Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Faux Liability Issue at CCMA

Reading an article today of the growing “body count” at California beaches from recreationists who have drowned reminded The Recreation HQ about its March 26 blog where it talked about how the BLM (and other federal and state land agencies) simply post warning signs and use educational outreach to inform users about safety or health issues while recreating on public lands.

March 30 San Mateo County Times “Body Count” Article

In BRC’s March 5 CCMA DEIS comment letter, BRC stated it believed the BLM, by closing CCMA and/or restricting or banning OHV use there in the future, has created an agency liability where none currently exists. Again, warning signs and educational outreach are an accepted and widely used prescription to address health and safety issues on public lands.

The obvious answer to the CCMA issue is for the BLM to simply review signing and educational outreach plans currently being used by its own agency or sister land agencies to address health and safety issues. An informed public can then make up its mind if they want to use the area just as they do while swimming at beaches or climbing cliffs in a park.

Unlike the beach issue where a body count is being kept by government officials, the Hollister Field Office continues its search to find even one “body” over the last 100 years of use at CCMA. Rather than continue its search for that elusive dead OHVer, the HFO should remember its congressional mandate is to provide multiple-use of public lands and not set itself up as a nanny-state agency where unelected bureaucrats issue unpopular and unwarranted edicts from behind a desk.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Obama "Outdoors" Interview and Access

As western lawmakers including Congressman Rob Bishop and BRC wait for requested information from the Department of Interior regarding the suspected monument discussions between preservation groups and federal land agencies, The Recreation HQ remembers that candidate Obama gave an interview on natural resource issues to Field and Stream in 2008.
PHOTO: BRC's Don Amador on a designated trail at the Stonyford OHV Area - smack dab in the middle of the Snow/Goat Mtn. National Monument proposal

Colusa County Opposes Stonyford OHV Monument Plan

Often times political junkies like The General look through these interviews for hints at what a candidate’s views are on any given issue. Since ACCESS to public lands is a key tenet of the HQ, The General remembered that Obama mentioned “access” in the 2008 interview when he said, “…if you talk to sportsmen in my home state of Illinois, they will tell you that I've always been a forceful advocate on behalf of the rights of sportsmen, on behalf of access for sportsmen…”

Link to that 2008 Field and Stream Interview

I think the off-road community will know more after the April 16 White House Great Outdoors Summit (the fact that the WH released that info late Friday afternoon – which is the proverbial dumping grounds for bad news – could be a harbinger of things to come) when the stakeholder names are revealed and the tone and direction of the summit are known.

Will the White House live up to its hint of support for access or will it issue National Monument proclamations that have little or no local support?

The Obamument saga continues….

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The General Will Be at Meetings on Monday - HQ Closed

The Recreation HQ will be closed on Monday while The General is at meetings that are being held deep inside the bowels of a bunker at a very secret location.

Will reopen on Tue.

Obamuments, April 16 White House Conservation Summit, and You

The Recreation HQ has been following the “National Monuments” issue with a keen interest. A lot OHVers and mostly legislators from Western States have sounded the alarm based on secret documents uncovered which showed a plan for the designation of what The General now calls “Obamuments.”
PHOTO: FWMC's Dale (L) and Randy (C) and CERA's Clark (R) on the Ladybug Trail a designated OHV trail in the proposed Stonyford Obamument

BRC Submitted a Letter to Congress regarding Obamuments on Feb. 19

On that same day, The General (on behalf of BRC) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to see who was driving this plan. When he got a letter back from the Department of Interior that they could not find any information because they only looked on the Secretary’s desk – The General filed a FOIA Appeal and is still waiting for a response.

FOIA Appeal

The Recreation HQ appreciates the phone calls that many of you have made to your Congressman regarding your concerns about the Stonyford OHV Area being named as a potential Obamument. Riders are lucky that Stonyford happens to be in the congressional district of Congressman Wally Herger – a champion of public land access.

Article on Cong. Herger’s Fight Against Obamuments

Glenn County Joins Fight Against Stonyford Obamument

This story now gets even more complex with the unofficial announcement today in the LA Times of an April 16 White House Summit on the Great Outdoors to address national monuments, conservation, recreation, and other issues.

