Saturday, January 31, 2009

KEEP SENDING LETTERS - Only 1/4 Victory Today

Some dealers sent me the news early today about a CPSC “reprieve” being a victory. Upon further analysis… it is only ¼ of a victory since the CPSC provided no relief regarding the February 10 ban which prohibits powersports companies from selling youth OHV products with lead content in excess of the limits. The CPSC action only stays the testing and certification requirements for those companies that know their products do not exceed the limits. The General continues to urge his troops to send letters to the CPSC and Congress to grant MIC and Industry petitions regarding this issue.

This continues to be an “All Hands on Deck” Order from The General

Send a letter and stop the Feb. 10 BAN on all youth OHVs!!!

*Included below is a sample letter regarding the potential ban of all youth-oriented OHVs starting Feb. 10, 2009.

I am asking OHV users to contact the Consumer Product Safety Commission and their elected officials today!

Thousands of you already have sent letters to the CPSC, Pres. Obama, and Congress - you need to do urge others to do the same -

BRC Rapid Response Center to contact the White House and your Congressional Member

MIC News Release on Issue:
Honda Letter to Dealers:

Sample "Cut and Paste" Letter:

As a member of the OHV community, I want to voice my strong support for petitions filed recently by the Motorcycle Industry Council and Specialty Vehicle Institute of America to seek emergency relief from provisions which go into effect on February 10, 2009.

While I do support efforts by Consumer Product Safety Commission to protect children from lead content in products that truly present a risk to children, I do not believe the Commission intended that metal parts on ATVs and motorcycles be included in that regulation because they do not present a lead risk to children.

As the spring OHV recreation season rapidly approaches, I ask you to support efforts to exclude youth-oriented OHVs – and the businesses that sell and service them – from being unnecessarily impacted by this ban especially during this economic crisis.


VICTORY - One Year Reprieve on CPSC Youth OHV Ban

VICTORY - CPSC Votes One Year Reprieve on Youth OHV Ban

The General congratulates all the troops for making thousands of phone calls to the Consumer Product Safety Commission and to their elected representatives asking them for emergency relief from the proposed Feb 10 ban on all youth-OHVs.

OHV Victory in the following article from the LA Times today

It talks about the thousands of emails and letters that the CPSC and elected officials received from people like you who took the time to get involved. Thanks to BRC, NOHVCC and other groups and media/web outlets for doing alerts, blogs, and fwd info to the public.

The General Salutes You!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Economic Stimulus and Trails

I keep getting asked by my readers about rumors they are hearing regarding additional monies for trails and recreation in the economic stimulus bill recently passed by the House.

I don’t want to debate the merits of the bill but simply share with you what I think it means.

It looks like the House Appropriations Committee has proposed over $4 billon dollars for the Forest Service, BLM, NPS, USFWS, and the USGS.

I’m not certain but I think the US Senate reworked the stimulus bill and chopped almost $600 million from the House version.

I talked with one Forest Service staffer and they thought the agency is slated for about $1 billion dollars for facility maintenance/restoration, prevention of wildfires/fighting wildfires, and some for trails/recreation. The BLM, NPS and other agencies would receive funds as well – However, I think those amounts are still up in the air.

At the end of the day, I feel certain the land agencies will “get some” of the stimulus package. But the question remains... Even if recreation and trails receive a funding allotment, when summer rolls around will those funds be “reallocated” to fighting wildfires or some other non-recreation project the agency decides is important?

# # #

Thursday, January 29, 2009


This is an “All Hands on Deck” Order from The General

Send a letter and stop the Feb. 10 BAN on all youth OHVs!!!

*Included below is a sample letter regarding the potential ban of all youth-oriented OHVs starting Feb. 10, 2009. I am asking OHV users to contact the Consumer Product Safety Commission and their elected officials today!

I have already sent my letters to the CPSC, Pres. Obama, and Congress - you need to do the same - That's an Order!!!

CPSC Comment Page

BRC Rapid Response Center to contact the White House and your Congressional Member

MIC News Release on Issue:

Sample "Cut and Paste" Letter:

As a member of the OHV community, I want to voice my strong support for petitions filed recently by the Motorcycle Industry Council and Specialty Vehicle Institute of America to seek emergency relief from provisions which go into effect on February 10, 2009.

