Friday, December 30, 2011
10 - Off-roaders and mountain-bikers unite to fight against several Wilderness bills in UT, MT, and ID.
9 - FOX News does a fair and balanced feature story on managed OHV recreation. It is so interesting and factual that Bill O’Reilly sends his producer, Jesse Waters, to do a follow-up story at the Imperial Sand Dunes and Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.
8- EPA’s Environmental Justice program adds the protection of OHV recreational access to public lands as new tenet. EPA appoints an OHV representative to their National Environmental Justice Advisory Council.
7- The Forest Service realizes the 2005 Travel Management Rule has created more problems then it solved. The agency withdraws the rule and allows each Forest to decide when to develop travel plans. Trails that meet the Montana 3-State EIS criteria are grandfathered in as “designated” system trails.
6- After Romney wins the GOP nomination; Newt Gingrich changes his position on Global Warming and cuts a new ad with Al Gore where they both embrace the need for “cap and tax” legislation. The video is shot with both men sitting on a bench carved out of old growth redwood to illustrate carbon sequestration.
5 - A major Wilderness organization starts its own “OHV” group. It claims to represent off-roaders who believe the best way to protect OHV recreation is to ban it.
4- A well-known “jeep-type” tour guide on the Rubicon Trail decides to switch vehicles and start using highly modified side x sides. This new venture starts a national debate on which vehicle -- side x side v. “jeep-type” -- is the better and more reliable trail rig. Blogs explode with opinion.
3- Several large green foundations withdraw support from the Center for Biological Diversity because their lawsuits seeking to ban OHV recreation on public land or “minimize” FS road networks have not been cost effective. To keep donors, CBD joins forces with several mainstream conservation groups to support OHV recreation on designated roads, trails, and areas.
2- Rocker motorcycle enthusiasts, Twisted Sister and Tommy Lee, host fundraiser in LA for OHV advocacy groups. The event raises about $2,000,000 dollars to help keep trails open.
1- Mitt Romney wins the GOP nomination for president and selects Jon Huntsman (a dirt-biker and SX fan) as his VP. Both attend several off-road events and speak to the crowds.
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As someone who has known and worked with Daphne Greene since the late 1990s, I felt it was important to try and articulate what she has meant to the OHV program and larger community. That is why I submitted an Op-Ed to the SacBee.
December 30, 2011 SacBee Op-Ed on Daphne Greene
I also want to thank all of you who worked hard sending in support letters to the Governor’s office asking him to retain her. Remembering that her position is a political appointment and that “all land-use decisions are political decisions” – I really don’t know what is going to happen over the next few days regarding her reappointment or the appointment of somebody else to that position.
Be assured the thousands of letters from OHVers, staff from sister land agencies, local elected government officials, state park employees, industry, and others have made a large impact on the administration.
Thanks for your continued support of responsible OHV recreation and their managers.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to HQ members. HQ will be closed Dec.22-31 and will reopen on Jan. 1. However, if there is breaking news, HQ will fire up the control set and get info out.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Sometimes the irony of an issue requires a comment. Just as thousands of OHV enthusiasts, local and national recreation organizations, government park rangers, and elected officials ask Governor Brown to reappoint Daphne Greene as Deputy Director of the CA OHV Program, a large group of state park law enforcement officials are asking that Ruth Coleman (Director of CA State Parks) be replaced.
SACBEE Article on Replacing Coleman
I know Coleman and have worked with her department on many issues and I too like her on a personal level. However, I believe Coleman’s greatest weakness was her inability to make the non-motorized units of State Parks relevant to Californians in this day and age of decreased budgets and low visitor usage.
Rather then make the non-motorized state park system relevant (which should have included converting several of them to SVRAs), it appeared that Coleman, some non-profit foundations, and the legislature relied on the OHV Trust Fund (and a bogus statewide fee initiative that was rejected by voters) as an easy crutch to prop up a broken department.
Just what the Governor does with the Coleman and Greene appointments will be a signal as to the longevity and/or viability of either program. Will Coleman get support letters coming in from politicians and user groups, as is the case with Greene? (see below examples)
State Senator Joel Anderson Letter in Support of Greene
BRC Letter in Support of Greene
As many OHVers get ready to take a few days off to enjoy the holidays, it appears that some of us will have to monitor events in Sacramento. OHV politics does not respect any holiday season including Christmas.
Sunday, December 18, 2011
HQ does not want to waste your time with an extensive recap of the past week’s news that Daphne Greene (Dep. Director for the CA OHV Program) was given a termination notice by the Governor’s Office. December 31, 2011 is currently her last day on the job.
While state and national OHV groups reviewed this issue last week (a smart thing to do in politics), there arose a massive grassroots movement led by YOU – the OHV enthusiast.
OHVers starting sending in letters to the Governor's Office and made phone calls as well. Local legislators were also contacted. As noted in the SacBee article below, OHV Commission Chairman, Eric Lueder, sent in a strong letter of support for Greene’s reappointment.
Dec. 17 SacBee Article on Greene Issue
After spending several days digging thru the political swamp that exists in Sacramento, HQ believes Greene’s termination was prompted by a nasty smear campaign (yes, politics is a nasty business) led by a few extreme anti-OHV non-government and government activists.
HQ believes that unlike most political appointments, the Governor does not have an immediate replacement already selected. In fact, his office may be open to Greene’s reappointment if the OHV community makes a strong case on her behalf.
If you are a rider, club leader, environmentalist, OHV business, conservationist, or fellow land manager, there are several ways you can make your views known to Governor Jerry Brown and other state officials.
1 – Send a short (they are most effective) letter of support for Greene’s reappointment to:
Governor Jerry Brown
State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814
2 – Utilize CAL4WD’s Letter Generator
CAL4WD Alert and Letter Generator
3 – Send a copy of your letter to State Senator Joel Anderson. He will hand carry your letters to the Governor.
Email Senator Joel Anderson
Let’s turn this potential OHV-related “Lump of Coal” into a Christmas Miracle.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
HQ has a motto that “All land-use (and staffing selections) decisions are political decisions.” Well, that axiom came to life yesterday via the announcement by Daphne Greene, deputy director for the California OHV Program at State Parks, that she is being replaced on December 31 by another Governor’s appointee. That news sent a violent shockwave through the OHV community.
