Sunday, July 21, 2019

DON'T BE A TRAIL TROLL




DON’T BE A TRAIL TROLL – Engaging in trail trolling is unprofessional, unethical, distractive, and often confuses OHVers who want to understand an issue but are getting mixed messages from the troll.

Social media is a great way to communicate with the trail community on important issues or to find out more info on events and activities.  Sharing that information is also a good thing and helps get the word out.

However, trolling to create the impression that you are, or have been, substantively engaged - such as submitting timely formal written comments or attending related ongoing meetings – when you or the organization you represent have not been engaged in any meaningful way does a great disservice to OHV recreation advocacy.

Resist the temptation to be a trail troll but rather select the topic you are interested in and invest the time, effort, and fiscal resources to be robustly engaged in the issue so that your comments reflect well on you or your organization.


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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

OPINION - Dust Hoax Should Invalidate Agreements at Oceano Dunes SVRA



OPINION
By Don Amador
July 10, 2019

SLO APCD DUST HOAX SHOULD INVALIDATE AGREEMENTS

After attending and/or reviewing video and other documents obtained over the years from various public meetings related to “toxic dust ” supposedly created by OHV use at Oceano Dunes SVRA, I have a deep concern that Coastal Commission Staff have perpetuated and promoted a myth created by the San Luis Obispo Air Pollution Control District (APCD) that the air in Nipomo Mesa contains dangerous amounts of crystalline silica dust.

Crystalline silica dust is an acute inhalation health risk. It can cause silicosis and lung cancer and so is regulated by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) based on exposure during an 8 hour work day.

However, airborne particulate matter—dust/blowing sand—encountered in a commercial, residential or rural environment is not hazardous like silica dust though it is still regulated by federal and state air quality agencies. These regulations are based on PM10 dust concentrations averaged over a 24-hour period and assume the dust does not include particles of acute toxicity, such as crystalline silica.

For more than 10 years, the APCD has made unsubstantiated claims that PM10 detected on the Mesa contains toxic amounts of crystalline silica dust. Further, the APCD said the silica dust was from OHV use at the SVRA. These claims were presented in various APCD reports and correspondence, and stated by APCD representatives at public meetings. The claims were then repeated and amplified by public officials, agencies, members of the public, and the local press.

At a March 21, 2018 meeting of the APCD’s Hearing Board, APCD’s Larry Allen was forced to concede publicly that crystalline silica in dust on the Nipomo Mesa was not an issue. He stated, “Well, you know it’s a red herring…it has no bearing whatsoever.”

It is a falsehood that the air of Nipomo Mesa contains hazardous amounts of crystalline silica dust. It is just one of many falsehoods and misleading statements made by the APCD in its quest to malign a state park and legal OHV recreation.

The APCD toxic dust hoax should rightfully invalidate the stipulated order of abatement and other management decisions that were based on a lie.    

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Monday, July 8, 2019

OPINION - Oceano "Dust" is Fragrant Elixir

Don Amador on Beach on Humboldt Bay
BLM Samoa Dunes Recreation Area

OPINION
By Don Amador
July 8, 2019

Oceano “Dust” is Fragrant Elixir



As somebody who grew up on the North Coast of California, I remember visiting many non-motorized state and county parks to enjoy walking on the beach and having a picnic with family and friends.   Enjoying the fresh ocean breeze and dealing with blowing sand aka “dust” into the food was just part of the experience and something that I treasure.

8.5M Dollar Beach Front Home for Sale
Malibu, CA


Up and down the CA coast, movie stars and business tycoons often spend a lot of money purchasing homes that are near or on the beach where they too can enjoy those same coastal dust experiences. 

As many of us in the OHV community prepare to attend the July 11 California Coastal Commission (CCC) hearing in San Luis Obispo, I ask why the CCC staff’s “dust control” mitigation proposals are largely focused on installation of barriers, planting of vegetation to cover dunes, and severe restriction and eventual elimination of OHV recreation at the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA)?

Burn Piles from ODNRA Restoration Project

As we have seen at the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area (ODNRA), all of those aforementioned treatments have resulted in conversion of a prehistoric 40,000 acre open dune structure to an artificially manipulated area that is 90% overgrown with a dense vegetative dune mat that extends to the waveslope.

LINK TO COLLABORATIVE EFFORT AT ODNRA TO RESTORE OPEN DUNE STRUCTURE

While the Forest Service and the ODNRA collaborative try and restore the open dune structure via vegetation removal projects including use of prescribed fire to reduce vegetation behind the foredunes and bulldozing of high foredunes to encourage Western snowy plover habitat, it appears the CCC is poised to make the same dune mismanagement decisions their Oregon counterparts made in the 1970s.