While I do support efforts by Consumer Product Safety Commission to protect children from lead content in products that truly present a risk to children, I do not believe the Commission intended that metal parts on ATVs and motorcycles be included in that regulation because they do not present a lead risk to children.

As the spring OHV recreation season rapidly approaches, I ask you to support efforts to exclude youth-oriented OHVs – and the businesses that sell and service them – from being unnecessarily impacted by this ban especially during this economic crisis.


User Fees - Good or Bad?

Under authority of the 2004 Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act more Forest Service and BLM recreation areas are starting to charge “user fees” at developed campsites.

Some of these fees start at $5 or 6 dollars per night and range all the way up to a $90 dollar/yr. pass at places such as the Sand Mountain Recreation Area in Nevada.

OHVers have a long history of supporting the concept of “user-pay/user-benefit” or “pay-to-play” programs. An example of a self-imposed vehicle registration fee program is the circa 1970s California OHV “Green Sticker” Program. Other states have similar well established vehicle registration and fee collection efforts.

The key to getting user support for any fee program is that monies collected stay on that unit for on-the-ground public services such as trash pickup, RV dump stations, campground maintenance, toilet cleaning and pump outs, and educational outreach.

Recreationists demand accountability. In the mid 1990s, the four southern California National Forests (San Bernardino, Cleveland, Los Padres, and Angeles) developed the Adventure Pass under authority of the 1996 Recreation Fee Demo Program. I remember that many riders at the time felt that most of those monies went to administrative costs with little benefit seen on the ground. I hope that situation has improved.

OHV users don’t want to see funds collected to be associated with arbitrary land closures such as what happened at the BLM’s Clear Creek Management Area in May, 2008. A user fee program had recently been enacted at Clear Creek with support from the users because OHVers wanted to do their part to maintain this popular riding area. Tragically, the area was closed to all publics just a few months after the fee program was started.

Also, the raid on the OHV Trust Fund now being proposed by the Governor of California just shortly after users supported a doubling of the green/red sticker fee leaves a bitter taste in one’s mouth with little appetite for fee programs.

Groups like the BlueRibbon Coalition have policy positions on the topic of user fees. Those tenets are: 1 - Fees should be for a specific facility or discrete physical area, not just access to public land in general, 2- Fees should be returned to the area from which they are collected, 3 -Distribution of funds to various projects should be done with full public involvement

Finally, if a user fee is enacted at a unit it should apply to all recreationists who use the facility and not just targeted to OHV users.

In this day of declining recreation budgets, I believe that sensible user fees at developed sites is an important element in keeping those areas maintained and safe for continued public use.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Forest Service "Trees and Trails" Concept

Recently key trail and recreation stakeholders were invited to attend a meeting in Fairfield, California with Region 5/Forest Service where they unveiled Randy Moore’s “Trees and Trails” vision for the future. Randy is the regional forester for R5.

Trees and Trails Concept:

As some of you know, the FS has historically focused on the extractive industry where often "Recreation" is at the bottom of the priority and funding list.

On behalf of the BlueRibbon Coalition, I attended the mid 1990s Forest Congress and the 1999 Recreation Congress where the FS and stakeholders talked about recreation but not much was done.

This Trees and Trails concept is the first FS "recreation" oriented theme/effort of any size/scope that I have seen.

The group voted to move forward with having the agency look at starting a state-wide stakeholders group this year. Also a number of other concepts were voted on.

There was a lot of enthusiasm in the room and it appears the FS and other trail partners want to work together for the good of trails, the forest, and recreation.

I know we have been disappointed in the past with the agency's lack of attention or focus on recreation issues, but I think this appears to be something more substantive and may actually have a chance to succeed. Maybe recreation will no longer be considered as the “crazy uncle in the basement” but rather be invited to sit at the table with the other adults.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Access and Sportsmen Big Winners in Lawsuit Victory

As some of you know, BRC and other interests were involved in a recent lawsuit regarding forest access and mang. treatments.

