Thursday, April 29, 2010

Recreation HQ Closed April 29-May 2 - Action Order Included

The General will be in the field April 29 to May 2. During his absence the Recreation HQ asks you to redouble your efforts regarding the rescheduled hearing (to May 5) on the National Obamuments HR 1254. If you have not done so already, please go to the BRC alert
and send a letter to your congressman asking them to co-sponsor the bill to require
the Department of Interior to fork over the secret documents.

BRC Alert with link to ARRA letter generator

Recent Action Order/Blog with info on the Stonyford Obamument

The Recreation HQ will reopen on May 3.

Thanks for your service!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

CCMA Update - Closure Order Still in Effect after May 1

The Recreation HQ has heard that some riders believe that they can ride on BLM lands at Clear Creek after May 2 because emergency closures generally are for two years or less unless they are tied to a planning effort.

Unfortunately for riders who want back into BLM lands in CCMA before the planning process is over, the emergency closure order is tied to the ongoing planning effort and stays in effect until that planning process is concluded.

Federal Register Notice for CCMA Closure with Reference to Planning

The General understands the frustration of the riding community and is himself disgusted with the behind the scenes dealings and apparent effort of the Hollister Field Office to permanently eliminate OHV recreation on lands within their jurisdiction.

See 2006 BRC HFO RMP Comment Letter Asking for more OHV Opportunity on Lands Outside of CCMA

The Recreation HQ believes that the OHV community by working with the county and elected officials in an honest and collaborative manner are making a big difference in the fight to reopen CCMA. Please continue to obey the closure order and ride only on the 25 miles of county roads that have been opened for street-legal vehicles.

The battle for CCMA continues.

Hearing Today on Land Exchange Bill at Stonyford OHV Area

The Recreation HQ wanted to alert those of you following the ongoing saga of the potential transfer of the Fouts Springs Youth Correctional Facility from federal ownership to the county about a hearing today. The Senate Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests is holding this hearing on S. 1571 and other proposals at 2:30 p.m. (11:30 a.m our time). It will be broadcast on the web and if you want to watch the hearing…click on the “live webcast” icon at the bottom left of the page.

Info on Senate Hearing Today

BRC Comment Letter on S. 1571 Hearing Today

The General’s Archived Blog (with click on photo of area) on this issue

On Monday, The General spoke with Scott Miller (majority staff) regarding our concerns and also shared our photo of the facility and campgrounds so the committee could better visualize the area. If S. 1571 does get voted out of committee today, be assured the Recreation HQ will work hard to make sure that strong reversion language is inserted into the bill.

The Recreation HQ wants to thank all of you who have sent letters to Congress on this issue.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Stonyford Mixed Use Issue Cleared Up

Over the last couple of weeks, The Recreation HQ has been bombarded with a number of calls from riders who have been getting tickets by riding on the main forest road at the Stonyford OHV Area. As many of you know, this paved road has been and continues to be the main transportation corridor for families who camp at Fouts Springs and Davis Flat to access the trail system in this area.

I remember taking my two sons on their Honda 50s and 80s down this road as it provides the only safe access route for getting youngsters and beginners to the OHV roads and trails.

In his role as the Western Representative for the BlueRibbon Coalition, The General contacted the Forest Service to see if there has been some miscommunication between recreation staff and law enforcement. As some of you know, this paved level 2 road is identified on the Motor Vehicle Use Map as open to all vehicle types.

What seems to be the problem is that some local agency staff had misinterpreted Region 5’s mixed use policy as requiring a level 2 road be reclassified as a level 3 road which would require a mixed use analysis and approval by the CHP for use by green sticker vehicles.

I must commend the Forest for taking responsibility for this mix-up by pulling the tickets that were issued, removing the “open for street legal vehicle only” signs, and withholding publication of the new MVUM until this “mixed use” issue is corrected. I believe the Forest now understands what a critical role that 18N03 plays in the safe transport of non-street legal OHVs (dirt bikes, dune-buggies, jeeps, ATVs, and side-by-sides) from the developed campsites to the main trail system.

The Recreation HQ believes that good communication between the users and the Forest is important and is optimistic that this sort of miscommunication won’t happen in the future.

