Monday, September 30, 2013

D.C. Budget Fight Could Impact OHV Recreation

As the threat of a government shutdown looms at midnight tonight, HQ is concerned that OHV recreation (especially permitted events) could be an unintended victim in this fight.

While many, if not most, national parks are expected to be closed, HQ believes it is unclear just what will happen at OHV areas managed by the Forest Service and BLM. 

There are many federal OHV riding areas  that could be impacted. At developed sites, will garbage be picked up?  Will the bathrooms be cleaned?  Will there be resource protection or law enforcement officers patrolling the unit?  Will there be recreation staff available to answer questions or hand out a map?  On units funded by state OHV grants, will those dedicated monies be used to keep an area open during the shutdown?

HQ does not believe the FS or BLM will barricade county or state roads that enter public lands, but this could result in the agencies cancelling any permitted OHV events that are scheduled during the shutdown.

Stay tuned as the budget battle continues in D.C.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

OR Dunes Update -Major Dune Work Party - Sept. 21/22, 2013

The Recreation HQ wants to commend the Save the Riders Dunes organization for becoming an effective local force for protecting OHV recreation at, and promoting responsible resource management of, the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area in Oregon.

HQ's Don Amador on 2011 Dune Tour

Some of you remember our 2011 CORDRAM Tour up the Oregon Dunes to review important recreation and resource issues with local riders and the Forest Service.   Those tours included all three major riding areas, visiting with local OHV-related businesses, talking with county officials, and a one day field trip with the Forest Supervisor.


Blog on 2011 CORDRAM Tour 


This effort has led to a substantive change of direction in the travel planning process.  The initial FS travel planning had no tenets to address the real danger to the dunes and that is destruction of the dunes by non-native vegetation.  Today the FS and users are working together on a resource project as cited below.

STRD Members ID Popular Riding Area on 2011 Tour


This weekend on Sept 21-22, 2013, STRD and US Forest Service are coordinating the start of the Oregon Dunes Restoration Project.  They are asking interested parties in the area to join them at Bullrun Staging Area, North Bend at 10am.  They are asking you to bring your work gloves and digging tools!
For more information on this weekend's project contact the event lead; Jody Phillips at

Kiosk at OR Dunes

This is a good case study of what happens when OHV recreationists organize and engage the agency and other user groups in the management of an area.   HQ salutes STRD for their effective advocacy and dedication to protect the sport and also champion responsible resource management.


STRD Website


Again, this story highlights the importance of OHV recreationists being engaged at a landscape level with the agency, county, green groups, businesses, and other user organizations. 


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Eldorado SEIS Appeal Resolution - Enviros Get Another Bite at the Apple

One of the "18" Closed Routes - The "Mud Lake" Trail

 On September 11, 2013 the Eldorado NF reached an appeals resolution with appellants of the June 14, 2013 SEIS and Record of Decision that would have immediately reopened 24 of the “42 meadow routes”  and opened another 18 routes after corrective action (mitigation, such as hardening a meadow crossing, fixing drainage, etc.) was taken.

Copy of Agreement

List of the 24 open routes and 18 closed routes

FS News Release on Agreement

Those corrective actions could range from a couple of hours of work with a pick and shovel to project-level NEPA efforts that might include a significant reroute or even installation of an OHV bridge.

HQ is still reviewing the resolution agreement, but it appears that environmental groups have managed to create an extra layer of red-tape by requiring the agency to allow them early review of any proposed   meadow project for those 18 routes.

The goal of many anti-OHV groups is to create an additional planning hurdle that must be crossed by the agency before that project can be developed.  It appears that goal has achieved in the resolution by creating a new modified NEPA process where those groups can gum up the project before it even gets off the ground.

Although the anti-OHV groups have succeeded in gaining some leverage in mitigation planning for those 18 routes, HQ believes that user groups should hold the agency’s feet to the fire by working hard to effect the Forest Supervisor’s promise to “get on with repairing the other 18 routes.”

Stayed tuned on this never ending saga.



Thursday, September 12, 2013

NV Sage Grouse Update - OHV Concerns noted by State Grouse Council at Carson City Meeting

Don Amador Riding in Pine Nuts
*Area Noted as a High Value Sage Habitat Reserve
The Recreation HQ wanted to give OHVers and racers who ride in Nevada a quick update on today’s meeting of the Nevada Sagebrush Ecosystem Council in Carson City, Nevada.
As some of you know,  this State of Nevada effort is running concurrently with two other federal Greater Sage-grouse planning efforts.  

BRC remains concerned about the fact that motorized recreation was not afforded a seat on the council.  As you will see in BRC’s comment letter today, we reaffirmed that concern and noted our OHV casual use and permitted event-related comments submitted to the council in May 2013 had not been addressed in any of the staff reviews and/or related reports.
BRC Sept. 12, 2013 Comment Letter to the Council
While watching the meeting on a live video stream, it was gratifying to note that BRC’s comment letter today was referenced several times by agency staff and council members as providing important information regarding OHV use that had not been considered as of yet.
While the FS representative basically stated he did not anticipate significant impacts to existing OHV use on designated trails and areas, I continue to be concerned about unintended consequences to OHV recreation if we are not actively engaged on all three processes.
You can find meeting schedules and other info at the websites below:
ONE – State of NV
NV Sagebrush Ecosystem Council
NV Sagebrush Ecosystem Council Meetings/Documents
TWO – Forest Service
Humboldt-Toiyabe NF Bi-State Greater Sage-grouse Forest Plan (be sure and click on DEIS link)
BLM Greater Sage-grouse Conservation Planning Effort
BRC Greater Sage-grouse home page with updates, etc.
HQ wants to encourage NV OHVers to try and be engaged in these processes.  I will be up at the Ride Reno 200 DS Ride this weekend so feel free to stop by and visit me at the BRC booth on Friday night or catch me at the Sat. night dinner.