During her tenure of almost 8 years, the OHV Division went through a number of much needed reforms that improved all aspects of the program. Some of those milestones include; streamlining the grants program, improving the wildlife habitat monitoring, fiscal accountability for the OHV Trust Fund, creating new soil standards and guidelines, opening new OHV areas, funding important trail restoration projects, and the list goes on and on.
As OHV leadership continues to assess this new political development, I believe that we will learn a lot by the person who is appointed to take over Daphne’s post. HQ hopes the Governor will appoint somebody that will continue Daphne’s legacy of accountability, environmental stewardship, and commitment to the program and the community it serves.
Stay tuned for future developments on this issue and during this Christmas and Holiday Season let’s give thanks for Daphne’s (and her staff) unwavering commitment and service to you and your family’s favorite form of outdoor recreation over the last 8 years.
OHV HISTORY LESSON FROM THE DARK AGES
BRC News Release in 2005 –Describes How the anti-OHV Commission was abusing their position and power to corrupt the OHV program and steps the OHV community was taking to address that issue.
# # #
Monday, December 5, 2011
HQ believes the AP story today about the Marines downsizing and becoming more of a sea-based military operation could cast doubt on the entire planning process of their proposal to close a significant portion of the Johnson Valley OHV Area for massive land invasion-type training exercises.
AP Article on JV
In my comment letters for BRC (I am their western representative), BRC pointed out that holding massive landscape level invasion practice did not square with the modern 21st Century battlefield where smaller multi-force integrated units was our future.
Blog on BRC Comment Letter and other info
HQ believes the Marines new sea-based focus combined with the national debt crisis might spell the end for the JV proposal that many of us felt was ill advised and unwarranted. Watch for many twists and turns in the JV saga this year.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
HQ Blog on the Stealing of CA OHV Trust Funds
Info and Copy of Letter to CA State Legislature
Now it seems our federal elected officials plan to steal and/or gut the Recreation Trails Program (a national version –more or less – of the CA OHV Program).
HQ wants to issue a national “all hands on deck” alert asking you to send a letter to your Congressional representative on this issue. Both AMA and ARRA have set up easy to use (I used them myself) alerts with letters they will send for you.
AMA Alert with Letter to Save RTP
ARRA Alert with Letter to Save RTP (go to “Action Needed” Section and click on RTP)
HQ says, “good luck” to future government bodies who ask us to “pay our own way” on recreation projects. What sort of message is government sending when it breaks a promise and then steals or guts a non-taxpayer funded user-pay/user-benefit dedicated fiscal stream to OHV and other forms of recreation? Talk about a thumb in the eye!
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Over the last few years, HQ has written about faux OHV groups who have been created by far left green groups as a way to try and confuse general recreationists and elected officials. One of HQ’s blogs exposed several of these groups as nothing more then a proverbial “Skunk at the Party.”
HQ Blog on Skunks at the Party
BRC article about Skunks at the Party
Based on my experience with fake OHV groups, it came as no surprise when I read over the Thanksgiving Holiday about “Montana Hunters and Anglers” - a faux sportsmen’s group that is nothing more than a political attack dog - seeking to take out Congressman Denny Rehberg (MT) in the 2012 election.
Ron Arnold’s Article on Faux Hunting and Fishing Group in Montana
OHVers in the SF Bay Area got their dose of a closure oriented “sportsmen’s” group several years ago when the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance filed a suit to “protect fishing” at the Carnegie OHV Park. Trouble was that there have never been any fish in the tiny intermittent stream that runs in the center of the park. It was totally a faux issue much like the effort being used to unseat Congressman Rehberg.
Story on the Carnegie Eco-Hoax Fish
Working with legitimate environmental and conservation groups is something I do on a regular basis. However, faux OHV and hunting/fishing groups should have no place in the land-use debate or political process.
# # #
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
HQ wants to share some thoughts with riders today on the eve of Thanksgiving 2011.
As some of you know, I tore (completely detached at the kneecap) my quad muscle in late March this year when I slipped in the mud while doing some yard work at my mom’s house.
Some of you have heard the gory details of that experience, but I will spare this audience from that recap (pardon the pun).
Being almost completely helpless for about 6 weeks and unable to walk taught me several important lessons in patience, humility, and courage. It also helped deepen my appreciation for our military and wounded warriors who come home with devastating injuries.
During my recovery, the thought of being able to ride off-road again seemed like a distant and remote possibility.
I am thankful for my family and friends who helped support and encourage me over the last 7 months. In the great scheme of my life, this injury may only be remembered as a small bump in the road. However, I hope the life lessons learned over the last few months will help make me a better person and leader.
Being out on the trail once again has been uplifting and fun. But it is the character building that I treasure most. Thanks again for all your support and friendship.
# # #
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
HQ believes much of that is based on a downturn in the economy that has hit basically all non-profit land advocacy groups. Also, with most if not all “Wilderness quality” lands being already designated by Congress as federally designated Wilderness, pro-Wilderness groups may have become less relevant in 2011.
HQ was also surprised to learn today that a rather famous environmental law-firm had recently closed its doors. Wildlaw, who had hired a former Bush-era cabinet member as their lobbyist in Washington DC, specialized in anti-OHV and anti-timber lawsuits.
Wildlaw Hiring Mark Rey as their Eco-Lobbyist
Wildlaw Statement on its Closing
HQ believes there is a paradigm shift underway in this country. The proponents of hard-left land-use politics will fall by the trailside and be replaced (or evolve) into more mainstream environmental or conservation groups who have a desire to work collaboratively with OHV organizations and leaders on projects that both protect the environment and allow for responsible OHV recreation on designated roads, trails, and areas.
# # #
Friday, November 18, 2011
Thursday, November 17, 2011
HQ wanted to make sure that riders know about Congressman Darrell Issa’s effort to hold oversight hearing on the California Air Resources Board (CARB).
