Sunday, September 25, 2011

HQ Closed Sept. 26-30 - In the field and at meetings all week

HQ will be closed due to week long field trip and meetings.  Will be back Oct. 3

Friday, September 23, 2011

No Place for Ugly Rhetoric in Public Land Use Debate

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

ABC NEWS STORY on CLEAR CREEK - EPA/HFO Makes Case for NRA Designation

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

Is R5 Changing Course on TMR Closure Directives?

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

Closures and Analysis Paralysis Headline Sacramento Field Hearing

Photos: CERA President, Charles Hirst (left) and Hearing Crowd (right) - see if you recognize anyone?

Trail history was made yesterday in California when a congressional subcommittee held a field hearing that was primarily focused on the loss of multiple-use access to, and use of, our national forests.

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

HQ is closed for meetings - Sept. 16-19

HQ is on the road and at meetings Sept. 16-19.  Back in the office on Sept. 20.

Sept. 19 Field Hearing - FS TMR Constructed on Foundation of Sand?

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.

CVC 38001

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

History on National Monument Fight Shows Need for Congressional Fix

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.

Algore's Fraud a Thon Loses Nobel Scientist

Based on some PMs sent to HQ, it does not look like Algore’s Eco Fraud-a-Thon converted any new disciples. In fact, it looks like his climate change crisis mongering lost his movement a Nobel Prize winning scientist.

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

Algore's 24-Hour Eco Fraud-a-Thon Starts Sept. 14

Rare Photo of Algore on a Dirt-Bike

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

Algore’s Website

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

Former Dep. Director of CA OHMVR Dies at Early Age of 44

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 Hits Colorado NF

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…