Tuesday, November 30, 2010
The Recreation HQ wants to join BRC and other recreation groups in saluting the 41 Members of Congress who sent a letter to the Chief of the Forest Service asking him to make sure that recreational activities are included in the new Planning Rule.
BRC News Release on House Letter to the FS
Congressional Letter to the FS
In addition, HQ salutes the 70 outdoor recreation groups who also sent a recent letter to the Chief of the Forest Service asking him to promote and protect multiple-use recreation on Forest Service System lands.
Coalition for Recreation in the National Forest’s Letter to the Chief (a good read)
The General appreciates the various OHV groups such as AMA, MIC, SVIA, ARRA, BRC, NOHVCC and many others who signed this important letter. HQ asks you to review who signed this letter and send them a thank you.
As some of you know, there is a lot of hard work (often behind the scenes) underway by a number of OHV groups and individuals to promote and protect responsible OHV recreation on public lands. Much of this work goes unnoticed and underappreciated.
The General is taking special note of the above work and is sending several thank you notes today. HQ hopes you do the same.
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Monday, November 29, 2010
"Just Riding in the Rain" (yes, I am soaked)
The Recreation HQ wants to give riders who visit the Mendocino National Forest an update on the agency’s new and evolving rainfall-based wet-weather closures. As some of you know, the agency has historically used the “2 inches or more of rainfall in a 24-hour period with roads/routes remaining closed until there has been 48 hours of NO measurable precipitation” as the foundation for its wet-weather closure policy.
Several months ago this policy had apparently expired which left the agency with no clearly defined wet-weather policy. The freak/heavy 1st rainfall of the season occurred on Oct. 23/24 and the agency had to implement some sort of closure that had not been fully vetted. This resulted in what HQ felt was a protracted and needlessly long closure that did not make a lot of sense based on any number of factors. HQ got a lot of calls from riders who were frustrated with this new wet-weather policy.
The General, on behalf of BRC, made an appointment with FS staff to review this issue during the days before the WFO Enduro. Part of that effort was to review the order of events to see if there were any problems or issues that could be addressed and also to find solutions.
Upon review of the events and after a number of conversations with FS staff, BRC issued the letter below that highlighted several tenets that should be considered in development of the final wet-weather closure policy.
BRC Nov. 15 Letter with Key Tenets on Wet-Weather Closures
HQ believes that the agency should have an effective science-based wet-weather closure policy that both makes sense to the riders AND protects the watershed.
Finally, the agency must have an effective public outreach program so that riders can be informed about closures and other emergencies that could impact their outdoor plans.
HQ encourages riders to contact Tamara Schmidt to get signed up on the unit’s alert system.
Public Affairs Officer
Mendocino National Forest
825 N. Humboldt Ave.
Willows, CA 95988
Phone Number: 530-934-1137
Thanks for your service!
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
I believe fans of OHV recreation in general and those who ride at Carnegie SVRA specifically have a lot to be grateful for during this Thanksgiving Season.
I attended the induction of Clark Collins to the AMA Hall of Fame this weekend in Las Vegas. Collins founded the BlueRibbon Coalition in his garage in 1987. It was a one-man show at that time. He was prompted to start the BRC to fight land closures because the then Governor of Idaho told him at a land-use meeting that off-roaders were politically insignificant.
The Governor was right. At that time, OHV was not very well organized and in many cases did not even have a “seat at the table” when it came to the land-use debate. Radical environmentalists were emboldened by the passage of the 1984 Wilderness Act that created new designated Wilderness areas (remember that motorized and mechanized uses are banned there) throughout the country. Many high-quality single-track and jeep routes in the Sierra and Coast Range were closed by that legislation.
Then in the early 1990s, over 7 million acres of sand and desert riding were closed by the California Desert Protection Act.
I was there during the S21 fight and the loss of that land still stings and is a force that drives me today.
I could go on and on with a long OHV history lesson, but I won’t do it at this time. Rather, the OHV community should be proud that we no longer are viewed as a weak opponent by the radical environmental movement, land agencies, legislators, or the media.
On the federal level, anti-OHV House committee chairmen were replaced on November 2 by pro-access and pro-recreation legislators. Instead of the House holding hearings about why more lands are not being closed to motorized use, I expect to see hearings about why the agencies are closing roads and trails including the ongoing closure at Clear Creek.
I also expect to see the House try and reform the way environmental law firms are rewarded when they sue and then have their attorney fees paid for by the taxpayer.
