Wednesday, June 29, 2011

CA OHV Commission Sends Letter to Congress on Clear Creek

As many of you know, the OHV commission held a hearing on April 5, 2011 in Hollister to discuss many issues - but the focus of the meeting was to daylight the new OHMVR Asbestos Study that was released on March 22, 2011.

BRC Letter to OHV Commission for April 5 Hearing

After a lot of public testimony, the OHV commission voted to send a letter to Congress expressing their views on Clear Creek.

HQ has obtained copies of a June 21, 2011 letter that was sent by the OHV Commission to the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

June 21, 2011 OHV Commission Letter to the House

June 21, 2011 OHV Commission Letter to the Senate

HQ agrees with the tone and direction of this OHV Commission letter where in its summary it states the continued and proposed permanent closure of CCMA does not appear to be supportable nor in the best interest of the public.

HQ believes this OHV commission letter only strengthens the points made during Amador’s testimony/exhibits about the HFO/EPA’s flawed decision-making process and how that process - based on junk science and personal agendas – was designed to create a defacto-Wilderness area at Clear Creek.

Amador will request this OHV commission letter be added to Exhibit C in his written testimony.
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Friday, June 24, 2011

HQ Post Congressional Hearing Update with Video Links and Overview

Photos Shown During Amador's Oral Testimony on Big Screen in Hearing Chamber

The Recreation HQ knows that a lot of you have already viewed the video and reviewed testimony from the hearing on Recreational Opportunities held on June 22, 2011 by the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands. A number of noted OHV and recreation panelists gave testimony and/or were questioned by committee members on the following topics; economic impacts of recreation, cost recovery, permitted events, volunteer programs, budget issues, management priorities, travel management, and Clear Creek.

HQ believes that this hearing was extremely important for the recreating public, Congress, and the agencies. It is well worth your time to view the entire video and review the testimony of various witnesses. The CCMA/Amador testimony starts at 1:04:50 and the CCMA (including some TMR questions) Q&A starts at 1:19:58.

Link to June 22, 2011 Subcommittee Hearing and Testimony and Video

Many of you know that my testimony was focused on Clear Creek and the efforts by the Hollister Field Office and EPA to continue to use junk science and personal agendas to create a defacto-Wilderness area and erase all evidence of OHV recreation that once existed on the unit.

HQ believes it was important that Congressman John Garamendi attended the hearing to represent the minority. As a former Deputy Secretary at the Department of Interior he is very aware of the Clear Creek issue. As you watch the Q and A you will hear him state that he supported the original emergency closure but was confident that the new science (IERF Report) and pressure from access interests would result in a formal hearing on Clear Creek.

Link to Amador’s Written Testimony

As part of my oral comments, I requested that the following exhibits be placed in the record.

Link to Amador’s Exhibits (21 pages)

For those of you who want to have YouTube links to just the CCMA testimony and Q&A, I have provided the clips below:

Amador Testimony on CCMA

Q&A on CCMA (and some TMR)

HQ believes that OHV recreation is coming of age and making history this year via efforts by pro-access legislators who are addressing trail specific issues such as TMR, permitted events, level 3 roads, and Clear Creek. Chairman Bishop and his committee members should be commended for their hard work on behalf of the recreating public.

HQ also wants to thank all those who have worked hard in the fight to reopen CCMA. Also, the OHV commission should be commended for having the foresight to ask OHMVRD to commission a study regarding potential health risks from NOA. HQ believes that determined riders combined with new science and interest from Congress will greatly increase the chance of CCMA being reopened (or designated open by Congress) for OHV recreation.

PS – I enjoyed the discourse with Chairman Bishop regarding how people from Utah and Humboldt County pronounce “creek.”

Your feedback, comments, AND support are welcome as always.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Recreation Hot Topic at June 22 Congressional Hearing in Wash. DC

The Recreation HQ is very grateful for the opportunity to testify before the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands on June 22, 2011. HQ will be joining a number of distinguished recreation representatives and experts.

Amador will be giving testimony in regards to the ongoing closure of the Clear Creek Management Area. He will be there on behalf of QWR and also be representing the BlueRibbon Coalition as its Western Representative.

There will be a live video feed at the hearing. You can link to it at the video icon on the left portion of the committee website.

House Natural Resources Committee with info on hearing and witness list

BRC Media Advisory

For those who want to read the written testimony with a list of exhibits, please check out the BRC website on Wednesday June 22, 2011 for a News Release with links to testimony and exhibits.

BRC Website

Also, feel free to check out the QWR blog where there is a copy of the invite letter to testify at the hearing.

QWR Blog with Invite Letter

Also, thanks to our good friends at SEMA for sending HQ a copy of a news article today about the hearing. It was written before Amador had been officially confirmed as a witness.

