Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Roadless Court Decision - Greens and Court Validate OHV Recreation

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

HQ TMR UPDATE - Mistakes in Tahoe National Forest MVUM

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: awestling@fs.fed.us

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

STONYFORD UPDATE - County Closes Correctional Facility, Land Exchange in Limbo

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 Closed Oct. 13-16

HQ will be in the field Oct. 13-16.  Will reopen on Oct. 17

EPA Champions Closure Agenda at Clear Creek in Letter to Congress

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

HQ on Buying a Dual Sport Motorcycle in 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

A Solar Solution to Your RV Battery's Charging Needs

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

Gov. Signs AB42 - Link to More SVRAs in CA?

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

BREAKING NEWS - County Votes to Petition Congress to Designate Clear Creek as NRA


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

Oct. 4 - County May Petition Congress to Designate Clear Creek as National Recreation Area

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.