10 - President Obama takes family to Yellowstone and
tours the area on snowmobiles.The
president enjoys it so much that he issues an executive order that codifies OSV
use there in perpetuity.
9 - Federal land agencies official adopt “OHV recreation”
as the only cost-effective management tool to eradicate non-native invasive plant
species in coastal dune areas.OHV use
is prescribed and rotated in both motorized and non-motorized dune areas to
address encroachment of non-native vegetation into open dune areas which are
prime breeding grounds for the snowy-plover.Snowy-plover populations skyrocket as a result.
8 - EPA’s resigning director, Lisa Jackson, joins a long
list of retired anti-OHV federal employees at PEER’s faux OHV group called
Responsible Trails America.Jackson and
RTA work to implement national speed limits, “no tire spin,” and “no jumping” travel
policies (see sign below) so OHV can comply with the new EPA “OHV Dust Rule.”
7 - A pro-OHV benefactor in Germany or France donates $5M
to several non-profit OHV organizations in the USA to help prevent off-road riding
opportunities on public lands in America from suffering the same fate (i.e.
banned) as they have in Europe.
6 - Kid Rock or another OHV friendly recording artist
releases a new single that extols the virtues of family-oriented motorized
recreation.The song tops the charts in
a few weeks and remains popular for several months.
5 - At least two Indian Tribal councils in the West vote
to open an OHV park.Those new
facilities will include hardened campsites; some RV hookups, designated trail
systems of at least 75 miles, and a kiddie track where parents can watch their
youngsters learn to ride.
4- Several Congressional members start a new “OHV caucus.”This bipartisan body works hard to address
excessive trail closures on public lands and to also streamline the route
designation process.The cost-recovery issue
is reviewed as well.
3 - The 1st ever urban “all-electric” OHV park
is approved in a large metropolitan area to encourage use of electric-powered
OHVs.The Department of Interior decides
to help support the project by installing a large wind turbine that will
provide taxpayer subsidized free charging stations for the users.
2 - The CA OHV local assistance grants program gets
welcome boost when the attorney general’s report finds that all 35M of the hidden
“OHV money” in the state parks scandal can be used to restore the grants
program to 26M for the upcoming grants cycle. The report also recommends that all OHV-related
funding pots receive permanent protection from future raids by the legislature.
1 - Realizing that OHV use is an important partner in resource
management and land access, The Nature Conservancy creates a new branch of OHV
Recreation at their main headquarters.TNC’s new endeavor identifies numerous OHV opportunities on their
existing inholdings which becomes an important factor in the public/private
land recreational opportunity matrix.
BONUS PREDICTION: Luddite movement grows in OHV community
as more riders cast aside GPS units because they are too distracting.Instead, they choose to rely on maps and
traditional pathfinder skills to navigate public roads and trails.
# # #
Happy New Year from Donstradamus and the Recreation HQ!
The Recreation HQ wants to send out very heartfelt and warm Christmas
wishes to all the OHVers, conservationists, federal, state, and local land
managers, legislators/staff, media, academia, aftermarket, Industry, legal
experts, clubs, and fellow advocates who visit with us here on recreation and
2012 has been a very busy year and HQ is looking forward to
taking a short break over the Holidays to recharge the batteries and enjoy this
very special time of year with family and friends and we encourage you to do
The Recreation HQ will be closing its entry gate from Friday
December 21 (3pm) until January 2, 2013.However, we will continue to monitor breaking news that could impact our
sport and will post those important updates on an as needed basis.So take a few days off and be assured we have
PS – The Great Donstradamus will be working on his new
predictions for 2013 and will post those on December 31, 2012.
Here is a link to his predictions for this past year
HQ wanted to give the riders and fans of Stonyford a
pre-Christmas update on the proposed Mill Fire Salvage Timber Project.First, thanks to all of you who sent in
letters.I heard from several of you
that it was the 1st time you had ever written a comment letter -
good on you for being part of the solution.HQ was impressed with the number of letters submitted as well as the
content. I have heard the FS was impressed
Based on discussions with agency staff last week, I
believe the FS will utilize many of our comments in a revision of project and
craft it to minimize impacts to system trails and to restore those trail
segments back to trails after the project.Also, HQ understands they will schedule the project so as to not impact
the Fall enduros (i.e.Fall enduros will
happen in 2013 and beyond) and only work during the week when ridership is low.
HQ understands the OHV Program Manager and the Forest
Recreation Officer are now official team members of the project.Giving recreation and trails a seat at the planning
table is a good thing!
Logging on federal lands (including post-fire salvage
operations) is a very complex issue in the 21st Century.Trails, sensitive and threatened species, storm
water runoff, forest resource goals, congressional mandates, court rulings, recreation,
and potential litigation are all part of the puzzle that must be pieced
together by agency staff in preparation for the timber sale.Salvage timber sales are even more
complicated by time sensitivity due to insect predation on the dead and dying
timber if the agency (and taxpayer) expects to sell any of the logs to help pay
for the project (and create some local jobs in the process too).
HQ would like to encourage you to read a rather long
article on various concepts related to post-fire salvage operations on federal
lands – it is a good read.
