Friday, December 18, 2009

Lump of Coal - SF Bay Area OHV Park Closure on Dec. 28

A dark storm struck the SF Bay Area today when a California court gave off-roaders a lump of coal followed by a gut punch when it granted a short STAY of the closure of Carnegie SVRA. The STAY expires at the end of business on Monday, December 28. The park will be closed on December 29 unless an appeal (with Divine intervention) is successful. *Even though the OHMVR new release below states the park is open on Dec. 29., I believe the park’s last day is Dec. 28. – will verify.

OHMVR News Release on STAY

The General has been in a lot of land use wars since 1990. The private property wars, the timber wars (my good friend was blown up by the Unabomber), the ESA wars, the Clinton-Gore roadless wars, the OHMVR Commission Wars, and now the OHV Legal Wars. It is my feeling that hard core anti-OHV groups may have scored a temporary victory, but they could have made a strategic error by awakening riders in the Bay Area who for the most part were unaware of eco-lawsuits and how they are being used as a weapon against OHV recreation.

Some of you already know about the eco-lawsuit scam. That is where anti-OHV groups file suits mostly on technical issues such as meeting a filing deadline or a resource issue that is already being worked on by the agency. In this day and age, it is very easy to get a court to side with that group against the agency. Hence, that OHV activity, farmer, rancher, builder, ski resort, or timber operation is ordered to halt by the court until that technical correction is addressed.

The General could play this game as well since he could find similar technical issues or resource concerns on any federal Wilderness Area or non-motorized state park. In fact, I have had an environmental group tell me that if I ever “wanted to switch sides” that I could have a job with them. Trust me; there is no land management agency that is perfect. Be assured, this is a power and political play that has nothing to do with “protecting the environment.”

What makes this worse is that enviros claim a win and often collect their tax-payer funded court and lawyer fees and use those funds to go after another victim.

See Story on Eco Legal Scam

Yes, California Awards Eco Lawsuits Too

Info on Eco-Hoax Groups - read about a Skunk in OHV Politics

Most of the phone calls and emails my HQ has received are from riders and families who had never heard of eco-lawsuits, BRC, AMA Dist. 36, or other OHV clubs. On a personal level this closure is a deeply disturbing and ugly turn of events. On a professional level, I believe we must use the new energy (e.g. anger/frustration/determination/commitment) to gear up for this and other land use battles that will be coming at us in 2010.

It is uncertain if an appeal effort by the state will be successful. It looks like riders should be prepared for a 3-4 month closure of the park. Certainly there will be action items like a rally, letter writing campaign, petition signings, protest rides, etc. Also, there may be opportunities for volunteer work parties to help park staff on resource projects during the closure.

In the meantime, if you are not a member of BRC and want to help in the fight then join at

Since BRC works closely with AMA D36 and other groups…join AMA Dist. 36 as well

*Legal side note: Be aware there was no real effective way for BRC legal or any other pro OHV legal representation to be involved in this case since you had greens on one side… Jerry Brown/AG (a green too) on the other side defending OHMVR, and the court presiding.

At this point, I plan to be at the park on Monday, Dec. 28 at noon and ride with my fellow brothers and sisters and stay until the park closes. I expect that others may join me. Stay tuned to this blog as I will be updating it on a regular basis. I wish I had better news.

Thanks for your service!



  1. Don, please let your readers know the truth about "C-FACT", the source of the article on "the eco legal scam." It's a right-wing-agenda-driven organization heavily funded by industries like food processing, oil, coal and tobacco.

    I say this so the great work you are doing to keep riding areas open may be discredited by an association with such corporate-funded propaganda.

  2. What I find scary is how the OHMVR was not actively discussing this during its schedule meetings. I reviewed recent agenda and the best I found was an item to discuss the fire issues from this summer. Not a peep about this pending closure.

    Who was asleep at the wheel on this one? Why has it gone so long before the news gets out?
    If this was September, a vigorous local campaign could have been mounted. Handing out leaflets at the park, collecting names of actual park users, the most vested and likely supportive types. I have to believe after a couple months of that there would be a list of THOUSANDS of locals who would show up PEER headquarter and create one hell of a scene that would get broadcast.

    As it is, two weeks is not much time and sadly, the park will have to shut. One by one they will all close in Ca. And "as Calif goes, so goes the nation". Then it is just a matter of time before ATV use is a dead sport.

    Where is the ATV manufacturers? Why are they not stuffing coffers to fight this more?

    So sad but always hopeful.

    Get a permit for a demonstration. We can ride our ATVS around the Capitol in a show of support!

  3. Don, Thanks for your effort on this issue.
    I will be sending my nasty gram to the Sport Fishing Exec Director asking him what his REAL agenda is, as he KNOWS no fish exists in the park, and KNOWS the creek does NOT flow into any body of water. Keep your eye open for another suit by PEER against us, and Sport Fishing Alliance will support them. Can you say payback?
    Oh, notice the DONATION form on their website?

  4. Don,

    Remembet that OHMVR does not have a say in who represents them... it is the AG. Also, I believe OHMVR/AG were surprised by the court reversing its original position a few weeks ago when they WERE NOT goig to order the park closed but allow it to stay open. Then the court reversed itself in the last week or so and that is where the surprise came from.

    Not making an excuse...but telling it how it is. Again,it makes the point that OHV in CA courts is a crap shoot at best.