Monday, February 28, 2011

HQ ACTION ALERT - Cong. Hearing March 1 - Send Letter About "Wild Lands" Policy NOW

New "Wild Lands" Policy Signs

Per chance some riders are not aware of a Congressional hearing tomorrow regarding the Department of Interior’s new “Wild Lands” policy, HQ wanted you to be sure and utilize the BRC’s letter generator to let Congress know how you feel about more land closures.

Earlier today, BRC issued a National Alert on the congressional hearing tomorrow. Although the main focus of the hearing is how this 21st Century de facto Wilderness designation could impact rural economies and businesses, HQ believes recreationists should weigh about their loss of access as well.

BRC Alert with Background Information and Letter Generator

HQ already sent a letter in using this system. It is real easy. Please take a few minutes to send in your letter about how you feel regarding this new (it’s really nothing new… just a not so cleaver repackaging of Wilderness or other non-motorized land designation/classification schemes) closure plan.

HQ knows a lot of you have been fighting other state and federal land-use battles throughout the West, but it is important for you and your friends to stay on point and send in a letter on this issue too.

Thanks in advance for your service!

Congressman to Join New Mexico Rally Against FS Road Closures on March 5

For several years, The Recreation HQ has posted numerous examples of where the Forest Service’s 2005 Travel Management Rule has been misused by the agency to effect landscape level closures in California and elsewhere.

OHVers in Oregon had over 2,300 miles of jeep roads closed to non-street legal use in a recent travel decision. BRC, MIC, MTVRA, and other groups sued and won to reopen closed OHV trails and campsites in Montana

See News Release on Montana victory

In another case, BRC, Del Norte County, and user groups had to file suit to stop the agency from using travel decisions to illegal rip up historic roads.

Blog on Miracle in Del Norte County

Now it seems the fight against unreasonable closures has moved south to New Mexico where Congressman Steve Pearce is joining a rally against road closures on March 5

News Release from Congressman Steve Pearce on March 5 Rally Against FS Road Closures

HQ remembers when the modern version of TMR was born. That event -- which has turned into a land-use version (circa 2002-2003) of “Rosemary’s Baby” -- came out of an idea hatched between wilderness advocates (who were in charge of the CA OHV Commission at the time), the FS, and even some in the OHV community.

TMR even in its early stages was never sold to the OHV community as a program to effect landscape level closures. Yet it somehow morphed into plans that on some Forests have resulted in 100 percent closures or closures of thousands of miles of historic roads and trails on other units.

HQ applauds Congressman Steve Pearce and the public land access interests in New Mexico for standing up against a program that has really nothing to do with “land management” but in many cases is simply a political decision made to champion the closure agenda of extreme environmental groups.

Friday, February 25, 2011

A California Native Sends Letter to Budget Committee to Protect the "Trust" in the OHV Trust Fund

The Recreation HQ wants to thank all the OHVers (and even those few from the environmental community) who have already sent in letters and/or made phone calls to state government officials urging them not to raid the OHV Trust Fund.

HQ also wants to thank all the OHV groups such as AMA, D36, BRC, ROC, ARRA, CORVA, CAL4, D37 and many others who either sent in letters on company letterhead, posted alerts, and/or attended hearings.

As the Budget Conference Committee meets over the next few days, HQ believes it is important now for you to send in your personal letter on this subject NOW.

Don Amador, as a California Native, submitted the letter below this a.m. to the committee members and also sent it to his own representatives. Keep those letters coming in. I believe they have already made a difference and if the OHV Program survives it will the result of YOUR involvement.


February 25, 2011

Budget Conference Committee
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 92449

RE: Don’t Betray the “Trust” on the OHV Trust Fund

Dear Budget Conference Committee Members:

I write to you today as a California native and a strong supporter of the California Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Program. And, I urge you not to betray the public “trust” again by illegally taking user-pay/user-benefit monies from the OHV Trust Fund.

As a teenager in the late 1960s-70s, I remember filling out a state gas tax refund form where I got a refund from the state treasurer based on the amount of fuel I used when driving my OHV off-road (non-paved dirt roads). I also remember the promise made to me by the proponents of the Chappie-Z’berg Act of 1971 (that established the California OHV Program) that they would use these dedicated “trust” funds to manage motorized recreation. I trusted them.

