Sunday, December 19, 2010

Another OHV Christmas Miracle - 2" Rain Policy Reinstated on Mendocino NF

Reinstated  2" Rain Policy on 2009 MVUM

HQ believes in and celebrates Christmas as a special time where hearts are changed and miracles happen. One such miracle happened late last week when the Mendocino National Forest reinstated the time-proven 30-year old “2-inch” rain closure rule.

Beginning in late October after the new “it’s closed all the time during winter” rain closure was put into effect, HQ and BRC started to get a lot of calls from riders complaining about the OHV trail networks at Upper Lake and Stonyford being closed for extended period of time.

Nov. 29 blog with overview and link to Nov. 15 BRC letter to FS stating concerns about the new extended time-period rain closures (good overview)

HQ understood the FS had placed this issue under review but it appeared to be progressing at slow pace. Last week, HQ and BRC became concerned that the issue would not be resolved before the Holiday camping season started on the Mendocino where the “Fouts Springs OHV Camping Area” becomes the largest city in Colusa County. Often there are 3-5 thousand family campers staged in that complex with kids of all ages enjoying their new or newly purchased used OHVs.

In the meantime, HQ continued to be deluged with emails and phone calls from frustrated and angry OHVers (including motorcycle dealers, enduro riders, BRC/AMA/D36 members, riders who were not members of any club, and even former FS staff).

Based on those concerns HQ and BRC ramped up their communications with agency leadership urging  they expedite the decision-making process so the OHV community could enjoy the Forest over the holidays. On December 14, BRC sent a letter to the FS that made a formal request for the agency to reinstate the historic and NEPA compliant 2-inch rain rule so that the OHV holiday season would not be ruined for thousands of recreationists.

BRC December 14 Letter Making Formal Request to Reinstate the 2” Rain Closure Policy

HQ and BRC commend the Forest for working hard last week to wade through the red tape so that the 2-inch rule could be reinstated on December 17. BRC also commends the agency for using the site-specific Remote Automated Weather Station (RAWS) at Bartlett Springs for the Upper Lake OHV Area and Fouts/MNFO3 for Stonyford. HQ urges riders to monitor these RAWS for themselves. And, please sign up for FS email alerts for closures with Tamara (her info is below).

Bartlett Springs RAWS for Upper Lake OHV Area

MNF03/Fouts RAWS for Stonyford


Tamara Schmidt
Public Affairs Officer
Mendocino National Forest
825 N. Humboldt Ave.
Willows, CA 95988
Phone Number: 530-934-1137

It is also important to remember when FS System Trails are closed by the 2-inch rule, that FS System Roads remain open for public use by hunters, woodcutters, and OHV riders. If you have any questions about rain closures be sure and call ahead before you travel up there. In addition, the FS still has the authority to issue a temporary emergency closure order (that supercedes the 2-inch rule) should the area be hit with a catastrophic rain event, wildfire, or some other natural disaster.

HQ will remain open until Congress goes home and the holidays begin. We wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy OHV New Year!

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