Nov. 9 Issa Letter to CARB
As you know, unelected CARB regulators create their own arbitrary rules (often behind closed doors) when it comes to automotive, truck, and motorcycle emissions. I have been at CARB hearings where their staff appears more interested in promoting their own political agenda instead of listening to good science brought forth by the public and industry.
HQ believes Congressional oversight of CARB is needed as it is but one of the CA agencies that seems hell-bent on creating one of the most anti-business climates in the country.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
After watching BRC’s Greg Mumm and other panelists testify at the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands hearing yesterday, I got a sick feeling that I just witnessed the agency’s ill-advised commitment to yet another planning boondoggle similar to the 2005 Travel Management Rule.
To address my nausea, I went online to order some Pepto-Bismol but I got a note back that all lines were busy since it appears that most of the environmental law firms in the U.S. were ordering truffles from France, blowfish from the Pacific, walrus blubber from the Far North, and beluga caviar from Russia in celebration of the agency opening up the door for a guaranteed avalanche of new eco-lawsuits. Those suits will be based on the Forest Service’s inability to maintain species viability that will now extend to fungus, microscopic organisms, and bacteria.
HQ has seen what has happened to OHV recreation when the agency did not adequate protect (according to environmental attorneys and courts) the Spotted Owl, the Goshawk, certain frogs, etc. Now the environmental conflict industry will be filing suits seeking court decisions that will close public lands to multiple-use recreation because human activities may harm bacteria and fungus.
If the agency does not substantively change the final planning rule to address the concerns stated by BRC and other panelists yesterday, the Great Off-Road Prognosticator “Donstradamus” foresees that an incalculable number of eco-lawsuits will be filed based on the vague species viability protection requirements in the planning rule.
Monday, November 14, 2011
HQ wanted to alert its followers about the hearing tomorrow being held in Washington D.C. before the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands.
BRC News Release on Nov. 15 Hearing
As HQ understands, BRC’s Greg Mumm will be testifying on three important topics.
The new Forest Planning Rule, TMR, and excessive “cost recovery” charges and other abuses of the special use permitting process.
Nov. 14 - E&E Article on Hearing Tomorrow (A good overview)
FOREST SERVICE: House Resources panel to plumb agency's planning rules, permitting
Phil Taylor, E&E reporter
The House Natural Resources Committee tomorrow will explore a sweeping Forest Service rule that would serve as the template for managing the nation's 193 million acres of forests and grasslands.
The Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands oversight hearing will feature testimony from Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell and will also probe the agency's management of off-highway vehicle access and its issuance of special-use permits.
The agency's draft planning rule, first announced in February, will determine how the agency's 175 national forests and grasslands develop individual management plans, which govern activities from logging to recreation and the protection of endangered plants and animals (E&ENews PM, Feb. 10).
The rule aims to speed planning efforts, incorporate best available science, engage the public and ensure forests' resilience to climate change, pests and other threats, the agency has said.
But it has drawn its share of critics, including Republicans on the House Agriculture Committee, who warned it could open the door to special-interest lawsuits and would fail to ensure timber harvests will increase across the nation's millions of acres of national forests (Greenwire, May 5). Environmental groups have criticized the proposal for giving too much discretion to local forest supervisors and lacking rigid standards for protecting water and wildlife (E&ENews PM, May 16).
The agency has said it intends to finalize the rule by the end of the year.
Tomorrow's discussion will likely also address the agency's implementation of a 2005 travel management planning rule, which Tidwell has said helps ensure motor vehicle users have guaranteed places to ride in the forests.
While supporters credit the rule for preventing motor vehicles from muddying streams, harming fish and spreading weeds, many Republicans and off-highway vehicle users say it has led to the unwarranted closure of trails.
"Congressional oversight is needed regarding the agency's closure of tens of thousands of roads and trails over the last decade," said Greg Mumm, executive director of the Idaho-based BlueRibbon Coalition, a trail access coalition.
Mumm, who was invited to testify at the hearing, said OHV users initially supported the process but that in some cases it has been used to make landscape-level changes to forest plans and close large numbers of existing legal trails and authorized routes.
Some forest supervisors say travel management planning decisions are the most difficult they make.
The issue came to the fore earlier this year when Rep. Wally Herger (R-Calif.) successfully passed an amendment to a House spending bill that would have restricted the agency's implementation of the rule. Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), who voted for the amendment at the time, later panned the move as unnecessary (E&ENews PM, March 11).
Mumm said his group has also recently asked lawmakers to pass a bill that would streamline the agency's issuance of special-use permits, a process he called overly complex and expensive.
Tomorrow's meeting comes less than two months after the committee held a field hearing in California to hear from the Forest Service, state officials and citizens about land-use regulations, policies and actions affecting access to agency lands.
Schedule: The hearing is tomorrow at 10 a.m. in 1324 Longworth.
Witnesses: Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, others to be announced.
Last year HQ wrote a blog with an outline (Next Steps) in TMR called, Designate the $#^&^% Trail
OHV advocates should check with their local Forests to see where they are in Round Two or “Next Steps” of TMR. Some Forests have started project level trail planning – good on them. Some have not. Local clubs and riders have to get involved in Round Two of TMR. Kudos to those who are involved and a swift kick to those who are not.
# # #
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
In HQ’s opinion, “Round One” of TMR has been a huge failure and public relations nightmare on many units. TMR was supposed to be a positive planning effort to address the proliferation of illegal routes and “unmanaged” OHV use on federal timberlands.
However, instead of focusing their energy to manage OHV recreation, TMR focused on landscape level closures (on many Forests) of thousands of miles of historic and popular roads and trails used by the OHV community and general public.
HQ has believed the key to resolving this rather contentious paradigm was for the agency to move into post subpart B project level trail planning and reestablish a good working relationship with local government and users.
The Shasta Trinity National Forest may be a good case study on finding a way forward based on the news article from the Redding Record Searchlight.
Record Searchlight Article on New Travel Planning Efforts and Restoring Public Trust
HQ on BBQ Diplomacy (Working with Local Counties)
The planning trail efforts ahead will take a lot of work from various stakeholder groups and the agency. HQ wants to commend ROC, RDR, and others in the Redding area for their access efforts. In addition, we want to thank the agency for moving forward on new planning efforts that include site-specific field review (see BRC comments/review of Beegum Project below).