LA Times Article on Conservation/Outdoor Summit,0,371471.story

As The General awaits a response from DOI on his FOIA appeal this week, it will be interesting to see just who from the recreation community will be invited to the April 16 Summit. If it is anything like the Obamacare summits, you will see “recreation” groups like Trout Unlimited, IMBA, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, PEER/Rangers for Responsible Recreation and other pro-Wilderness organizations sitting at the table speaking for motorized groups like BRC, ISMA, ARRA, AMA, and United 4WD.

At this moment, the Recreation HQ is willing to give the Obama administration a chance to dispel our concerns about how the President will treat the legitimate voices for continued access to public lands. The HQ will know soon who is invited and that list will tell the story.

Stay tuned this week as Congress and the Recreation HQ continues to press the administration for Obamument documents that were obviously the product of many roundtable discussions between government agencies and preservation groups.

Thanks for your service and support!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Riders Want Back In at Clear Creek

The Recreation HQ wanted to share this article that appeared on a NPR website regarding
BLM’s San Jose DEIS public hearing.
PHOTO: The General at a "Warning Sign" at the BLM's Samoa Dunes Recreation Area (OHV, fishing, surfing, equestrian) near Eureka, CA

The reporter did a pretty good job of capturing the OHV community’s frustration with the continued closure of CCMA. However by focusing on the personal attacks on Rick Cooper (the reporter does capture that BRC did not support hostility or threats) did not detail the fact that the closure is based on Cooper’s fear of a disease that is non-existent in the OHV community..

Rather the reporter could have shown, as BRC and others have requested, that the BLM failed to analyze how the agency or sister land agencies deal with public access and health/safety issues including naturally occurring asbestos. Cooper told me at the San Jose meeting that he did not do that analysis as requested by BRC et al..

If he had done some research he would have found that the Department of Interior does use signing and education as a tool to address NOA and other dangers such as fishermen being washed out to sea, children being drowned at the beach or river, etc.

For example, the US Forest Service addresses NOA through the use of signs, education/outreach, soil treatments, and speed limits vs. an unwarranted and massive land closure.

Forest Service NOA Program/Educational Outreach

The article also misses the point about riders being “worried” about NOA. It’s not that riders are not worried about health issues (heck, we wear riding gear, keep our bikes in good condition, and avoid driving off cliffs, etc.) but rather we don’t worry about politically-driven faux issues that are used arbitrarily to make the Hollister Field Office an “OHV Free Zone.”

Thanks for your continued vigilance in the fight for CCMA.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Update on FS Planning Rule Meetings in CA and Elsewhere

Back on Feb 2, The Recreation HQ posted a note about the NOI for the new FS Planning Rule with public comments due February 19, 2010. At that time, HQ told followers that BRC would issue a national alert with ideas for your comment letters as well as what its concerns were with the new proposal.

Feb. 12 BRC Alert on FS Planning Rule with Comments due Feb. 16

The General is concerned about the potential (unless enough of your write and attend meetings) for the agency to create a planning process that moves Forest Planning away from its multiple-use mandate to a new “global warming” or “climate change” paradigm where agency resources are directed to “restoration” (e.g. road and trail ripping) of areas with a ramp-up of proposals for new Wilderness and non-motorized land classifications, etc.

There will be public meetings in DC and throughout the country in late March and throughout April.

Info on Public Meetings from FS Washington Office (ck with your own regional office as well to confirm meeting dates/times)!ut/p/c5/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSzPy8xBz9CP0os3gjAwhwtDDw9_AI8zPwhQoY6IeDdGCqCPOBqwDLG-AAjgb6fh75uan6BdnZaY6OiooA1tkqlQ!!/dl3/d3/L2dJQSEvUUt3QS9ZQnZ3LzZfMjAwMDAwMDBBODBPSEhWTjBNMDAwMDAwMDA!/?ss=119987&navtype=BROWSEBYSUBJECT&cid=&navid=091000000000000&pnavid=null&position=BROWSEBYSUBJECT&ttype=main&pname=Planning%20Rule%20Home

In CA, there will be regional meetings on April 6 in Redding, Sacramento, Bishop, and San Bernardino. The General (on behalf of BRC) will be attending the Sacramento workshop.

