Friday, November 27, 2009

ClimateGate, Copenhagen Climate Conf, OHVs, and Ed Begley Jr.

The General had planned to take a couple of days off from the land use battle front to enjoy the Thanksgiving Day Holiday with his family and friends. However upon post –Thanksgiving Day reflections, he feels the need to discuss the ever growing ClimateGate scandal is so important... as to merit a holiday muse.

Also, my recent post on faux OHV groups and eco-hoaxes resulted in The General getting a large number of private emails. Most were complementary, but several challenged my blog’s tone and direction.

Eco-Hoax and Global Warming Blog

As you know, I have long believed the public has been subjected to a large number of eco-hoaxes over the years. But as I told more than one of my skeptics, my greatest contention I have with many “environmental leaders” is the amount and scope of the lies and hypocrisy they will employ to enact their political agenda.

Algore flies around the world on a private jet and then tells us regular citizens that we have to ride bicycles, reduce electricity, and turn down our heaters at the same time as his home(s) is consuming more electricity then some small towns.

In California, several faux environmentalists (I call them that because they are hypocrites) long argued for new science to be used to manage OHVs on public lands. I, on behalf of BRC, supported and worked in the field with researchers, students, agency biologists, and academics to develop new science to help formulate future guidelines for OHV use in spotted owl habitat. What many people don’t know is that those same “environmentalists” tried to kill that project when they feared the results would not match or support their closure agenda.

The results of this almost 10 year project should be out late this year or early in 2010. I don’t know what the results will be, but at least The General, the CA OHMVR program, and a number of OHV clubs had the courage to participate and support a project, the results of which have yet to be published. No such moral fortitude is noted on the faux green side.

Spotted Owl OHV Study

As more news outlets and blogs expose ClimateGate and the upcoming farce known as the Copenhagen Climate Conference scheduled to start on Dec. 12, I am reminded of what my dad did when I was a kid growing up in Eureka, California.

Good Blog from the UK on ClimateGate

Back in the day, he used to chew Copenhagen smokeless tobacco. When he was through chewing he would spit it out since all value of the product had been realized. As more folks object to proposed Cap and Tax Legislation that will dramatically increase our energy bills and devalue our American way of life, maybe it is time for the public to “spit” out the lies and hypocrisy of the global warming scandal onto the ash heap history’s other eco-scams such as the global cooling prophesy of the 1970s or the Alar Scare of 1989.

In my state, I and many others have blown extra insulation in our attics, installed double pane windows, recycle our oil and plastics, plan our trips to the store, and a have employed a plethora of other actions to conserve energy and live responsibly. All that seems to have gotten us is new proposals to increase our electric rates, impose new energy taxes, and more promises of the same.

I do have respect for real environmentalists such as Ed Begley Jr. When he speaks… I listen. He has long practiced what he preaches. He lives in a small house, rides a bicycle, composts his waste, etc.

What I don’t have respect for are eco-hypocrites who practice a form of environmental elitism where they can build homes out of redwood, fly in private jets, use obscene amounts of energy, and develop carbon credit programs designed to line their pockets with millions of dollars.

Be assured, The General will continue to maintain trails, practice common sense stewardship, and promote a responsible OHV land use ethic. What he won’t do is stand by while certain politicians and eco-hypocrites pour wet stuff down his neck and proclaim it is simply raining.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanks and Thanksgiving Thoughts for 2009

As I get ready to shut the HQ down to prepare for, and celebrate, Thanksgiving, The General wants to share a few thoughts with his fellow riders and friends.

It goes without saying that I am very thankful for my family and my relatively good health.

The tone and direction for today’s thought is to express my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to my many friends and supporters during this past year. That sentiment is extended to those of you who are club members, agency staff, riders, small business owners, law enforcement officers, government officials, web gurus, military members, industry representatives, academics, and others who make up that friend and/or support list. I won’t mention any specific names because you know who you are and I know who you are.

I work for a non-profit organization and, as such, am dependent on the charity and generosity of people and companies that support the cause. Be assured, I am acutely aware of that fact and work every day to respect and honor your commitment and donations.