BRC Comment Letter on Shasta T Beegum Project
Kudos to all in the North Country for working in a sincere manner on TMR-related issues.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
As some of you know, the California State Water Resources Board has been reviewing water quality issues for the last 2 years. This is an important topic for OHV interests because our sport could be dramatically impacted by new regulations and/or restrictions developed by the board. HQ is proud of the work that John Stewart (CAL4WD Rep. and BRC Board Member) has done on this project. HQ appreciates the following update from Stewart and believes he is doing an excellent job in representing OHV interests by helping prevent the green lobby from using the board to promote their closure agenda via the regulatory process.
UPDATE FROM JOHN STEWART - OHV LEAD ON WATER BOARD MEETINGS
The California State Water Resources Board has released the revised proposed State Waiver for the USFS Water Quality Management Handbook. The revised draft documents in the proposed State Waiver package can be viewed at: http://www.swrcb.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/nps/wqmp_forests.shtml
A December 6, 2011 meeting at CALEPA in Sacramento has been scheduled for consideration of adoption of: 1) a proposed statewide Waiver of Waste Discharge Requirements for Nonpoint Source Discharges Related to Certain Activities on National Forest System Lands in California, and 2) a supporting Mitigated Negative Declaration
Public comment on proposed changes to the State Waiver will be accepted until November 21. 2011.
After reviewing the changes to the proposed State Waiver, I believe all concerns submitted on behalf of CA4WDC have been adequately addressed. Specifically, the revision clearly articulates that NEPA review applies to all projects and activities initiated under the proposed State Waiver. In addition, clarification of State Categories A and B have been clarified with their relation to USFS “projects and activities”.
With the release of this revision of the proposed State Waiver, the SWRB has clearly noted that a CEQA Environmental Impact Report of the proposed State Waiver as supported by the environmental community and others is not warranted.
The "effect" of this action is that all National Forests in California will now have consistent guidelines dealing with water quality without having to submit each activity or project to the appropriate Regional Water Quality Control Board for approval.
The proposed State Waiver accepts the USFS Water Quality Management Handbook as the guide for the management activities such as road maintenance, grazing, mining, and all activities requiring a permit.
As long as projects comply with the guidance in the Handbook, they should proceed with no extra approval or review necessary. The Handbook, in existence since 2001, has been updated and defines actions to be used by Forest Service, contractors and permittees involved in activities or projects on National Forest lands within California.
Over a period of almost two years, stakeholders have held meetings discussing the Handbook content and the proposed State Waiver. All documents have been circulated for public review and comment. Extensive legal review has been conducted by State Water Board and USFS to ensure compliance with state and federal laws. I have been an active participant in all phases of the discussions and meetings on this topic as the statewide OHV representative selected by USFS staff.
HQ thanks John for his hard work on this issue.
Friday, November 4, 2011
DOI’s Nov. 3 Press Release on Biased 50 State Report
DOI 50 State Recreation Report – PDF file
Some of you may remember when DOI scrubbed OHV recreation from their June 21, 2011 Economic Report.
HQ Blog on June 21, 2011 DOI’s Biased Economic Report
In HQ’s opinion, the continued effort by DOI to whitewash the economic benefit that OHV recreation brings to local communities or to ignore the direct and indirect fiscal benefit of OHV industry-related jobs only continues to erode the agency’s credibility with users, Members of Congress, and the public-at-large.
DOI appears they have made a political miscalculation. Instead of a issuing a report based on fact they fronted a taxpayer-funded document designed to placate their green constituents. Production of biased political propaganda is not something to be proud of unless you really don’t care.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
RDR (left), FS (center), The General (right) on Trail Planning Project Review
The Recreation HQ has received a number of private emails asking what it thinks about the recent 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Ruling regarding suits filed against the Clinton Roadless Rule.
BRC News Release on Court Ruling
AP Article on Roadless Ruling
HQ’s missive today is not an endorsement of the court’s decision that negatively restricts the agency’s ability to do resource management of federal timber in inventoried roadless areas.
Our view from a strictly trail-based recreation perspective is that the court decision validates the appropriateness of OHV recreation in IRAs. Unlike the early days of the roadless battle where you had some Forests closing jeep routes in IRAs because they interpreted the Clinton Roadless Rule as a closure directive, you now have green groups, FS, and the court supporting the designation of OHV routes in IRAs.
Blog on Green Groups Supporting OHV Routes in IRAs
HQ believes the commitment of BRC and other OHV groups to challenge the Clinton Roadless Rule in numerous legal venues over the last 10 years has been of great value because those fights have resulted in the greens and courts validating and supporting the designation of OHV routes in IRAs.
HQ agrees with BRC’s hope that users and the Forest Service can now redirect efforts and energy from court battles to going out on the ground and doing post subpart B project level trail planning.
BRC Example of Recent Project Level Planning Trip on the Shasta Trinity NF
Trail Planning in WA
HQ believes post subpart B project level trail planning is what users and the agency should be focused on. It will require a lot of hard work by both parties, but the end result will be worth it.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
The Recreation HQ wants to thank members of Pirate4x4.com for alerting us to the fact that there are a number of mistakes in the newly published Tahoe National Forest Motor Vehicle Use Map.
Some of the route designations (and/or vehicle type classifications) that appear to be in error includes the Rubicon Trail, Trail 16E10, Rattlesnake Trail 10E02, 11E18, 12E67,
11E67, 11E21, and routes/areas associated with Boca, Stampede and Prosser Reservoirs.
HQ has been in communication with the Tahoe National Forest and the Regional Office
and has been assured their leadership and staff are now acutely aware of the mistakes and are working to correct them. HQ has encouraged Pirate4x4.com members to send in the mistakes you have found to the Forest Service.
HQ suggests that you send your corrections to the Forest’s Public Affairs Officer, Ann Westling at: email@example.com
While mistakes in new MVUMs can be a common occurrence, it has been our experience that the agency works hard to correct those errors. However, HQ has seen where LEOs have written tickets based on inaccurate information contained in new MVUMs. HQ has shared its concerns with the FS and is urging them to communicate potential errors with law enforcement staff so that we do not have young kids, their parents, or tour guides given tickets when operating their OHVs in a legal manner.