On the state level, we have a strong OHV program (SB 742) that was put into place in 2007/2008 with a ten-year sunset. While it may continue to be attacked, the OHV community is well positioned to fend off those blows.
Be assured there will be many future battles to fight on both the state and federal levels. But on this Thanksgiving, let us be genuinely grateful for families, friends, our troops, and the fact that OHV is no longer a wallflower at the great public land-use dance, but an active and engaged participant in that venue.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Don Amador at Omaha Beach Memorial in France
Since the November 2 elections, The General has been reflecting on a number of issues related to land-use politics.
In 2009, HQ wrote about Mark Rey (a former timber lobbyist who was a cabinet officer in the Bush administration) who took a job with Wildlaw, a law firm that specializes in anti-OHV and anti-timber lawsuits.
June 2009 Blog on Mark Rey Taking Job with Wildlaw
Mark's 2010 Wildlaw Lobby Form
While HQ sarcastically gave Rey some kudos for winning that job, implicit in those accolades was a profound disappointment that somebody who was a trusted conservative would take a post with our political and philosophical opponents.
The General has often shared his frustration (with riders and even some of my environmental contacts) with the Bush administration’s almost total lack of support or oversight for recreation issues on FS and BLM lands. The OHV community that I work with was initially optimistic that Rey (in his role as Undersecretary of Agriculture that had oversight of the FS) would be sympatric to our issues.
Sadly, the Bush administration’s (and Rey’s) “hands-off” management style allowed closure advocates in the agencies to develop anti-OHV programs such as TMR and the landscape level closure at Clear Creek. Frankly, I don’t think Timber folks got much better treatment.
You can make excuses (some may actually be legitimate) for the Bush years that they got hit with two wars and Katrina. But the fact remains that having a disinterested undersecretary who paid little if any attention to recreation issues did not help our cause rise about the other distractions.
As conservatives take over control of the House and have an increased presence in the Senate, the question should be asked what role if any a trusted albeit ineffective former conservative should have in post election strategy sessions?
HQ remembers there were apologists for the Vichy French during WW2. However, that term is forever associated with people who cannot be trusted. The General wonders how history will judge folks like Rey who took a job with a political opponent?
# # #
Thanks for your service and support!
Friday, November 19, 2010
Clark (left) and Don (right) on Idaho Trail
The General will be leaving HQ today to fly down to Vegas to honor the founder of the BlueRibbon Coalition, Clark Collins. As some of you know, Clark is being inducted into the AMA Hall of Fame tonight and it is an award that is richly deserved.
TG joined BRC in 1990, just 3 years after it was founded in Clark’s garage in 1987. What started as basically a one-man show has ended up as the most effective national grassroots motorized advocacy group in the country.
I remember one of Clark’s stories (he has many!) about what prompted him to start BRC. It was when the then governor of Idaho told him at a land-use meeting that off-roaders were politically insignificant.
The HQ believes that the OHV community has become stronger over the last 23 years and is no longer taken for granted in the political process (remember that all land-use decisions are political).
The one thing Clark taught me was to never give up. I remember his words almost every day when riders ask me why I am still so optimistic. I tell riders that at the end-of-the-day we really don’t have any other option. To give up is not in the cards. Being an effective leader means conveying a positive attitude and strategy to the troops.
OHV still has a long way to go and HQ looks forward to helping us become even a stronger and more effective voice for responsible OHV recreation on public and private lands.
If you want to honor Clark today, please go online and join BRC and/or make a donation. Feel free to type in “AMA Hall of Fame” in the “contribution instruction” space.
JOIN OR DONATE:
Thanks to Clark and YOU for your service!
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Donate 20 Bucks and Get this Cool Calendar
Riders sometimes ask what their local AMA District is doing to fight the closure agenda of anti-OHV groups. In addition, they ask how they can support those efforts.
To answer those questions the Recreation HQ wants to feature a “2011 Calendar” fundraising effort by AMA Dist. 36 to generate funds to partner with groups like BRC in various legal actions and to support local clubs fight unreasonable cost recovery charges that are literally making AMA sanctioned events in Northern California and elsewhere an “endangered species.”
The General has had the honor (either as the western representative for BRC or as The Quiet Warrior) to work with AMA Dist. 36 in many joint efforts to protect and promote responsible OHV recreation on public lands.