Thanks in advance for your support and understanding.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Writing an Appeal on Earth Day - Right or Wrong

To celebrate Earth Day this year, The General is drafting an appeal of the Shasta Trinity National Forest’s Motorized Travel Management Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision. Some riders may find it strange that the Recreation HQ is working on an administrative appeal on Earth Day regarding what is clearly the most restrictive travel plan to date in Region 5.
PHOTO: One of the historic OHV/ATV Trails that is closed in the ROD/FEIS (click for expanded view)

The ROD arbitrarily obliterates almost 100 percent of the 800 miles of quality single-track motorcycle and ATV trails less than 50 inches in width. The plan also uses a bizarre and illegal decision matrix that gives the California Wilderness Coalition’s Citizens Inventoried Roadless Areas the force and effect of federal law and then combines those proposals with an illegal interpretation of the Clinton Roadless Rule to exclude over 200 miles of trails in both federal and faux inventoried roadless areas from consideration for motorized use.

The General’s Aug 2009 Missive and Video Regarding the Shasta Trinity DEIS and Holding the FS Accountable

The Recreation HQ believes that humans give value to the earth and our natural surroundings. Nature by itself in the absence of humans cannot give itself value. In fact, nature is not capable of appreciating itself. Volcanic eruptions have destroyed thousands of square miles of spotted owl habitat and polluted hundreds of miles of salmon and steelhead habitat. There are many other examples of where nature does not care.

Does that mean that off-roaders don’t care about the environment? On the contrary, we love the outdoors and that is why we love trail-based motorized recreation. Closing thousands of miles of OHV roads and trails in California and reducing access will decrease the natural value of those areas. In many cases, closing legitimate OHV routes hurts the environment because is displaces that use into more concentrated areas. Closing OHV routes denies the user the chance to enjoy the single track experience.

The Recreation HQ hopes that riders will support its efforts to keep trail-based recreation alive and well on the Shasta Trinity National Forest. Maybe drafting an appeal to protect access to forest lands and holding the Forest Service accountable is the most appropriate way to spend Earth Day!

Comments welcome.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

ACTION ORDER - Send Letter Today on National Monument Issue

The Recreation HQ knows that a lot of you have been following the Obama “National Monuments” issue and that The General filed a FOIA appeal on March 17 because the Department of Interior basically denied BRC’s February 19 FOIA request.

History of BRC’s FOIA on Obamuments

As some of you know, a number of western legislators have been trying to obtain those secret documents since February but are getting stonewalled as well. Recently, House Resolution 1254 was drafted to force the Obama Administration to comply with their own promise of transparency.

H.R. 1254

The Recreation HQ has already sent a letter today and the General wants you to do the same and take a minute and use the letter generator that has been provided by our good friends at ARRA. This letter will be sent to key Members of Congress asking them to support H.R. 1254. There will be an important vote regarding this issue on April 28.

ARRA Action Alert and Letter Generator

Feel free to insert a personal message in the above letter about how this might impact Stonyford or some other riding areas in the West.

Thanks for doing this today!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Clear Creek Update - OHV 24 - BLM 21

The General is glad to be back at the Recreation HQ after spending the last 6 days in the field attending meetings and doing some recon.
PHOTO: This is the warning sign for swimmers at Orick Beach in the Redwood National Park. Note that the Park is keeping count of the people who have died swimming since 2004 (click on photo to enlarge). This is what the BLM should do at CCMA - simply post signs and publish concerns on the visitor maps

April 19 marked the end of the 45 day extension of the public comment period for the Clear Creek DEIS. The Recreation HQ believes we may have turned the corner in the battle to reopen CCMA to historic OHV use when the San Benito County BOS voted to reopen 25 miles of county roads in the unit and send letters to the BLM in support of Alt. A.

Background info on BOS vote and WND Article

The Recreation HQ wants riders to have copies of the BRC Legal and BRC Western Rep. comment letters that were submitted on March 4,5 and April 19. Note that BRC brings up the faux liability issue (among other issues) and demands the DEIS be withdrawn and/or a supplemental DEIS be issued.