Blog on Tickets Issued in Error at Stonyford in 2010
When it comes to implementation of MVUMs, HQ likes to cite the implementation strategy of the Payette NF. Their narrative clearly outlined what I like to call a “soft rollout” of the MVUM instead of a “hard rollout” where LEOs are instructed to start issuing tickets before the ink is dried on the MVUM.
Blog on Soft Rollout
Thanks in advance to all local users who reviewed the MVUM and are alerting the agency and OHV community to the errors. Great job guys and gals!
Monday, October 17, 2011
For the last several years, HQ has updated riders on the potential for the Fouts Springs Youth Correctional Facility to be deeded over to Solano County. Recently, Solano County closed the facility due to it being fiscally unsustainable.
Article on Closure of Fouts Springs Correctional Facility
As you know, BRC had been opposing the land exchange because of concerns it had that the county would sell the property (they had operated the camp under a FS special use permit) to the highest bidder with said use being a conflicting use (i.e. Robert Redford’s Environmental Activist Training Center or new Sierra Club Conference Center, etc.). Those conflicting uses over time would require the FS to close the area to OHV recreation.
History of Land Exchange Proposal and BRC Letters
HQ does not celebrate the loss of those rural jobs when the facility closed. However, it believes that if the Forest Service turns that facility into a remote fire-training center… that many of those who lost jobs could be employed at the new camp.
The facility could also be used as a training center for trail crews such as the Student Conservation Association.
Be assured that BRC and HQ will stay on this issue as preserving the high quality OHV program on the Mendocino is a very high priority.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
HQ was amazed to read EPA’s September 29, 2011 bizarre response to the OHMVR Commission’s June 21, 2011 letter to Congress which challenged the agency’s stance that Clear Creek should be closed to OHV recreation.
Instead of functionally acknowledging the recent IERF study that shows OHV recreationists at Clear Creek only face a slight health risk (much lower than other activities), EPA stubbornly and with a certain amount of bravado insists that its original study and closure-oriented conclusions are correct.
Blog with Link to OHMVR June 21, 2011 Letter to Congress
September 29,2011 EPA Letter to U.S. Senate (with additional letters from CA regulators)
September 29, 2011 EPA Letter to House of Representatives
Blog with Link to IERF Study and recent ABC News Story on Clear Creek
HQ believes the EPA is making the best argument for Congress to step in and designate Clear Creek as a National Recreation Area where users can decide for themselves what health and safety risks they take. Be assured this recent EPA missive will only strengthen the resolve of the user community and San Benito County to reopen the Creek.
County Resolution in Support of a NRA Designation
The Clear Creek saga continues…
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Over the last year or so, HQ has gotten a lot of phone calls and emails from riders who are seeking advice on buying a dual-sport motorcycle. It appears most of these questions are being prompted by recent FS Travel Management-related closures of level-3 roads to non-street legal OHVs.
For those riders who are looking for a street-legal off-road motorcycle, HQ suggests they purchase a new street-legal dirt bike or a used bike that was plated and/or grandfathered in before the State of California closed the dual-sport conversion process (circa late 2003/early 2004).
HQ believes that manufacturers have stepped up to the “plate” and are producing true off-road worthy dirt bikes and when given a choice… riders should select a bike that complies with the licensing requirements that govern our sport.
Friday, October 7, 2011
When it comes to upgrading your RV’s 12-volt charging system, the Recreation HQ wants to suggest you may want to consider the Ganz 6-watt marine-grade solar panel to keep a charge on your batteries.
Recently, HQ had to install new batteries and a new power converter on its official 26ft. Weekend Warrior Land-Use Battle Trailer. One of the issues that RVers face is how do we keep a charge on our trailer batteries during the day when we are out on the trail? Or, how do we keep a charge on our batteries when parked at the HQ or house?
HQ is proud to report that it appears to have found an answer to that age-old question.
After doing some research online, we ordered a Ganz 6-watt marine-grade solar panel and marine-grade charge controller from Amazon.com for about $100 bucks.
So far the solar panel - not only maintains a charge on the batteries - but also puts an additional charge into the batteries during the day while HQ is out in the field.
HQ believes that common sense solar applications like this can be a solution for RVers who want to keep their trailer “charged-up” when they are on the trail or the unit is parked at home.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
HQ was pleased to see the Governor sign AB 42, which allows for non-profit organizations to manage various state parks that have low visitation or are otherwise unable to sustain themselves. HQ believes that counties should also be given the opportunity to manage state park units that are in fiscal trouble.
Article on AB42
HQ believes this bill could open the pathway for OHVs to use several non-motorized state parks units that are in fiscal trouble. Two examples come to mind. Henry W Coe State Park near San Jose is a perfect candidate for being operated as a State Vehicular Recreation Area. Also, Tolowa Dunes State Park near the Oregon border is also a great candidate for OHV use because its last management plan authorized ATVs at the site.
Community Support for Tolowa Dunes SVRA
The OHV community should be looking for ways to assist state parks and the local economy by finding a way to help manage these parks for motorized recreation. Henry Coe SVRA would help elevate overcrowding at both Hollister Hills and Carnegie SVRAs. Tolowa Dunes SVRA would provide much needed ocean/sand opportunities for OHV use on the North Coast.
Let’s all think outside of the box on this one. Comments are welcome here at the HQ on this issue.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
The Recreation HQ is proud to announce the San Benito County Board of Supervisors voted today 5-0 in favor of a Resolution to petition Congress to designate the Clear Creek Management Area as a National Recreation Area.
HQ’s Don Amador gave a presentation regarding the need for Congress to step in and bypass the local land manager when he/she is not acting in the best interest of the public. Besides Amador, a number of OHV recreationists and a local newspaper owner stepped up to the podium and supported the County’s effort to champion access on behalf of their constituents.
Chairman Margie Barrios also cited the many campgrounds the Hollister Field Office had ripped out over the last several years and the recently constructed multi-million dollar taxpayer-funded “decontamination center” as prime examples of government waste.
