in 1953. There is a memorial to them along FH7 and is a popular site to visit to remember and better understand their sacrifice and what wildfires can do.  The article below contains a number of pictures of that memorial including the crosses that were placed on a hillside where the fire overran the firefighters.

One small story of hope in this current firestorm is the fire may have spared the crosses on land that is considered sacred ground by many.


Given COVID-19 restrictions and lack of fire-fighting capacity, we have a long tough road ahead as the 2020 wildfire season continues to explode.

Friday, August 7, 2020


Blue Oak Ranch 


Contact: Don Amador
Date: August 7, 2020


OAKLEY, CA  –  QWR would like to join the BLM Ukiah Field Office and other OHV partners in celebrating the recent acquisition of the 1,391 acre Blue Oak Ranch near Lakeport, California into America’s public lands.  This new addition is located along the Highway 175 corridor and will provide much needed high quality public access to the South Cow Mountain OHV Recreation Area.


Don Amador, QWR president and government affairs lead for AMA District 36, states, “Acquisition of the Blue Oak Ranch is an historic moment for the OHV community and an important addition to the BLM’s South Cow Mountain OHV Management Area.  It will greatly improve access to the unit for cars, trucks, and RVs.”

Craig Blencowe, Ranch Owner, Giving Property Overview at 
2019 OHV Commission Field Trip to South Cow Mountain OHV Management Area

“The Ranch will also provide a significant number of new camping opportunities and other facilities that will serve a wide range of OHV activities.  It will also provide a much need staging area for permitted OHV competition events,” Amador concludes.

Map of Blue Oak Ranch and Potential Facilities

The acquisition was made possible via partnership funding from the California State Park Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division Grants Program and the Land and Water Conservation Fund .

The property is adjacent to the South Cow Mountain OHV Management Area, which is managed for OHV use and congressionally designated as a recreation area in 2006 through the Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Act, U.S. Public Law 109-362.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020



QWR would like to post an alert on the upcoming CA OHV Commission meeting that is being held on August 6, 2020 - via the internet.   If you are able to attend, the meeting starts at 8:30am on Thursday and you are encouraged to observe and/or share comments on the following agenda topics related to Oceano Dunes, OHV Safety Week, and a proposal for the commission to adopt a resolution in support of the OHMVR Program’s 50th Anniversary in 2021.


 There will be reports from the Forest Service and BLM on federal recreation issues.  Also, OHMVR staff will make presentations on law enforcement, Mammoth Bar OHV Area Project Update, status of OHV Trust Fund, and Oceano Dunes.

 The Agenda and meeting login info can be found on the OHMVR website at the link below.


 I hope that you are able to attend some of the commission meeting which I expect to last all day.  Thanks for your interest in managed OHV recreation.


Tuesday, July 28, 2020

BREAKING NEWS - Governor Newsom Appoints New Deputy Director to the CA OHV Program

New Deputy Director of CA OHMVR Program, Sarah Miggins, at 2019 OHV 
Commission Tour of the Famous Rubicon Trail

Governor Newsom Appoints New Deputy Directory of the OHV Program

QWR would like to be among the first to congratulate Sarah Miggins on her appointment today by Governor Gavin Newsom to be the new deputy director of the California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) Division at the Department of Parks and Recreation.


Don Amador, former chairman of the CA OHV Commission and spokesman for sustainable OHV recreation, states, “I have known and worked with Sarah for a number of years during her tenure on the CA OHV Commission.  Her strong commitment to sustainable recreation management, volunteer programs, and conservation efforts will serve the OHMVR Division well as it seeks to provide continued public access to high-quality and environmentally responsible motorized recreation or motorized access to non-motorized opportunities.”

“I also think her significant experience in managing conservation-oriented non-profit volunteer organizations will add an important element to the CA OHV program.  In addition, I believe her appointment will help bring stability, transparency, and accountability to the OHMVR Division and Program,” Amador continues.

“QWR thanks the Governor’s office for this critical appointment and looks forward to working with deputy director Miggins in her new role as the lead for the OHMVR Division,” Amador concludes.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2020


New Rider Taking MSF Dirt Bike School Class
OHV Workshop on the Tahoe NF

It’s no secret that families are spending more time recreating on public lands where they can escape for a few days from the COVID-19 chaos.  Data from the Motorcycle Industry Council supports that observation by showing off-highway motorcycle sales shot up 18.9 percent in the first quarter of the year.  Those sales figures and related training information are contained in the NOHVCC news release below.


