Thursday, December 31, 2009

Amador's Top Ten Off-Road and Environmental Predictions for 2010

10- While on vacation in Hawaii, President Obama takes his family on an ATV Tour at the Kipu Ranch on Kauai. He has such a good time that he directs the Forest Service in California to reverse it current position of banning non-street legal OHV use on most level 3 forest roads.
Photo to Right: Donstradamus - World Famous OHV Forecaster

9 - Off-roaders and street riders jump on the Meg Whitman for Governor bandwagon based on her ties to EBay because that site has facilitated the sale and purchase of so many dirt-bikes, ATVs, and street motorcycles.

8 - While on a transcontinental flight on a private jet, Al Gore remembers how much fun he had riding his Honda 305 during his college days. Because of that fond memory he joins the American Motorcyclist Association and becomes a spokesman for the organization.

7- During the Senate’s debate on a Cap and Tax bill in 2010, a moderate Democrat who owns an OHV, goes hunting, and watches the NFL will take to the floor and promise to join with GOP legislators in a successful filibuster of the proposal.

6- In a rare act of political courage, the BLM will admit the arbitrary interim closure at the Clear Creek Management Area was based on junk science, flawed studies, and an unwarranted fear of some phantom lawsuit. Shortly after that admission, the agency will order CCMA reopened for all users. The agency official who reopens the area will be nominated for induction into the Off-Road Hall of Fame.

5- California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger decides that he has been scammed by the man-made global warming crowd and realizes that factors such as sun spots and natural earth heating/cooling cycles occur regardless of human activity. After the epiphany, he joins and writes large checks to the Pacific Legal Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, and several off-road organizations.

4 - Owners of the Connolly Ranch have a change of heart and decide that in order to be good neighbors of the Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area, the ranch will withdraw their support from the current PEER/Fishing Alliance lawsuit and join forces with the OHV community to keep the current park open and to support the expansion of the park onto the new properties purchased about 20 years ago with OHV funds for OHV use.

3 - Conservative elements in the Mormon Church take Senator Harry Reid out behind the spiritual woodshed and “encourage” him to abandon his far left political positions. After that experience, Reid switches to the GOP and becomes a champion for low taxes, access to public lands, and a balanced federal budget.

2 - After dropping the bowtie and joining Fox News as a commentator, Tucker Carlson decides to take the next step on his manly journey when he goes to a dirt-bike riding school and learns the sport. He then asks for a field assignment where riding an OHV is part of the story.

1 - A wealthy philanthropist in the SF Bay Area, Portland, or Seattle decides to quit funding anti-OHV recreation groups because his grandson has won several local races in the youth class. That change in mindset results in a $3,000,000 grant being awarded to the BlueRibbon Coalition’s legal defense fund to help counter an expected avalanche of anti-OHV eco-lawsuits filed throughout the West in 2010.
Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Miracle at 18600 Corral Hollow Road

Photo Left : Even the dog knows the fishing alliance is barking up the wrong tree.
Photo Right: The Famous Carnegie Hoax Fish
Other cool photos from Del Albright (thanks Del for coming!)

The lights were on late last night and then on again at o’dark thirty today at the Recreation HQ. The General was, and continues to be, impressed with the quality, caliber, and sincerity of the riders and supporters who came from as far away as Lake Tahoe to fellowship with the Carnegie off-road family in our time of need.

In my Friday Dec. 18 blog, I said the appeals process would need Divine intervention if it was to be successful in time to keep the park open. Based on the good news yesterday regarding the appellate court’s decision to keep the park open until at least until January 11, I think the many prayers that were offered for that intervention over Christmas were answered yesterday.

Dec. 18 Blog and Divine Intervention (mentioned in 1st paragraph)

Several riders have asked me if I believe in miracles? The answer is YES. Twice in the last year, my life was spared in a miraculous way.