To read BRC's News Release go to:

Also, ck it out on Outdoor Wire where Ruffed Grouse Society champion victory

Photo credit: Del Albright

Mixed Up on Mixed-Use

The General has received a number of comments off-line on my recent mixed-use blogs. The consensus so far is that Region 5 may have created unneeded bureaucratic hurdles regarding the process required to reclassify a ML 3 road to a ML 2 road. Those required steps in the Jan. 2009 R5 mixed-use memo include;

Mixed use analysis;
Analysis of the proposed change in public use;
Modification of Road Management Objectives and associated Infra data;
Entrance strategies to modify driver expectations, such as surface roughening;
Signing changes, including consideration of the following:
Installation of a sign stating that the road is “Not maintained for passenger car use,” and
Converting standard horizontal route marker signs to vertical route marker signs; and
Determining if any structural changes to the road are necessary, including removal of culverts, installation of rolling dips, and “out-sloping”.

As various national forests in CA go through travel management planning, I have not seen a lot of Forest proposals to reclassify a significant number of ML 3 roads to ML 2 roads. However, I am aware of the Plumas NF reclassifying approximately 130 miles of ML 3 roads to ML 2 roads about 1.5 years ago in a separate planning effort. Kudos to them!

With ever decreasing federal recreation budgets and reduced staff, I think Region 5 should consider streamlining their reclassification requirements – particularly in rural or remote areas with little or no accident history – and champion reclassification efforts to address budget issues and provide additional OHV recreational opportunities.

I also think in rural areas that some counties are interested in supporting increased public access (including OHV use) on county roads (combined use), ML 3 roads (mixed use), or an expedited ML 3 to ML 2 reclassification process.

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Trail Tip - Try a Trials Tire

While sitting around the campfire recently with some fellow dirt-bikers at the Stonyford OHV Area on the Mendocino National Forest, we discussed the “secret” of trials tires and how well they work on just about any trail condition.

It was our collective opinion that using trials tires when trail riding makes sense for your pocket book since they last often 3 times longer than regular knobbies. Trials tires also offer increased traction control on almost every trail soil-type from loamy black diamond single-track in the mountains to sand or rocky two-tracks in the desert.

Many riding experts have already written praise-filled articles acknowledging the traction benefits of using trials tires including off-road racing legend and Dirt Rider Magazine editor, Jimmy Lewis.

Besides the vehicle control advantage, trials tires are more ecologically friendly because they “hook-up” with the ground instead of spinning like knobbies.

I currently have a Dunlop 803 trials tire on my 2004 KTM 250 EXC 2-stroke. Other companies that make trials tires include Michelin and IRC. There may be other manufacturers of the tire, but the aforementioned brands are what you see most often on the trail.

Next time you want to get a leg up on your ”knobby” riding buddies… buy a trials tire. It will make you faster and more ecologically-friendly.

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Save the California Conservation Corps - A Trail Partner

As a trail professional, I wanted to share my thoughts with you regarding the
proposal in the Governor’s Budget to eliminate the California Conservation Corps. (CCC or the Cs).

Even though some of my readers may not consider the Cs an important part of the OHV community, I have seen first hand the work the Cs have done on Forest Service (photo for today is me on a FS OHV trail maintained by the Cs) and BLM trails. I consider them a valued friend and force multiplier when partnered with congressional appropriated dollars, OHV grants, and other funding tools.

On behalf of the BlueRibbon Coalition, I attended the rollout of Region 5/ Forest Service's “Trees and Trails” program in Dec. 2008. The agency's vision is to better protect and improve the health of our forests and to maintain their trails for the citizens of this state. I believe the Cs are an important key partner in accomplishing that goal.

Also, President Obama has said he supports “green jobs" and the Cs fit that bill. While folks debate the merits of his proposed funding of green jobs that don’t exist yet, I believe the Cs are just the type of current, practical, and cost-effective green jobs that Obama should be supporting.

I have already asked you to send in letters to the Governor asking him to not raid the OHV Trust Fund. Now, I would ask those of you who believe the Cs are an important trail partner to go to the Save-the-Cs website and send a letter supporting them.

Go to: and click on the “Take Action” Icon at the top of the page.

