Saturday, February 27, 2010

March 2 - San Benito County To Help Keep CCMA Open?

The General has long believed that local users (i.e. voters) should try and get
their local County Board of Supervisors involved to help in the fight to keep public lands open for responsible recreation activities.
PHOTO: Sign of the CCMA Times

EXAMPLE of how a county can take action regarding access

No place is a county’s help more sorely needed then in the CCMA Battle. The Recreation HQ was pleased to hear that several members of the San Benito County Board of Supervisors attended BLM’s socioeconomic meeting regarding the future of CCMA.

Thanks to a posting by my good friends at SBR, The Recreation HQ has learned that San Benito BOS has placed the topic of CCMA on their March 2 agenda.

This is a golden opportunity for local OHVers to show up and testify on how important it is for the county to take action regarding supporting a request for a 90 day extension of the public comment period and to eventually submit comments on the DEIS in support of continued OHV recreation at CCMA.


PLANNING DEPARTMENT – A. Henriques: 12) Review the staff report, powerpoint and draft comment letter to BLM at the Board meeting, and provide direction to staff.

Getting your local county, state, and federal elected officials involved in protecting your access rights is critically important in any land-use fight. Having the county weigh in (and hopefully some federal legislators as well) could help tip the scales in our favor.

The General encourages all riders and business owners (local voters are most important) who care about CCMA to attend the March 2 BOS meeting and respectfully articulate your desire for the county to support continued OHV recreation at CCMA.

Thanks for your service!

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!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

OHV Wars and ESA Reform

The Carnegie SVRA legal battle has shown off-roaders in the SF Bay Area how the Endangered Species Act and other environmental laws can be misused by anti-OHV groups in efforts to close public lands to motorized recreation.

Many land-use newbies are not aware of the long-standing fight by groups such as the BRC and reform-minded legislators to address the fatal flaws in the ESA.

2005 Article on ESA Reform Effort

A recent article published by The General’s good friends at the California Farm Bureau Federation is a good read regarding the insights of a District Court judge.

Feb. 24 Insights of a Federal Judge on the need for ESA reform

The General agrees with Judge Wanger that the best way to address court rulings on ESA cases is to have Congress deal with the issue. But as he points out – if Congress can’t decide when it is or is not in session…what hope to we have that it can address ESA reform?

Being an eternal optimist, The General believes that riders should have that in our collective bucket list of things to accomplish.

If you are not a member of BRC or at least some local or state OHV group, JOIN today and become part of the fight.

To JOIN or Donate to BRC go to:

Thanks for your service!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

US Chamber of Commerce Joins Monument Battle

The Recreation HQ has received scores of PMs from riders who remain in a state of shock regarding the recently day-lighted secret effort by the Obama administration to draft a plan to designate a series of National Monuments throughout the West.

As The General pointed out, some of these proposals are popular OHV recreation sites including the Stonyford OHV Area on the Mendocino National Forest.

It is encouraging to see bipartisan support in Utah to defeat theses ad hoc designations without Congressional approval and public input.

See SLT Article on Utah Effort

The Recreation HQ is also pleased to see the US Chamber of Commerce echoing BRC’s call for legislation to address our concerns.

See Feb. 22 US Chamber of Commerce Letter to Obama Administration

Just as The General protested the CA Route Inventory and Designation process because it was crafted behind closed doors without a formal public process, The Recreation HQ believes it is important for riders to stand up and voice their strong opposition to any attempt by the administration to misuse the Antiquities Act to give political favors to anti-OHV groups.

Thanks for your service!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Obama Administration Launches New Version of Clinton's War on the West?

As the Recreation HQ continues to review the breaking news on the Obama administration’s apparent effort to covertly plan for a massive land grab of historic proportions, The General believes this could signal a new and potentially more devastating version of Clinton’s War on the West.
Photo: BRC's Don Amador (The General) on Trail 4 in the Stonyford OHV Area. This designated trail is in the pathway of a proposed national monument.

As a soldier in that battle, The General remembers how Clinton’s agency leaders, including Mike Dombeck and Bruce Babbitt, proposed massive land closures or attacks on private property rights. Some of those onerous plans included Dombeck’s unholy triad (the Roadless Rule, The Transportation Rule, and The Planning Rule) and Babbitt’s infamous “National Biological Survey” where his office sought to empower an army of agency biologists to roam free over private property looking for endangered species.

Now it looks like Obama is planning to launch his version of the War on the West. However, unlike Clinton who attacked OHVers, loggers, miners, and ranchers in the open with Dombeck and Babbitt, Obama appears to be planning a sneak attack.

Just as Clinton’s War on the West was met with a loud and effective outcry from public land interests, The General believes that access advocates are in a better position politically to oppose Obama’s ill-advised monument plans

See Today’s BRC News Release including BRC letter to Congress on this issue

2010 will sure be busy on the access front.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Obama Administration to Attack OHV Areas?

