Thursday, January 27, 2011

HQ ACTION ALERT - Help Cong. Herger (HR 242) Fix TMR and Reopen Road and Trails

Help Cong. Herger (HR 242) Reopen Closed Roads and Trails

The Recreation HQ is proud to announce the fact that access champion Congressman Wally Herger (R-CA2) had his legislation H.R. 242 introduced into the Congressional Record on January 26, 2011.

BRC Issued a TMR Alert Today with a Link to the Congressional Record

HQ believes the alert offers trail users an historic opportunity to engage their own House Member on access issues by having them co-sponsor Congressman Herger’s effort to address the many closure tenets of the 2005 Travel Management Rule as enacted in California’s 19 National Forests.

If you feel OHVers got shafted by TMR in your neck of the woods, you may want to encourage your own House Member to introduce a bill similar to Congressman Herger’s H.R. 242. There may be even county supervisors or county commissioners who want to pass resolutions in support of H.R. 242 or petition their local House Member to co-sponsor the bill or file one for their own state.

As you know, thousands of miles of historic roads and trails have been closed or proposed for closure by the Forest Service. TMR was never supposed to be about landscape level closures of roads and trails used by woodcutters, hunters, OHVers, and other outdoor interests. It got messed up along the way and now it is up to Congress to fix it.

Here is what a local newspaper said about the bill (you may want to show this to your Member of Congress)

HQ encourages you to act promptly to show your support for Congressman Herger’s effort to champion responsible access to public lands.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Will GOP Hold Land Agencies Accountable?

Will Congress Review the Closure of Clear Creek?

The Recreation HQ appreciated the candor of Doc Hastings’ opening comments today from his post as the new Chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources. HQ took special note of Chairman Hastings’ acknowledgement that Republicans between 2001-2006 basically failed to hold federal land agencies accountable during the Bush administration.

See Text of Hastings’ Speech Today

HQ believes the OHV community will in short order be able to gauge the sincerity of Chairman Hastings’ commitment to hold oversight hearings by the issues placed on the committee and subcommittee hearing schedules.

Of special interest to the HQ is if this Congress will hold oversight hearings on issues of special interest to the OHV community such as the landscape-level closure (the largest of its kind in the USA) of the Clear Creek Management Area to all users in 2008, abuse of the 2005 Travel Management Rule, and the BLM’s Wild Lands program.

Be assured, HQ will be holding the 112th Congress accountable.

Monday, January 17, 2011

HQ Missive on Wilderness Watch Lawsuit Filed to Stop Wilderness Lookout

Eco Humor is Good for the Soul

The Recreation HQ does not often find itself in agreement with eco-lawsuits filed by left-wing environmental groups but today is different. Some of you may have seen articles about a recent lawsuit filed against the Forest Service by the anti-OHV group – Wilderness Watch. This suit is in regards to reconstruction of the Green Mountain Lookout in Washington's Glacier Peak Wilderness Area.

The suit basically takes the agency to task for doing a construction project in a federally designated Wilderness area without first performing site-specific NEPA.

Article on Lawsuit

Also ck out the group’s blog below:

Wilderness Watch Blog on Suit

You might remember several months ago the BlueRibbon Coalition and clients filed a similar lawsuit (projects down without project level NEPA) against the Forest Service for the illegal ripping of roads without site-specific NEPA.

Blog on BRC Suit to Stop Illegal Road Ripping on Six Rivers NF

Stipulation Signed on the Six Rivers Suit to Solve the Issue

Many of us in the OHV community are all too aware of the many NEPA procedures that are required for the agency to build even 10 feet of new trail. Yet, it seems that for “projects” deemed worthy by government elites (road ripping, new lookouts in Wilderness Areas, landing strips in the King Range NCA ) are given a free pass.

HQ commends Wilderness Watch for not being hypocrites. Unlike eco-groups who defended the Forest Service’s right to rip roads (without project level NEPA) in the middle of winter and dump silt into a Wild and Scenic River, WW called it like they saw it. If you have to do project level NEPA to build a trail or small OHV staging area, you should have do to the same for construction of a new lookout in a Wilderness Area.

Sometimes a bit of “eco-humor” is good for the soul.

After you quit laughing... the outrage is that WA State OHV Funds were granted (without NEPA - a big blunder) to fund this project:

See page 3 of NOVA Grant Program for Green Mountain Project

Friday, January 14, 2011

MAJOR OHV LEGAL VICTORY TODAY - 9th Circuit Strikes Down "Federal Defendant" Rule


The Recreation HQ wants to salute the BlueRibbon Coalition Legal Defense Fund’s lead counsel, Paul Turcke, the BRC and all the groups that supported this effort including those who filed “friend of the court” briefs including the MIC and other access interests on this historic legal victory today in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

According to the BRC News Release, “Today the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals announced an historic decision to abandon its so-called "federal defendant" rule. The rule categorically prohibited private parties, as well as state and local governments, from intervening of right on the merits of claims brought under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).”