Thanks for your review of this recreation and forest health issue.

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

New Skate (and future BMX) Park Opens in Oakley

With all the talk of doom and gloom regarding our economy and continued assaults on our access to public lands, I wanted to share just a bit of good news. The City of Oakley California officially opened its new Creekside Park today.

I remember back when I was a kid and we called skateboarding by its original name – Sidewalk Surfing. And yes, I did “bust my buns” more than just a few times skating along Campton Road in Cutten, (a rural suburb of Eureka) California.

The new park in Oakley includes a much needed skateboard area, future BMX track, BBQ sites, and other amenities. I talked with one of the City’s police officers at the gas station several days ago and he thought Oakley was being proactive and forward thinking by providing kids a safe and legal place to recreate. I agree.

I know a number of cities in west Contra Costa County have been asked to put in similar skate parks, but many of them refuse to provide this type of recreation outlet for their youth. I guess they would rather have them buzz people at the shopping mall. Sad when civic leaders have no vision. Kudos to Cindy Coelho (Sr. Rec. Leader for Oakley) and the City of Oakley for this new park! Also, helmets off to Raley’s for providing refreshments for the grand opening.

I hope you don’t mind me sharing this small slice of optimism in these difficult times. And, I hope it reminds more than a few of you about the “good old days” when we were kids. Those times look pretty good from my perspective.

# # #

Friday, January 23, 2009

Budget Cuts and Forest Service Roads

As the new administration grapples with serious budget issues, one area they may want to look at is the Forest Service’s network of maintenance level (ML) 3 roads. I seem to remember a traffic survey done on the Lassen NF that showed only 10% of the vehicles traveling over ML3 roads were low passenger car-type vehicles. The other uses on those roads were high clearance vehicles (jeeps, pickups, etc.) that one often sees on ML 2 roads.

I think if Region 5 or the Washington Office of the Forest Service is looking to cut wasteful spending (and create more backcountry recreational OHV experiences) they should quit maintaining ML 3 roads for low clearance vehicles and reclassify them as ML 2 roads for use by high clearance vehicles and OHVs.

I have seen many ML 3 roads in Northern California and the Sierra where Mother Nature is reclaiming the road which often has a chip-seal (similar to asphalt pavement) in various states of deterioration. Woody debris may have fallen on the route and trees/brush may have grown over the sides of the road. Also rocks may have rolled out on the road bed or cut banks have slid onto the route.

While that may sound like a disaster to a city dweller. The local OHVer, hunter, and wood cutter enjoy the rugged nature of the “non-maintained” route which in many cases has deteriorated into a road that should be managed as a trail or at least be reclassified as a ML 2 road.

As you comment on various Forest Service travel management planning efforts currently underway nationwide – you may want to suggest that the agency review the usage of ML 3 roads by low clearance vehicles and if that use is low to undergo a serious effort to reclassify those ML 3 roads to a ML 2. I think that would help the agency meet its budget objectives while providing the public with more backcountry routes.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Proposed Raid on OHV Trust Fund in CA

Many already know of the proposed raid by the Governor’s Office and state legislature of almost 90 million dollars from the OHV Trust Fund to help solve the budget crisis in California. This is a very disturbing prospect for me on any number of levels and it shows just how bad the economic situation is in what used to be called the Golden State.

One of my first state-oriented land-use battles in the early 1990s was fighting the Wilson Administration’s raid on the OHV program. Early in that fight, I had received a heads-up from a federal land management employee that they were being told by Region 5 to expect massive cuts in the OHV grants program. Many groups and activists held letter writing and fax campaigns, started a massive state-wide phone-in to the Capitol, and had pro-access US Senators send letters of protest to the Governor’s Office and Resource Agency.

While some may argue the success of those efforts, the fact remains that the OHV Division and grants program continued. Sadly, the monies collected for the acquisition of new riding areas from that time has largely sat in a stagnate account being unspent.

As an OHMVR Commissioner in the mid 1990s, I remember looking at potential sites ranging from Humboldt County, down in the Central Valley, and in So Cal.
Regardless of how rural those sites were, there was ALWAYS some local NIMBY or green citizen’s group that loudly protested to elected officials and the media.

