Thursday, February 26, 2009

Headwaters Forest - Good Idea or Raw Deal

When visiting with a reporter from the North Coast Journal the other day regarding a retrospective article on establishment of the Headwaters Forest Reserve (circa 1999) near Eureka, California, I remembered BRC’s strong advocacy for non-motorized recreational opportunity in that project.

BRC participated in the NEPA process and also filed a protest/appeal

BRC Protest

As a native of the Eureka area in Northern California, the battle for recreational access on behalf of the equestrian and mountain-bike community was more than a professional duty -- it was a personal obligation.

In the following article from today, BRC’s Beaches and Trails Certified Volunteer, Dennis Mayo talks about how the non-motorized recreation community got a raw deal.

North Coast Journal Article

Quote from Dennis Mayo in article

"We got screwed," said Dennis Mayo of McKinleyville. "We were told, oh, come on, join in and play in the fun. We were told that we were going to get horseback riding, we were going to get all this stuff to help with ecotourism. I don't think a trail for somebody to walk on and one damn bicycle riding trail is recreation. It certainly doesn't meet the needs of the horseback riding community. We got zero."

Were there false promises made to the recreation community during the creation of the Headwaters Forest Reserve? I believe so. Did BRC work hard on behalf of the non-motorized community? Yes it did.

I guess the lesson to be learned from the “Headwaters” experience is that the recreation community must be wary of similar promises made in new Wilderness proposals and other land classification projects. The public does not have to be “kicked out” when lands are “preserved.” Buyer beware is an appropriate motto to remember.

Were there any positive developments during the Headwaters battle? You bet! Dennis Mayo who was a strong advocate for equestrian access had his eyes opened and is now a certified volunteer for the BlueRibbon Coalition. He now advocates for responsible multiple-use access for ALL users.

Since the Headwaters decision, the BLM has worked hard to preserve OHV recreation at the Samoa Dunes and for touring OHV use on the Humboldt Bay’s South Spit.

If land-use history is forgotten… it will repeat itself. The recreation community must never forget.
--The General--

# # #

No comments:

Post a Comment