As you know, The General has faced, and continues to face, a number of very complex and difficult land use issues. 2010 will be just as challenging.

This Thanksgiving, I will snap a salute and raise a toast to you at the dinner table.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Global Warming, Eco Hoaxes, and OHV Predictions

As a soldier in land-use wars for the last 20 years, The General has often been able to read the stitches on the fastball when it comes to predicting and exposing environmental hoaxes and eco-frauds.

In the late 1990s, I testified before Congress regarding the anti-access tenets of the Clinton-Gore Roadless Agenda. Today the BRC Legal Defense Fund continues to battle Enviros on several “Roadless” lawsuits

BRC Roadless Legal Efforts (look at Roadless and So Cal Lawsuit – which is also roadless related)

In 2002/2003, The General was the only OHV leader who formally objected to the CA Route Inventory and Designation Process because he knew it was going to be used to defund trail maintenance grants to FS and BLM units, close trails, and lay the foundation for the current TMR debacle that we see on many Forests and Regions.
Overview of CA RID

In 2005, I wrote a book review on Michael Crichton’s State of Fear. In that review, The General agreed with the book’s thesis that man-made climate change was a hoax and that the Wilderness was a political agenda driven issue as well.
2005 State of Fear Review

Some folks were quick to criticize The General for daring to question the Climate Change Industrial Complex (e.g. Algore’s scheme to create taxes and fees for carbon credits, etc)

With today’s expose of the man-made global warming hoax, The General feels vindicated on his position that man should not be blamed for climate change. As many of you know, climate change is a fact of life and has been occurring since time began. In fact, my ancestors (the Vikings) were driven off the North American Continent by a mini ice-age. It will continue regardless of what man does.

As off-roaders we are obligated to be good stewards and use sound science and a substantive land-ethic in the management of our sport on public and private lands. We have a long history of volunteerism and taxing ourselves to pay for OHV-related trail maintenance, conservation, and law enforcement. I see that continuing.

What is at question is how we expose, respond to, and address eco-hoaxes, ill-conceived or agenda driven land management planning efforts, and proposed land closures?

Lastly, you can be assured that “Donstradamus” (that name was given to me by an OHVer because of my accurate predictions on roadless, CA RID, man-made global warming, and other issues) will continue to look into the future and prepare for what awaits the OHV community.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

When It Gets Tough...Donations Matter!

What makes the Cycle Gear donation so impressive this year is that Bertram did it despite tough economic conditions that have hit the industry and users very hard.
Cycle Gear Donation News Release

Cycle Gear Trail Fund Program

I know of a number of motorcycle dealers that have either gone out of business or are just barely scraping by.

In The General’s opinion, land-use groups will only survive in the foreseeable future with the support of programs like the Cycle Gear Trail Fund and donations from clubs and individuals. I take my helmet off to all of the clubs and riders who participated in CG’s cash match effort and for those who send in that extra donation to keep BRC going.

When it gets tough, the tough get going. Bertram and all of you who help support the cause deserve a salute!


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Happy Birthday - What a Ride

As The General turns 55 today, I wanted to STOP for a minute and thank my fellow riders for their continued interest in land-use issues. This truly has been a challenging year for me on any number of levels.
Photo: Don Amador working a road crossing at an off-road event several weeks ago

In my 20 years of OHV advocacy, I believe this has been the most difficult for me personally. We have a number of very complex issues in play at this time. The battle at Clear Creek, TMR gone wrong on various Forests, the grim reaper tried to get me a couple of times, Wilderness proposals, lawsuits filed by enviros (Carnegie SVRA, Eldorado NF, etc), the downturn in the economy, and personal attacks on my credibility as an effective land-use advocate (to be expected I guess).

Most, if not all, of the following trials come as part of my job and I accept that. The one factor that keeps The General going is your support and continued confidence in his leadership abilities and long-term vision for protecting our access to public lands.

While some may disagree with my tactics (that is your option and I respect your right to do so), be assured that I have my eye on the big picture and can still see the stitches on the “land-use OHV fastball” from 40 feet away.

Let’s see what next year brings. The same challenges (and new ones as well) will be there and so will The General.

