Thursday, October 8, 2009

OHV Acres Left in California

Every once in awhile, The General gets a question from a rider or reporter about the number of acres in California that still allow motorized recreation. Often that question stems from the wild claims of Wilderness advocates who state that “our Wilderness Bill is only for areas that don’t have legal OHV use in them and that OHVers have lots of other places to ride.”

Well that claim might have been true when the Wilderness Act of 1964 was signed into law, but since then we have had various new rounds of Wilderness designations including the Wilderness Act of 1984 (that’s when a lot of legal OHV routes were closed) and others including the California Desert Protection Act where millions of acres were closed to OHVs or lands were transferred to the National Park Service.

In 2002, OHMVR published a report called Taking the High Road – The Future of OHV in California. I don’t think there are any copies left or in circulation. However, I have posted page 13 of that report which shows the loss of OHV acres from 1980 to 2000. Remember too that California is approximately 100,000 million acres in size.

Link to Taking the High Road

Certainly the new rounds of Wilderness proposals, travel management plans, reclassification of lands, and other issues will impact OHV access to public lands. What that means is the fight will be harder to keep what we have left. That means staying engaged in the land-use and political process. Yes, I did say political since ALL land use decisions are political decisions. This is no time for the faint of heart or for those who are easily discouraged. Rather, this is the time for effective advocacy on all fronts.

Helmets off to all of you who support land use organizations, attend meetings, rally local clubs, and partake in the administrative and political process.

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