LINK TO ODNRA DUNE RESTORATION PROJECT

 Let’s hope cool heads prevail so that high quality OHV recreation remains an important use at Oceano Dunes SVRA and that it is not replaced with multimillion dollar homes where owners pay good money to inhale the same ocean dust that is regarded by many as a fragrant elixir more valuable than gold.

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Don Amador was born and raised in Eureka, CA.  Don currently lives in Oakley, CA where he works on various land-use, recreation, and resource management issues.  He may be reached via email at: Damador@cwo.com


Tuesday, June 25, 2019

CODE RED ACTION ALERT - OHV UNDER ATTACK IN CA




CODE RED SB 767 CARNEGIE SVRA ACTION ALERT  -OHV UNDER ATTACK

***THIS IS NOT A DRILL***

ACTIONS REQUIRED – Send Letters STAT and Attend July 3 Hearing in Sacramento

As most of you know, the Recreation HQ does not post alerts unless there is a critical issue that requires action on your part.  Well today it is issuing its first CODE RED action alert in 2019 because anti-OHV interests have adopted and implemented a highly effective trifecta of litigation, legislation, and regulation to not only block opening of the acquisition property at Carnegie SVRA but to close 20% or more of the current riding area at the unit.  Those efforts are not just limited to Carnegie SVRA, but include a proposal by Coastal Commission staff to close all of Oceano Dunes SVRA to OHV use. In addition, those closure efforts are or will also include Prairie City SVRA and Ocotillo Wells SVRA. 

Many of you have already sent in letters to the legislature as SB 767 journeyed through the CA Senate and now is on its way through the CA Assembly.  As the political temperature of this bill heats up, it is now time, if possible, to attend a July 3 hearing for SB 767 before the Assembly Accountability and Administrative Review Committee at 9:30 a.m. in Room 437 at the State Capitol.  Wear your club’s shirt or jersey.  Your attendance will make a strong visual statement about your support for OHV recreation at Carnegie SVRA and elsewhere.

Today as the bill makes its way through the CA Assembly we are asking you send to send a letter to your state representative stating your opposition to SB 767 and include a short personal note about why OHV at Carnegie SVRA and OHV recreation in general is important to you and your family.

FIND YOUR STATE REPRESENTATIVE HERE
  
You have answered the call before as we have fought similar battles for the right to enjoy responsible OHV recreation on public lands in California.  And now, once again, we are asking you to answer the call to fight back.

Let’s remember on this 4th of July that FREEDOM is not FREE and requires constant vigil.  

The Recreation HQ looks forward to standing with you at the July 3 hearing in support of family-oriented OHV access to public lands. Thanks for your support of responsible OHV recreation on public lands for current and future generations.

Don Amador
The Recreation HQ

Friday, March 8, 2019

OPINION - IS CA RED STICKER PLAN THE FINAL STRAW?




OPINION – IS CA RED STICKER PLAN THE FINAL STRAW?
By Don Amador
March 8, 2019

According to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) update on Proposed OHRV Regulatory Amendments presented at the California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Commission
Meeting held in Palmdale, California on March 1, 2019, today starts a 45-day public comment period on their PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO THE RED STICKER PROGRAM FOR OFF-HIGHWAY RECREATIONAL VEHICLES.

LINK TO CARB OHV COMMISSION PRESENTATION

LINK TO CARB 78 PAGE PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO THE RED STICKER PROGRAM FOR OFF-HIGHWAY RECREATIONAL VEHICLES (scroll down to staff report on webpage)

 Having worked on various iterations of the “Red Sticker” issue over the last 20 years, I wanted to share my 30K ft. view and initial reaction to a quick read of the 78 page CARB staff report.

First, I and other OHV stakeholders have appreciated the collaborative and cooperative attitude of CARB staff since this particular process started in 2013.  Over the years, they stated that a BAN of competition motorcycles is not being considered nor is it a goal. CARB staff had also made it clear that they want to work with us (OEMs, aftermarket, dealers, user groups) in this review process with an end goal of presenting the CARB board with some “common sense” proposals to address red sticker motorcycle emissions with a special focus on evaporative/diurnal emissions.

However in my view, the report falls short of achieving that common sense objective.  Rather, it continues to rely on incomplete data sets or misguided understanding of what “competition” means to affected riders, land managers, rural economies, OHV dealerships, law enforcement of OHV policies, conservation/restoration efforts, trail ethic education programs, and organized OHV clubs and/or motorcycle competition sanctioning bodies.

