Wednesday, November 30, 2011
HQ Blog on the Stealing of CA OHV Trust Funds
Info and Copy of Letter to CA State Legislature
Now it seems our federal elected officials plan to steal and/or gut the Recreation Trails Program (a national version –more or less – of the CA OHV Program).
HQ wants to issue a national “all hands on deck” alert asking you to send a letter to your Congressional representative on this issue. Both AMA and ARRA have set up easy to use (I used them myself) alerts with letters they will send for you.
AMA Alert with Letter to Save RTP
ARRA Alert with Letter to Save RTP (go to “Action Needed” Section and click on RTP)
HQ says, “good luck” to future government bodies who ask us to “pay our own way” on recreation projects. What sort of message is government sending when it breaks a promise and then steals or guts a non-taxpayer funded user-pay/user-benefit dedicated fiscal stream to OHV and other forms of recreation? Talk about a thumb in the eye!
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Over the last few years, HQ has written about faux OHV groups who have been created by far left green groups as a way to try and confuse general recreationists and elected officials. One of HQ’s blogs exposed several of these groups as nothing more then a proverbial “Skunk at the Party.”
HQ Blog on Skunks at the Party
BRC article about Skunks at the Party
Based on my experience with fake OHV groups, it came as no surprise when I read over the Thanksgiving Holiday about “Montana Hunters and Anglers” - a faux sportsmen’s group that is nothing more than a political attack dog - seeking to take out Congressman Denny Rehberg (MT) in the 2012 election.
Ron Arnold’s Article on Faux Hunting and Fishing Group in Montana
OHVers in the SF Bay Area got their dose of a closure oriented “sportsmen’s” group several years ago when the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance filed a suit to “protect fishing” at the Carnegie OHV Park. Trouble was that there have never been any fish in the tiny intermittent stream that runs in the center of the park. It was totally a faux issue much like the effort being used to unseat Congressman Rehberg.
Story on the Carnegie Eco-Hoax Fish
Working with legitimate environmental and conservation groups is something I do on a regular basis. However, faux OHV and hunting/fishing groups should have no place in the land-use debate or political process.
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Wednesday, November 23, 2011
HQ wants to share some thoughts with riders today on the eve of Thanksgiving 2011.
As some of you know, I tore (completely detached at the kneecap) my quad muscle in late March this year when I slipped in the mud while doing some yard work at my mom’s house.
Some of you have heard the gory details of that experience, but I will spare this audience from that recap (pardon the pun).
Being almost completely helpless for about 6 weeks and unable to walk taught me several important lessons in patience, humility, and courage. It also helped deepen my appreciation for our military and wounded warriors who come home with devastating injuries.
During my recovery, the thought of being able to ride off-road again seemed like a distant and remote possibility.
I am thankful for my family and friends who helped support and encourage me over the last 7 months. In the great scheme of my life, this injury may only be remembered as a small bump in the road. However, I hope the life lessons learned over the last few months will help make me a better person and leader.
Being out on the trail once again has been uplifting and fun. But it is the character building that I treasure most. Thanks again for all your support and friendship.
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Tuesday, November 22, 2011
HQ believes much of that is based on a downturn in the economy that has hit basically all non-profit land advocacy groups. Also, with most if not all “Wilderness quality” lands being already designated by Congress as federally designated Wilderness, pro-Wilderness groups may have become less relevant in 2011.
HQ was also surprised to learn today that a rather famous environmental law-firm had recently closed its doors. Wildlaw, who had hired a former Bush-era cabinet member as their lobbyist in Washington DC, specialized in anti-OHV and anti-timber lawsuits.
Wildlaw Hiring Mark Rey as their Eco-Lobbyist
Wildlaw Statement on its Closing
HQ believes there is a paradigm shift underway in this country. The proponents of hard-left land-use politics will fall by the trailside and be replaced (or evolve) into more mainstream environmental or conservation groups who have a desire to work collaboratively with OHV organizations and leaders on projects that both protect the environment and allow for responsible OHV recreation on designated roads, trails, and areas.
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Friday, November 18, 2011
Thursday, November 17, 2011
HQ wanted to make sure that riders know about Congressman Darrell Issa’s effort to hold oversight hearing on the California Air Resources Board (CARB).
Nov. 9 Issa Letter to CARB
As you know, unelected CARB regulators create their own arbitrary rules (often behind closed doors) when it comes to automotive, truck, and motorcycle emissions. I have been at CARB hearings where their staff appears more interested in promoting their own political agenda instead of listening to good science brought forth by the public and industry.
HQ believes Congressional oversight of CARB is needed as it is but one of the CA agencies that seems hell-bent on creating one of the most anti-business climates in the country.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
After watching BRC’s Greg Mumm and other panelists testify at the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands hearing yesterday, I got a sick feeling that I just witnessed the agency’s ill-advised commitment to yet another planning boondoggle similar to the 2005 Travel Management Rule.