Story on my Truck/Trailer blow out on I5 (click on photo for expanded view)

After reading a lot of news reports on the rally (most of which failed to note that this whole lawsuit by the now faux fishing group is based on a hoax), I think this article in the Stockton Record best captures what really happened at Carnegie yesterday (although the reporter mentions Divine intervention he does not credit it as I think he should have)

Stockton Record

The Carnegie saga continues and so does the much larger battle for our sport in other riding areas. Future action items will be forthcoming. However, I think it is important for us to take a short pause and be thankful for this miracle. We also need to be thankful for OHMVR leadership and others who worked overtime during the holidays for their part in this miracle. To give thanks, consider a donation to a charity or food bank or some other act of kindness or service.

Besides honoring the work of Dave Duffin and his crew on behalf of Carnegie and honoring the many off-road families who attended the rally, I want to thank all the motorcycle clubs who came out wearing their colors in support of the park. I may be missing a few, but I do remember seeing representatives from the Oakland Motorcycle Club, Hayward Motorcycle Club, TimeKeepers Motorcycle Club, North Bay Motorcycle Club, High Sierra Motorcycle Club, and the California Enduro Riders Association. I also want to thank our 4WD brothers and sisters from CAL 4WD, Pirate, Diablo 4 Wheelers, and several others. If I left any clubs out, I apologize in advance. Things were a bit hectic yesterday.

Was this our own off-road version of a Miracle on 34th Street? I will let you make that call. As for The General and the staff at Recreation HQ – we believe.

Thanks for your service!!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Appeal Victory - Carnegie Stays Open Until Jan. 11

Great News! - It appears the appeal filed by OHMVR was successful. The panel has said the park will stay open at least until January 11, 2010 if not longer.

OHMVR Update on Appeal

KCRA Story

Although this is very good news, the fight for Carnegie SVRA and our sport is not over. The General asks for you to stay engaged.

Stay tuned for updates and action items.

Happy New Year!!!

The General

Post Rally Update on Fight for Carnegie

The General wants to thank all of you who braved the rain to come out today and rally in support of Carnegie SVRA. Based on feedback from a number of event promoters who are used to tallying a crowd, their opinion was that over 1,500 OHVers were at the park today because of the rally.

Photo: L to R – Ed Santin, VP, AMA D36, Dave Pickett, President, AMA D36, Don Amador, BRC, and Rich Fern, Treasurer, AMA D36

Today, you took a stand for the park and against eco-fraud groups who use the courts to enact their political agenda. I believe the rally will go down in off-road history books as the day when OHVers took a stand.

Thanks also for stopping by the BRC booth and visiting with me and/or signing up for a BRC membership. You are why I was there.

Stay tuned to this and other websites and blogs for updated information as there could be news very soon regarding the success or failure of the appeal filed by state parks and submitted to the court last Thursday.

Also, be sure and watch Channels 2 and 5 in the Bay Area and Channel 3 in Sacramento tonight regarding TV coverage. There may be on other TV stations as well.

Thanks again for your service!!!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Day Carnegie Update

Because many OHV families will be checking the internet before they open their Christmas stockings and presents today, I wanted to do a quick update on the Carnegie Crisis.

Story in the Contra Costa Times on Carnegie Crisis

I think if you read the entire article, you will find (albeit not clearly stated) that politics and an anti-OHV agenda are behind the suit. Equally outrageous and insulting are when those groups recite their over used, tired, and completely disingenuous phrase in the article that The General has heard all too often…”We have nothing against off-roading. We have nothing against the concept of off-road parks. They've just got to comply with the same regulations as everybody else." That phrase is taken right out of the eco-handbook “How to be an Anti-OHV Activist 101.”

Maybe that “Rodney King” mindset is why environmental interests including Mark Connolly - who has a ranch that borders the park - have fought and objected every step of the way for the last 10-12 years to block the expansion of the park onto the new properties bought with OHV money for OHV use and who is also listed on page one and elsewhere in the suit filed against the park.

Text of Lawsuit Filed Against Park

The article also references an appeal that was filed by the state to try and keep the park open. The General believes the state was successful in getting that appeal into the hands of the court on Thursday. Now I believe it goes before a 3 judge panel that will review the appeal.

I don’t believe much will happen between now and Monday, but hopefully there will be news then on if and when the panel will hear the case and make a decision. That could be a matter of days or several weeks. We should know more next week.