Over the years, that trust has been betrayed on a number of occasions by both Republican and Democrat officials. In fact, there have been two lawsuits filed by the OHV community that successfully challenged the state government’s legal authority to raid the OHV Trust Fund.

As a member of the negotiating team (OHV, environmentalists, legislature, Governor’s Office) that met throughout the summer of 2007 to hammer out SB742 (the new OHV Program), I remember the group worked hard to make sure that protecting the “trust” in the OHV Trust Fund was a key statutory tenet of that legislation.

Today, I urge your committee to not betray the public-trust again by taking OHV money that is not yours to take.



Don Amador
California Native
555 Honey Lane
Oakley, CA 94561
Phone: 925.625.6287


Keep those letters coming and thanks for your service!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

DEFCON ONE Alert to CA OHV Community - Stop Weekend Raid on OHV Trust Fund


After the California Budget Conference Committee’s discussion today about the fiscal future of the CA OHV Program, the Recreation HQ is issuing its first DEFCON ONE ALERT.

Folks, the Committee postponed a vote to steal the money today but will be meeting between now and over the weekend until they decide how much money they want to take from the OHV Trust Fund. I heard from one government staffer who witnessed bogus testimony from the California Legislative Analyst’s Office staff about how they have a right to steal dedicated funds. This person said it was the most embarrassing display of bad government they had ever seen.

HQ believes these proposals to steal money from the OHV Program is a gross violation of the public trust and betrays both the spirit and intent of SB742. How can they ever ask the OHV community and OHV leaders to work with them in a collaborative manner if they do this? Nobody I know will ever trust them including me.

This DEFCON ONE ALERT is being issued because HQ believes that both the Grants Program (trails, restoration, law enforcement, and safety) and the Division (SVRAs, grant staff, scientists, other professionals) are now both equally at risk (before they had just talked about gutting the Division side of the program).

HQ is asking that you share this information with your local county supervisors, sheriffs, FS, BLM, and other grant recipients and ask them to contact the Budget Conference Committee Members AND their own Assembly members, State Senators, and Governor to petition them to honor the OHV Trust Fund. It will be the rural counties and users that get hurt the most if the OHV Trust Fund is sacked.

Key Budget Conference Committee Contacts


Bob Blumenfield - Chair Dem-40 (916) 319-2040

Felipe Fuentes Dem-39 (916) 319-2039

Diane L. Harkey Rep-73 916) 319-2073

Jim Nielsen Rep-2 (916) 319-2002

Nancy Skinner Dem-14 (916) 319-2114


Mark Leno – Vice Chair (916) 445-4722

Bill Emmerson Rep-37 (916) 327-2187

Bob Huff Rep-29 (916) 651-4036

Alan Lowenthal Dem-27 (916) 327-9113

Gloria Negrete McLeod Dem-32 (916) 445-0128

AMA Alert[capwiz:queue_id

HQ thanks all of you who have already sent in letters and made phone calls. However, we urge you to keep the pressure on through the weekend. Please share this information with your local elected officials. HQ will also be sending in additional letters and making phone calls over the next few days.

Thanks for your service!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Shasta-Trinity National Forest Announces OHV Tech Position - Applications Due March 14

Popular Single-Track Trail on Shasta-Trinity NF
Let's Get it Designated!

As many of you know, the Shasta-Trinity National Forest is wanting to develop a formal OHV recreation program to work on post-subpart B trail projects that were not part of the original TMR subpart-B planning effort.

HQ wants to thank his friends with the Redding Dirt Riders for sending this employment announcement about a new trail position on the Shasta-Trinity NF.

NOTE below from FS regarding position

The Shasta-Trinity National Forest is advertising to fill a Recreation Forestry Technician (OHV) GS-0462-09 with a duty station of Redding, California. Please share this information with your network or others who may be interested. If interested in this position, apply to the vacancy announcement number listed below by March 14, 2011.

11-0514140000-02724G-MFS (Current or previous permanent federal employees or excepted hiring status)

11-0514140000-02724DP-MFS (open to the public) The vacancy announcement for this position is listed on the USAJOBS website:

and applications can be completed at

Please contact Brenda Tracy at (530)-226-2430 or
for further information.


HQ asks that you forward this information to your trail network. This is a very good step in the right direction.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

HQ ACTION ALERT - Send Letter to Congress Urging Them to Lift the Ban on Youth OHVs

STOP What You Are Doing and SEND Letter NOW

Since early in 2009, the Recreation HQ has posted a number of blogs regarding the functional ban by government agencies on the sale of youth sized OHVs. Fortunately, the Motorcycle Industry Council has been at the forefront of an effective national campaign to have Congress resolve this issue.

Currently, there is a bill in Congress - H.R. 412 - that offers a legislative fix to this mess. This ban has not only hurt families who like to ride together but it has been a contributing factor to many dealerships going out-of-business.

Please take a few minutes to watch the video and then click on the email link to send a letter to Congress urging them to solve this issue.

I sent my letter in this morning just before posting this blog. HQ urges you to send a letter as well and forward this alert to your entire email network.

MIC Action Alert with Video and Letter Link Urging Congress to Lift the Ban on Youth Sized OHVs

BRC Action Alert on National Effort to Lift the Ban on Youth Sized OHVs

News Article about Lifting the Ban

Thanks for taking time to help urge Congress to lift the ban on small OHVs.

Monday, February 14, 2011

MUST SEE OHV TV - View Feb. 10 Assembly Hearing on OHV Program

Last week you got an alert from HQ about a run on the OHV fund by the Assembly Budget Subcommittee #3. As I stated in my alert, HQ got the news from AMA’s Nick (Paul Revere) Haris on the night before the hearing.

************ Background Info ************************************

Feb. 10 Alert with BRC Letter and Other Info

Feb 11 Thank You from HQ


Thanks to the California Channel you can view the hearing. Some riders ask what do you professional OHV advocates do for us? Well, here is one time where you can see us standing up for you in front of a legislative body that has proposed to borrow (some call it stealing) or reallocate (fungible) OHV Trust Funds for other non-OHV uses.

Starting at about 1:56 into the video you will see the OHV hearing segment. Shortly after it starts you will see state park officials defend the OHV program. Then you will see my good friend Reed Addis (green lobbyist) support the assembly staff’s recommendations to steal money from the OHV fund. Then you will see Nick Haris (AMA), Terry McHale (OHV Lobbyist), Don Amador (BRC), Dave Picket (D36) and representatives from CAL4WD, RTF/Pirate4x4, ROC, and others. You will also see the post testimony discussion by the elected officials. There are a number of interesting comments. Watching this video is an important lesson in why OHV has to be involved in the legislative and political process.

Link to Video (Must see OHV TV)

Thanks again to all who wrote letters and called their elected officials. It has and will continue to make a difference. This episode only reinforces the axiom here at the HQ that… “All land-use decisions are political decisions.”

# # #

Friday, February 11, 2011

OHV Hearing Victory in Sacramento - Thank You!

HQ has been in involved in OHV politics for over 20 years and has seen almost every kind of gamesmanship played in various venues. However, the game that ensued yesterday will go down in the OHV history books as the “Day OHV Stood Up and Fought Back.”

I testified before the committee that as a member of the negotiating team for SB 742 (the current OHV program) that met almost every weekend over the summer of 2007 --- I was stunned that I only found out about hearing’s assault on the OHV program at 6 p.m. the night before. And, I had to ask for their understanding if my letter had a few typos because I had to stay up until midnight reviewing online documents and then get up at 3:30 a.m. to write a letter to the committee members and send out an OHV alert.

I also told them that the attempt to reclassify most of the OHV Trust Funds as fungible (i.e. we can spend it on anything we want) was in conflict with the tightly crafted statutory requirements of SB 742. So that between the Governor “sweeping” the $26 million dollar OHV reserve fund on Tuesday, proposing to take $5 million dollars for bogus ranger patrols in closed parks, and calling our funds “fungible” – they would basically destroy the OHV program as enacted by SB 742.

HQ was proud of all the OHV representatives that showed up and gave factual and professional presentations. Also, state park executive staff defended the program and challenged many committee staff assumptions and recommendations.

HQ wants to thank all of you who took action yesterday when we sent out our CODE RED “Broken Arrow” Alert. HQ got calls on its cell phone from riders up and down the state who sent letters and/or made phone calls to their elected officials.

The quote of the day was when Chairman Richard Gordon said – after hearing all the testimony - he was pulling the OHV agenda items because …”there is something going on here that is way above my pay grade.” HQ believes he was right. There was something going on and it was a clear attempt by anti-OHV political forces to gut the OHV program.

Yesterday was a victory for responsible OHV recreationists. But as all of you know, there will be other battles to be fought in Sacramento and elsewhere. The OHV War saga never ends. HQ is thankful the OHV community has grown stronger over the last few years and is up to the task. Stay tuned for the next update on activities under the Dome in Sacramento.

*Funny side note: For those of you who watched the hearing on the video feed, you missed the strong odor of bacon frying during the discussion of the High Speed Rail Authority. The smell of pork was so strong that it made several people hungry enough to go eat a second breakfast. On the other hand, it made a large number of people sick when they heard about the hundreds of millions of dollars that are being flushed down the toilet on this pie in the sky project.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

CODE RED ALERT - OHV Trust Fund Under Attack in Sac - Letters Needed by 9:30am Today

HQ is sending out a “broken arrow” alert, which means “all hands on deck” -- our OHV program is under attack. Your help with a letter or by attending the Assembly Budget Committee #3 Hearing today at 9:30 a.m. in Room 437 at the State Capitol is urgently requested.

Thanks to a heads-up by my good friend, Nick Haris (AMA), late yesterday, HQ found out that the Assembly Budget Committee #3 Hearing on Monday February 7 had said they would not look at OHV budget issues until sometime in May. Suddenly on Wednesday, Nick finds out that the committee plans to review OHV budget issues TODAY!

One of the most outrageous proposals by the committee is to consider most if not all of the OHV Trust Fund to be “fungible.” In simple terms… that means that the legislature or bureaucrats can use that money for almost anything they want including non-OHV issues. Yes folks, that means we would not have an OHV program.

Secondly, they want to take $5 million dollars to hire state park rangers to patrol a yet to be determined list of “closed parks” to protect them from an assumption that there will be illegal OHV activity there. If there is trespass, that is a local crime issue that should be handled by the sheriff. If they are going to hire park rangers to patrol closed parks, why not have the park rangers patrol an open park?

I am asking you to FAX or email the Assembly Budget Committee # 3 today by 9:30 am. TODAY.  I will be there in person to testify. If you cannot attend, I believe they will be broadcasting it on video feed (check assembly website for link)

Contact info for committee members

OHV First Up on Agenda Today

Governor’s Budget

For reference, I will cut and paste my BRC letter to the committee on the concerns I have. Remember to be respectful when you send in letters. However, passion about your sport is encouraged at the HQ.


February 10, 2011

The Honorable Richard S. Gordon, Chair
Assembly Budget Committee # 3
State Capitol
P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 92449

RE: Feb. 10 Hearing - Concerns About Impacts to OHV Program

Dear Chairman Gordon and Committee Members:

As a native of California and a strong supporter of the California Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Program at State Parks, I write to your committee with strong concerns and objections to a number of proposals that could seriously impact the future and viability of this unique “user-pay/user-benefit” state park program.

I was first alerted to your committee’s actions on February 7 and the proposed actions for today’s hearing by a representative of the American Motorcyclists Association. Due to the late notice of your committee’s proposed action, I apologize in advance for any misinterpretation of the facts and figures and commit to further analysis as well as working with your staff on these issues. Trying to weave through the various public documents with little review time was difficult at best.


Before stating my concerns, I want to thank the subcommittee for its apparent support of several pro-active and important OHV-related proposals in the Governor’s budget that includes storm water compliance, updates to general plans, land surveys/acquisition feasibility studies, $27.1 million dollars for the local assistance program, and the capital outlay budget.


Breech of the Public Trust

BRC urges your committee to reject what we feel is an incorrect informal opinion made by the Legislative Counsel in 2009 that the gasoline tax fees and SVRA entrance fees are fungible which means that up to $75 million dollars of the OHV Trust Funds could be spent by the legislature or state park department for any related or non-related OHV use. As part of the 2007 negotiating team (OHV, environmental, Governor’s Office) for SB 742 the new OHV program, I believe the use of this informal opinion would create a serious breech of the public trust because OHV leadership and state government promised the OHV community that if they would double their vehicle license fees and agree to a substantive environmental restoration program that the OHV Trust Fund would be respected and honored by the legislature. Again, this fungible concept places the entire OHV program in jeopardy and would be in conflict with the legislative intent of SB 742.

Sweeping of the OHV Reserve Fund

Recently, Governor Brown cancelled the proposed sale of 11 state properties and stated that to make up some of the difference his office would sweep special fund reserves. At this point it appears there is $25.6 million dollars in the OHV Reserve Fund. Again, this appears to be a breech of the public trust according to promises made to the OHV community in the process of enacting SB742. BRC believes the sweeping of this fund could also threaten the OHV program’s ability to fulfill its legislative mandate to provide for environmentally responsible OHV recreation in this state.

Appropriating $5 million dollars for “Closed Park” Law Enforcement

BRC believes this action is ill advised and premature. There is no list yet that is available to the public. The 2005 Bureau of State Audits Report on the OHV program found these types of “taking” to not be in compliance the legislative intent of the OHV program. As you know, these funds have been directed by the legislature to be used exclusively to support legal OHV opportunities. BRC believes the “assumption” that OHV crimes will occur in closed state parks is speculative at best. Secondly, if there is OHV trespass it is a local crime issue best handled by the sheriff’s department. It does not make sense to hire state park rangers to patrol a closed park. If you hire park rangers, you should have them patrolling an open park.

Also, there are a number of rural state park units that have or have had legal OHV opportunities such as Tolowa Dunes, Red Rock Canyon, and Anza-Borrego. If those units or similar units are on the closure list, state parks should work with the OHV program or county parks to see if they could operate them and keep the units open for public use. Having a park that is relevant to the local and visiting public could help keep it in business.


BRC urges the committee to slow down and take more time to review the serious implications of our aforementioned concerns on both the short and long term viability of the OHV program in California. Let’s keep our promises that we made to the OHV community in SB 742.

Respectfully submitted,


Don Amador
Western Representative
BlueRibbon Coalition, Inc.
555 Honey Lane
Oakley, CA 94561
Office: 925.625.6287

The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible recreation, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. With members in all 50 states, BRC is focused on building enthusiast involvement with organizational efforts through membership, outreach, education, and collaboration among recreationists. 1-800-BlueRib -

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

SF Bay Area Democrat Asked to Co-Sponsor H.R. 242 - Herger's TMR Bill

Several weeks ago, HQ issued a challenge to OHV enthusiasts to try and generate support for H.R. 242 by getting co-sponsors for it. As you know, Congressman Wally Herger introduced that legislation to try and address the many closure tenets of TMR in CA.

Well, it looks like at least one of you took that challenge. Eric Lueder, a registered democrat and constituent of SF Bay Area Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey sent her a letter on February 4, 2011 asking her to support H.R. 242.

Link to Letter from Eric Lueder (who is also an OHV commissioner)

HQ continues to urge riders in other states to petition their Member of Congress to either co-sponsor H.R. 242 or to introduce a similar bill if the OHV community in their area got the short end of the stick regarding local TMR plans.

January 27, 2011 Blog with H.R. 242 Info/Articles/Etc.

Please send HQ a copy of any letters that you send regarding this issue. The trails you save may just be the ones you used to ride on.

Monday, February 7, 2011

High Country News Explains 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Victory

A lot of riders cheered our recent legal victory when the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned its long-standing “federal defendant” rule making it easier for OHV, timber, ranchers, and other natural resource interests to intervene in environmental lawsuits.

However, many users did not really understand what it actually meant to the OHV community and the impact it would have on the access fight. Fortunately for HQ readers, our friends at the sometimes-left leaning High Country News published an excellent article that helps explain the court ruling.

High Country News Article (a good read)

If you would like some more background on this court ruling you can ck. out the Jan. 14 blog link below that has a video clip of the attorneys arguing before the court panel.

Jan. 14 Blog on Case with video link

This legal win is something that you all should be proud of.

Friday, February 4, 2011

High Sierra Showdown on Feb. 15 - Regular Folks v. TNC in Fight at Independence Lake

Map of Independence Lake (click on photo to enlarge)

Back in August 26 of 2010, HQ featured a story about a small but determined band of local recreationists fighting for their historic access rights at Independence Lake located in the Sierra Nevada. It is one of those all to familiar and tragic stories where a land trust comes and “buys’ up acreage and does not tell the local folks that they will be turning that land into de facto Wilderness.

Aug. 26 Blog on Fight between The Nature Conservancy and Local Recreationists

Since that post, the Friends of Independence Lake have been aggressively fighting for their access rights to a lake that many families have used for generations. Those efforts have resulted in the Sierra County Board of Supervisors taking up that issue on Feb. 15 at a board meeting in Loyalton, CA.

Feb. 15 Sierra County Board of Supervisors Meeting at Loyalton[view]=day&month=02&year=2011&day=15

It’s not just lake access that has been impacted, but general public motorized use of historic county roads. Some of those roads are gated and use by street legal and non-street legal OHVs and OSVs are at risk as well.

For a current overview of the battle, please go to the Friends of Independence Lake and read their story. It is important for users to show up and let the board know that they should defend continued OHV and OSV access as well as historic boat access at the lake.

Friends of Independence Lake Website (great overview of issue and how taxpayers are helping fund closures like this - read about how Grandpa was told to take a hike)

If you want to find out more about what land trusts and other green interests are doing to attack your access and property rights, feel free to visit the Property Rights Foundation of America’s website below. They have a lot of good information.

Property Rights Foundation of America’s Website

HQ urges all access interests in the Loyalton area or others who recreate in or near Independence Lake to attend the Feb. 15 BOS meeting.  Since my August 26 blog, I have talked with several retired FS staffers who know the area and they feel that the lake should have gone to the FS where that agency would have kept it open for multiple-use recreation.
# # # 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Green Lust For Closures Exposed in new Subpart A Lawsuit filed in CO

As the green’s continue to quench their thirst (or lust) for road and trail closures throughout the West by filing a flurry of “Subpart A” lawsuits in ID, CA, and NV, the HQ was not surprised today when it read about the enviros filing yet another Subpart A lawsuit against the Pike-San Isabel National Forest in Colorado.

Feb. 1 Article on New Subpart A Lawsuit Filed in CO

Copy of Complaint filed in CO (go to page 27 - #78 where it talks about TMR "minimization criteiria" which is code for linking funding to road and trail miles)

For those if you who follow blogs at the Recreation HQ, this issue is nothing new. In fact, HQ has a rather impressive archive of the new Subpart A legal fights.

Subpart A Lawsuit Filed in NV

Subpart A Lawsuit Filed in CA and the Green’s Lust for Closures

OHV Interests have intervened in the CA case as outlined on page 20 in the Jan. 2011 Issue of the online BRC Magazine. The was no financial support from OHV interests in ID to intervene in that Subpart A case… we can’t let that happen anywhere else.

BRC Jan. 2011 Magazine

Legal Update on Stanislaus Subpart A Lawsuit:

Stanislaus TMR Suit (U.S. Eastern District of
California). Recall BlueRibbon and other multiple-use
interests including the California Association of 4
Wheel Drive Clubs, Modesto Dirt Riders, Modesto
Houndsmen, District 36 Motorcycle Sports
Committee and CORVA moved to intervene. This
case involves a challenge to the Stanislaus National
Forest Travel Management Plan, primarily raising the
“subpart A” issue suddenly popular in the preservation
community. The parties successfully reached a
stipulation on the motion, allowing the Recreation
Groups into the case under the same basic terms as in
the Eldorado litigation, which is also pending in the
Eastern District of California. The case is on a
relatively quick schedule, with briefing to begin in
February, conclude on March 20, and oral argument
already set for March 27, 2011.

BRC is working with NV recreation interests to see if they will support an intervention in the Bridgeport lawsuit. HQ expects that OHV interests will have to intervene in the CO case as well. This is important stuff folks, as the greens continue to shop for a court that will link the miles of roads/trails that the public can use to funds appropriated by Congress with no consideration for the needs of the public or the resource.