When I asked one of those groups why they were protesting a new OHV site, they would say… “I support OHV but not at this site.” Then I would ask them to ID a site. Their response was always stone cold silence.

Even when properties were acquired between 15-20 years ago -- such as the new properties surrounding the Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area near Tracy -- they were protested by anti-access interests. Also with Carnegie, the required CEQA planning was mismanaged to a point where the state is on its third EIR. The good news at Carnegie is that the OHMVR Division has hired a qualified planning group and the state is dedicated to get some wheels-on-the-ground in the next 3 years. The Carnegie OHV Taskforce has been reenergized as well.

More good news is that it appears funding for the OHMVR Division and the grants program to other agencies will remain in 2009 and beyond. So I would encourage riders to let their land-managers know to apply for trail grants this year.

So the question remains what should the OHV community do about the potential raid on the unspent 90 million dollars? Certainly local voters/riders should loudly object to their elected officials about the raid and demand accountability under the Dome.

And send in letters using the AMA Alert

Or the CORVA Alert

Elected officials should know that OHVers increased the green sticker fees upon themselves in SB742 as a good faith effort to help maintain off-road opportunities and protect the environment on state, county, and federal lands. A raid on the fund destroys that trust in my opinion.

With that being said and if we have to fish or cut bait, I would suggest that OHV interests consider offering to help the state during this genuine fiscal crisis by supporting a loan (to be paid back in two years). Also, we should ask for an expedited planning or permitting process so OHMVR can purchase new riding opportunities and get them open for use “shovel-ready” in a much shorter time period than the historic 15-20 years.

In the end and in my experience, this legislature often will do what it wants regardless of how loud our collective protest is. However, I think the ultimate solution to this crisis will arise from a blend of justified righteous indignation and forward thinking pro-access tenets on any loan from the OHV program to the state.

# # #

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

More Thoughts on the Mixed Use Issue in Region 5

If my memory serves me correctly, there was an emphasis during the Clinton-Gore era to reduce the number of roads on National Forest System lands. One element of that was the infamous Clinton Roadless Rule. Another lesser known tenet was the reclassification of the higher maintenance level 3-5 roads to a lower maintenance level such as a level 2 road.

I know that some Forests during the late 1990s and early 2000s did look at the reclassification of roads. However, there was often push back from the agency’s road engineering departments because the Forest’s road maintenance budget was based on the number of miles of roads. Since level 2 roads – roads managed for high clearance vehicle such as 4x4s and OHVs – have a much lower maintenance cost – any Forest that reduced the number of miles of level 3-5 roads would receive a reduced fiscal allocation.

Another factor was that in many Forests there exists “checkerboard” lands. Often those lands are owned by timber companies such as SPI and those companies do a cost share with the Forest Service of the maintenance of level 3 roads used to extract timber. I think there was some resistance by agency road departments to reduce that cost share by reclassifying roads.

So realizing that paradigm, it is easy to see that in many areas – efforts to lower a level 3 road to a level 2 was often met with limited success. I don’t think Region 5 at that time was really supportive of the reclassification of roads.

In today’s economy and with reduced appropriated funding to the agency, I believe that the significant cost reduction of maintaining a level 2 road vs. a level 3 would be of interest to those same timber inholders. And when that level 2 road is needed to extract timber, the road could be temporarily improved to a level 3 standard and when no longer needed for that timber project could be reduced once again to a level 2.

I could be wrong about this, but I don’t see the local CHP commanders really being interested in “reviewing and approving” public use of level 3 roads particularly in rural areas. I know of at least one state highway in Northern California that very seldom gets patrolled by the CHP let alone any of the level 3-5 roads or Forest ‘highways” in those areas.

This issue of generally requiring insurance and a drivers license when operating an OHV on a level 3 “mixed use” road could be problematic on Forests where mixed use on level 3 roads in an important element of their OHV program. I am not sure that concept or its unintended consequences has been fully vetted by the agency before release of the January 13, 2009 memo.

I think we all will have to continue to be engaged in the mixed use issue and look for opportunities to offer suggestions or improvements.

