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.






Sunday, June 29, 2014

Bike Week Radio Show - Don't Assume You Will Always Have OHV Trails!

Historic and Legal Single Track MC Trail Proposed for Closure

As riders prepare to celebrate the 4th of July Holiday with family and friends, the Recreation HQ wanted to let you know that Don Amador was a guest on Bike Week Radio today.

Link to Bike Week Radio Interview (48:51-56:29)

Lots of off-road related topics were covered in that interview.  Those issues include the loss of historic single track trails via the 2005 TMR planning process, what riders can do to get those routes back, quality OHV programs require commitment to the collaborative process, obliteration of trails during the initial attack on wildfires, new single track trail machines such as the ST240, and off-road voters getting engaged in the 2014 midterm elections.

Here is a link to the “Loss of Historic Single Track Trails”

Comments welcome.  Have a great 4th of July!


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Essential for FS to Use Discretionary Authority in TMR Plans

Don Amador Reviewing Draft Smith River 
NRA Travel Plan with Local Access Leader

As BRC states in its June 9 comment letter on the Smith River NRA Draft Travel Plan,  it believes it is both legally necessary and pragmatically essential that the agency use its discretionary authority to formally establish a functional yet sustainable network of designated routes. 

June 9 BRC Comment Letter with Legal Citations

As both agency staff and recreationists know, various preservationist and anti-access special interests will always incant a litany of alleged legal violations that prevent adoption of an Alternative that designates any meaningful network of vehicle route.  They are certainly entitled to voice their opinions, but the agency should carefully evaluate any such claims and realize they are thinly veiled efforts to advance an agenda that includes significantly reducing, if not eliminating, recreational use of vehicles in the National Forest System. 

HQ believes the agency is empowered to reject these anti-access positions through correct interpretation of the law, as reflected in various recent court decisions cited in the aforementioned comment letter.

There is a growing body of legal decisions that debunk the notion that “minimization” means the elimination of OHV recreation on Forest Service lands.


Friday, May 23, 2014

2014 NCAT Tour - North Coast "TMR Genie" Has Left the Bottle

The QWR/BRC Official NCAT SUV

As HQ prepares for its 2014 North Coast Access Tour (NCAT) early next week, it is reminded there are no silver bullets or shortcuts when it comes to OHV-related access issues.  The 2005 Travel Management Rule’s Subpart B planning efforts over the last nine years have been challenging for both users and agency officials.

Nowhere has this complexity been more evident than on the Smith River National Recreation Area located on the Six Rivers National Forest in Northern California.  During that time-period there have been stakeholder groups, lawsuits, a stipulation, and lack of a substantive or meaningful relationship between the agency and county.  

As the news article states below, it is my hope that the access community can find a way to support an alternative that embraces the tone, direction, and spirit of the earlier stakeholder process.  For better or worse, the “TMR genie” has left the bottle a long time ago and it is time to settle on a base network of routes.  Once that foundation is codified, I believe it will allow the agency and users to ID some post subpart B projects that enhance the OHV experience.

Triplicate Article (short overview of TMR history on the unit)

Over the Memorial Holiday, HQ will ground truth the preferred Alternative with local interests to see if it is something that OHV can work with either as presented or in a modified version.  To the agencies credit, it does appear they have listened to some of our concerns by proposing the designation of the 305.125 4WD trail that at one time been slated for closure.

2007 Tour of the Smith River NRA

2007 Video of Jeep Tour of the 305.125 Road

On the other hand, the preferred alternative closes the only single-track motorcycle entrance-to-exit trail on the unit.  Strangely, the closure of that trail had never been proposed in any of the earlier discussions.

2003 Post-Biscuit Fire Motorcycle Tour of Smith River NRA

It is my goal to also stop by and visit with my access contacts in Humboldt County to get an update on TMR on the southern end of the Forest and to see what new OHV opportunities might exist on private or county lands. Hope to see some of you on the tour.  Thanks to all of you who make these efforts possible!

Monday, May 19, 2014

AMA and Friends of CCMA to Testify at Clear Creek May 20 Hearing

2006 Pre-Closure Ride - Don Amador (L) and Ed Tobin (R)

The Recreation HQ wants to thank all those in the extended OHV family who have worked tirelessly over the last 7 years to reopen Clear Creek after it was closed in May 2008.  I won’t mention any of you by name because you know who you are. 

