Thursday, April 30, 2020

COVID-19 - Trail Ride Decision Tree

OHV Trail - Mace Mill (circa 2019)
Eldorado National Forest


As many Forest Service OHV trail networks reopen this weekend in the Sierra Nevada after the winter wet weather closure period ends, it is important for riders to answer the following questions in the Covid-19  “Trail Ride Decision Tree”  before loading up the trailer or truck with dirt-bikes, ATVs, or UTVs and leaving your house for an OHV adventure.

QUESTION ONE – Does my county have a Shelter-in-Place (SIP) order?  If the answer is yes, then you don’t have to continue reading this decision tree.  Spend the weekend working on your OHV, doing chores, firing up BBQ, or walking with your family.

QUESTION TWO – Does the county I am traveling to have a SIP order?  If the answer is yes, then see activities in question one.

QUESTION THREE – Have I called the Forest Service to see if OHV trails on the unit are open for me to use?  If the answer is yes, then go ride with respect and have fun.  If the answer is no, then don’t go ride at that area.

QUESTION FOUR – If I end up riding, do I have the proper tools to dispose of human waste in the appropriate manner as highlighted by Tread Lightly! : In areas without toilets, use a portable latrine if possible, and pack out your waste. If you don’t have a portable latrine, you may need to bury your waste. Human waste should be disposed of in a shallow hole six to eight inches deep at least 200 feet from water sources, campsites or trails. Cover and disguise the hole with natural materials. It is recommended to pack out your toilet paper. High use areas may have other restrictions, so check with a land manager.

Nobody likes being told to stay home by government officials including me.  But as supporters of sustainable OHV management prescriptions, we do have a responsibility to respect (even if we don’t agree or understand) efforts by land agencies and counties to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 in rural communities.  Compliance now means that riding areas will be reopened sooner vs. later.

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