BRC January 14, 2011 News Release on 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Decision

The HQ has been following this issue for some time including posting a blog on December 14 where BRC and MIC counsel (as well as The Wilderness Society’s attorney) argued before the Court. A great video of this legal football game is linked to in the HQ Dec. 14 Blog

HQ Dec. 14 Blog on “Must See Legal TV”

NYT Article Today on OHV Win

ENN Article on Victory

Cattlemen Applaud Victory

Let those of you in the OHV community who always feel that off-roaders never win in court… please savor this victory. Enjoy a great dinner with your family, go for a trail ride, or shout from your roof or RV trailer top.

If you want to send Paul Turcke a personal congrats… here is his email address:

Have a great weekend my OHV family! And, never ever give up.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Shasta County Asks Congress for Help in Coordination and Improved Communication with FS

Signed/Mapped Jeep Road to Historic Lookout Closed by TMR

For a number of months, HQ has encouraged federal agencies and county governments to try and “find a way forward” as a vehicle to address a lot of the recent TMR-related closure issues.

HQ has suggested on numerous occasions that the various stakeholders enter into a genuine collaborative process where folks are treated with respect and where users and access-oriented county officials are not summarily dismissed by the federal government as uniformed, ignorant, and unimportant.

On July 1, HQ posted a blog that highlighted where the collaborative process has worked more or less. One such example cited was on the Inyo NF.

July 1 Collaborative Blog

Since that time, another FS/County/Recreation/Enviro collaborative process has been productive (helped along by a lawsuit filed by access groups) and that is in Del Norte County.

Story on Access Miracle in Del Norte County

HQ believes that Shasta County’s recent request to Congressman Herger for him to facilitate coordination and improved cooperation between the county and the Forest Service could lay the foundation for a future stakeholder process where problems and solutions could be discussed.

January 11, 2011 Shasta County Letter to Congressman Herger

Thanks to all of you for your continued support and efforts on behalf of responsible access to public lands.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I wanted to take a short break today away from posting info about land-use fights and thank AMA Dist. 36 for the kindness shown to me the other night at their 32nd Annual Awards Banquet. I was sitting at one of the tables visiting with Daphne Greene (OHMVR Dep. Dir.) and her staff and also Perry King (member, AMA Board of Directors) when Dave Pickett called me up on the stage.

It was a real surprise. I was afraid it was going to be some sort of prank (several years ago they gave me a “taco award” – yes, a stale taco) like they did on a previous occasion.

However, much to my surprise it was a very cool award recognizing my 20 years of service to the off-road community as a land-use advocate.

I am also thankful to BRC and other news outlets for running the story.

BRC News Release on 20 Years of Service Award


Don Emde’s Partsmag

Stockton Record Article on Award

Being a “Quiet Warrior” for the sport is no easy task. It requires you to ride quietly on public roads and trails but speak loudly and effectively in the legislative, administrative, and legal processes so that riders don’t get screwed by overzealous bureaucrats, left-wing eco-groups, and closure-oriented polices.

Thanks again D36 for your generosity it is greatly appreciated. Also, thanks to many of you who have sent PMs. It means more than you will ever know.

I salute you!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Newspaper Says Herger Travel Management Bill Offers a Fix to Access Issues

Popular OHV Trail Closed by Travel Management Plan - Should be Reopened!

Last Friday many of you read on this blog about Congressman Wally Herger’s bill that he introduced to address some of the flaws in travel management. In that blog you found a link to the legislation as well as other documents that Herger has authored to champion access to public lands.

Friday’s Blog with Herger Bill

HQ supports the conclusion reached by the Redding Record Searchlight which states the bill makes sense because it addresses complaints about unwarranted closures filed against the Forest Service by users, county officials, and other interests.

Record Searchlight Editorial in Support of Herger Bill

HQ has believed for a number of months that a solution can be found to restore a good working relationship between the agency, county government, and the recreation community. This legislative fix combined with outreach by the agency via a substantive stakeholder process where ideas can be shared in a cooperative manner could be just what the doctor (or General) ordered.

Friday, January 7, 2011

112th Congress Introduces Bill to Address FS TMR Road/Trail Closures

Single Track Trail Closed by TMR that OHVers Want Reopened

The Recreation HQ salutes Congressman Wally Herger’s continued fight to stop the closure of many Forest Service roads and trails in his District. Congressman Herger ramped things up today by introducing a bill that requires the FS to complete post Subpart B project level trail planning before implementing Subpart B of the Travel Management Rule. That Rule in CA closed thousands of miles of historic trails and roads and also prohibited OHV travel (mostly ATVs and UTVs) on most ML-3 roads.

BRC News Release with Link to Herger Bill

This is not the first time that Herger as fought for our access rights. Earlier this year, he sent a letter to Secretary Harris Sherman about FS road and trail closures.