Faux Liability Issue

If the CCMA battle was a football game, the Recreation HQ believes that we are in the 3rd quarter and the score is now OHV 24 HFO 21. Just what the score will be at the end of the game has yet to be determined. That score will depend on your continued efforts to reopen the area.

The General looks forward to riding on the reopened roads once the signs are installed by the county works department.and riding on the OHV trails once CCMA is reopened.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Recreation HQ Closed April 14-19

The General will be a various meetings in N. California from April 14 through April 19. The Recreation HQ will reopen at O-Dark Thirty on April 20.

The Obamuments Saga Continues - Congress Takes Action

The Recreation HQ continues to object to the Department of Interior’s continued stonewalling of The General’s March 17 FOIA Appeal to obtain documents about the 3rd party dealings the DOI had with pro-Wilderness groups regarding the designation of Obamuments throughout the country including the Stonyford OHV Area in Northern California. This stonewalling is in conflict with DOI’s “Promise of Transparency” on April 7.

April 7 DOI Promise of Transparency

Based on the following action by Congress today, it appears that Western Legislators are also frustrated with DOI’s refusal to be forthcoming with requested information related to Obamuments.

April 13 Western GOP Resolution and Info on Obamument Issue

The General asks you to remain vigilant on this and other land use issues and thanks you in advance for your support.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Off-Roaders Blamed for County Vote to Reopen Roads

Over the years, the Recreation HQ has followed breaking land use news covered by the crew at World Net Daily. So it was not really a surprise when The General got a call from a WND reporter regarding the historic vote taken by San Benito County to reopen their county roads at Clear Creek.

New WND Article on County Vote and County Gov’t. Fighting Back Elsewhere

Comments were made by the BLM regarding their surprise by the vote and that off-roaders are to blame for the county pushback. The agency’s “surprise” is telling The General that nobody was watching the store as the BLM developed their scheme in 2007-2008 to lock OHVs and the public out of Clear Creek. Where were the grownups at Cottage Way in Sacramento (the BLM state office) who let this CCMA closure - founded on junk science and political agendas - take place? Based on letters and meeting with Congressmen, county supervisors, and off-the-record conversations with both retired and currently employed BLM staff, The General is not the only one asking that question.

In the BRC comment letter submitted to the San Benito County Board of Supervisors, it is pointed out that the DEIS is so fatally flawed that it should be withdrawn and CCMA be reopened immediately.

BRC Comment Letter to the Board of Supervisors

As The General has pointed out many times before, ALL land use decisions are political decisions that at the end of the day have very little if anything to do with science or laws.
If the multiple-use community (off-roaders, ranchers, gem collectors, inholders, hunters, etc.) will continue to stand together with local elected officials in access battles that are occurring up and down the State of California and other western states, we have a chance to change the current closure agenda of federal agencies.

As Ben Franklin once said, "We must all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately."

The General says, “When it comes to the land use fight, the multiple-use community must unite for in that unity stands our only chance for victory.”

Thanks for your service! I encourage you to post a comment on this blog -you must sign up first before commenting. Also, feel free to send a private message to The Recreation HQ at:


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

San Benito County Votes to Reopen Roads in Clear Creek

The General attended and spoke (on behalf of BRC and AMA Dist. 36/per Dave Pickett’s request) at the San Benito County Board of Supervisor’s meeting yesterday where the board took a historic stand against an unwarranted federal government proposal to functionally ban OHV recreation on 70K acres in the Clear Creek Management Area.

BRC News Release on San Benito County Vote Yesterday

The Recreation HQ is proud of the courage shown by the board to pass unprecedented votes to reopen all 25 miles of county roads in Clear Creek, to send a letter to the BLM in support of Alternative A (the pre 2008 closure level of OHV use), and to send a separate letter to Congress asking them to investigate the unseemly and apparently unethical actions by some BLM agents regarding the interim closure and the DEIS.

The HQ is equally proud of the elected officials who stood with local users in the Redding area yesterday at a rally against the proposed closure (in the Shasta Trinity NF’s Record of Decision for Travel Management) of basically all single track trails and trails less than 50 inches in width in the Shasta Trinity National Forest.