April 6 CA Planning Rule Meetings (please RSVP ASAP up if you are coming)

BRC and COHVCO’s official comments on the NOI:

Also, a good read is the National Assn of FS Retirees (Steve Eubanks is the former District Ranger at Foresthill and he helped write the comments)

Sign up for the soon coming new BRC Alert on the planning rule at:

See ya there!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Day Trail-based Recreation Died in Northern California

The Recreation HQ was not surprised by the content of the call it received from the public affairs officer on Monday regarding the soon-to-be announced signing of the Record of Decision for the Shasta Trinity National Forest Travel Management FEIS.

PHOTO: The General on a Single Track Trail Now Closed by the ROD

As many of the troops know, the Shasta Trinity NF is home to about 800 miles of high quality single track motorcycle trails and ATV trails less than 50 inches in width. Up until yesterday, these were legitimate and legal OHV trails that were used by families, contractors, NFL football players, police officers, nurses, doctors, CHP officers, firefighters, veterans, deputy sheriffs, small business owners, retired workers, lumber workers, teachers, sheet metal workers, union members, federal agents, muffler shop owners, etc.

BRC had argued for these routes in its DEIS comment letter – Shasta County did as well

The functional closure of almost 100% of what were legal OHV trails is a form of recreational discrimination against the single-track community. The General on several occasions (on behalf of BRC) had met with officials from the FS Regional Office and urged them not to make this huge mistake. This closure makes a mockery of the TMR public process, the agency, and its laws. This plan was never designed to protect the environment but rather created to satisfy the closure agenda of anti-OHV groups. What other conclusion is there when all of the action alternatives functionally closed all single-tracks and OHV trails less than 50 inches in width?

Be assured The General and BRC will exhaust all administrative and, if needed, legal channels to challenge a document that will be forever remembered by the OHV community as the plan that administratively closed more single-track trails than were administratively closed on Forest Service lands in Region 5 during the 8 years of the Clinton/Gore administration.

To Join or Support BRC go to:

Thanks for your support and staying engaged!


Monday, March 22, 2010

Stonyford Monument/NCA Gains Traction

The Recreation HQ was not surprised when it read today’s article on a proposed National Monument or National Conservation Area designation in Northern California that includes the Stonyford OHV Area on the Mendocino National Forest.

March 22 LA Times Article,0,7702234.story?track=rss


PHOTO: BRC's Don Amador on Designated Trail on Goat Mountain that is in Monument/NCA Proposal

After reading that article, I emailed the Times Reporter and reminded her of the FOIA appeal that was filed last week by BRC’s Don Amador.

BRC News Release on FOIA Appeal

The General made sure Ms. Cart was aware that the largest destination OHV area in Northern California was smack dab in the center of that proposal and that it is also host to a correctional facility.

Info on Correctional Facility and impending legislation – S. 1571

In the Recreation HQ’s Feb. 19 blog on the Obama Monument scheme you will see how this appears to be another battle in OHV Wars.

Feb 19 blog with OHV War history and BRC letter on the Monument issue

The General has been telling the troops that now is not the time to relax. Rather, it is time to gear up and prepare to aggressively defend your sport and favorite family activity.

Stay tuned and engaged. Also, if you have not joined or donated lately to BRC or your favorite OHV group do so today and ask your friends to do the same.

Join BRC or Donate:

Thanks for your service!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Recreation HQ is Closed - March 18-21

The Recreation HQ will be closed March 18-21. Will reopen and return to duty on Mon. March 22.

Carnegie - A Win in a Uphill Fight

As The Recreation HQ prepares to lock its doors for the next few days, The General wanted to once again congratulate you for your role in the Victory at Carnegie.

See March 18, 2010 Article on this Win in a Uphill Fight

In the article the anti-OHV “Fishing Group” did its best albeit unsuccessfully to spin in a positive light the fact the court essentially had given them a legal beat-down.

As The General told the reporter in the article above….”Land use wars are never really over.” But that stark fact should not prevent us from celebrating during the Easter Holiday and being thankful for the blessings we have.

Well done is better than well said…. And you done good!