Land agencies are also noticing a spike in the demand by the public for access to high quality outdoor trail-based recreation and camping both at developed and dispersed sites.

Rider in Youth Class Competition Event Learns about OHV Policies
Shasta Dam GP Tech Station at BLM's Chappie-Shasta OHV Area

QWR believes safety training for youth and new riders is critically important and recommends they should take training classes offered by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation through its DirtBike School program.

Rider on Youth Model Dirt Bike at Competition Event
Shasta Dam GP at BLM's Chappie Shasta OHV Area

Don Amador, QWR president and CA NOHVCC partner, states, “I believe that safety training for beginning riders of all ages is important.  We always try and incorporate OHV safety training at our annual interagency workshops so that new dirt-bikers can learn proper riding techniques.”

“It appears that COVID-19 has inspired outdoor enthusiasts to purchase dirt-bikes and other OHVs as part of their family strategy to recreate close to home at local or regional recreation sites. I think this new local-based recreation paradigm will be with us for the foreseeable future so it is important for OHV to retain and/or increase its capacity to train beginning riders,” Amador concludes.


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Monday, June 8, 2020

NEWS RELEASE - Congrats to New Forest Supervisor on the Eldorado NF

Jeff Marsolais Giving Presentation to Region 5 Recreation Resource
 Advisory Council in 2010 - Inyo National Forest

Quiet Warrior Racing (QWR) would like to extend our congratulations to Jeff Marsolais on his recent appointment to be the new Forest Supervisor on the Eldorado National Forest.   Jeff will start his leadership role on June 22, 2020.

Don Amador, President of QWR, states, “Over the last several decades, I have had the privilege of working with Jeff in support of sustainable recreation opportunities on several National Forests in California.  Jeff is committed to working with diverse interest groups in a collaborative manner.”


“Jeff will be busy since the Eldorado NF is home to a lot of high-quality motorized and non-motorized trail-based recreational opportunities.   Some of those uses include single-track motorcycle trails, ATV routes, and challenging alpine-type backcounty touring for SxSs and 4WDs.  The Forest is also home to permitted motorized skill events and club outings,” Amador concludes.

Friday, May 15, 2020

COVID-19 UPDATE - Respect Reopening Process


According to a Region 5 news release on May 14, 2020, many Forests will be reopening this weekend in California.  Also, other federal recreation sites throughout the West, including portions of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, will also be reopening.  

QWR believes it is important for OHVers to honor the agency’s request to follow various COVID-19 mitigation measures – including the call to recreate locally - as highlighted in the R5 news release below:


VALLEJO,CA  - May 14, 2020—National Forests in California are increasing access to the public by providing additional developed recreational opportunities. National Forest websites and social media pages will have the most up-to-date information on re-openings. Whenever possible, please recreate locally.

Visitors should practice self-sufficiency when visiting national forests and come prepared with all the essentials needed for a day trip, including food, emergency supplies, and the ability to pack-out trash. Remember to recreate responsibly by keeping the following in mind:

  • Maintaining at least six feet distancing from others
  • Do not gather in groups and follow the latest guidance from health officials
  • Communicate with others as you pass. Alert trail users of your presence and step aside to let others pass
  • Pack out your trash and leave with everything you bring in and use

Recreating responsibly will help ensure that expanded access to recreational facilities, services, and opportunities continue. Certain services may still be unavailable, please plan accordingly.

Since many units are operating at a reduced capacity due to furloughed or sick staff, cleaning or PPE shortages, etc., QWR believes it is important for OHVers to come with their own hand sanitizers and toilet paper per chance toilets are still closed or have not been cleaned or stocked.

The loss of recreational opportunity due to COVID-19 closures has been hard on both the user community and agency staff. The crisis has also interrupted those dynamic on-the-ground partnerships that help keep our riding areas managed and open.

Respecting the various COVID-19 mitigation measure recommended by land agencies in coordination with local and state officials will help them remain open though the summer and expedite additional reopening of state and federal OHV recreation areas.

*Make sure you call or check the website of any unit you plan to ride or camp at BEFORE  you leave.

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