HQ believes this hearing on May 20, 2014 moves HR 1776 one giant step closer to becoming a reality.

BRC Alert with Link to House Subcommittee Website (with video link)

Many of you have asked if there is a way for you to express your support of HR 1776 to the subcommittee?   One simple way is for you to show your support for the bill is to send a short letter (on personal or business letterhead) to:

Rob Bishop, Chairman
House Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation
1324 Longworth Building
Washington, DC 20515
Attn: Otto Mucklo

Link to National OHV Group Support Letter to Congressman Sam Farr on HR 1776

Here is the witness list for HR 1776 from a E&E article today.

Congressman Sam Farr (D-Calif.)
Former Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.) -VP, American Motorcycle Association
Steve Koretoff of Kerman, Calif. – Spokesman for Friends of the Clear Creek Management Area

Here is a quote from the E&E article:

"This bill brings environmentalist and off-road vehicle enthusiasts together in the common goals of reopening Clear Creek for the public to enjoy and creating new wilderness land for future generations to enjoy," Farr said in a statement when the bill was introduced last year. "This partnership between the two groups will allow us to achieve two victories to benefit to the local communities."

HQ hopes passage of this bill will help reestablish the good will and partnership that once existed between the OHV community and the Hollister Field Office.  Let's move forward.

Again, HQ thanks each and every one of you who helped get us to this point.








Wednesday, May 14, 2014

UPDATE - Mendocino NF Subpart A Travel Management Meetings - Red Bluff is Tonight!

FS Road Spokesman, Ken Wysocki, Reviews Road Maint. Cost Chart

The Recreation HQ attended the Mendocino NF’s Subpart A Road meeting last night in Ukiah.  The Forest had prepared various “discussion stations” where agency specialists were available to review the road network and how they relate to resource, fire, and recreational activities.

Lone Motorcycle at the Ukiah Mendo Road Workshop

 HQ believes that access interests should come prepared for tonight’s meeting in Red Bluff with ideas and suggestions on how forest roads are used and/or could be used for forest health, resource management, and recreation.

Based on last night’s meeting, I suggest that you should be able to:

Highlight existing OHV recreational opportunities and how roads relate their use.

Identify ML 3 roads that could be reclassified as ML 2 roads for backcountry OHV touring and extended loop opportunities.

Identify ML1 roads (many are administratively closed to the public) that could provide looped OHV opportunity if they were open and managed as a motorized trail.

Identify ML 3 roads that should be designated as Mixed-Use to provide connectivity for non-street legal OHV recreation and touring opportunities.

Identify County road segments that could provide connectivity to the OHV trail network.   Work with county officials to have the county designate them as Combined Use (for paved sections) or Non-Highway (for native surfaced county roads) for use by green-sticker vehicles.  HQ believes that counties have an important role to play as a partner with users and the FS to create new OHV tourism opportunities.

Link to Meeting Information
 
The start/end time for the event is 3:30pm – 6:30pm the last meeting is listed below (however, I understand the Forest might hold another meeting in June)

May 14 - Lake Red Bluff Recreation Area, Camp Discovery Group Camp

Shannon Pozas, the Forest’s road engineer states, “ To be clear, this is not a proposal or decision document, but a transportation study that will help inform future road management planning and can serve as an additional resource in future multiple resource projects,” said Pozas.  “Similar to the MVUM, this document will continue to evolve and change over the years, with opportunities for interested public to share their thoughts and engage in the process.”

As you may know, Forest Service System Roads are the backbone of the Mendocino National Forest’s OHV program.  Many are managed as OHV trails for dirt-bike, ATV, SxS, and 4WD use.  Some roads are designated as “Mixed Use” which allows for use by non-street legal OHVs. Other roads provide connector routes between the trail systems and Ranger Districts.  Roads also provide general public access for hunting, firewood, and driving for pleasure.

HQ has been disappointed in the turnout so far by access interests.  The turnouts have been dismal.  HQ hopes folks will attend the meeting tonight and share their views with the agency.