Wednesday, March 17, 2010


As some of you may already know, the appellate court basically dismissed the lawsuit against Carnegie SVRA because the plaintiffs did not “exhaust administrative remedies.”


All of you who helped with the fight to Save Carnegie should be proud of your involvement because it did make a difference! You should celebrate this victory by hugging your loved ones, family, and yes… even your bike, 4wd, or quad.

The Recreation HQ believes we all owe a deep debt of gratitude to OHMVR leadership, the AG’s office, and the CA Water Board for fighting hard to keep Carnegie open and to prevent anti-OHV groups from interjecting themselves as a 3rd party into inter-agency executive branch decision-making.

Congrats on a job well done! Even though we won this land-use skirmish, The General asks that you remain committed to the fight. OHV Wars is not over yet. There are many battles that remain to be fought on lands both far and near to the SF Bay Area.

Thanks for your service.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Court Upholds FS Fee Program and Eco-Hypocrisy

The General was reminded today about the eco-hypocrisy that exists in much of the modern so-called environmental movement. The missive today was prompted by a March 14, 2010 news article where a federal judge upheld the Forest Service user fee program.

March 14, 2010 Article on Court Decision

The Recreation HQ took special note of Daniel Patterson’s (a long time anti-OHV activist in the Southwest) role in the story. The real news in the article is not that the FS Fee program was upheld, but rather that Daniel Patterson and his eco-buddies have long fought against paying user fees on public lands while at the same time he is listed as the founder of PEER’s infamous “Rangers for Responsible Recreation.”

Patterson Listed as the Founder of Responsible Rangers

This faux pro-recreation group has tried to cast itself as a “responsible” voice for OHVers and other outdoorsmen. As a “Responsible Ranger” you saw Patterson champion the new Arizona OHV “Copper Sticker” Program, yet where is he when it comes to paying himself for access to public lands?

You see, many eco-groups don’t think they should pay for anything. Rather, their public access should be funded by OHVers and other outdoorsmen who pay user fees and taxes.

Patterson was fined several years ago by a BLM ranger (a real ranger) when he failed to purchase a day pass (which is required by all vehicles) for the vehicles he used to stage a media stunt at the Glamis Dunes.

See News Story about Patterson Being Fined

Off-roaders have long supported user-pay/user-benefit programs such as the CA OHV Program (except for when the enviros ran the OHV Commission from 2000-2008 and gutted trail funding) or federal fee programs as long as the funds stay on the unit in support for on-the-ground public services.

What OHVers won’t support is the eco-hypocrisy by some in the environmental movement who feel they are above the law by virtue of their political views.

Your comments are welcome!

Thanks for your service

Thursday, March 11, 2010


The Recreation HQ was glad to see the news today about recreation groups winning a TMR-related court case.
PHOTO: A popular jeep trail in a roadless area on the Eldorado NF
See BRC News Release on Court Victory

BRC and partners are fighting for our right to ride, by addressing egregious examples of where the Forest Service (or BLM) is arbitrarily closing too many OHV routes in the TMR decisions.

Current BRC Legal Docket on Page 23 of the BRC Feb Online Magazine

In some cases, BRC files as an intervenor to stand with the federal agencies (even if we don’t always agree with their final decision) and defend a travel plan from being overturned and having OHV faced with potentially even more closures in a subsequent plan) or sometimes we file a complaint against the agency.

Just how this court decision will impact potential route losses of biblical proportions on some Forests (such as is expected in the Shasta-Trinity Travel Plan) is hard to say. However, The General wants you to know that his office is actively engaged in the land use fight and wants riders to know when we do win a battle.

Stay involved and engaged.

To Join BRC or Donate to BRC Legal Efforts go to:

Thanks for your service!

New Electric Side-by-Side - Going Green or Just Good Sense

While paging through Brian’s BRC Recreation News yesterday, The General enjoyed reading about a new all-electric side-by-side called the Ranger EV manufactured by Polaris.
Story about new Ranger EV
PHOTO: BRC's Don Amador on an all-electric Zero Motorcycles dirt bike
Some of you may remember back in the Spring of 2009 when The General attended the 1st ever all electric dirt bike 24 hour race held in San Jose.