To address my nausea, I went online to order some Pepto-Bismol but I got a note back that all lines were busy since it appears that most of the environmental law firms in the U.S. were ordering truffles from France, blowfish from the Pacific, walrus blubber from the Far North, and beluga caviar from Russia in celebration of the agency opening up the door for a guaranteed avalanche of new eco-lawsuits. Those suits will be based on the Forest Service’s inability to maintain species viability that will now extend to fungus, microscopic organisms, and bacteria.
HQ has seen what has happened to OHV recreation when the agency did not adequate protect (according to environmental attorneys and courts) the Spotted Owl, the Goshawk, certain frogs, etc. Now the environmental conflict industry will be filing suits seeking court decisions that will close public lands to multiple-use recreation because human activities may harm bacteria and fungus.
If the agency does not substantively change the final planning rule to address the concerns stated by BRC and other panelists yesterday, the Great Off-Road Prognosticator “Donstradamus” foresees that an incalculable number of eco-lawsuits will be filed based on the vague species viability protection requirements in the planning rule.
Monday, November 14, 2011
HQ wanted to alert its followers about the hearing tomorrow being held in Washington D.C. before the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands.
BRC News Release on Nov. 15 Hearing
As HQ understands, BRC’s Greg Mumm will be testifying on three important topics.
The new Forest Planning Rule, TMR, and excessive “cost recovery” charges and other abuses of the special use permitting process.
Nov. 14 - E&E Article on Hearing Tomorrow (A good overview)
FOREST SERVICE: House Resources panel to plumb agency's planning rules, permitting
Phil Taylor, E&E reporter
The House Natural Resources Committee tomorrow will explore a sweeping Forest Service rule that would serve as the template for managing the nation's 193 million acres of forests and grasslands.
The Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands oversight hearing will feature testimony from Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell and will also probe the agency's management of off-highway vehicle access and its issuance of special-use permits.
The agency's draft planning rule, first announced in February, will determine how the agency's 175 national forests and grasslands develop individual management plans, which govern activities from logging to recreation and the protection of endangered plants and animals (E&ENews PM, Feb. 10).
The rule aims to speed planning efforts, incorporate best available science, engage the public and ensure forests' resilience to climate change, pests and other threats, the agency has said.
But it has drawn its share of critics, including Republicans on the House Agriculture Committee, who warned it could open the door to special-interest lawsuits and would fail to ensure timber harvests will increase across the nation's millions of acres of national forests (Greenwire, May 5). Environmental groups have criticized the proposal for giving too much discretion to local forest supervisors and lacking rigid standards for protecting water and wildlife (E&ENews PM, May 16).
The agency has said it intends to finalize the rule by the end of the year.
Tomorrow's discussion will likely also address the agency's implementation of a 2005 travel management planning rule, which Tidwell has said helps ensure motor vehicle users have guaranteed places to ride in the forests.
While supporters credit the rule for preventing motor vehicles from muddying streams, harming fish and spreading weeds, many Republicans and off-highway vehicle users say it has led to the unwarranted closure of trails.
"Congressional oversight is needed regarding the agency's closure of tens of thousands of roads and trails over the last decade," said Greg Mumm, executive director of the Idaho-based BlueRibbon Coalition, a trail access coalition.
Mumm, who was invited to testify at the hearing, said OHV users initially supported the process but that in some cases it has been used to make landscape-level changes to forest plans and close large numbers of existing legal trails and authorized routes.
Some forest supervisors say travel management planning decisions are the most difficult they make.
The issue came to the fore earlier this year when Rep. Wally Herger (R-Calif.) successfully passed an amendment to a House spending bill that would have restricted the agency's implementation of the rule. Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), who voted for the amendment at the time, later panned the move as unnecessary (E&ENews PM, March 11).
Mumm said his group has also recently asked lawmakers to pass a bill that would streamline the agency's issuance of special-use permits, a process he called overly complex and expensive.
Tomorrow's meeting comes less than two months after the committee held a field hearing in California to hear from the Forest Service, state officials and citizens about land-use regulations, policies and actions affecting access to agency lands.
Schedule: The hearing is tomorrow at 10 a.m. in 1324 Longworth.
Witnesses: Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, others to be announced.
Last year HQ wrote a blog with an outline (Next Steps) in TMR called, Designate the $#^&^% Trail
OHV advocates should check with their local Forests to see where they are in Round Two or “Next Steps” of TMR. Some Forests have started project level trail planning – good on them. Some have not. Local clubs and riders have to get involved in Round Two of TMR. Kudos to those who are involved and a swift kick to those who are not.
