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 –