Record Searchlight Article about Redding Rally at FS HQ

The General has warned agency leadership about the pushback they would get by local elected officials and area users if they fronted travel plans that effectively implement the closure agenda of environmental groups or, worse even still, the closure agenda of the federal line officer. Tragically, it appears federal agencies want to ignore those pleadings and remain hell-bent on foisting these plans on county governments and the recreation community.

The Recreation HQ (and a lot of FS and BLM staffers who have sent the HQ private messages or phone calls stating they are not happy with the new closure agenda of the federal government) hopes the Feds will reconsider their agenda and work to rebuild the trust of local people and elected officials. The ball is in their court.

The fight for access to public lands continues. Thanks for your service!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

CCMA Update - The General is at San Benito County BOS Meeting Today

The Recreation HQ will be closed today as The General (on behalf of BRC) will be testifying at the April 6, 2010 San Benito County Board of Supervisors meeting in Hollister, CA at 1:30 p.m.

The Board will consider a vote to reassert their jurisdiction on 25 miles of county roads in the Clear Creek Management Area. Currently, the BLM is claiming management authority over these historic county roads. A vote in the affirmative will be a big victory in the ongoing battle to reopen CCMA for historic OHV and other uses.

The Board will also consider a vote regarding if they will send in a comment letter and what directions they will give staff about the content of that letter. BRC is asking them to support historic OHV and other uses in CCMA.

See April 6, 2010 BRC Comment Letter to the San Benito County BOS

Finally, BRC believes the county may find the BLM violated the public trust as well as over stepping their jurisdictional bounds regarding the county road issue and the agency’s trampling of private property rights. The county could request the BLM withdraw the DEIS because if it’s fatal flaws and direct the agency to reopen CCMA post haste.

The General is expecting a large turnout at the Hollister meeting today. He hopes to see many of you there.

Thanks for your service!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Rural County Government is 1st Line of Defense in Access Fight

As more federal and state lands are being closed to public access, many riders are turning to their elected county officials as a last resort in our collective battle to fight trail closures on Forest lands or challenge plans that ban OHV routes at Clear Creek.
PHOTO: The famous Usal Road on the coast in Mendocino County (this road is on the Lost Coast DS Ride). These types of signs could go up on the county roads in Clear Creek.
In contrast to the aforementioned paradigm, The Recreation HQ strongly believes that our elected county officials are really our 1st line of defense against closure oriented federal land use plans that impact the residents of the county or folks that visit the area.

Tomorrow’s vote by the San Benito County Board of Supervisors to reassert its historic jurisdiction of 25 miles of county roads in the Clear Creek Management Area and preserve those roads for public use could be a Seminole moment (if they vote in the affirmative) in the access fight here in CA.
Hollister Freelance Article on County Reopening Roads at Clear Creek
Info on San Benito County BOS Meeting tomorrow at 1:30 pm in Hollister


PLANNING DEPARTMENT – A. Henriques: 24) Review staff report, and draft comment letter to the Bureau of Land Management Clear Creek Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and provide comments and direction to staff.

PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT – S. Wittry: 25) Adopt a Resolution to re-open unmaintained County roads upon the installation of appropriate information signage referencing a potential for human health risks within surrounding terrain in the BLM Clear Creek Management Area; and direct staff to maintain quarterly inspections of signs in the area.

Tomorrow is also important in CA’s access fight because elected officials and users will be holding a rally in Redding, CA to protest the proposed closure of 800 miles of single-track OHV trails in the Shasta Trinity National Forest’s Travel Plan’s Record of Decision.

Info on Redding Rally Against FS OHV Trail Closure

Colusa County is also taking a stand against Obama’s National Monument Agenda for the Stonyford OHV Area (see blog with links to county letter)

As OHVers are in a fight for their lives regarding continued use of historic motorized travelways on federal lands, riders should continue to engage their elected county supervisors and have them join and champion our just cause.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Mendocino NF OHV Easter Weekend Update - Closed and Open

The Recreation HQ wishes all of you a Happy and Blessed Easter. Also, for those of you going up to the Mendocino NF for a great OHV weekend, the Upper Lake side of the Forest is closed due to weather conditions but the Stonyford OHV Area is open.