In the meantime, the Recreation HQ wishes you a Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Day Before Christmas Carnegie Crisis Update

On the day before Christmas, The General wanted to leave riders with a couple of thoughts.

Even though many Bay Area off-roaders are still in a state of shock while trying to mentally process the impact of our own “OHV Version” of Pearl Harbor, I am proud of your response to this unprovoked and senseless attack on families who like to ride.

The Carnegie Crisis may even eclipse the gut punch felt by OHVers when the BLM announced the blanket closure of Clear Creek to ALL users in May 2008.

See Joint Statement by OHV Organizations on Clear Creek DEIS

What makes the Carnegie Crisis so unique is that it caught thousands of Bay Area riders off-guard since many of them had not been keeping track of battles already being fought in the OHV Wars (circa 2002 – present). To these recreationists the war was being fought on “distant lands.” Those far off fights were mostly on lands managed by the Forest Service or BLM.

Did this attack awaken a sleeping giant? I think it did. As I told one news reporter, never before in my 20 years of being on the front lines of many environmental battles have I ever received the volume of phone calls or emails in such a short period on any given issue. The tone and direction of most calls was a substantive response. The vast majority of folks stated they want to join the battle and be part of the solution.

As we get ready to celebrate Christmas with our families, The General would like to leave you with a set of orders.

1 - Enjoy Your Family – Celebrate this season with your loved ones despite the crisis

2- Join BRC and its effort to preserve and protect OHV recreation in CA and elsewhere. You can earmark donations to the BRC General Fund or to the BRC Legal Fund at the site below

3- Join AMA District 36 as they are a critical partner on this and other land use fights

4- Join a local OHV club – there are many in the Bay Area

5 - Attend the Fellowship Ride on Dec. 28 at Carnegie

6- Prepare for this and other fights that will be coming at us in 2010 and beyond
As I have stated before, the OHV community will be defined by how it responds to this crisis.

Even though the Recreation HQ will be closed for the Christmas/New Year’s Holiday Season, be assured The General will be monitoring the action and posting important updates on the Carnegie Crisis. See you on the 28th.

The General wishes you all a Merry Christmas!!!

If folks would like to contact The General via snail mail, his address is below:
Don Amador
Recreation HQ
555 Honey Lane
Oakley, CA 94561

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tuesday Dec. 22 Update on the Fight for Carnegie

The General has received a number of emails from riders who are asking, “Why have you been saying the Park’s last day of operation is Monday December 28 rather then agreeing with the Division’s after-hearing December 18 FAQ post on their website?”

OHMVR December 18 FAQ Post on Closure
Link to hard copy STAY

My concern was the uncertainty of the verbal court decision issued December 18 that said the STAY expired on December 29. Historically, state laws, regulations, and court decisions often take effect one minute after midnight on the cited day. I did not want to be telling riders for certain that the park would be open December 29 if there was ANY doubt in my mind.

It has been The General’s experience that verbal court decisions can change or be interpreted differently between when the court issues the verbal decision and when the affected parties actually receive the hard copy of the court document.

Since the verbal decision was issued, The Recreation HQ contacted OHMVR and requested that his office be informed when the Division received the actual document that would verify if the park was open until the close of business on December 29 or if the park was closed one minute after midnight on December 29.

Just this morning, I received confirmation from OHMVR that in fact the park would remain open for public use until the unit closes on December 29. That confirmation is based on hard copy documents OHMVR received on December 21. Note link above to hard copy that I got off the court website.

That information is good news as it will allow riders one more day to enjoy the park. In the meantime, OHV luminaries, legendary racers, business owners, and others are planning to be at the park on Monday December 28 for fellowship and trail rides. The Monday fellowship also works well for families that are taking a long vacation weekend and already have the day off.

At the end of the day, I don’t think there was anything wrong with the OHMVR’s original post that the park would be open through the end of business on December 29 v.
The General’s more pessimistic/jaded “wait and see” approach. Both are valid.

