Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Intense Wildfire and Over Regulation Impact OHV Recreation - Letter to EPA from BRC

Closure Order - 2012 Mill Fire
Mendocino National Forest

The Recreation HQ believes it is important for recreationists to understand just how important forest health fuel projects (mechanical treatments such as logging or mastication, prescribed fire, fuel breaks) are as a management tool to help protect recreation facilities (i.e. trail catch basins, rolling dips, staging areas, etc.) from intense uncontrolled wildfires that burn mostly in the summer months. 

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

Because forest health projects are so important to both motorized and non-motorized recreation, I accepted an initiation to join FireScape Mendocino almost 3 years ago to try and find common ground with other stakeholders on fuel projects that could help reduce the threat of uncontrolled intense wildfires that often destroy OHV opportunities at areas such as Stonyford on the Mendocino National Forest (2012 Mill Fire) and Hull Creek OHV Area on the Stanislaus (2013 Rim Fire).

Mechanical Treatment
Sierra National Forest


Link to FireScape Mendocino


That interest in forest health is what prompted BRC to submit a formal comment letter to the EPA on proposed regulations that appear to only further restrict land managers from using prescribed fire as a management tool.

Link to March 16, 2015 BRC Letter to EPA (more pics etc.)

It seems that wildfire impacts to recreation and access to forest lands are often overlooked in the debate.  I believe it is time to change that dynamic. 

If you would like to see another article on fuel breaks (another management tool), you can click on the link below:

Link to QWR Fuel Break Article

Please feel free to leave a comment and share your views on this subject.

Thanks for your interest!




Sunday, March 8, 2015

Support YOUR Favorite CA OHV Grant Projects - Comment Period Ends April 6, 2015

OHV Grant Supported OHV Bridge
Tahoe NF

The Recreation HQ is back in 2015 with one of our first alerts and that is in regards to letting your voice be heard when it comes to support for the CA OHV Grant Program.

OHV Restoration Grant
Mendocino NF


The CA OHV Grant Program provides critical funding to help augment congressional appropriations for OHV recreation on federal lands.  Having served on the Region 5 Recreation Resource Advisory Committee and OHMVR Commission, I can attest to the important role the grant program plays to ensure that OHV recreation remains a viable activity on FS/BLM lands and county parks.  Managing sustainable OHV recreation in the 21st Century requires an “all hands approach” which includes grants, appropriated funds, and volunteerism.

OHV Grant for Signs/Safety
BLM Samoa Dunes Recreation Area


The OHMVR Division has made it easy to comment by going to the link below.  The comment period ends on April 6, 2015. This period provides an opportunity for the public to review and provide comments to the preliminary applications submitted to the OHMVR Division for consideration during the 2014/15 grant cycle.

LINK to Comments

OHV Grant to Reopen Youngs Corral Bypass
Mendocino NF


Remember this is your program and your letter shows both support for the applicants and the OHMVR Division grant staff that works hard to administer the process.

Thanks!

Don


Monday, December 8, 2014

OHV MEETING ALERT - Attend OHMVR Commission Tour at Pismo (Dec. 11) and Full Commission Meeting (Dec. 12)


*** Update - 12/8/14 4:30 pm - Outdoor Beach Tour CX'd due to Weather - Due to weather warnings put out by the National Weather Service, the December 11, 2014, Oceano Dunes SVRA tour has been relocated indoors to the Oceano Depot, 1650 Front Street, Oceano, CA, beginning at 9:00 am.

I may still try and get there about 2pm on Wed. and do a pre-storm tour of the SVRA.  Let me know if you will be there on Wed. for the pre-storm tour.  Send RSVP to: damador@cwo.com


The Recreation HQ would like to invite all interested OHVers to attend the CA OHMVR Commission tour of Oceano Dunes SVRA at 8:30 a.m., Thursday, December 11, 2014 and the OHVMR Commission meeting on Friday, December 12, 2014 Friday, 8:30 a.m. – until adjournment, Marie Callender’s Conference Room, 2131 Price Street, Pismo Beach, CA 93449.

Link to Official OHMVR Commission Announcement

Link to Dec. 12 OHMVR Commission Agenda

This will be a great opportunity for OHV interests to attend the commission meeting to learn about important issues such as the DRECP, new SVRA acquisitions, federal land agency reports, etc.

The Recreation HQ will be there both days.  Please look for the BRC's land use F250 and QWR’s official SxS (Teryx 800) at the tour and meeting.

This is your program and it is important for you, if possible, to attend and let the OHMVR commission hear your views.