I know many of you are already tired of the “good news” related to being an OHVer. Our SVRA’s are under attack. Our federal riding areas are being sued by anti-OHV groups asking for dirt-bikes and other motorized forms of recreation to be banned or severely restricted. The Forest Service is proposing to close almost 100% of all single-track and ATV trails on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Other Forests are closing thousands of miles of forest roads to green-sticker vehicles.
Photo: See the description of the "Berryessa Snow Mountains" National Monument in the internal document below
Just when you think you have seen it all. This alert comes. Thanks to some pro-access legislators, The Recreation HQ has learned that the Obama administration is planning to use the Antiquities Act to bypass Congress and designate millions of acres as “National Monuments.” The General remembers all too well what the Clinton/Gore team did a decade ago when they designated a number of national monuments including the Giant Sequoia National Monument.

See WND Story about that fight in 2000

See internal DOI document day-lighted to the public by Congressmen Doc Hastings and Rob Bishop (see page one for ref. to Stonyford OHV Area)

See Congressional letter objecting to misuse of the Antiquities Act to lock up public lands and to acquire more private property

Per chance any of you discount the potential impact to OHV in Northern California, look on page one of the internal document. You will see that a majority of the Stonyford OHV area would be designated as a national monument… effectively closing the area to historic OHV use. Other riding areas would be impacted as well.

I know the AMA and BRC are working on this. Just as in the Cinton/Gore fight, The General will be engaged in this battle as well.

If you have not joined BRC please do so NOW! Send this blog to your riding buddies.

OHV Wars Continue at Coastal SVRA

As Carnegie fans wait for both the legal and administrative battle to play itself out, The General wants you who are new to the OHV Wars arena to be aware that anti-OHV groups continue their assault on the SVRA system.

One ongoing battle is down at Oceano Dunes. For many years, OHVers and OHMVR have been fighting to preserve motorized recreation at that popular facility. Just as with Carnegie, you have a 3rd party eco-group at Oceano Dunes trying to interject itself into the inter-governmental decision-making process.

Recent Article on Oceano Dunes Fight

The main point of today’s blog is to remind land-use newbies that OHV recreation continues to face some rough times in 2010 and beyond. The Recreation HQ wants to make sure that riders continue to brace for the fight, stand strong, and never give up.

Thanks for your service!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Spring Comes After a Hard Winter

As some riders know, The General (while on BRC business) attended the recent Indy Powersports Show. To say the mood was upbeat would not be truthful. The current economic crisis has taken a toll on OHV related businesses.
Photo: The Mighty Oak - Mendocino NF

Sales are down for the motorcycle manufacturers and the aftermarket. Many dealers have seen OHV sales plummet.

One could not help but feel somewhat discouraged as the once booming OHV industry is seeing some hard times. It is not just an industry to The General as many industry folks are his friends and ridding buddies.

In times like these, The Recreation HQ feels it is important to look for inspiration and then share that encouragement with others.

After tearing down the BRC booth, I headed out the front doors of the convention center and picked up a magazine to read on my flight home. While thumbing my way through
CHINAMOTOR Issue #45 (the only English language Chinese motorcycle products magazine), I came across an article entitled, Spring Comes After a Hard Winter.

This article with a thoughtful proverb was written by Mr. Wu Zhenhong, the General Manager Assistant of the Luoyang Northern EK Chor Motorcycle Company.

The theme was basically that the industry must not be afraid of the current crisis and always strive to improve your products and services because of at the end of this current “business winter” -- a “business spring” will arrive.

That is good advice regardless of your position in the OHV family. Are there tough times ahead? You bet. Is there light at the end of the tunnel? I don’t know if that bright headlight has yet pierced the darkness of that age old metaphor, but one thing I do know (as the article states) is that spring eventually will arrive.

Thanks for your service and continued support!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

SEND LETTER TODAY - On Forest Planning Rule

Having just got back to the Recreation HQ at o-dark thirty, The General is issuing a Broken Arrow (all hands on deck and man your battle stations) call for riders to send
a letter TODAY regarding future forest planning.
PHOTO: What new forest planning rule means for public access

Historically, federal land use planning was guided by a multiple-use concept that had a recreation tenet. The new planning regulations appear to focus on global warming and “restoration” (an enviro code word for ripping roads/trails) with motorized recreation potentially being tossed in the land-use basement. I know this is a late notice and the comment period ends today, but please take time to send in a letter now.

Send this alert to your email network!

Link to BRC Alert

The CA Society of Foresters also has a good article from a forest management viewpoint:

Thanks for your service!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Recreation HQ is Closed Feb. 11-15

The Recreation HQ will be closed Feb. 11-15 and will reopen on Feb. 16.

