Thursday, July 9, 2009


On July 6, 2009 PEER (parent organization of Rangers for Responsible Recreation – one of its rangers is being interviewed by the US Senate today for National Director of BLM) issued an error filled news release advocating for the gutting of the CA OHV Program.



As some of you know, BRC’s Don Amador spent over 100 hours in the summer of 2007 working with a core group from state parks, the OHV and green lobby, and the Governor’s Office on SB742 – a bill that would provide the state with an ecologically-balanced OHV program. At the end of the day, it got almost a unanimous vote of approval by the state legislature and was signed into law by the Governor. BTW – PEER opposed the bill.

Based on my recollection of some intense negotiations on SB742, and my review of the bill, here is my response to PEER’s bilge.


A bipartisan committee (GOP, Dems, Enviros, and OHVers) back in the early 1970s: created the 1971 Chappie-Z’berg Act. The bill provided a stable funding source of non-General Fund monies to help pay for trail maintenance, law enforcement, new riding areas, and safety/education. This concept is similar to other user pay/user benefit state programs such as Boating and Waterways where fuel taxes on gasoline burned by boaters is set aside for managing reservoirs and waterways. In a similar fashion, fuel taxes on gasoline burned while operating vehicles off-highway is set aside for managing off-highway vehicle recreation throughout California on local, state, federal and private lands.

According to the Revenue and Taxation Code, funds generated by off-highway recreation shall be used to for managing off-highway recreation, just as on-highway funds are used for highways.

Since the working group spent a lot of time discussing the following foundation block or tenet of SB742, let me restate it for the record… the bill says that the program is to support both motorized recreation and “motorized off-highway access to nonmotorized recreation.” SB742 states that priority should be given to grant projects that maintain existing OHV opportunity, and then give extra consideration to those projects which also provide motorized access to nonmotorized recreation.

BTW –I seem to remember that OHMVR staff said at a OHV meeting that that approx. 20-21 percent of the OHV fund comes from the new increased OHV reg. fees – not 12%

Highlights of SB742



Read About CA OHV Laws


I don’t think the legislature is paying much attention to PEER’s effort to defund the OHV program. At this time, I think we need to just be armed with the facts and be ready to stand up and defend our program when asked by someone about PEER’s false accusations and their ludicrous proposal to take OHV monies.

The General believes (and has stated on many occasions) that regular state parks should find a way to become a user pay/user benefit program such as Boating or Waterways or the OHMVR Division instead of relying on monies from the General Fund.

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1 comment:

  1. Interesting post, Don. I followed one of the links in the PEER press release to a table of how they say gasoline is being consumed for recreation. Top line of chart shows:

    Driving for recreation, street licensed: 60,872,723 gallons of gas
    Driving for recreation, non-street licensed: 21,238,911 gallons of gas

    Combined, these numbers make up 54.4% of the gasoline consumed (presumably as identified for recreation of some sort). Then the chart breaks out a bunch of other uses, none of which are characterized as OHV recreation. Therefore, it seems obvious that the "Driving for recreation, non-street licensed" category is where OHV gasoline consumption is captured in this chart. Rounding foir convenience sake, that means 54% of the gas tax revenues come from gas consumed in the pursuit of driving for recreation, and one third of that 54% (18% of the total) comes from gas consumed by non-street licensed vehicles driven for recreation.

    But PEER's documents don't show the whole story.

    They have broken out non-street licensed use IN PURSUIT OF other recreation, and then don't include that as part of the OHV gas consumed (and tax revenue that ensues). So in other words, if you use your OHV to take you ON OHV TRAILS to go camping and star-gazing, peer is arguing that your OHV use and the ensuing gas tax revenue) should go instead toward street-licensed use funding. They are characterizing ONLY recreational OHV use as deserving of the gas tax revenues from OHV use. Rolling that non-street licensed (OHV) gas consumption yields 20.1% of recreation gas tax revenue attributable to OHV consumption. If you use your OHV as transportation in pursuit of other recreation, PEER argues that that gas consumed (and the tax revenue ensuing) should not be associated with OHV use.

    In addition, PEER's documents don't show total gas tax revenues to the state, they don't break out the total amount attributed to recreation purposes, and then show what of that amount should be attributed to OHV recreation. And most importantly, they do not show the total amounts that should be in the OHV fund coffers compared to what's actually in there after multiple budget raids over the years.