Link to blog (with photo) of 1.7 million dollar boondoggle
HQ believes access champions have taken one giant step in this long journey. Certainly the trail will be rough over the next few years while efforts are made to have Clear Creek designated as a National Recreation Area. However, it is a journey that all of us should be prepared to take.
PS - I plan to post the Resolution once the county publishes it and provides a link. Based on the comments by the county supervisors, I expect it to reflect the appropriate NRA related land management tenets in my July 22 Congressional testimony.
Sunday, October 2, 2011
HQ fired up its electronic communications center today to issue a rare weekend update on an important issue. On October 4, the San Benito County Board of Supervisors will listen to BRC’s Don Amador’s request to have them consider a resolution asking Congress to designate the Clear Creek Management Area as a National Recreation Area.
County Agenda for Oct. 4 Meeting (Clear Creek is #16)
As many of you know, Amador testified before a House Subcommittee on June 22, 1011 regarding the ongoing closure of Clear Creek. At the end of his testimony, he recommended that Congress bypass the Hollister Field Office and designate CCMA as a National Recreation Area declaring as open the routes and areas highlighted in the HFO’s 2005 Travel Management Plan.
June 22, 2011 link to Video of Oral Testimony and Written Testimony with Exhibits
Over the last few months it has become abundantly clear the HFO intends to continue citing EPA’s junk science as the reason to permanently ban historic OHV use at the Creek.
ABC TV Story on Clear Creek Makes Case for NRA Designation
In April 2010, the County took bold action and declared their roads open for public use in Clear Creek based requests from the voters for local government to defend their access rights. Once again, the County will be asked to step into the breach and champion the rights of local citizens to use and enjoy public lands.
Link to County Reopening Roads
I hope to see many of you there. If you cannot make it to the meeting, HQ asks that you give us moral support in our collective efforts to reopen Clear Creek.
Sunday, September 25, 2011
HQ will be closed due to week long field trip and meetings. Will be back Oct. 3
Friday, September 23, 2011
The Recreation HQ could not let this week end without making a comment on some of the crowd’s “verbal ugliness” directed at the environmental representative (and to some extent at the Forest Service official) at the September 19, 2011 House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Land’s hearing held in Sacramento.
Nobody supports vigorous and spirited debate on public land access issues then I. However, at the hearing some in the audience crossed the line between civil public discourse and inappropriate name calling and heckling.
Over the years, I have sometimes been the only conservative land-use representative at meetings largely dominated by far left-wing eco-zealots. But at those meeting (and to my surprise), I was not rudely hit with over-the-top insults and slurs.
HQ understands the anger in the OHV community about how thousands of miles of historic access routes have been closed over the years by eco-lawsuits and government overregulation. In fact, these closures make my blood boil too.
However, OHV’s cause is not advanced in the public arena when it resorts to ugly and hostile rhetoric.
# # #
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Many riders watched the ABC feature story last night regarding the ongoing closure of the Clear Creek Management Area to all users. A big HQ salute is given to local off-road advocate Ken Deeg for telling his story to the reporter. As far as mainstream media coverage goes for OHV recreation, HQ believes the story scored an 8 out of 10.
ABC Video and Article on the Closure of Clear Creek (must watch video)
What struck HQ the most out of the whole video were statements made by EPA and Hollister Field Office officials. Just as Don Amador stated in his June 22,2011 testimony before a Congressional Subcommittee hearing in DC, EPA/HFO continue to give their agencies a black eye by showing their collective intent to permanently close or severely restrict OHV recreation at Clear Creek.
Blog with Video of Amador’s June 22 Testimony, link to IERF study, etc.
While CA state parks spokesman, Phil Jenkins, did a great job sharing the OHV Division’s perspective on the issue and risks associated with high risk sports such as OHV, swimming at public beaches, rivers, and lakes, rock climbing, and snow skiing, HQ believes that ABC should have also interviewed one of the scientists from IERF.
As you know, on March 22, 2011 a report was completed by scientists from the International Environmental Research Foundation (IERF), the Department of Physics at Harvard University, and the Center for Applied Studies of the Environment at the City University of New York.
According to that new and scientifically valid report, “…the [health]risk at Clear Creek is similar to the lifetime risk of death from smoking less than one cigarette over a one year period. They noted other recreational activities, such as swimming, hiking, and snow skiing are over a 100-fold more dangerous.
In summary, EPA/HFO’s statements in the ABC story only validated and strengthened Amador’s June 22 recommendation to Congress that they should consider bipartisan legislation that designates the 70,000-acre CCMA as a National Recreation Area with OHV recreation and other multiple-use recreational activities codified as “prescribed uses.” Congress could designate as “open” all 242 miles of routes and 400 acres of open areas identified for motorized use in the 2005 CCMA Travel Management Plan.
HQ believes HFO/EPA have lost their objectivity and credibility during the CCMA debate by inserting junk science and their personal political agendas into the decision-making process. Every day that CCMA remains closed to public use means that Congress is one day closer to deciding the future of Clear Creek by designating it as a National Recreation Area.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
The Recreation HQ does not know if it is mere coincidence that Region 5 appears to be revaluating current directives to various Forest units to not designate level-3 roads for mixed-use and to minimize the designation of historic and important unauthorized routes, but it appears that a change is in the air.
The potential signal that R5 is listening to local users, county officials, and Congress is best illustrated by the September 20 Federal Register Notice regarding the Modoc National Forest’s proposal to designate 331 miles of unauthorized routes for motorized travel and designate 513 miles of level 3 roads for mixed-use (i.e. use by non-street legal OHVs).
September 20, 2011 Modoc NF FR Notice
Some of you may remember that back on March 11, 2010, R5 upheld an appeal by one of the current anti-access OHV commissioners and nationally recognized closure guru, Stan Van Velsor, and ordered the Modoc to not designate 331 miles of routes and 513 miles of level-3 roads for mixed-use.
April 2010 Blog with R5 Directive and other Closure/Appeal Info on the Modoc
Another sign based on intel from local users groups who attended a Board of Supervisors meeting yesterday in the Redding area is that the Shasta-Trinity NF is also reviewing future post subpart-B project level trail planning and designation of some level-3 roads for mixed-use.