Thanks for staying involved and engaged in the Battle for Carnegie. I believe the time is rapidly approaching for a targeted letter writing campaign. Stay tuned.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Week Update on the Fight for Carnegie

As you know, we are in a political fight regarding the temporary closure of Carnegie SVRA. It is just one (albeit an important one for Bay Area riders) battle in the OHV War that is raging in the West.
*Photo: OHMVR Deputy Director, Daphne Greene, and Division Chief, Phil Jenkins, talk with riders on Sunday
Photo Credit: Dave Duffin

The General wants to first acknowledge, Dave Duffin, who was there all weekend handing out flyers, talking with folks, working with families, etc. Wearing his USMC cap on Saturday and Sunday, he has once again answered the call and has been pressed into active duty in the Fight for Carnegie.

I also want to commend Daphne Greene and Phil Jenkins who were there on Sunday from OHMVR HQ in Sacramento to dialogue with the users and get feedback on this all too important issue.

The Recreation HQ has received a lot of communications from riders in the Bay Area who want to know how they can be involved in the current fight at Carnegie and also support the larger effort statewide. HQ has been impressed with the diversity, quality, and sincerity of those interested parties.

Between now and Christmas, I don’t know that a lot of formal or official actions by the OHV community can take place (lots of people/experts I rely on for advice and collaboration are on vacation – duh, it’s Christmas!). It is my opinion that folks should finish their Christmas shopping, if you are religious – attend and pray for wisdom at your place of worship, and finally prepare to enjoy Christmas with your families. After Christmas, I want to encourage folks to consider the following action items.

ACTION ITEM ONE: Fellowship Ride on Dec. 28 at Carnegie
I plan to be there all day until the park closes. I expect that there will be a number of famous racing legends there as well including Brad Lackey, Dick Mann, and many others. Also, there will be various club leaders and officials from AMA Dist. 36 including the District’s president, Dave Pickett, event promoters, and OHV business interests. This will be a great opportunity for riders and their families to visit with OHV leadership, racers, park staff, and each other.

ACTION ITEM TWO: Support OHV businesses
Since the local concessionaire and OHV business Motomart will most likely put of out business by this temporary closure, I would ask that all those attending come prepared on Dec. 28 to “buy out his inventory.” Also, during this Holiday Season consider buying some motorcycle accessories or even a new motorcycle from one of the impacted motorcycle dealers that service the park’s riders.

ACTION ITEM THREE: Post Holiday Meeting

After the Holiday Season, The General believes the OHV community should meet at a yet to be determined location (e.g. large meeting hall, Grange, hotel conf. center, etc) for a town hall meeting and strategy session for the long-term benefit of Carnegie SVRA specifically and for OHV recreation in general

ACTION ITEM FOUR: Future OHV Legal Action

As OHMVR works through the appeals process, I know BRC legal (and maybe other OHV legal experts as well) will be looking for a meaningful way to participate in this case. As The General has said before, this is a very complicated legal fight with little if any opportunity so far for a 3rd party OHV legal interest to intervene and defend OHV recreation at Carnegie. The appeals process may offer some opportunity to change that dynamic.

Lastly, I want to thank all of you for your professionalism, understanding, and support during this crisis. It’s how we respond as a community that defines us.

Have a Merry Christmas and thanks for your service!

# # #

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Weekend Update for Carnegie Crisis

This is a short bulletin for this weekend regarding the pending temporary closure of Carnegie SVRA on Dec. 29 (actually I believe at this point that the park will close at the end of business on Dec. 28).

Dave Duffin, a fellow Carnegie OHV Taskforce Member and friend will be at the park today to inform riders about this issue.

He has started an online petition for riders to sign:


I understand that Deputy Director of OHMVR, Daphne Greene, and/or other senior staff from Sacramento might be there today or tomorrow to answer questions.

During this crisis it is important for you to understand who the enemy is. Some newbie riders have asked me…”How do you know that these law suit happy eco groups want to BAN OHV recreation on public lands?” The answer is simple – they told me!

Yes, it is the hard core left wing eco-groups that have told The General (during the course of a national conference, regional meeting, or stakeholder group) that their real agenda is to ban ALL OHV recreation on public lands. Some of them are quite proud of it. Others mask their agenda with seductive phrases like, “We just want what is best for OHV” or “All we want is for OHV recreation to be managed” or “You should be joining our effort to force the land agencies to comply with their own rules and regulations.”

Don’t buy it and don’t blame the OHMVR Division or the one or two federal on-the-ground OHV techs that are tasked with taking care of a popular OHV area such as Upper Lake, Cow Mt., or Mace Mill. Blaming these folks is like blaming a bank for being robbed or blaming an old lady for allowing her purse to be snatched. In these cases it is the robber and the petty thief that are to blame.

Stay tuned over the next few days as more information is dissected and action items are developed.

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!


Thursday, December 17, 2009

OHV Wars Hit Carnegie Park and the SF Bay Area

The recent turn of events regarding the court order to temporarily close Carnegie SVRA has been a clarion call for Bay Area off-roaders who did not think that the “OHV Wars” would touch down so close to home. That impression is based on the large number of emails and phone calls The General has received by riders – many of which were not aware of how the anti-OHV groups use (or misuse) the courts to enact their political agenda.

Read the Lawsuit

As you know, OHMVR has filed a STAY with the court to keep the park open. We should know the outcome of that STAY by late Friday. If the STAY is granted, the park would stay open while various management options are implemented regarding riders in the creek bed, soil erosion, etc.

If the STAY is not granted, OHMVR would file an appeal. Based on the outcome of that action and the negotiations between OHMVR and enviro attorneys, the park might have to close in the near future or mitigations might be agreed to by the various legal parties such as completely fencing off the creek, banning permitted events, longer wet weather closures, etc. or if those future talks were productive the park could stay open until the park receives a waiver or approval from the Water Control Board.

I know a lot of you are chomping at the bit and want to take immediate action to voice your outrage. I don’t blame you.

As a rider and voter you always have the right to call or write your elected representative and I encourage you to do that. However, I am waiting for the outcome of the stay before I initiate
an official action item such as a letter or phone call campaign. The General believes in targeting
our effort for maximum effect. Once the STAY issue is resolved, I will recommend to you the person or body (e.g. governor, state senate or senator, agency representative) that most needs to hear from you ASAP.

Also, once the status of the park is determined there are a number of effective options such as rallies, protests, bumper stickers, t-shirts, fundraisers, etc. that should be on the table for us to consider.

Many of you have asked the famous question…”Why don’t we sue the *$&&#s?” That question or statement while simple albeit appealing on the surface does not appreciate the complex field of battle that OHV now operates in. This case is complex because the Attorney General is Jerry Brown and it is his office that is defending state parks. What you don’t know is that his office often files these types of eco lawsuits against agencies that don’t propose to close enough OHV routes. In fact, BRC/Cal 4WD et al are in just such a case where Jerry Brown wants more Forest Service lands put off limits to OHV.

See Info on So Cal Forests Roadless Lawsuit (we are still in court on this case)

I know you want a formal action item immediately, but I ask your patience for the next day or so as the STAY issue plays out. As you are learning…not only are ALL land use decisions political decisions but most if not ALL court decisions are political decisions as well. The facts of the case, well reasoned arguments and/or solutions can be, and often are, overlooked by the court and a “Political Decision” is rendered.

Just ask the Timber Industry or Farmers in the Central Valley about political decisions made by the court to put them out of business. Be assured of one thing… OHV is on that same list of activities slated by hard core enviros for extinction. How we react and fight back will determine our future.

Stay tuned for more updates.

Thanks for your service!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Court Orders Closure of CA OHV Park

Winter storms have been pounding the West Coast and California for some time now. However, that is not the only thing “pounding” Californians. The recent court order imposing a temporary closure at Carnegie SVRA is just one “judicial storm” in the current “legal winter” that motorized recreationists are experiencing.

BRC News Release on Carnegie SVRA Closure


Enviro News Release

The General believes OHMVR/State Parks will mount an aggressive legal challenge (via a stay and/or appeal) to this outrageous court order. I believe OHMVR will work hard to preserve at least general public access (permitted events may be banned for the interim and use in the creek bed would be restricted) instead of closing the entire park.

Several years ago, Donstradamus told riders that we would be in for some rough times. Well those times are here. This is not a time for hand wringing or casting aspersions but rather a time to man-up and fight back in an effective manner.

BRC stands ready to assist OHMVR defend Carnegie should that opportunity arise. However, these types of cases are very complex and the opportunity for a user group to formally weigh in is limited at best.

Also, the judge involved has a history of arbitrarily “closing stuff” including ordering the shut down of water pumps in the Delta which cut off water to farmers… what makes us think his view or treatment of OHV would be any different?

Shut off of Water – Delta Smelt

I would ask that riders stay tuned to the BRC website or The General’s blog for updated information on if OHMVR is successful with a stay or appeal in keeping Carnegie open for OHV recreation on an interim basis until the park gets a waiver or approval from the Water Board.

New "Rider-Fit" OHV Laws in CA and OR

I know most of my readers are bogged down just trying to keep up with all the FS TMR related planning documents and proposed closures in the West. Also, enviros are filing lawsuits at an alarming rate against OHV recreation on both state and federal lands.

The General wants you to take a minute from your busy schedules to be aware of new “rider fit” laws in CA and OR.

In CA, AB 134 will take effect on Jan. 1, 2010. Law enforcement officers will be able to cite the parent or guardian for allowing a child less than 14 years of age to operate an OHV when they (because of their size) are either too small or too big from being able operate all controls needed to safely operate the vehicle.

AB 134


OR’s law is similar but it impacts children under the age of 16.

I believe one could argue on either side of this issue regarding if “another OHV law” was needed. The main point is that this type of bill has been in the pipeline for several years in CA and to restate a phrase from the Mayor of SF…”This puppy is coming whether you like it or not.” As many of you know, CA passes laws like some riders pass gas while sitting around a campfire telling stories.

What is different about this new OHV law is that legislators used some common sense in crafting this bill. For CA (and OR) this bill could have been a lot worse.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

BOOK REVIEW - NIMBY Wars - A Must Read for the OHV Land Use Advocate

NIMBY Wars is a must read for all who are involved in land use advocacy. Regardless of your station in the battle for recreational access to public lands, you will benefit from the insights of this book as it succinctly explains the complex world of land use politics and articulates strategies for success.
Link to NIMBY Wars


It was early in my career of OHV land use advocacy (circa 1991) that I had this epiphany, “All land use decisions are political decisions.” Many club leaders, riders, new activists, and seasoned veterans have heard The General talk about how important it is for all of us involved in land use advocacy to understand that at the end of the day - ALL land use decisions are political decisions.

Sure, scientific studies, reports, biological opinions, and other criteria are certainly factors in the land use decision-making process. However, the politics of the issue will be the last filter through which any decision must pass.

I have tried to explain (often times unsuccessfully) to those new to the field of land use politics the aforementioned thesis. To the normal person just sitting down with the decision-maker and explaining the facts, pointing out good science, offering a common sense solution, or supporting best management practices should be enough to encourage the decision-maker to make the right call. Unfortunately, those factors have little, if anything, to do with the final decision because the final decision is a political decision.

NIMBY Wars is a literary masterpiece that diagrams the bottom-up approach to grassroots activism and the importance of that local citizen (e.g. voter) or citizen’s group in achieving your objective.

You must order this book if you are involved OHV advocacy, the OHV industry, or want to be involved in, or lead, successful political campaigns to champion OHV recreational activities on public and private lands. If you are an experienced land use political professional, it will confirm various concepts and strategies you have employed and teach you new tactics. If you are a new advocate, it will explain the politics of land use decision-making. If you are in the OHV business, it will explain and highlight the important roles of the professional land use consultant and the local user/leader. If you are a politician, lobbyist, or bureaucrat it will explain the history of land use politics and illustrate why and how you make your decisions.

Read this book! It will make you a more effective OHV champion.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Check Out BRC Online Auction - Auction Ends Soon

Just a quick note for OHVers who might be looking for an off-road internet deal.

As some of you know, BRC has an online auction in play right now. It will be ending soon. In fact, some of the items are ending today.

There is stuff for everything from 4WDs to motorcycles. Check it out.

BRC Online Auction


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Coos County OHVers Face Day of Infamy

As a student of military history, The General believes the lawsuit filed on December 7, 2009 by the Center for Biological Diversity et al against the Riley Ranch Project is just
the first in a series of aggressive legal attacks to be filed against OHV recreation interests in Oregon.

See Dec. 7 Article on Lawsuit

(be sure and scroll down to the bottom of the article and read a response/history of project by former Coos County Commissioner and friend of The General and fellow land use warrior – John Griffith)

As some riders in CA know (and OR riders are now finding out), CBD and their enviro buddies are very busy attacking OHV recreation on both federal and state lands.

Actual CBD/PEER Lawsuit filed recently on Eldorado NF

The BRC Legal Defense Team has been, and will continue to be, engaged in the fight.

See BRC Legal Docket

The question for OR riders is if they are ready to get some skin in the game and support a strong legal defense of balanced FS travel planning at Riley Ranch and elsewhere?

The General believes the anti-access crowd is watching to see how the OHV community responds to this attack. Just as CA, UT, and other states have seen their share of enviro-lawsuits, I think OR will see a like number filed there against both federal and state OHV travel planning projects.

How OR riders respond to this sneak attack will determine the outcome of the land use battle there and the future of OHV recreation in that state.

# # #

Monday, December 7, 2009

Crazy Uncle Found in CCMA DEIS

On December 4, (commonly called a data dump when done on a Friday, since few in the media or users will have time to read and initially respond in a timely manner), the BLM published/posted the Draft Resource Management Plan and EIS for CCMA.

As riders know, the CCMA land closure saga is very complex. In a normal OHV-related NEPA process (TMR, new staging areas, trail construction, etc.), the land agency has a Purpose and Need and Goals and Objectives. Usually, those tenets are related to managing OHV recreation as it relates to wildlife, soil, flora, etc.

What makes CCMA different is the “asbestos” health issue. That “crazy uncle” in the basement is now sitting at the front of the dinner table telling his family what food (e.g. trails and access) they can eat.

In a normal OHV NEPA DEIS process, OHVers would submit a proposal to either support one of the action alternatives including the preferred alternative (if they are OHV friendly) - since supporting the no-action alternative as your only option is IHMO usually a waste of time, support a modified action alternative – that could include the preferred alternative or an action alternative the “mixes and matches” various items from the different alternatives, or to propose a new alternative that mixes and matches items from the menu – however, this may require a supplemental DEIS if it is too different from alternatives in the DEIS.

What is problematic with the CCMA DEIS is their working thesis continues to be that “all asbestos is bad asbestos.” BRC and others believe that assumption is false or at least uncertain - even BLM’s own staff had questions on the validity of the EPA study as day-lighted in BRC’s FOIA Request)

BRC FOIA Information also link to Turcke Letter

In The General’s personal opinion, that false assumption has created an arbitrary decision matrix that functionally excludes any alternative that includes historic levels of OHV use in CCMA in what appears to be a political decision or calculation on BLM’s part to keep OHV use out of CCMA.

Riders cannot forget the fact that at several of the public scoping meetings in 2008, BLM representatives told Steve Kortoff (Friends of CCMA leader) an others that they were closing CCMA to OHVs because they were afraid of “lawsuits” (most likely suits related to enforcement of the Clean Air Act or other air quality legislation/rules).

Just as BRC stated in June 2008, it is, and will continue to be, their goal to bring sound science into the decision-making process and to have CCMA reopened for responsible OHV recreation.

The General believes OHV groups collectively are in agreement that they are going to work together to get CCMA reopened for motorized recreation and permitted OHV events. The analysis of the DEIS will take some time (probably mid-January at the earliest) and I believe riders on blogs and the internet would serve themselves and sport well to let BRC and other groups review the document in a professional manner. Between now and the expected BLM public meetings in January, folks should enjoy the Christmas Season. There will be plenty of time to fight the battle in 2010.

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