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Thursday, November 10, 2011
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
In HQ’s opinion, “Round One” of TMR has been a huge failure and public relations nightmare on many units. TMR was supposed to be a positive planning effort to address the proliferation of illegal routes and “unmanaged” OHV use on federal timberlands.
However, instead of focusing their energy to manage OHV recreation, TMR focused on landscape level closures (on many Forests) of thousands of miles of historic and popular roads and trails used by the OHV community and general public.
HQ has believed the key to resolving this rather contentious paradigm was for the agency to move into post subpart B project level trail planning and reestablish a good working relationship with local government and users.
The Shasta Trinity National Forest may be a good case study on finding a way forward based on the news article from the Redding Record Searchlight.
Record Searchlight Article on New Travel Planning Efforts and Restoring Public Trust
HQ on BBQ Diplomacy (Working with Local Counties)
The planning trail efforts ahead will take a lot of work from various stakeholder groups and the agency. HQ wants to commend ROC, RDR, and others in the Redding area for their access efforts. In addition, we want to thank the agency for moving forward on new planning efforts that include site-specific field review (see BRC comments/review of Beegum Project below).
BRC Comment Letter on Shasta T Beegum Project
Kudos to all in the North Country for working in a sincere manner on TMR-related issues.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
As some of you know, the California State Water Resources Board has been reviewing water quality issues for the last 2 years. This is an important topic for OHV interests because our sport could be dramatically impacted by new regulations and/or restrictions developed by the board. HQ is proud of the work that John Stewart (CAL4WD Rep. and BRC Board Member) has done on this project. HQ appreciates the following update from Stewart and believes he is doing an excellent job in representing OHV interests by helping prevent the green lobby from using the board to promote their closure agenda via the regulatory process.
UPDATE FROM JOHN STEWART - OHV LEAD ON WATER BOARD MEETINGS
The California State Water Resources Board has released the revised proposed State Waiver for the USFS Water Quality Management Handbook. The revised draft documents in the proposed State Waiver package can be viewed at: http://www.swrcb.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/nps/wqmp_forests.shtml
A December 6, 2011 meeting at CALEPA in Sacramento has been scheduled for consideration of adoption of: 1) a proposed statewide Waiver of Waste Discharge Requirements for Nonpoint Source Discharges Related to Certain Activities on National Forest System Lands in California, and 2) a supporting Mitigated Negative Declaration
Public comment on proposed changes to the State Waiver will be accepted until November 21. 2011.
After reviewing the changes to the proposed State Waiver, I believe all concerns submitted on behalf of CA4WDC have been adequately addressed. Specifically, the revision clearly articulates that NEPA review applies to all projects and activities initiated under the proposed State Waiver. In addition, clarification of State Categories A and B have been clarified with their relation to USFS “projects and activities”.
With the release of this revision of the proposed State Waiver, the SWRB has clearly noted that a CEQA Environmental Impact Report of the proposed State Waiver as supported by the environmental community and others is not warranted.
The "effect" of this action is that all National Forests in California will now have consistent guidelines dealing with water quality without having to submit each activity or project to the appropriate Regional Water Quality Control Board for approval.
The proposed State Waiver accepts the USFS Water Quality Management Handbook as the guide for the management activities such as road maintenance, grazing, mining, and all activities requiring a permit.
As long as projects comply with the guidance in the Handbook, they should proceed with no extra approval or review necessary. The Handbook, in existence since 2001, has been updated and defines actions to be used by Forest Service, contractors and permittees involved in activities or projects on National Forest lands within California.
Over a period of almost two years, stakeholders have held meetings discussing the Handbook content and the proposed State Waiver. All documents have been circulated for public review and comment. Extensive legal review has been conducted by State Water Board and USFS to ensure compliance with state and federal laws. I have been an active participant in all phases of the discussions and meetings on this topic as the statewide OHV representative selected by USFS staff.
HQ thanks John for his hard work on this issue.
Friday, November 4, 2011
DOI’s Nov. 3 Press Release on Biased 50 State Report
DOI 50 State Recreation Report – PDF file
Some of you may remember when DOI scrubbed OHV recreation from their June 21, 2011 Economic Report.
HQ Blog on June 21, 2011 DOI’s Biased Economic Report
In HQ’s opinion, the continued effort by DOI to whitewash the economic benefit that OHV recreation brings to local communities or to ignore the direct and indirect fiscal benefit of OHV industry-related jobs only continues to erode the agency’s credibility with users, Members of Congress, and the public-at-large.
DOI appears they have made a political miscalculation. Instead of a issuing a report based on fact they fronted a taxpayer-funded document designed to placate their green constituents. Production of biased political propaganda is not something to be proud of unless you really don’t care.