Even though the Upper Lake closure is a bummer, the Recreation HQ thanks the Forest for leaving the Stonyford side open and not including it in the closure simply because one part of the Forest hit the weather trigger.

Happy Easter!

OHV Good News - FS Chief Tidwell and Sen. Lincoln Tour Ark. OHV Area

***Good News and Photo comes from the BRC Recreation News

The Recreation HQ and BRC have long encouraged local riders to adopt a holistic approach in support of their favorite riding area. That recommendation includes forming a local formal or informal group that partners with the agency on projects like trail building and public outreach.

PHOTO: Senator Blanche Lincoln and US Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell speak to Tim Kiser from the Ouachita ATV Club about trail closures on the Ouachita NF.

The group can also loop in federally elected officials like these OHVers did in Arkansas with Senator Blanche Lincoln who I am sure was instrumental in getting the FS Chief Tom Tidwell (he used to be here in Region 5 and attended a number of CA OHV Commission meetings) to tour the site or as Clear Creek riders did with Congressmen Costa and Farr.

See very cool article regarding OHVers working with U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln

Users should also make sure their local Boards of Supervisors/County Commissioners are engaged as again the OHVers did in Clear Creek with the San Benito County Board of Supervisors or as the Recreation Outdoor Coalition has done regarding the proposed closures on the Shasta Trinity NF.

Besides the partnerships and working with elected officials, users must also be prepared to strongly defend (comments. appeals, lawsuits) the riding area from closures. Many of those closure threats are precipitated from eco-lawsuits or sometimes - as is the case with the Shasta Trinity NF - from closures that are driven by agency decisions.

Riding areas that have been “adopted” by active OHV clubs - such as the Georgetown OHV Area on the Eldorado NF has been adopted by the California Enduro Riders Assoc – stand the best chance of preserving riding opportunities for this and future generations.

Federal or state OHV areas that are being operated in a vacuum with no local club support are clearly an EOHVS (Endangered OHV Species).

Although there is a lot of bad OHV news out there, The General wanted to share this optimistic story with the troops to show how being proactive can help protect the sport.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

CA OHV Commissioner Wins Appeal and Closes Routes on Modoc Forest

In late February, the Shasta County Board of Supervisors praised the Modoc National Forest’s Travel Management Record of Decision because the plan added 331 miles of unauthorized routes as Forest Service System Trails and designated 513 miles of Level 3 Roads as available for use by non-street legal dirt-bikes, ATVs, and side-by-sides. In contrast, the BOC criticized the Shasta Trinity National Forest’s plan to close almost 100% of its currently legal dirt-bike and ATV trails less than 50 inches in width. The article also noted an appeal filed by the Wilderness Society against the Modoc plan.

See Article about BOS Praise for Modoc Decision and Threat of Appeal

Well folks, the Recreation HQ was not surprised to learn yesterday about the Regional Forest’s decision to uphold the recommendation of the Appeal Reviewing Officer to CLOSE all unauthorized routes and to BAN use of non-street legal OHVs on 513 miles of level 3 roads.

See March 11, 2010 Regional Office Decision to Uphold Appeal and CLOSE routes

*Stan Van Velsor – who wrote the appeal for The Wilderness Society is also an OHV Commissioner at CA State Parks – Gee, thanks Stan!
Here are the OHV Commission Policies -- see if you think Stan lived up to the spirit and intent of these policies of SB742

The General and his legal staff are reviewing the appeal decision as it is the first time that the HQ is aware of an appeal decision overturning a ROD decision without requiring the ROD to be withdrawn and a reset button pushed to start the planning process all over again.

Historically, the NEPA appeal process does not allow for substantive changes to a ROD. Generally only technical or non-substantive changes are allowed.

What the Regional Office has done is take a plan that was crafted with local involvement and decision-making and replaced it with a heavy-handed top-down decision that is an affront to that local process.

As the General told many riders at the Carnegie Rally…”2010 will be a very challenging year regarding OHV access.” This decision sadly fulfills that gloomy albeit realistic prediction.

The Recreation HQ thanks you for your support and for staying engaged.