If, in fact, the Forest Service is reviewing future trail and mixed-use designations, a great deal of praise should go out to an engaged public and to the federal officials and land-managers who are moving forward on more access friendly TMR-related projects.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
As HQ told attendees at the Ride Reno 200 Dual Sport banquet on September 17, the OHV community has a lot to be proud of as they are now having their access issues being addressed by both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Two examples of that seismic shift was that a representative from U.S. Senator Dean Heller’s office was at the banquet to listen to concerns about special recreation permits being denied to clubs and there was a September 19 field hearing in Sacramento. At the field hearing the loss of forest trail access, abuse of the event permitting process, and forest health were front and center.
HQ is very proud of all the access and multiple-use witnesses including Charles Hirst, president of the California Enduro Riders Assn., and Nick Haris, the western representative for the AMA. PEER’s testimony that OHV recreation brings zero economic benefit to local communities was shot down quickly by Eldorado County Supervisor, Jack Sweeney. Plumas County Sheriff Hagwood gave very compelling testimony. The hearing played to a packed house.
The Recreation HQ strongly urges you to take time and watch the hearing including the Q&A. There is some very compelling testimony in both the written and oral presentations.
Link to the Hearing’s Audio and Written Documents
Stockton Record Article on Hearing (pretty good overview)
HQ agrees with the one or two hearing panelists that a “TMR reset button” should be pushed because on many Forests it is both a planning debacle and public nightmare.
HQ Blog on Pushing the TMR Reset Button
In closing, HQ must give kudos to Randy Moore (R5 Regional Forester) for showing up and taking the heat. As it was pointed out by one of the congressmen, Moore is in a tough spot because of the planning and political box he is in.
# # #
Thanks to all who showed up and/or those who supported representatives to stand in their place. Access history was made on September 19 and you were part of it.
Friday, September 16, 2011
By now, many HQ followers are aware of the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public land’s field hearing being held in Sacramento on September 19, 2011.
BRC Alert with Info on Sept. 19 Hearing
For several years, HQ has blogged about how the 2005 Travel Management Rule was being misused on number Forests as a planning tool to effect landscape level closures of historic roads and trails to non-street legal (and in many cases street legal) OHVs.
HQ is not the only venue that feels TMR has gone astray. The Chico Enterprise-Record just published an editorial that concurs with our observation.
Chico Enterprise-Record Editorial (Sept. 16)
Wisdom tells us that you should not build a house on a foundation of sand. HQ believes many of the fatal flaws now clearly evident in TMR have their origin in the 2003 California Route Inventory and Designation Process (RID). Proponents of RID (as in get rid of OHVs on public lands) said users did not have to worry about landscape level closures of historic (and legal) OHV routes. In addition, RID/TMR in Region 5 also included the additional “thumb in the eye” of creating a new federal directive that effectively prohibited (except on rare road segments less then 3 miles in length) non-street legal “Green-sticker” OHVs from using level 3 non-paved logging roads. What makes the R5 ruling even more offensive is the California Vehicle Code expressly states that Green-sticker OHVs are allowed on non-paved logging roads.
Back in 2003 when RID was codified, several FS staffers told HQ offline that supporters of RID would rue the day. BRC strongly protested RID because it was basically an underground regulation created without a formal public process as required by NEPA. Based on the expected tone and direction of the September 19 field hearing it looks like those RID/TMR “planning chickens are coming home to roost.”
Can TMR be salvaged in CA and elsewhere? HQ believes it can, but the agency must work hard to address the user’s legitimate concerns and restore public trust. The FS should also start their long heralded post Subpart B project level trail planning.
Sand should never be used as a foundation nor should it be used as a place where you stick your head. Instead, good planning and management should be based on solid rock and you (the FS) should man-up and admit that mistakes were made in RID/TMR.
See you at the September 19 hearing.
Thursday, September 15, 2011
2000 Protest/Rally Against Clinton's Monument
By now many riders and public land access interests are aware of efforts in Congress to address misuse of presidential executive orders that create National Monuments.
Article on Current Effort in Congress
Those of you new to the “monument fight” that question the need for Congress to step and create a legislative fix may want to review some history. Some may remember when President Clinton during his last days in office created a number of new monuments throughout the West including the Sequoia National Monument in California.
Off-roaders and other multiple-use interests fought back in the political and legal arena by organizing protests, filing R.S 2477 claims, and filing a lawsuit.
2000 Protest of the Sequoia National Monument
Lawsuit filed against Clinton’s Monuments
The lesson learned is that only elected officials can correct this abuse of executive branch authority when it creates National Monuments as a political favor to environmental groups.
Let’s just hope this effort to address the National Monument issue is successful. We don’t really have any other recourse.
Article on Nobel Prize winning Scientist Resigns from Global Warming Hoax
HQ believes that Algore’s sermons on climate change are just as morally bankrupt as Solyndra. He should abandon his “crusade” (oh yea, the Crusades did not work out that well either) and man-up to his ill-conceived theory.
If Algore still has his Honda 305 – from his college years - stored somewhere on one of is properties, HQ suggests that he freshen that bike up and take it for a spin. That ride might just be what he needs to clean out all the green junk in his brain.
Monday, September 12, 2011
The Recreation HQ almost busted a gut today when it read a news article about Algore’s 24-Hour Eco-Fraud-a-Thon slated to run later this week (Sept 14).
News Article on Algore’s Fraud-a-Thon
It appears that our favorite green hypocrite is going to try one more time to convince you with his apocalyptic eco-hype that the world is about to end if you don’t quit driving your car (or dirt-bike, ATV, UTV, or 4WD) and flying on jets (remember it is OK for him to drive a SUV or fly on a jet because he is important and you are not).
According to the Reuters report, Algore wants use of your social media networks to bombard your friends with his eco-BS.
Several years ago, HQ warned riders about these types of schemes (see blog below)
The Recreation HQ’s blog on Global Warming and Eco-Hoaxes
As the far-left greens continue to try and indoctrinate you with their eco-babble, HQ urges you to do the research yourself and make your own decisions.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Dave Widell - R.I.P.
The Recreation HQ deeply regrets to inform riders that the former deputy director, Dave Widell, of the CA OHMVR Program died recently at the early age of 44.