See April 5, 2009 Blog with info, links to stories, and video/audio of event

Since that event, I have talked with a lot of riders about the future of all-electric OHVs.
At this point in time, I don’t believe the all-electric OHV will replace the gas-powered dirt-bike or ATV for those of us who take long rides that would exceed the limits of current battery technology.

However, I do believe that all-electric OHVs do have a place in the OHV family for use in cases where the trips are mostly short in nature. Those examples include use on a small farm, hunters who drive up to a stand and wait, federal or state agencies that don’t need vehicles with extended driving range, by recreationists who make short trips, or of special interest to the Recreation HQ – for use in new all-electric OHV parks sited in urban areas.

As many of you know, The General does not buy the global warming scam along with a number of other eco-hoaxes such as the bogus environmental lawsuit filed by anti-OHV groups to supposedly protect the now infamous “Carnegie Hoax Fish.”

See blog that includes Photo of The General holding the Carnegie Hoax Fish

The Recreation HQ does not support the EV OHV industry because it wants to be green.
Rather, it supports electric OHVs because they make sense for certain applications and they are now a factor in the land-use equation and an important and new member of the OHV family. Will EV OHVs save the planet from certain destruction? No! But they do have a place for certain applications and we should support that concept simply because it makes sense.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

California State Parks Initiative - $18 Dollar/Yr. Vehicle Lic. Fee

Over the next few days and weeks, The Recreation HQ will highlight some important issues as they relate to California State Parks. As you know, The General has an old saying that ALL land-use decisions are political decisions.

One of those political decisions you will have to make this year is regarding the California State Parks Initiative. It is currently gathering signatures (and supporters) so it can be placed on the November 2 ballot.

This Initiative is designed to create a dedicated park fund that will generate $500 million dollars a year by placing an $18 dollar/yr. fee on street licensed cars, trucks (not big rigs), motorcycles, and RVs. As a reward for your payment, your vehicle and its passengers will get FREE admission for day-use into all state park units including SVRAs and State Recreation Areas.

Info on the California State Parks Initiative

List of State Park Units covered by the Initiative

Article with concerns about Initiative from a recreation/conservation perspective

Another plan to fund state parks is on the table and it proposes to generate monies for state parks by doing some environmentally-friendly oil drilling off the coast of California. Just recently the non-partisan budget analyst issued a report that shows this concept has merit.

See article on oil drilling plan

Voters will have to decide which of the above concepts merit support. I have heard from some off-roaders who think the Initiative is a good deal since the increased license fee would be offset by free entrance into the state park. Some conservative legislators may support this plan since it proposes to spend about $180 million/yr. for construction and repair projects to address an estimated $1.5 billion dollar maintenance backlog.

Fiscal conservatives or people who are fed up with bloated government may support the oil drilling plan or just say that parks has to become more relevant to Californians and be self-sustaining/user-funded on its own such as OHMVR and Boating and Waterways.

This is sure to be a hot topic of discussion at The Recreation HQ and by riders sitting around a campfire this spring. The General urges you to review these issues and asks that you feel free to post a comment or send a private message to HQ with your views.

Thanks for your service!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


The Recreation HQ is asking riders to participate in a survey regarding the California State Park System (which includes a number of SVRAs). This Parks Excellence Survey is being conducted by the California State Parks Foundation. The General believes it is important for you to take a few minutes to fill out this is 29 question online survey.

If you are like The General, your family visits both motorized and non-motorized state parks units throughout the year. This survey has questions that pertain to both.

The General has already taken the survey and now asks that you and your friends do the same. The Foundation is a large and effective champion for State Parks and they need to hear your voice.

Link to the Survey

Link to the CSPF Website

The Recreation HQ thanks you in advance to taking a few minutes to fill out the survey.

Friday, March 5, 2010

MORAL VICTORY AT CLEAR CREEK - Public Comment Period Extended for 45 Days

The General wants to salute all of you riders and particularly the OHVers (who vote) in the Congressional Districts of Congressman Jim Costa (D) and Congressman Sam Farr (D). The Recreation HQ is convinced the March 3 letters from those legislators asking the BLM to extend the public comment period were key in getting the BLM to back down and grant a 45 day extension. YOU won a moral victory! The new deadline for the public comment period is April 19, 2010.