See you there!

Questions?  Send email to: damador@cwo.com



Sunday, December 7, 2014

Are you "Trail Proud?"


As I enter 25 years of service with BRC and QWR celebrates its 5th year anniversary in 2015, I believe that OHV has a lot to be proud of.

OHV is no longer relegated to the political sidelines like we were during the Spotted Owl battle in the early 1990s.  Motorized recreation has matured and now joins other public land stakeholder groups as a respected and important member of the land use equation.

Being “Trail Proud” is a term that OHV should consider adopting as a way to express our passion for the sport and to codify our belief that responsible motorized recreation on designated roads, trails, and areas is here to stay.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

ON ANY SUNDAY: THE NEXT CHAPTER - Passes Torch and Reaffirms our Destiny


Movie Review/Opinion
By Don Amador
Date: November 23, 2014

*Permission to reprint is hereby granted

ON ANY SUNDAY: THE NEXT CHAPTER  - Passes Torch and Reaffirms our Destiny

As somebody who started out riding motorcycles in the 1960s on a push-rod Honda Trail 90, I may not be the best person to offer an unbiased review of On Any Sunday:The Next Chapter but I will try.

Don Amador (L), Kenny Roberts (C), and Jerry Fouts (R)

Last week, I attended the one time showing of the movie at The State Theatre, a 500-seat venue, in Modesto, California on behalf of the BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC), a national trail-based non-profit recreation group.  I want to give some major props to Jerry Fouts, the current president of AMA District 36, for organizing this event as a fundraiser for the BRC Legal Program to help support our collective effort to keep trails and riding areas open for OHV use.



Racing legend Kenny Roberts, theatre management, Jerry Fouts, local sponsors, and I welcomed motorcycle and powersports enthusiasts to the SOLD OUT event. Little did we know just how well the broad demographics of those attending Dana Brown’s sequel to his dad’s classic masterpiece would be mirrored in the movie.



The film focused on youth riders, family fun, and a new generation of professional competitors from various disciplines.  It also weaved in some inspirational stories of riders such as Doug Henry, Jake McCullough, and Ashley Fiolek.



Robbie Maddison and Travis Pastrana wowed the audience with their passion for the sport and their unbelievable motorcycle stunts which often left folks speechless and/or hanging on to their seat.



On an international basis, the show featured the current stars of MotoGP, medical staff using motorcycles to serve backcountry areas in Zambia, and busy commuters in Vietnam.

The Modesto event was partically rich because one of the On Any Sunday-era stars, Kenny Roberts, was at the theatre signing posters and visiting with the attendees.  That movie was shot 43 years ago by Dana’s father, Bruce Brown.

I felt the short interviews with motorcycle icons, Kenny Roberts, Mert Lawwill, and Roger DeCoster appropriately “passed the torch” to this newer generation of riders and professional athletes.

Star of Original On Any Sunday, Malcolm Smith (C) with
Ray Kidd (L) and Don Amador (R) at Sound Day at
Malcolm's Shop in Riverside

In my opinion, the most notable “update” in the film came when several riders talked about the loss of trails and riding areas over the last 40 years.  This segment only lasted for about a minute, but it is historic as this is the first acknowledgment (that I know of) by a major production company that “land-use” is now an important aspect of the sport.  Maybe it wasn’t an accident that this showing in Modesto was to benefit the legal fight to preserve riding opportunities for current and future generations.

As people streamed out of the theatre after the movie ended, I noticed a lot of smiles on young and old riders alike.  For those of us who are passionate about, and hard-wired for, motorcycles, the show was a personal reaffirmation that our sport is not a choice but our destiny.
# # #

Don Amador is a contractor to the BlueRibbon Coalition and serves as their Western Representative.  Don is also president of Quiet Warrior Racing, a motorized recreation consulting company.  He writes on recreation and land-use issues from his office in Oakley, CA.  He may be reached at: damador@cwo.com





Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sierra,Sequoia, Inyo NF's Extend Wilderness Evaluation Comment Deadline to Sept. 24 at Noon

Don Amador Near Bass Lake on the Sierra NF

The Recreation HQ wants to alert motorized recreationists who value OHV recreation on the Inyo, Sierra, and Sequoia National Forests about the Forest Service extending the public comment period
For the Wilderness Evaluation until 12:00 pm (noon) on Wednesday, September 24, 2014.

Here is text from the FS update:

Due to agency internal technical errors, our database for accepting wilderness evaluation comments (Talking Points) shut down prematurely on Monday, September 22 at midnight (12:00am instead of 8:00am).

