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.

# # #




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




Tuesday, July 3, 2018

MTB Legal Victory in MT

Don Amador on OHV Trail

The Recreation HQ believes that MTB, eMTB, and OHV trail access interests have a lot in common and commends the joint effort between MTB , OHV, and OSV interests to mount a legal challenge against recent trail and area closures on the Bitterroot National Forest.

The BRC has posted a statement from the Bitterroot Backcountry Cyclists about MTB success in the legal effort where the court directs the agency to review their MTB restrictions.

LINK TO BBC STATEMENT and COURT ORDER

Here is a News Article about the Decision

It's true that OHV and OSV got the short end of the stick on this travel plan, but at least the court is directing the agency to do it over regarding the MTB trail closures.  A win for one of the trail groups could be considered a win for all of the plantiffs in this case. "A rising tide lifts all trails..."

The Recreation HQ believes joint efforts like this between MTB, OHV, and OSV recreation groups could be a growing trend in trail-based litigation.  It is not just the cross-over use between vehicles, but there is a common bond/interest in preserving historic access to public lands.   Working together is more effective and productive.




Tuesday, March 20, 2018

COMMENT ON CA OHV GRANTS MADE EASY - DO IT TODAY



IMPORTANT TO COMMENT ON CA OHV GRANTS!!! -  Since there are many new OHVers who have joined various off-road forums, clubs, etc. , The Recreation HQ wanted to try and help you navigate the OHV grant review and comment process.  This is an important opportunity for you to comment on what you like at your favorite riding area (i.e. trails, agency staff, maps, volunteer programs, etc.) or to comment on a NEW project such as the Mendocino Coastal Parks Recreation Planning Grant request to potentially site a new OHV park near Fort Bragg.

The CA OHV Grant Program staff has done a great job of explaining how to participate at the main grant website:

CA OHV Grant Webpage

However, there are several steps to review projects and make comments.   For starters, the HQ recommends that you click on the “2017/2018 Public Comments to Preliminary Grants” link in the upper right hand corner of the main webpage under “Related Pages.”  You can then go down the list of grant applications from FS, BLM, non-profits, law enforcement, local Districts, etc.  Only the grants that are in BOLD letters have received comments – so if a grant has light lettering … there are no comments yet.

Once you have looked at what grants have received comments, then click on the link below to go to where you can review specific grants and make comments.

Review and Comment Here


To find the list of grant applications you have to click on the BOLD “3 dot button just to the right of *agency.”  For example if you want to comment on the Fort Bragg OHV Park scroll down until you get to the Mendocino Coastal Parks Recreation Grant on page 2. 

Some sample talking points for the Mendocino Coastal Parks Grant could be

·         A new OHV park in the Fort Bragg area will provide legal and sustainable OHV recreation for local residents and visitors. 

·         Many OHV recreationists would visit the “coastal” park during the summer when it is hot inland. 

·         It would provide an economic boost to local businesses.

·         Local law enforcement would have a place to direct riders who want to recreate in a legal area.


There are 3 pages of grants so be sure and click through those 3 pages to see all the grants.

The public review and comment period for the 2017/18 Grants and Cooperative Agreements Program begins Tuesday, March 6, 2018, and ends Monday, April 2, 2018 5:00PM

Trust me when I tell you that grant applicants look forward to your comments AND they greatly appreciate it.  It is your chance to offer advice and/or support.  Take a few minutes and comment on some grants! 

Friday, January 19, 2018

Don't Use Recreation Access as a Political Pawn in Shutdown Battle

2013 Shutdown Closure Sign
BLM Samoa Dunes Recreation Area




OP-ED
By Don Amador
1.19.2018

DON’T USE RECREATION AS A PAWN IN SHUTDOWN BATTLE

If a shutdown occurs, outdoor recreationists could face a loss of access to federal lands. We all remember the shutdown in 2013 where OHVers and others were met with a confusing array of closure signs and inconsistent messages/enforcement. 