March 5 BLM News Release on Extension

Now the question is if the OHV community, local elected officials, and other stakeholders can mount a strong enough campaign (yes, I said campaign because all land use decisions are POLITICAL DECISIONS) to help Rick Cooper change course from his current track that for all intents and purposes appears will close CCMA to OHV use. That permanent closure of CCMA to OHV would basically make all lands managed by the Hollister Field Office an “OHV FREE ZONE.”

This additional time will allow the OHMVR Division and County to review the DEIS and its science and then prepare official comments. Those comments from a sister land agency and a local government could play an important role in the BLM’s decision-making process regarding the future of OHV at The Creek.

The General salutes all of you who have and are helping in the fight to reopen CCMA to OHV recreation and other historic public land uses.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Congressman Jim Costa Weighs into Clear Creek Fight

The unexplainable gritty determination of BLM to kick OHV and the public out of Clear Creek is bizarre and does not pass the smell test.

The size and scope of the CCMA closure is unparalleled in the history of the USA. I am not aware of any recreation/access-based federal land closure that even remotely comes close to matching CCMA.

As we approach the March 5 deadline for the public comment period, The General believes we will know what BLM’s intent is for the future of OHV at CCMA.

If BLM does not grant an extension as requested now by two Congressmen, it will signal their intention is to permanently close CCMA to OHV use. It’s just that simple.

See Link to Congressman Jim Costa’s Letter

A failure to grant an extension will mean the public process is tainted and that access interests will have to either seek a political or legal remedy to this unwarranted closure. The land-use ball is in BLM’s court.

Congressman Sam Farr Weighs Into Clear Creek Fight

The General wants to thank Congressman Sam Farr for weighing into the Clear Creek issue on behalf of the recreation public.

PHOTO: A check point at a Wildboar Enduro at Clear Creek
See March 4, 2010 Letter from Cong. Farr to the BLM

The Recreation HQ wants to thank the local voters who contacted Congressman Farr’s Office and advised him on this issue. Mr. Ed Tobin, for one, has worked hard to keep the Congressman informed and has had at least one meeting at Farr’s Office regarding CCMA.

Stay tuned as a lot of folks are working hard to secure a 90-day extension on the public comment period.

Thanks for your service!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

NATIONAL CALL TO ACTION - Send Letter Today to Save Clear Creek

The Recreation HQ is issuing a national CALL TO ACTION and asking riders and other public land interests throughout the country to send a loud and important message to the BLM that OHVers want valid science to be used in the decision-making process and not the fatally flawed 2008 EPA Asbestos Risk Assessment.
PHOTO - Help Give the CCMA DEIS The Boot!
Also, The General is concerned the BLM risks creating a new and arbitrary “health risk paradigm” at CCMA that is unwarranted and in fact actually creates a liability for the agency at CCMA and other recreation sites (naturally occurring asbestos is in 43 counties in California) where none has historically existed. Via the Federal Tort Claims Act, Congress has indemnified the agency as long as the land manager informs the public (usually through signing prescriptions and educational outreach) of the health or safety risks. Why has the BLM’s Hollister Field Office selected this unwise pathway? It looks like the Hollister Field Office has opened a legal “can-of-worms.”

If there is one action item you do this week, The General believes it should be sending a letter (you can use the BRC’s letter generator linked below) to the BLM by the end of business on March 5, 2009. DON'T FORGET TO ASK THE BLM TO INCLUDE YOUR COMMENTS IN THE PUBLIC RECORD!

Please fwd the BRC alert with letter generator to your OHV rider email lists and/or business networks. The General remains committed to trying to reopen “The Creek” for historic OHV use. Be sure and add a paragraph detailing your history and interest in CCMA. Equestrians, mountain-bikers, and gem collectors who value public land access can use this letter generator as well.

BRC’s Action Alert with Letter Generator
Link to OHMVR Commission Letter

Send this letter TODAY. This is one battle we must win in OHV Wars. I don’t want OHV to meet the same fate as my good friends in the forest products industry did during the Timber Wars in the 1990s.

--- The General