# # #

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Thoughts on Mixed Use in Region 5

In response to a Jan. 13, 2009 “mixed-use” memo from Region 5, first let me state that I believe Region 5 has created an number of unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles when it comes to the designation of level 3 roads as mixed-use where that road is open for use by both street legal and non-street legal OHVs. I have shared those views with R5 on a number of occasions and in comment letters on travel management planning efforts.

It has been my experience that there is little – if any on some Forests – accident history on level 3 roads between OHVs and passenger vehicles. If there were accidents they were most likely OHV vs. OHV rather then OHV vs. a passenger car.

If there is a silver lining in that memo - it is the direction for encouraging Forests to reclassify a level 3 road to a level 2 road. I think that is a plan of action that OHVers could and should support.

The only other viable approach – and one that I hope R5 will support - would be to construct parallel (companion trails) or alternative trails that lead to the same destination or complete a loop opportunity. Many of those trails could be constructed basically in the road prism where there should be less environmental concerns or obstacles.

In my travels on Forests in Northern California, not many level 3 roads truly meet the conditions required of a level 3 road (site distance, signage, surface etc.) Those roads may have been originally designed as a level 3, but in this age of "no funding," most have deteriorated to level 2 status or maybe even should be reclassified as a road managed as a trail.

Again based on my experience, I believe that many routes that were designed as level 3, can be reduced to level 2. This would not only allow mixed-use opportunities, but would reduce maintenance costs and the liability of meeting the requirements of a level 3 road.

I feel that the Mendocino National Forest is going in the right direction regarding mixed-use. However, it is my concern that other Forests may be using the policy to close some routes and restrict public access. By doing so, they might be making those routes a little safer liability wise, but if the route provides a popular destination or opportunity with no alternative there will most likely be an enforcement problem.

It is my hope that through open and sincere communications between R5, individual Forests, state parks, and users that route designation and the issue of mixed-use can be addressed for the public good.

# # #

Monday, January 19, 2009


As I watched a mountain biker from the San Francisco Bay Area drip precious fluids from his CamelBak hydration system onto my friend's motorcycle tube to help spot an air leak, I was struck by the irony of the situation.Here is a group of non-motorized trail enthusiasts helping some dirt bikers on a trail in the Poison Spider Mesa near Moab, Utah.

I have been told by the Sierra Club and other preservationists that we weren't supposed to get along.For many years, greens groups have cited so-called user conflict between motorized and non-motorized recreationists as a reason to close lands to Off-Highway Vehicles (OHVs).

A 68 page "the sky is falling" report authored by the California Wilderness Coalition said that hikers, campers, and mountain bikers have been run off the land by OHVs.Yet, here I am in the mountain bike and hiking capitol of the world enjoying the scenic wonders of this special place and it seems that the non-motorized recreationists have not heard that they are supposed to yell at jeepers and OHVers for "ruining" their solitude and enjoyment of the great outdoors.

As several of us dirt bikers dismount and hike out to a vista overlooking the Colorado River, we are greeted by some tourists who hired a local guide to drive them in a 4-wheel drive. At the same time, four mountain bikers also park their bikes and join us as we all take in the beauty and grandeur of the canyon and view.The hikers we passed on the Poison Spider Trail waved at us and smiled. They said they were having a great time and told us to enjoy our ride. Maybe this is a dream. But no, it is real.

As the one mountain biker helped locate a slow air leak in Randy Block's tire tube, I chatted with the other riders visiting this area from California. Instead of pointing fingers at each other, we talked about the price of my Michelin S-12 knobbies and that their mountain bike tires also cost about 65 dollars each.I asked them if they had ever ridden at one of my other favorite trail areas near Downieville, California.

Located in the Sierra Nevada, this popular multi use trail system is yet another example of where I have experienced a "we can get along" philosophy. I go there every year and it seems that the equestrians, OHVers, and mountain bikers have managed to craft a land-use ethic that respects other trail users and the environment.

Am I naive enough to believe that there are never any instances of some trail users having disagreements with other recreationists? No. However, I do believe that there are many places where diverse recreational interests have and do manage to use public lands in a cooperative fashion.