Thanks for your service!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Skunk in CO OHV Politics

After reading the Nov. 6 article about a faux “OHV group” (RTA) and a number of anti-OHV organizations in Colorado trying to strip trail maintenance funds from state parks and use them for more “law enforcement,” I was reminded of my March 2009 blog regarding such groups as being a Trojan Horse or Skunk at the Party.
*Photo: Don Amdor (left) FMF/BRC Sound Crew Leader and Hayward MC's, Jim Donahoe (right), at the Sound Check Station - Cowbell Enduro 2009. Mendocino NF, Photo credit - Ron Simmons

Nov. 6 Article on User Fees Being Diverted (quote from OHVers including Jerry Abboud)

Having been involved in California OHV politics (remember that ALL land use decisions are political decisions) for almost 20 years, I can guarantee the OHV community that when you have any organization (most of these will be anti-OHV at the core) that focuses primarily on law enforcement to the detriment of trail funding …you have a skunk at the party or worse yet… a Trojan horse in your midst.

My good friend Jerry Abboud (executive director for the Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Assn) who has been at this game for even longer than I… must have an equally good sense of smell. (see his quote in the Nov. 6 article)

These faux OHV groups that now claim to speak for “responsible recreation” should spend an equally proportionate amount of their time and energy supporting trail maintenance, new trail construction, trail volunteer projects, or trail reroutes to address resource issues. If not, get ready to hold your nose.

Most agency and green groups (if they are honest) know that I have been – and continue to be – a strong supporter of appropriate law enforcement as part of a holistic approach to the management of motorized recreation. However, The General believes a strategy that relies primarily on “law enforcement” as a management tool in the absence of a well-managed OHV program --that includes a functional trail network, well kept staging/camping areas, good signing and maps, and most importantly an involved and committed land manager – is doomed to fail.

Groups that require, as their main focus, the following mandates – use of large license plates (so you can be turned into authorities more easily), trail funds be used mostly for law enforcement, and increased fines -- are not your friends.

Not all environmental/conservation groups are so narrowly focused. Be prudent before you jump on the trail with groups that have a hidden or not-so-hidden agenda.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Nov 3 Election, Land Use Lessons, and OHV Politics

The General has received a number of private emails from riders who are asking what, if any, land-use lessons can be learned from yesterday’s political earthquakes in Virginia and New Jersey.

The easy answer would be to say that yesterday’s vote was a referendum on the Obama Administration’s policies that seek to expand the role of government, increase taxes, and decrease people’s freedom. Any political commentator could say that.

Rather, I believe the vote was really a political shot fired across the bow of legislators and bureaucrats in general regardless of party affiliation. As it relates to federal or state land agencies, the “folks” clearly said they are mad as hell and not going to take it any longer when it comes to imposing top-down “We Under the Dome Know Best” programs that ignore local publics, increase bureaucracy, assault family traditions, and negatively impact the economy.

An example of where a local government and riders are standing up and fighting for reasonable access is in Shasta County where the Shasta Trinity NF has proposed to close almost 100% of single-track motorcycle trails and ATV trails less than 50 inches in width. Also, the Forest has proposed to close thousands of miles of level 3 dirt roads to non-street legal OHV use.


Nov. 4 Op Ed - Forest Shifts Stance on OHV Road Policy?

I believe there are two separate yet related messages that were created by yesterday’s electoral tsunami. One message is for riders and the other for land-agencies.

RIDERS – Never give up. Be respectful, yet bold, in your advocacy for trail access to public lands especially as it relates to travel management.

LAND AGENCIES – Don’t force ill-conceived travel management plans down the throats of local OHV users and county governments. Many TMR plans have little to do with “travel management.” Instead, they are simply being used as a political tool to effect landscape level closures in an attempt to please the anti-access lobby. Land managers should not be afraid to push the “reset button” if they find themselves with a plan that does not have the support of the local OHV community or county residents.

Maybe it is time for land agencies and users to take a time-out in TMR and work in a genuine collaborative process that blends the requirement to address legitimate resource concerns with the need to respect traditional recreational access to public lands.