2013 Shutdown Gate Closure at OR Dunes NRA
Photo Credit: Save the Riders Dunes


The 2013 shutdown forced the BLM to cancel an AMA sanctioned motorcycle event.  On another unit, a scheduled cleanup day sponsored by OHV enthusiasts was cancelled.

Should we expect that, once again, “closed to the public” signs will be put up at the entrances to many, if not most, developed campgrounds on FS and BLM lands?  Some units could also post closed signs on the trails.

Although federal recreation programs get a tiny portion of the budget, they are what the public sees and uses.  Regardless of who is in political power, elected officials should not use agency recreation staff and the users as political pawns.

Let’s hope that they find common ground and avoid a shutdown.

# # # 

Don Amador writes from his office in Oakley, California on OHV recreation and land-use issues.  Don has 28 years of experience in OHV-related recreation management and advocacy.  Don is President of Quiet Warrior Racing, his recreation consulting business.  Don is a contractor to the BlueRibbon Coalition/Sharetrails.org where he serves as their Western Representative.  Don was a 2016 inductee into the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame.  


Don may be reached by email at:  damador@cwo.com





Sunday, January 14, 2018

OP-ED - I Have a Trail Dream



OP ED
By Don Amador
Jan. 14, 2018

I HAVE A TRAIL DREAM

In 2001, I wrote an op-ed entitled; I Have a [Trail] Dream.   My dream back then was that someday all trail users will get along and respect each other's personal choice of recreational activity.

I had a belief there are many places where diverse recreational interests have and do manage to use public lands in a cooperative fashion.  That opinion was based on my personal experiences riding multi-use trails in places such as Moab, UT, and the Tahoe National Forest in CA.

That post 1990s-era “Timber War” missive was based on what I saw as an initial thawing of the
 “political ice” that was the foundation of the 30 year-old battle between hardcore environmental groups and conservative land-use interests.

It was also the early dawning of stakeholder meetings and/or collaborative efforts between diverse user groups and land agencies.  I believe those primal collaborations established a framework for the current and widely embraced stakeholder process where traditional multiple-use/environmental interests  seek to find common ground on public land recreation and resource management issues.

Since 2001, there has been a rapid growth in several recreation activities such as mountain-biking or eBike/eMTB use that may have been or need to be more substantively engaged in the collaborative process.  Other eTrail vehicle manufacturers and users also need to participate.

Side x Side enthusiasts are another group that is often not engaged and hence under-represented in the “early scoping” stakeholder process for land-use planning efforts.

User engagement is critical since there are a number of local, state, and federal land agencies or other stakeholders that have biased/misguided/outdated views, regulations, or policies related to these new sport modalities.

The Outdoor Industry Association’s 2017 Outdoor Recreation Economy Report states that outdoor recreation generates $887 billion dollars in consumer spending and employs 7.6 million Americans.

That information highlights the fact that recreation in most of the country is the number one use of public lands.  It also illustrates the need for trail users of all types to work in a collaborative manner to find common ground on today’s pressing issues such as eBike use on mechanized trails, enhanced MTB trail opportunities, creating legal riding and/or touring routes for SxSs, and securing the commensurate level of funding from legislators for managing all forms of motorized and non-motorized recreation.

The English Oxford Dictionary defines segregation as the action or state of setting someone or something apart from others.

I believe that as the country celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day, diverse trail interests and other recreation stakeholders should commit to participate in solution-oriented collaborative efforts where finding common ground is the goal.

Maybe that dream I had in 2001 will become reality.  It’s up to us.

# # #

Don Amador writes from his office in Oakley, California on OHV recreation and land-use issues.  Don has 28 years of experience in OHV-related recreation management and advocacy.  Don is President of Quiet Warrior Racing, his recreation consulting business.  Don is a contractor to the BlueRibbon Coalition/Sharetrails.org where he serves as their Western Representative.  Don was a 2016 inductee into the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame.  
Don may be reached by email at: damador@cwo.com