Monday, September 9, 2013

BREAKING NEWS - OHV Division Weighs in on East Bay Park District Tesla Vote


Many S.F. Bay Area fans of Carnegie SVRA have been following the ongoing and often quite nasty saga regarding East Bay Regional Park District’s attempt to ban future OHV recreation on the Tesla property.

As you know,  I attended and spoke at the July 16, 2013 District meeting where BRC challenged the park board vote to approve the master plan's effort to obtain the Tesla property at some future date.

Link to BRC story on July 16, 2013 District Vote

HQ got a call today from a reporter who wanted my comments on an August 21, 2013 letter from the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division to the District.  I told the reporter if he wanted my comments in time for an upcoming article that I would need a copy of the letter.  The reporter sent me the letter.

After receiving the letter below from the reporter, I asked myself the question, ”How did this reporter get a copy of the letter since it had only been sent to government officials?”  It appears that some official in the District leaked the document to the media or some environmental group in order to generate more controversy.

If the District did leak this letter, I feel it shows a lack of professionalism and good taste.  Rather than reflecting well on the District, this communication appears to show discord and a lack of respect for the public and the law.

OHMVRD Aug. 21, 2013 Letter to East Bay Regional Park District

It will be interesting to see how the media covers this story and if they will give OHV a fair shake.  Thanks for your interest and support on this important issue.
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Friday, September 6, 2013

Breaking OHV News Update - CA Stays in RTP and FS Issues New Recreation Visitor Report


According to the September 6, 2013 edition of Federal Parks and Recreation, the States of California, Maine and Kansas - at one time questionable participants in the fiscal year 2014 Recreational Trails Program (RTP) - all enrolled this week.  The 2014 program actually begins October 1.  Only Florida opted out.

Earlier this year, the State of California stated it would opt out of the $85 million per year program.  Those monies are generated by off-road federal fuel taxes.  HQ believes that a large grassroots effort helped persuade state officials to change their minds and stay in the program.

The Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Forest Service are released a report that highlights the growing number of visitors to the national forests.   The report (FY 2008-2012) stated that approximately 161 million users visited agency lands.  That number is up slightly from the 159 million visitors in FY-2007-2011.

New U.S. Forest Service Visitor Report

The report stated that visitors who live more than 50 miles from the forest account for the bulk of these contributions and they spend about $5 billion annually.  The forest visitor spending contributes about $13 billion to U.S economy.

Motorized users were cast into three categories: OHV use, motorized trail activity, and driving for pleasure.  HQ believes this report shows that motorized recreation or motorized access to non-motorized activities continues to be important elements of the recreation opportunity spectrum on federal lands.


HQ believes that an increasing number of those 300 million visitors “driving for pleasure” in or near forest lands includes adventure bike enthusiasts.

FLREA - Use Fees

Currently the Forest Service and BLM can charge fees under the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA).   

With FLREA scheduled to expire on Dec. 8, 2014, the House subcommittee on Interior appropriations voted on July 23 to approve a one-year extension.  The extension would run through Dec. 8, 2015.

This will be a very busy two months for OHV professionals as Congress votes on trail-related appropriations, holds hearings on proposed OHV bills, and hopefully approves several OHV-related bills that are before them including H.R. 1776, the Clear Creek National Recreation Area Act and Congressman Cook’s Johnson Valley National OHV Recreation Area Act.
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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Take Time to Enjoy Family OHV Recreation

Ellen Amador on her Yamaha TTR225 on Auk Auk Ridge
While Congress is still on their August recess, I wanted to take a short break from the land-use battles to share a lighter moment regarding family-oriented OHV recreation.   Here at the HQ, we spend a lot of time out with clubs, user groups, and agency folks working on access and recreation issues.  We don’t often highlight the fun aspects of our sport and how it can provide for some great family time.
Earlier this summer, I took my wife, Ellen, out for a camp trip on the Mendocino NF to tour the trails impacted by the 2012 Mill Fire and to also ride on some of our old favorite routes.
Ellen had not been on a trail bike for a number of years and it was great to see her out having fun and riding her bike.
Please enjoy this short video of Ellen on 18N03 about 2 miles south of where 18N03 intersects with M3.
Video of Ellen on Her TTR225
Have a great rest of the summer and here is to a great riding season!  See you on the trail.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Join the BFGoodrich Family - May the FORCE Be with You on the Trail

Cool Contents of BFG Force Welcome Trail Bag
While Congress is still out for their summer recess, HQ wanted to share some fun stuff with you before the legislators come back to D.C.
As many of you know, the folks at BFGoodrich are big supporters of OHV access efforts to help keep trails open and to promote responsible use of public lands.
BFG Tire FORCE is a new forum where OHV enthusiasts can keep up to speed on how us motorized users are "playing" on public lands.
HQ is encouraging riders to join BFG Force Family and join in on the conversation.  To join the Force and set up your profile, go to:
May the Trail FORCE be with you!