Over the years, motorcycle competition stakeholders have stated – to both the EPA and CARB - that “practice riding” (building strength and muscle memory, tuning the motorcycle, learning to navigate in various terrains, etc.) on both public and private lands is a critical component of competition motorcycle riding just as practice driving is important to long-distance trophy truck racers and similar non-motorcycle competitors.

Unfortunately, it appears our efforts to communicate the importance of riders having access to meaningful practice for competition events on private, local, state, and federal lands is not being captured by EPA and CARB.

At this point, I believe the collective weight of the proposal could have an unintended and devastating impact on competition events, riders, and other related stakeholders including land management agencies in the State of California.

Competition motorcycle events (and practice) on public lands such as enduros or trials on Forest Service lands and GP and/or Hare Scrambles at BLM areas or state park units have been - and should continue to be -legitimate, appropriate, and important activities on public lands.

As some of you know, there is a growing national movement of public land-based competition events being relocated to private land venues.  This reality in many parts of the country is being driven by a number of compounding factors which include; excessive government permit fees, burdensome red-tape permitting process, and complicated stipulations associated with trying to run an event on public lands.

My concern if the report is adopted as written is that it could be the “regulatory straw” that breaks the competition “camel’s back” by driving legitimate competition use and practice off of public lands and onto private lands. Rather than being an environmentally sound proposal it could pave the way for functional deregulation (no sticker fees to cover OHV-related resource management, LE, restoration of damaged lands or VIN#s) of competition vehicles which have been (and should continue to be) an important OHV partner that stands in support of sustainable OHV recreation management on public lands.

Driving competition events and practice off of public lands is not acceptable.

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Sunday, January 20, 2019

HQ ACCESS ALERT - CLOSURE of SRI CREEK CROSSING AT CARNEGIE SVRA


As some of you already know, the OHMVR Division has been given a court order (due to ongoing litigation) to close off public access across the SRI creek crossing at Carnegie SVRA. The closure becomes effective on Monday 1-21-2019.

SRI Creek Crossing Closure (Red) 


Areas impacted by closure.

• The 4x4 Play Area.
• The MX Track and gravel parking lot.
• The Trials Area.

Access to Kiln Canyon and SRI Loop will be through Los Osos Trail.  

LINK TO SVRA CLOSURE FLYER with MAP of SRI CLOSURE

The SVRA is working through the permitting process to restore public access to the affected areas. It is expected the OHVMR Division will provide an official update on this issue at the March 1, 2019 OHMVR Commission meeting.

The Recreation HQ asks our OHV network to honor the temporary closure at the east end of the park and thanks you for your patience in the matter.  Stay tuned for future updates. 

Monday, August 6, 2018

Amador Message on Leaving BRC and Post BRC Land Use Efforts


Goat Mountain Road Closed to the Public by Ranch Fire
Stonyford OHV Area - Mendocino National Forest


Dear OHV Family and Friends,

On August 3, I officially withdrew my name for consideration for a post in a restructured Sharetrails/BlueRibbon Coalition.

It has been an honor and privilege for me to have been a part of BRC for the past 28 years.  I want to thank BRC founder, Clark Collins, other key BRC leads, public/private partners, congressional staff, various OHV organizations, land agencies, OHV Industry, elected officials, and sponsors for their support and mentoring of this outdoor guy from the Redwood Region of Northern California. 

I deeply treasure the diverse experiences gained from working for BRC in helping craft key legislative plans, empowering the grassroots, addressing tough political challenges, and fighting numerous legal battles in support of responsible motorized recreation on designated roads, trails, and areas. I wish BRC leadership all the best in the coming years.

My departure from BRC will allow more time for me at Quiet Warrior Racing/Consulting to focus on SxS training, post-wildfire mitigation efforts, sustainable OHV/OSV and electric OHV/eMTB trail and area management prescriptions, workshops, sound education, travel planning, and collaborative recreation/forest health work.

I also look forward to reviewing new opportunities in land and recreation management-related policy, legislation, land management, and legal.

Be assured that I will continue being engaged in ongoing efforts to promote and protect responsible OHV/OSV recreation on public and private lands.

Best regards,

Don

Don Amador
Oakley, CA
Email: damador@cwo.com


President – Quiet Warrior Racing/Consulting – www.quietwarriorracing.com
Core-Team Lead – FireScape Mendocino - https://mendocinofirescape.blogspot.com
2018 – Friend of the AMA Award - http://www.americanmotorcyclist.com
2016 Inductee - Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame - www.ormhof.org
2013 – Hutzler Award – AMA District 36 - http://ama-d36.org/
Member, Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals - http://www.recpro.org