HQ Blog with Links to Letters and Overview

This fight for access is welcomed news after yesterday’s punch in the gut announcement by green groups that GOP congressmen had introduced new Wilderness Bills instead of proposing access legislation, or bills to address tax-payer funding of eco-lawsuits, or presidential misuse of the Antiquities Act.

HQ hopes to see a lot more access related legislation and/or scheduling of oversight hearings regarding excessive trail closures in Region 5 and elsewhere.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

1st Land Use Bills from New Congress are Wilderness Bills - What the Heck!

112th Congressional Agenda?

Today, The General is expressing his grave disappointment in the GOP when the very 1st “land-use” bills introduced in the 112th Congress were not bills designed to address road and trail closures by TMR, or the ongoing closure of 70K acres at CCMA to all users, or the reintroduction of EAJA reform legislation to address taxpayer funding of eco-lawsuits gone wild, instead they selected to champion two Wilderness bills in Southern California.

San Diego Union on the Wilderness Bill

Rather then being able to call BRC or AMA and offer kudos regarding an access bill that they had been working on that was introduced today, The General had to call his good friends and colleagues at the California Wilderness Coalition today and congratulate them for being the first out of the blocks with land-use legislation.

See CWC News Release on CA Wilderness Bills

HQ had high hopes for this new pro-access Congress, but those hopes were dashed on the rocks today by the announcement of two Wilderness Bills.

Let’s see what new land-closure initiatives this new Congress unveils tomorrow and in the coming weeks.

Support the 4405 Land-Use Buggy and Help Keep Trails Open

4405 Land Use Buggy

The HQ is proud to feature a very cool fundraising effort by the high-performance rock-crawling community to help keep trails open.

Travis Carpenter will be piloting the famous “4405” land-use buggy on February 11 at an event. Trail supporters of all vehicle types can make a “pledge per mile.”

BRC News Release on 4405 Land-Use Buggy

4405 Donation Site

Over the years, riders have supported BRC and other land use efforts via donations made by clubs, small business, and individuals. Sponsoring a racer on a per mile basis is a novel idea that should be commended.

This year, there will be a lot of OHV access issues where off-road interests will have to be represented by professional land-use advocates, attorneys, and consultants. Fundraisers like this one will continue to be a critical element in keeping the doors open at BRC and elsewhere.

Thanks for your service and support!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Congressman McClintock Says NO to Federal Lands Becoming the "King's Forest"

4WD Trail on Plumas NF

HQ has obtained a Dec. 22 letter (thanks Doc and Pat) sent from a pro-access California congressman to the Chief of the USDA Forest Service reaffirming his vow to see redress from Congress regarding federal lands becoming the “King’s Forest.” Also, important is the letter from Butte County asking for his help!

Dec. 22 Letter from Cong. Tom McClintock to Washington Office of FS (and Butte County request)

On September 14, HQ posted a blog about McClintock’s promise last year to take the FS to task regarding the thousands of miles of historic roads and trails that have been closed by TMR in Region 5. Also, his office is reviewing the ML-3 and cost recovery issues.

2010 Blog about McClintock’s Access Agenda

HQ believes the federal land agencies have had a free ride from House oversight since 2006 when anti-access forces took control of Congress. The General commends Congressman McClintock for taking an interest in access by sending his staff to several OHV Commission meetings and to a number of user meetings with the Eldorado National Forest regarding excessive cost recovery fees.

Unwarranted closures of public land was not right in medieval England nor is it right in 21st Century America. 2011 should be a very active year for public land interests.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Obama/Salazar Launch War on the West Part Deux

Salazar Vision for BLM in 2011?

By now, many of you have already seen articles/alerts about Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s new Wilderness agenda for BLM. The Recreation HQ believes the Holiday season launch of this new program signals the formal beginning of Obama’s 21st Century part deux version of Clinton’s War on the West.

WSJ Article on new Wilderness Agenda

BRC Alert on new Wilderness Agenda

BRC’s Excellent Overview of Salazar’s New Wilderness Agenda (a good and long read)

An initial review between the Obama and Clinton Wars on the West reveals many of the same issues. The federal government is again looking at the need for more designated Wilderness areas, conservation easements/greenbelts, Roadless areas, etc. However, there is a new process by which the BLM analyzes and/or recommends land for closures by naming them as Lands with Wilderness Characteristics (LWCs).

In Clinton’s War on the West, the much-maligned “Timber Industry” was the main player in those fights with OHV and other pro-access interests cast in a supporting role. Today, The General believes that OHV/access interests will have to take the lead since the Timber Industry is pretty much out-of-business on federal lands..

As this saga unfolds, HQ wants to pose the following questions, “Is Salazar the new Bruce Babbitt or just a wannabe and is OHV able to fill the leadership role that Timber once had in part one?” Those questions will be answered in the following months.

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