QWR so strongly believes in what AMA Dist. 36 is doing that it is supporting this fundraising effort. This project offers a 2011 Dist. 36 Calendar featuring on the cover the 2010 KTM 450 XC-W ISDE Replica (yes, I have already bought raffle tickets for this separate “Bike-based” D36 LAO raffle/fundraiser and I hope I win!) with cool bike and rider shots featured each month.
All funds raised will go directly to support the aggressive pro-OHV agenda of the AMA Dist. 36’s Legislative Action Office (LAO).
With Christmas just around the corner, how about donating $20 dollars to this fundraiser and get a dirt-bike based calendar for free?
To donate to this fundraiser and get a free calendar contact:
Kraig Traum (this guy is a tireless fundraiser and I salute him!)
D36 LAO Fundraiser
2470 Palm Ct.
Brentwood, CA 94513
Thanks for supporting this effort.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Pre Camo of Ghost Trail
Post Camo of Ghost Trail
Trail riders often ask HQ what are some simple trail tasks that I can do while out on a trail ride?
Being a responsible rider is really no different than being a responsible hiker or camper. Just as we pick up trash around our campsite or pick up an empty can while on a hike, off-roaders can look for simple ways to protect the resource when they are on the trail.
One issue that can impact trails during the fall season is when leaves are covering the system trail and new ghost routes are developed because riders cannot see the system trail.
In the above photos, you will see a ghost trail treated by The General recently while on a trail ride. Actually, TG accidentally ended up on the ghost route and found out it dead ended at the top of a 10 foot cut bank above the road. It looked like a number of other riders had blown by the system trail and took the ghost trail only to find out it was a dead end. This was both a resource and safety issue.
When you find a situation like this you have several choices. One, you can ignore the issue and let somebody else deal with it. Two, you can tell one of the rangers about it (this is a good idea particularly when there is a big tree down or other large issue to deal with), but it may take the agency a number of days to deal with it. Or three, you can stop for a few minutes and work on the simple issue yourself.
The simplest way to address this ghost route was to drag some down branches across the route and also scatter some leaves and woody debris over the tracks.
As you can see in the above pre and post photos, the camo treatment worked pretty well.
The Recreation HQ encourages you that while out on the trail; you should be looking for simple resource issues that you can address. Don’t pawn it off on somebody else. Be part of the solution.
Thanks for your service!
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Don in a WW2 GI Foxhole Near Bastogne
On this Veteran’s Day, The Recreation HQ wants to personally thank Dave, Tom, Del, Patrick, Clarence, Jeremy, Gunny, Johnny, Little Dave, Clark, Dad (passed away in 1998), and all of my friends and family who have served in the military.
Your service inspires me and gives me the strength to aggressively defend your access rights to public lands. How screwed up would this world be if you bravely defended us overseas from foreign threats while your rights at home to use and enjoy trails and jeep roads were lost?
While I cannot compare the work I do to your service, be assured that I will continue to do my small part to preserve and protect the rights you have defended.
God Bless you and THANKS for your service!
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
REDWOOD NATIONAL PARK - ORICK BEACH
Since the BLM issued an emergency closure order in May 2008 that closed the Clear Creek Management Area to all users, the Recreation HQ and groups like BRC have urged the agency to adopt the use of “warning signs” used by sister agencies to address valid public safety issues v. the use of closures or expensive capping/ soil treatments.
CA State Parks uses signs to warn against undertow and dangerous ocean waves. Redwood National Park uses signs that count the number of people killed by downing on the beach and tallies those numbers on its warning signs.
At issue with the CCMA closure is that there is not one documented case in CA of a human contracting asbestosis/cancer and dying from recreational activity on public lands that contain naturally occurring asbestos. Yet, the BLM refused to even review or consider a signing prescription for CCMA because the line officer said he had made up his mind that the area should be closed to OHV and other motorized uses.
March 31 Blog on Faux Liability Issue at CCMA (a good read with background info)
HQ believes it is just this type of arbitrary federal action that the new Congress will investigate and have oversight hearings on.
HQ urges all federal land management agencies to strongly consider a “signing” prescription for routes/areas that contain NOA
A spokesman for a major environmental group told me recently that the whole NOA issue is “much to do about nothing.” HQ agrees and hopes that the agencies can put this to rest once and for all and get back to the job of providing quality motorized and non-motorized recreation at CCMA and in the other 42 CA counties where NOA occurs.
Thanks for your service!
Friday, November 5, 2010
BIG GREEN UP IN SMOKE?