Energy and Environment Article with Quotes from Amador and FS

E&E: (06/20/2011)

PUBLIC LANDS: Lawmakers to explore recreational opportunities, controversies

Phil Taylor, E&E reporter

The House National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee on Wednesday will explore opportunities and controversies surrounding outdoor recreation on public lands, which include hundreds of millions of acres managed by the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service and Forest Service.

The hearing will consider recreational access to public lands and the economic benefits of activities such as hiking, fishing, hunting and off-highway vehicles including snowmobiles.

Visits to recreation sites on BLM-managed lands and waters have increased significantly in recent years, numbering well over 50 million in 2008, the agency said. But despite the increased popularity, controversies over management of the recreational opportunities persist.

Don Amador, Western representative for the Idaho-based BlueRibbon Coalition, which advocates for motorized trail access, said he is concerned a 2008 BLM decision to close access to the Clear Creek management area in California is based on flawed science.

"I'd like to question the decisionmaking behind that closure, I'd like to challenge the science that was used," said Amador, who was invited to testify but was not yet confirmed as a witness by publication time. "It's my hope that Congress will take a look at this."

He said he is also concerned with the Forest Service's 2005 travel management rule and argued it has been used to justify landscape-level closures to motorized recreation, particularly for dirt roads that have been in use for decades.

"Literally thousands of miles of those roads have been closed due to misapplication of the 2005 rule," he said.

The Forest Service manages approximately 280,000 miles of forested roads open to motor vehicle use, Joel Holtrop, deputy chief of the National Forest System, told a Senate panel in 2008. A third of the roads that are managed by the agency, or 47,000 miles, are open to motor vehicle use including over-snow vehicles and motorized watercraft operating on water trails, he said.

Conservation groups have warned that an unregulated rise in off-highway vehicles on public lands can imperil wildlife, destroy sensitive vegetation and cause erosion.

"The first motor vehicle driving across a particular meadow may not harm the land, but by the time 50 motor vehicles have crossed the same path a user-created trail will likely be left behind that causes lasting environmental impacts on soil, water quality and wildlife habitat," Holtrop told the Senate panel.

National forests and grasslands annually receive 192 million visits each year by motorized vehicle users as well as those who camp, hunt, fish, horseback ride, bike and ski, among other things.

About 11.5 million visits on national forests involve motorized vehicle activities, the agency said.

Schedule: The hearing is Wednesday, June 22, at 10 a.m. in 1324 Longworth.

Witnesses: TBA.

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Thanks to all for your service and support!

Friday, June 10, 2011

GOOD NEWS - Shasta Trinity NF Gets NEW OHV Coordinator

The Recreation HQ is proud to announce that a former off-road motorcycle champion has been named to the top OHV Trail Coordinator position for the Shasta Trinity National Forest.

Paul Hart who is currently serving as the trails manager for the Cocinino National Forest will be taking over as the Trails lead on the Shasta Trinity National Forest on July 8, 2012.

Open Letter to Users and Biography of Paul Hart

Talk about a turn around on this Forest. HQ believes this new hire is in response to the public outcry that the Forest had never done ANY trail planning and that a trail planner- with some potential new trail projects lined-out - should be in place before the MVUM is printed.

It’s not often that trail users (both motorized and non-motorized) get good news, but HQ believes that when we do… we should celebrate. Let’s all welcome Hart when he arrives.

Friday, June 3, 2011

SACBEE - Quit Taking Money From the OHV Trust Fund?

The Recreation HQ wanted to share the following SACBEE article related to the ongoing theft of monies from the OHV Trust Fund.

June 3 SACBEE – Quit Taking Our OHV Trust Fund Monies (quotes from BRC, PEER, OHMVR)

According to D36’s Dave Pickett, over the 40 year history of the program over $200 million dollars has been stolen from the OHV program. I remember back in the early 70s when the OHV program was invented. Back then, environmentalists and the legislature told riders that if you let us take your state off-road fuel tax refund… we could have our own user-pay/user-benefit self-funded program

Well after recently doubling the green sticker fee it now looks like enviros and some legislators want to break that promise and continue stealing money from our Trust Fund.

Because of an unquenched thirst for funds from one of the only self-funded state programs, the enviros and some in the legislature feel a sense of entitlement from a program where riders already feel double-taxed and betrayed by the long history of “loans.”

Rather than steal money from the OHV program, PEER and some legislators should look for ways to make regular state parks more relevant, cost-effective, and self-funded.

Regarding the $200 million dollars - HQ wants to cite a quote from a popular and funny TV ad…”It’s MY money and I want it back.”

HQ says quit taking our money and pay back what you have stolen. And, stay off the slippery slope of interagency money shifting.