Land Use warrior Don Amador on Episode 191


Don Amador has been a land user for a lifetime, and a land use warrior for almost as long. Don was inducted into the Off Road Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2016. Don is why we say; legends live at  Be sure to tune in on your favorite podcast app.


5:24 – the happiest day of my life being a Native Californian was moving back to Northern California

12:00 – I guess my activism scared a couple of board members, so I got uninvited from the board

16:23 – I was appointed by Pete Wilson in ’94 to be on the OHV Commission of State Parks

22:30 – moving from unmanaged to managed recreation has really benefited OHV on a national scale

30:53 – a lot of our offroad opportunities occur at the local level with decisions made by local land managers

Special thanks to for support and sponsorship of this podcast.


[00:01:14.010] – Big Rich Klein

On today’s episode of Conversations with Big Rich, I will be discussing life with land-use warrior, Don Amador.

[00:01:22.250] – Big Rich Klein

From riding motorcycles to making a run at politics, Blue Ribbon Coalition to CAL4Wheel fighting the good fight has been his life, and landed Don in the Off Road Motorports Hall of Fame in 2016. Don, it’s great to be talking to you today, and I can’t wait to hear about everything that you’ve done.

[00:01:44.080] – Don Amador

Yeah, Rich, hey, Thanks for the interview today and look forward to share and how it got started.

[00:01:51.030] – Big Rich Klein

Excellent. Let’s talk about those very, very, very early years. Where were you born and raised?

[00:01:58.750] – Don Amador

I was born and raised in Eureka in Humboldt County up on the north Coast of California. Offroading has always been a part of my life. I remember just as a young kid, back in the ’60s, I wrote anything that had a motor on it. Back in those days, there wasn’t a lot of fancy vehicles to ride. It was tote goats, minibikes. I lived out on the outskirts of Eureka, so we were close to the forest. Our local timber company property back in the day where they would let us ride on the trails there as long as we didn’t interfere with the logging operations. Then, of course, Six Rivers National Forest. I grew up riding motorcycles, hunting in four wheel drive vehicles. So offroading has been a part of my life for a long time.

[00:02:52.140] – Big Rich Klein

And those early years up in Eureka, going to school, what would you say? Were you a good student or were you indifferent and just waiting until the bell ring?

[00:03:06.570] – Don Amador

Well, back in the day, I would say I was a pretty good student, but I always tried to balance academics with having a good time. So that’s probably the best answer.

[00:03:17.700] – Big Rich Klein

Did you participate in any athletics?

[00:03:23.840] – Don Amador

Yeah, I played just intermural football and I played all the sports, basketball and stuff. I went to a small school and didn’t have a lot of big sports programs, but I enjoyed all the sports and then after school, fishing, going hunting, and riding off road.

[00:03:44.560] – Big Rich Klein

There you go. What was the first bike that you owned?

[00:03:50.290] – Don Amador

My very first bike was in the late ’60s. I got a step-through 1966 Trail 90.

[00:03:57.480] – Big Rich Klein

Oh, nice. Little old Honda.

[00:03:59.630] – Don Amador

Yeah, little Honda. So that was my first street. Of course, back in those days, all of them were dual sports for the most part. And so when I got my learners permit at 15 and a half, I was able to ride that motorcycle without a passenger. So yeah, I got to know all the roads and trails pretty well around Eureka.

[00:04:21.880] – Big Rich Klein

Excellent. And did you start working early in life, like a side job or something like that, going to school? Or did you wait until after school?

[00:04:34.660] – Don Amador

No, we were at a raised where my dad, mom, they liked me to earn money for paying for my hobbies. So I always had a job, probably starting when I was 11 or 12 years old, doing yard work, whatever to pay for my 22 shells or oil for my motorcycle. And it was a good life growing up there. And I think some of those that early time of always working and laid a good foundation for where I’m at today.

[00:05:14.330] – Big Rich Klein

And high school, you said you went to a fairly small school?

[00:05:19.450] – Don Amador

Yes, I did.

[00:05:20.930] – Big Rich Klein

And Eureka is not a big town anyway.

[00:05:24.380] – Don Amador

No, Eureka is not that big. And so I grew up there. And then I went to go to college of the Redwoods for a little bit in the ’70s when I graduated from high school and ended up actually getting my Associate of Science, Ultrasound and Radiology degree back in Kettering, Ohio, in the mid ’70s. And I was back there, I had just gotten married in ’76, and my wife and I moved back there. And I had a Toyota Land Cruiser back there for the couple of years I was there, and so I got to explore a lot of Ohio. And, of course, the happiest day of my life being in native California was moving back to Northern California.  READ MORE


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