I have a dream that someday all trail users will get along and respect each other's personal choice of recreational activity. Maybe that's not such a far fetched idea?

# # #

What Can I Do To Protect Trail Access

As President-elect Obama prepares to take office, I often get asked by trail enthusiasts, “What can I do to preserve my riding opportunities?”

My first response is to remind folks of two old adages; most politics are local and all land-use decisions are political decisions. Based on those realties, I have always believed that engaging your local elected officials and building relationships with them is critically important.

As some of you already know, pro-access county supervisors or city councils can pass resolutions in support of quality trail programs on federal and state lands. Those resolutions and/or letters of support carry weight with the Forest Service, BLM, or state parks.

Also, building relationships with local land managers and their recreation staff is equally important. Helping as a trail volunteer, doing cleanups, etc. is a good way of getting to know your agency decision-maker.

I think we will have to wait and see just what direction the Obama administration takes on land-use. However, we don’t have to wait to start - or continue with – relationship building with local decision-makers.

In the end, all land-use decisions are political decisions. Building relationships with county supervisors, district rangers, area field managers, town council members, park superintendents, and forest supervisors is always a good strategy regardless of who is in the White House.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

ISDE Champion Jeff Fredette Jersey for Bid at Auction

Hey Off Road and ISDT/E Fans,

Ck. out an autographed jersey from the ISDT/E Legend - Jeff Fredette - up for
auction at the BlueRibbon Coalition's Breakfast of Champions Website/Online Auction.
There are some other very cool items up for bid as well.

Dirt Rider Mag Does Article on The General

Some of you new to my blog may want to read about my background and how I got started in land use. Dirt Rider Mag did an article and here is the link.

The General's Thoughts on Omnibus Land Bill S22

Thoughts on Omnibus Federal Lands Bill – S. 22

I think a lot of recreationists who voted for “Change” in 2008 are disappointed by the Senate’s recent action to move S22 in the “dark of night” last weekend. Many OHVers in Nevada are still stinging from Harry Reid’s Black Rock Desert Wilderness Bill which he inserted into a non-related appropriations or defense spending bill at the 11th hour some 8-9 years ago.

I understand there were some Wilderness bills in S22 that had buy-in from local OHVers, counties, and other access interests, but those access provisions are jeopardized by the Senate’s late night maneuvers.

Many access and resource interests worked hard on the 2006 North Coast Wild Heritage Wilderness Bill (HR233) for a number of guaranteed access tenets and also some local economic relief in the form of grand-fathering historic commercial surf fishing permits in the Orick area -

Those victories came about by vigorous debate in an open forum, not crafted or deleted behind closed doors.

I can almost guarantee that many access tenets that users and pro-recreation Republicans
and Democrats fought for in the proposed Wilderness Bills in S22 will be penciled out or somehow compromised.

# # #

Action Alert - Send Letter to Save Johnson Valley OHV Area

Dear BRC Action Alert Subscriber,
The Marine Base at Twentynine Palms is considering expanding because they claim to need more room for training purposes. The proposed expansion could functionally close most, if not all, of the Johnson Valley OHV Area. In order for the Marines to expand the base they need to go through a public process called the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). In NEPA, it is very important that the OHV community submit letters during this scoping process requesting the Department of the Navy analyze impacts they feel would be made by the proposed project and to offer alternatives. Now is the time when we can have an impact on the proposed project. The deadline for submitting these comments is January 31, 2009.
During the fall, the BlueRibbon Coalition attended several OHV leadership meetings regarding the Johnson Valley issue. The suggested letter below is based on collaboration with, and input from, AMA D37, ORBA, CA4WDC, Partnership with Johnson Valley, Friends of Johnson Valley, and other groups, specialists, and interests. This letter includes a variety of scoping comments. Select the comments that convey the issues that are most important to you and your family. Include as many or as few as you feel necessary, and feel free to change the wording.
Thank you in advance for your support,Don AmadorWestern RepresentativeBlueRibbon Coalition
PS: BRC needs your support via membership and donations to help us continue our efforts to champion responsible OHV access to public lands. To sign up as a member or to make a donation, go to: