Friday, February 26, 2010

CA OHV Commission Weighs Into Clear Creek Fight

In the early part of OHV Wars, the CA OHMVR Commission was taken over by leaders of the environmental movement. That body invented the now infamous 2002/2003 CA Route Inventory and Designation Process which defunded many FS/BLM trail projects and laid the foundation for various hybrids of the now equally infamous 2005 National Travel Management Rule.

An audit by the CA Bureau of State Audits found what The General and others already knew – The green OHV Commission was abusing their power to enact an anti-OHV political agenda.

See 2005 article on that BSA report with links to the audit

The new OHV program (SB742) depoliticized the commission by stripping their grant authority and made grants more of an academic/bureaucratic exercise to be run by OHMVR staff. (side note- the grants program is now more streamlined and efficient then is has ever been with a majority of green sticker monies getting out on the ground for trail recreation projects)

Since SB742, some riders have asked what role the new OHMVR commission will have regarding OHV recreation since they don’t have grant authority. Up until the commission meeting that took place yesterday in San Jose, that question may have had some legitimacy.

Info on OHMVR Commission Meeting

One of the hottest topics on the commission agenda yesterday was the ongoing battle to reopen Clear Creek for OHV recreation. Testimony was provided to the commission (which only has authority when convened) regarding the fact that CCMA is the largest destination OHV area in Central California and now that it is closed --- other riding areas ranging from Hollister Hills SVRA to Jawbone are being overcrowded by displaced OHVers. The commission also learned that the state OHV program has invested over $9 million dollars (over the last 30 years) at CCMA and has a vested interest as a land-use partner with BLM to see that good science is used before the final decision is made to close it OHV use.

After the presentation by BLM’s, Rick Cooper, and the aforementioned testimony was heard, the OHMVR commission voted to send a letter immediately to the BLM State Director asking him for a 90 day extension to the public comment period which ends March 5, 2010. The commission also directed the OHMVR Division to take the necessary steps to prepare comments on the CCMA DEIS.

The Recreation HQ believes this action by the OHMV Commission could play (when combined with the efforts from OHV groups, elected officials, and others) a pivotal role regarding both the request for a 90 day extension to the public comment period and what the BLM ultimately proposes in the FEIS/ROD.

The General thanks members of the TimeKeepers MC, SRMC, Friends of CCMA, SBR, and other riders who showed up to make a difference.

Thanks for your service!

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