Friday, July 9, 2010

OHVers Attend Obama Outdoor Event in LA on July 8

The Recreation HQ wants to commend all the OHV clubs and members who took time away from their busy schedules to attend Obama’s Great Outdoors Presidential Initiative held on July 8 at Occidental College near Pasadena, California.
PHOTO: Brochure Handed Out at Event

The riders and public land access interests that attended the event include Cal4WD, AMA, AMA D 36/37, Dirt Diggers South, NOHVCC, ALAA, CORVA, ORBA, BRC, High Desert Multiple Use Coalition, and California Equestrian Trails Coalition. I apologize to any groups I missed but things were a bit hectic.

The event started off with the Mayor of LA trying to make some political hay to a largely sympathetic crowd. The General felt the jabs although expected were inappropriate and actually detracted from what should been bipartisan advocacy for the recreation and outdoor goals of the Initiative.

A number of speeches were given by cabinet level officials… some of which challenged the group to tell them what works and what doesn’t and if they should simple get out of the way. I wrote that challenge down to be brought up during the breakout sessions.

The following sub-panel was comprised of various interests that mostly supported conservation easements and more federal funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The token conservative on the panel was a spokesman for the California Cattlemen’s Association. He lauded conservation easements and the LWCF but saved his credibility in The General’s opinion when he stated his concerns about federal overregulation and land-use restrictions.

The last panelist to speak made an interesting comment about how CEQA was designed to stop projects. I couldn’t agree more!

After the sub-panel presentations, a short video was shown. Every outdoor recreation group was highlighted except OHV. The video showed mountain bikers in a number of slides along with hunters, hikers, water skiers, equestrians, snow skiers, etc.

Great Outdoors Video (sans OHV)

Before the group was adjourned for the 1 hour breakout sessions, the microphone was passed around for about 30 minutes. Meg Grossglass from ORBA, spoke to the Obama administration officials and the over 750 people in attendance about how the OHV community had been wrongly left out of the video when, in fact, OHV recreationists are a major land use partner with the Forest Service and BLM via our state OHMVR grant program and our volunteer efforts. She got a good round of applause!

The rest of the folks that got to speak on the microphone were mostly there to praise the administration and ask for more federal funding for their favorite projects. The last speaker represented the recreational fishing community and said her folks sympathize with the OHV community as a “hated” user group since they too have seen fishing banned in many streams and rivers due to federal/state environmental rules and regulations.

See Blog on Proposed Ocean Wilderness Areas on N. Coast

There were a number of breakout sessions and OHV was well represented in most, if not all of them. The General pointed out in his session that the feds should review model programs of federal/state/local/community collaboration such as exists on the Inyo NF. That Forest has worked hard to have a holistic program that -unlike the Obama plan to date - includes OHV/OSV as an important partner in the recreation matrix.

After HQ’s presentation to the EPA officials who were facilitating his breakout session, one EPA official asked, “What does OHV stand for?” I explained it is sometimes referred to as off-road recreation and then he cocked his head indicating that he might understand what that term means. His ignorance of a major recreation stakeholder was not very reassuring. Both EPA officials seemed stunned when a board member of the California Wilderness Coalition told the feds that BRC and other OHV groups often work with them on land-use legislation.

On the other hand, Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar, knows OHV/OSV very well from his work with COHVCO in Colorado. The General and other OHV interests must continue to attend the “listening sessions” and insist that OHV being included in the Initiative and be formally recognized as a valued land-use partner. Secretary Salazar knows better..

Be sure and check out the Obama Outdoor Website for future meetings and make sure that your club or organization has representatives at those events.

Obama Outdoor Website

Thanks again to all those public land access interests who have attended these events. Your service is appreciated by the HQ and the OHV community at large.


  1. Don, Good work. I was hoping to attend but looks as if OHV was well represented. Isn't it interesting how we continually have to explain ourselves to people who's job it is to know these things up front.
    Paul S

  2. Thank you for such a fantastic blog. Where else could one get this kind of info written in such an incite full way? I have a presentation that I am just now working on, and I have been looking for such information.

    Penny Stocks

  3. I attended the White House Initiative on America’s Great Outdoors Thursday, July 1st.
    It was an overflow audience of about 400 in the Wilson HS Auditorium, located in Seattle, and was preceded by a multi-hour student event where 100 students from area high schools were invited to share their concerns and recommendations.
    Most of the questions involved on asking how government can help; what works; what groups are effective in helping the environment. About 90% of the group I was in had their hand out for more funding and support.
    Why should property owners go? To protect the investment in, and the love of, their land and their community. Property owners need to prevent a distant and centralized bureaucracy from determining the importance and priority of environmental protection. We must help local people keep the pride of work they themselves accomplish and not leave planning to detached committees. We must prevent government from sowing seeds of ownership over private land, for once personal initiative is extinguished and all land management is left to a faceless bureaucracy, then the rights of individual property rights ceases to have community support.
    Expect presenters to use quotes from Roosevelt, the Constitution, Holmsted, and other sources that will be used to justify a bigger government use, restriction, and confiscation of private property ‘for the public good’. Be prepared with a different interpretation of the quotes, and quotes, especially from the same sources that refute the meaning the presenters intend. "Conservation means development as much as it does protection. I recognize the right and duty of this generation to develop and use the natural resources of our land; but I do not recognize the right to waste them, or to rob, by wasteful use, the generations that come after us." "The New Nationalism" speech, Osawatomie, Kansas, August 31, 1910
    Expect the group to be broken into many small working groups, as advocated in the Yosemite Plan, so as to diminish concentration of opposition.
    Expect their focus to be more on how to federalize and centralize efforts. The push during this session is to ingratiate environmental groups to the federal government.
    Expect younger people to ask for environmental jobs.
    Expect to hear calls for mandatory education in environmental science and anthropology studies, and fund more field trips into environmental areas.
    Try to get conservative students into the Student Listening Group to offer a counter position to federalizing our outdoors.
    Try to get a land rights advocate to go on the tour with the officials prior to an event so as to provide a counterpoint and be able to research what exactly is being touted as successes and wants.
    The federal government appears to be attempting to absorb independent, volunteer, local, and state-based environmental activities, so that they can coordinate and centrally fund the efforts. While this seems more efficient, it may jeopardize the special relationship locals have with their environment, impose onerous labor and other restrictions on volunteer labor, and sap the enthusiasm of a local effort.
    When the discussion of environmental groups comes up and the attendees start clambering for more federal and state money, bring up volunteer groups, such as the Boy Scouts that have been helping America’s natural lands for 100 years without any state and federal money.
    America has $114 trillion in debt and unfunded liabilities, and cannot afford more bureaucracy. America needs private sector jobs, and the proposed plan revolves more around taking more land off the tax rolls, and adding more layers of rules for the productive use of land. When government spends taxpayer money, it is inefficiently spent, adds years of time to the planning, overbuilds most projects, and selects the contract winners according to political factors often not beneficial to local communities.