The Forest Service is re-activating the Talking Points website to extend the wilderness evaluation comment period until 12:00pm (noon) on Wednesday, September 24, 2014.

Link to FS update:

Link to Wilderness Evaluation Webpage

BRC Comments on Wilderness Evaluation


HQ reminds riders that there are many high quality OHV opportunities in all three of these National Forests.   It is vital that you send in comments and attend public meetings.  The public comments for the Forest Plan Revision process are due on Sept. 29.

OHV Bridge Installed to Protect Water Quality
Sierra NF

BRC Alert on Forest Plan Revision Process

Update on those meetings

I/BRC attended the Early Adopter Forest’s public meeting last week in Fresno, CA,  regarding  the Forest Plan Revision process for the Sierra, Inyo, and Sequoia National Forests (early adopter forests) might impact fire related vegetative treatments, provide sustainable wood products for local timber or biomass businesses, and enhance recreational opportunity.

However, the lack of detail on the maps at the various stations made it hard for stakeholders to identify historic motorized and non-motorized areas and routes.  It was also confusing since the agency appeared to have a two tiered route/area analysis where they tried to clearly identify destination/developed OHV recreation areas but did not seem to focus as much detail on, or inclusion of, several important high elevation backcountry and alpine-type routes and areas.

 Although the agency has improved the “recreation” narrative, it appears that more attention should be given to development of a more substantive “recreation strategy” in the planning process.

We talked with agency staff at the “Fire” station about how the Forest Service should protect and mitigate engineered system trail infrastructure during any pre or post-fire treatments or in forest health vegetative projects.  Those projects should be reviewed as to how they might potentially impact motorized use on designated roads, trails, and areas.

I remains concerned that the Early Adopter Forest’s proposed action’s plan will apparently create “quiet recreation” expectations on all landscapes including both motorized (non-quiet) and non-motorized land classifications could be problematic on a number of fronts. Those impacts include obliteration of the trail or removal of water control structures such as rolling dips and catch basins.  Those soil erosion measures can often cost $15,000 to $20,000/mile to install (or replace).  Other sections such as at-risk species, water quality, and ecosystems have the same recreation mitigation deficiencies.

What may be of equal importance to the information gleaned at the public meeting is the visible presence of OHV leadership at the event.  That commitment was noted and appreciated by agency staff.  At the Fresno meeting, BRC was joined by representatives from AMA, AMA District 36, and CAL4WD.

If you value access to public lands, please take some time and review these plans and show that you have a vested interest in recreation by attending a meeting and sending in a comment letter.

Thanks!


Thursday, September 11, 2014

OHV Volunteer Workday at Stonyford - Let's Get Ready to Ride!



The Recreation HQ looks forward to working with OHV volunteers at the Sept. 20 volunteer workday at the Stonyford OHV Area.

The FS OHV program manager sends this invitation to interested parties.  Let’s have a great turnout in preparation for the 2014-2015 riding season on the Mendocino. 

Please RSVP to Sarah at:   sridenour@fs.fed.us

Hello,

Volunteers and certified Chainsaw Operators, we need your help at our next volunteer event on Sept 20th.  We will be checking trails, removing hazards & repairing trail braiding for this year’s Enduro season.  We will meet at the Fouts maintenance yard at 10am. 9/20/2014

Plan on being out on the trails all day returning around 3pm.

What to Bring:
•             Bikes, side x sides, ATV’s, 4x4, etc.
•             Certified saw operators can bring their chainsaws and safety gear

Don’t forget your 15 Essentials for trail riding;
•             Multi tool(s)
•             Backpack w/hydration systems (water)
•             food (Lunch)
•             Tow rope or tie down
•             tire repair kit
•             First Aid Kit
•             Matches or a lighter
•             Map (will be provided)
•             cell phone
•             camera (go pro)
•             zip ties
•             tape
•             sun screen,
•             hand saw
•             safety gear (gloves, helmet, goggles, boots, chaps, hard hats, ear protection, etc..) if you do not have safety gear we should be able to accommodate you. 

Hope to see you here!!


Thank you,
Sarah Ridenour-Chamberlin
Off Highway Vehicle Program Manager
Mendocino National Forest
Grindstone Ranger District
5171 Stonyford-Elk Creek Rd
Stonyford, CA 95979
Office (530) 963-1327
Cell (408) 449-2171


The HQ wants to thank all of the volunteers who continue to help with the post-Mill Fire trail rehab.