The Recreation HQ believes the election of 2010 delivered a gut-punch to the Big Green Agenda. Here at HQ, The General is still trying to understand exactly what the national electorate said. However, HQ will try and give you a short initial overview of how the election might impact OHV recreation and access to public lands.
The key Big Green or Big Pork or Big Global Warming incumbent losses include Tom Perriello, Richard Boucher, Ike Skelton, and Jim Oberstar. The Oberstar and Boucher losses generated both a political and real 9.0 earthquake that was felt here at the HQ.
A number of long-time incumbents and champions of Big Green proposals -- such as Wilderness designations, full-funding for LWCF for acquiring private lands for non-motorized uses, pork projects for non-motorized uses, billions more from new cap and tax programs for acquiring more private land for non-motorized uses, other tax schemes to acquire even more private land for non-motorized uses, new harsh regulations on vehicle emissions or vehicle access, and increased budgets to close forest roads and trails – were given the pink slip by the American People.
HQ believes that these aforementioned incumbent losses combined with the newly elected Tea Party-backed conservatives is a clear mandate to clean-up Washington, push the reset button on massive federal spending programs (including Big Green initiatives), and hold all federal agencies accountable including the EPA, FS, and BLM.
HQ believes it is safe to say that this new Congress will be inclined to support responsible access to public lands v. the old Congress where land closures, land acquisition for non-motorized use, and vehicle restrictions were the order of the day.
It will be interesting to see how this election changes the national land-use equation.
Thanks for your service!
Thursday, November 4, 2010
THIS CLOSURE IS BASED ON AGENCY CORRUPTION
The Recreation HQ wants to assure riders and other readers of this blog that the issue of government agencies shredding documents to avoid their disclosure because of a FOIA, public record act request, or congressional inquiry/subpoena should be a real concern.
Article on Government Shredding of Documents
Article on the Congress and its Agenda for Access and Public Land Management
The Recreation HQ has experienced real world agency corruption on many occasions when after filing a FOIA or PRA request with federal or state government agency, The General would often get calls from his friends who worked at the agency and here is how those calls went…”Hey Don, I just wanted to let you know that we have been running the shredders here at the BLANK office because the agency does not want to be embarrassed or worse.”
The most recent example of that corruption is with the EPA Region 9 Office where they denied a FOIA asking for correspondence between the EPA, BLM, and other interests. What the EPA did not count on is the BLM complying with the same FOIA request which showed collusion and dishonesty designed to support the closure of Clear Creek to ALL publics.
2009 Overview of Agency Corruption and EPA Case Study to Prop up Closure
The Recreation HQ believes that Congress has a valid concern that agencies who have acted in a corrupt manner have already fired up their shredders or have hired shredding trucks to come and destroy thousands of documents that would show corruption, collusion with far-left wing environmental groups, or “science” that was ginned up to promote the closure agenda of the EPA or similar agencies.
The General wishes the new Congress good luck in this noble effort to acquire the public record associated with so much of the anti-access and anti-business agenda of this administration.
Thanks for your service!
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
The General on One of the OHV Trails in the Stonyford NCA Plan
The Recreation HQ is back on the trail after a brief hiatus during the 2010 Election Cycle. As some of you know, there are a number of Wilderness, National Monument, or National Conservation Area proposals throughout the country pending action in the Lame Duck Session of the current Congress or waiting for action by the president via executive orders if they are not voted on and passed in the Lame Duck Congress.
Today, the BRC issued a national alert regarding its concerns about an Omnibus Lands Bill being voted on and passed into law between now and when this Congress adjourns.
BRC Alert on Lame Duck Omnibus Lands Bill
HQ agrees with the BRC position that land-use bills should be bill-specific and decided on an acre-by-acre analysis with a substantive stakeholder process. These bills should not be lumped into one massive one-size-fits-all land-use plan.
As you know, some environmental groups are proposing legislation for a National Conservation Area that bisects the main Stonyford and Upper Lake OHV Areas on the Mendocino National Forest. The General, on behalf of BRC, has communicated that it does not feel a NCA designation is warranted for this area and is a bad idea. However, we have stated that if a NCA bill is proposed that it has language to protect existing OHV recreation, permitted OHV events, and other recreational uses of the affected area.
Proposal for the “Stonyford” NCA
It is important for you to communicate with your elected officials (that are still in office) that you do not want an Omnibus Lands Bill voted on in the Lame Duck Session of Congress.
Send this letter today so the Lame Ducks have this on their desk when they return to the Hill.
Thanks for your service!