Here is a local newspaper article on his passing
Dave Widell also wrote an editorial in “Taking the High Road”
Dave brought a lot of energy and political savvy to that post in the early 2000s. Even though we strongly disagreed on a number of policy issues including his development of the 2003 California Route Inventory and Designation Process (the precursor to the 2005 Travel Management Rule), I considered Dave a friend and will miss his presence on both a professional and personal basis.
The Recreation HQ wants to extend our heartfelt condolences to the Widell circle of family and friends.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Road Ripping in Six Rivers (without NEPA) that Prompted Lawsuit/Stipulation
Over the last few years, HQ has been concerned the Travel Management Rule was (and apparently continues to be) being used by some units of the Forest Service to illegally “authorize” ground-disturbing project-level activities associated with road and trail decommissioning.
The BRC, Del Norte County, CAL4WD, and several other groups challenged such actions in 2010 and the federal government agreed to a public process before using ground-disturbing activities to decommission routes.
Six Rivers NF Lawsuit with Stipulation
2011 Letter from Six Rivers NF Forest Supervisor Agreeing to Public Notice
HQ wanted to alert riders in Colorado that the same type of illicit road/trail decommissioning appears to be occurring in their state. Our good friends at the Colorado Trails Preservation Alliance recently sent a letter to the Gunnison National Forest challenging ground-disturbing activities associated with road and trail decommissioning. It looks like the agency skipped the public process as required by NEPA.
September 2, 2011 COTPA Letter to the Gunnison NF with photos
The 2005 TMR was never supposed to be used to effect landscape level route closures or be used as the authorizing process to obliterate existing roads and trails. Unfortuntely on some units, TMR is being misused.
The TMR saga continues…
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Thursday, August 18, 2011
STRD Leadership (L) with Don Amador (R)
On behalf of the BlueRibbon Coalition, I want to thank the Save the Riders Dunes’ leadership for hosting the 2011 CORDRAM Tour. The tour was a real educational experience for the Recreation HQ.
In a 3-day period, the tour covered much of the three main OHV riding areas in the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area (ODNRA). On Sunday, Jerry Ingersoll, the Forest Supervisor for the Siuslaw National Forest, took personal time off and joined the group – in some “BBQ Diplomacy” (actually it was peanut butter and jelly sandwiches) - to discuss various recreation and resource issues.
Rodney Roberts, a Coos County Deputy Sheriff, also joined the group to share his views on law enforcement on the dunes. Rodney also mans the Sheriff’s substation at the Riley Ranch ATV Park. The tour got to observe the Dunes Patrol (a volunteer group) in action when they rescued a stranded 4wd enthusiast that got stuck.
It was an eye opener to see the scores of OHV dealerships and OHV-related businesses along the 40 miles of Highway 101 that runs the length of ODNRA. It was clear the local economy is strongly tied to OHV recreation.
HQ believes the Forest Service offers the public one of the premier destination OHV recreation sites in the country. It has well-developed camping and staging areas. Also, there are many private OHV camping areas that provide more developed facilities (pull-throughs, lodges, group camps, etc.) often popular with today’s recreational community.
The owner of the Oregon Dunes KOA campground gave the group a guided tour of his facility. He said that most of his customers come from WA, CA, and OR. However, there are riders that come from all 50 states and from overseas. Also, OHV recreation is a popular activity enjoyed by military families when the service member is on leave.
There is a lot of hard work ahead for both the agency and user communities. However, after meeting federal, county, and local recreation leaders, I am optimistic that the future of the dunes can be secured if those interests find ways to increase communications and cooperation.
# # #
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
The Recreation HQ is proud to announce its 2011 California Oregon Dunes Recreational Access and Management (CORDRAM) Tour. CORDRAM goes from August 11 – 15. HQ’s Don Amador, on behalf of the BlueRibbon Coalition, will be headed to the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area for a tour/review of the site with local recreationists, government officials, and other interests.
As many of you know, BRC and local OHV representatives are concerned the Forest Service has wrongly focused on OHV closures over the last 40 years instead of addressing encroachment of non-native vegetation into the open dunes.
Thanks to an update from Save The Riders Dunes, HQ presents the following link to a 1994 Seattle Times article on the invasive beach grass taking over the dunes.
1994 Seattle Times Article
The Forest Service has extended the public comment period until September 1, 2011. After reviewing the site, HQ plans on submitting an addendum to our July 25, 2011 comment letter in which we basically stated the agency has failed in it mission to protect the open dunes by almost exclusively relying on OHV closures as a management tool instead of addressing vegetation encroachment.
Blog with Action Alert to Send in Comments
HQ believes that OHV recreation can survive at the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area if the agency takes action to address the encroachment issue. OHV recreation is not the problem… it is the solution.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Article about House and Senate Approved Lead Ban Fix (quotes from AMA and MIC)
Even HQ weighed in from time to time with “lead alerts” to help support ongoing grassroots efforts so kids could ride youth-size OHV again.
April 5, 2011 HQ Lead Alert
HQ wants to thank all you riders who took time to fill out petitions and make phone calls. Your efforts did make a difference!
Monday, August 1, 2011
The Recreation HQ wants to urge OHVers who ride at the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area to keep sending in those letters because the Forest Service has issued a letter stating they will continue to accept and use those letters through September 1, 2011. You also need to JOIN BRC.
July 25 FS Letter to BRC with Overview of Extension to Sept. 1
HQ would encourage riders to also contact their county commissioners and ask them to place this issue on the agenda at an upcoming meeting. Also, other elected state official should be made aware of the potential impacts of the ongoing closures and encroachment of vegetation into the recreation area.
HQ Blog on Letter Alert/Info
Here is a recent news article on this issue
Also, I would ask all riders to join BRC as a way to help support our efforts on the Oregon Dunes. As you know, it takes time and money to fight for access and we can’t do our job without YOUR support. Please join today if you have not done so. That is a personal request from yours truly.
Join BRC online:
I also hope to see some of you when I am up at the OR Dunes next week meeting with BRC members, local OHV leaders, and govt. officials. I don’t think it is too late to get this ship turned around.