In the meantime, here is a quick update on a couple of issues.

Carnegie SVRA
The park continues to operate while the lawsuit is being reviewed by the appellate court.
Based on The General’s experience on land-use cases… no news is good news.

Clear Creek DEIS
Watch for an update and action item first part of next week on the Friends of CCMA website and I will also post an update on this website.

Thanks for your service!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Yamaha OHV Grants Program Supports Recreation Projects

There are many tools in today’s OHV advocacy toolbox. Those land-use tools include grassroots advocacy, participation in the administrative process, public relations, volunteerism, political activism, reviewing legislation and the subsequent implementing regulations, and litigation. For the OHV groups that are engaged in the aforementioned activities there is a need to fund that work.

Unlike major green groups that get large block grants from likeminded left-wing foundations such as the Pew Charitably Trust or the Rockefeller Foundation, OHV has historically relied on the generous donations of club members, individuals, and small businesses that “support the sport.”

Some riders have asked The General if any of the OHV industry giants ever donate to help keep trails open. The Recreation HQ is proud to say yes to that question and one shining example is the Yamaha OHV Access Grants Program.

See Yamaha OHV Access Grants Program News Release

In 2010 and beyond, OHV interests will face some very difficult and challenging times.
How those battles are funded is a serious question. The fact that some industry leaders are stepping up to the plate in a substantive manner will be an important key factor in the modern land use equation.

The Recreation HQ salutes all who support the sport through your generous donations of time and fiscal resources.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Forest Service Planning Rule - Comments Due Feb. 16, 2010

The Recreation HQ has been getting a lot of emails with questions regarding how to comment on the new Forest Service Planning Rule process. As some of you know, the comment period ends February 16, 2010. Planning Rules guide the creation, revision,
and/or amending of Forest Plans under the National Forest Management Act.
FS Announcement of Planning Rule Process
Before The General answers that question, it is important for you to understand the history of this rather complex issue.
In March of 2007, a northern California U.S. District Court enjoined the Forest Service from implementing the 2005 Planning Rule. This invalidated the 2005 Planning Rule that was developed to replace the 2000 Planning Rule that was part of the unholy triad of the Clinton/Dombeck/Gore-era “Rules.” The Planning Rule, the Transportation Rule, and the Roadless Rule.
Since that court decision, Forests are operating under old plans developed under the 2000 Planning Rule or on older planning rules such as the 1982 Planning Rule. The Forest planning process is stalled right now until this new planning rule is put into effect.
The BRC main office and legal department are in the process of analyzing the new planning rule and will be submitting official comments. In addition, BRC is expected to issue an alert next week with an outline of issues/potential comments that riders may want to use as they create their own comments.
The General believes the primary goal of the Clinton/Gore Rule Triad was to eliminate the timber industry. Tragically in many parts of the West that strategic goal has been accomplished.
Now the great danger for OHV interests is that with the Timber Wars being over, we are now in the “OHV Wars” era with a target painted squarely on the backs of our helmets or riding jackets. *
Just how we respond as a community will determine the outcome. The Recreation HQ believes we can win if we man or woman-up and fight back with firm resolve.
If you have not joined the BRC or your local OHV organization – do it now!
Join BRC online at:
Also, ck out BRC’s new online magazine:
Thanks for your service and support!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Pulling Culverts/Ripping Roads Requires Site Specific NEPA

On January 5, The Recreation HQ published a blog regarding a potential new direction for OHV litigation

Photo: A photo of a culvert that was pulled without site-specific NEPA/public involvement. Funny there is no outcry from eco-groups because in this case... the agency was "closing" a road to all public use. (click on photo to expand it)

On that date, The General asked the troops to keep an eye open for aggressive and potentially illegal federal road decommission projects. The HQ is afraid that some agency units are using TMR (which only identifies the specific routes and seasons of use available for motorized travel) as the inappropriate planning document to authorize aggressive road decommissioning that includes the following ground-disturbing-activities (e.g. pulling culverts, ripping road beds, and recontouring the road prism, and digging tank traps).

Some federal units (see above photo) appear to be using NEPA exempt routine road maintenance authority as cover to go out and obliterate roads. As most of you should know by now, agency actions that include ground disturbing activities (such as pulling culverts and digging tank traps) require project level site-specific NEPA. Approval from USFWS and water boards are often needed as well. Those projects require public notice and involvement.

OHVers, equestrians, mountain-bikers, firefighters, woodcutters, and other access interests cannot stand by while federal agencies use TMR as the driving force to illegally decommission our roads and trails. Be sure and contact the Recreation HQ if you have an example of a road that was decommissioned without the proper NEPA document.

2010 may be the year we have to draw a legal line in the sand on this issue.