HQ is optimistic that as we head into the Christmas and
New Year Holiday season that OHVers have averted being given a lump of coal by
the Mendocino NF’s original proposal and instead have the promise of being able
to once again enjoy OHV recreation there including permitted events for many
seasons to come.
The Recreation HQ believes that the Coos County
Resolution (see below) articulates a well thought out foundation for a desired
future condition for the OR Dunes.HQ
believes the agency has underestimated the resolve of the counties/users/small
business owners to fight back against their effort to implement the 1994
Management Plan (actually that is a misnomer since it only focused on areas to
close to OHV recreation and did not address the most important issue impacting
the dunes and that is the encroachment of non-native vegetation).
One option for the counties is to ask the FS to do a supplemental DEIS because they
failed to properly analyze and create alternative(s) that address the real
environmental crisis that is impacting the dunes nor did he vet the economic
impact that the decision will have on OHV tourism.
Another option is for the counties to engage the OR
congressional delegation to help direct (i.e. new legislation, direct talks,
etc.) the FS to develop a travel plan that fosters both a robust OHV program
and a dune restoration program that deals with the encroachment of non-native vegetation
that is taking over the open sand dune areas.
Getting the congressional delegation involved on another
Forest’s travel plan was key to having the Wallowa-Whitman NF withdrawn their proposal
due to a massive closure of routes.Their
help may be needed to encourage the FS to push the “reset button” on the
current dunes travel planning process.
Link to article on travel plan withdrawn on
Many of the key tenets below were stated in the Coos
County Resolution.They should be non-negotiable
going forward for the long-term protection and restoration of the OR Dunes to
their 1972 condition of being mostly open dunes.
·Re-designate all 10C areas to 10B open riding
areas – for about 11K total acres open for OHV
·Reestablish the Resource Advisory Council
·Aggressively attack the encroachment of
non-native vegetation in the non-motorized areas and utilize OHV recreation as
a veg. management tool as well.
·Cooperate and formally consult with the counties
Also, here is a great TV news story that recently ran on
the Dunes issue.One of the best OHV TV
stories ever done on our sport.
Great News from the Recreation HQ!As many of you know, HQ and other riders are
concerned about the current proposal by the FS to severely restrict OHV
recreation (particularly in the sand trail areas) at the OR Dunes.The public comment period for the Travel DEIS
was supposed to end on Dec. 10.
However, because of a lot of hard work by Save the Oregon
Dunes club with help and support from BRC,local businesses, and county officials the
Forest Service extended the public comment period until Jan. 24, 2013 to give Coos,
Douglas, and Lane counties a chance to place the DEIS for the Oregon Dunes
Travel Plan on their county commission agendas as an action item.
HQ believes the current preferred Alternative 4 in the
DEIS is simply a recipe for disaster because it does not recognize the
important role that OHV recreation has in managing encroachment of non-native
plant species into the open dune areas.Over time, new portions of the open dune riding area would have to be
fenced off each year to provide habitat for species such as the Snowy Plover
(it needs open sand to nest).In 15-20
years, there would be no OHV recreation because of the need to continually close
off more open sand areas for the plover.OHV recreation as we know it would go extinct at the Dunes.
Stay tuned as this issue continues to develop.Let’s hope the FS, local users, and the
counties can come up with a long-term strategy (modified Alt. 5?) that will protect both OHV
recreation and natural resources for generations to come.
As many of you know, the Mendocino National Forest is
proposing to do a salvage timber sale to address various resource and safety
issues that resulted from the Mill Fire this summer.Generally, most recreationists are not
arbitrarily opposed to responsible salvage timber operations that protect the
resource and help in the area’s recovery so that it can be once again enjoyed
by the public.However, this proposal
appears to have been created in a vacuum with basically no input from
recreation professionals within the agency.
Although the public comment period for this current scoping
period does not end until December 17, we feel it is important for you to
immediately petition the Forest Service to withdraw the proposal and rescope it
so that it analyzes potential impacts to OHV recreation and other public uses.
Your letters do not have to be long or thoroughly exhaust an
issue.Rather, each letter should
address your history of use at the area, any expertise you have in recreation
or resource management, issues that concern you, and suggestions on how the
agency can improve the planning documents.
Here are key bullet points:
Ask the agency withdraw and rescope the Project due to
planning deficiencies that failed to analyze or disclose the following issues.
to recreation program
to current and future OHV grants from OHMVR •Impacts
to FS system roads and trails •Impacts
to permitted OHV events such as enduros and dual-sport rides •Site-specific
NEPA is required if system trails are converted to roads •Impacts
to ongoing post-fire trail rehabilitation by FS and state park trail crews •Is
plan to “clear-cut” wide paths along roads/trails for public safety really
to agency credibility with users including volunteer programs
Below is a sample letter that you can use as a basis to
articulate your own specific concerns about the project.There are links to the December 3, 2012 BRC
comment letter and the November 28, 2012 comment letter from the Oakland
Motorcycle Club that you can reference.
Remember that your letters do not have to be long.Usually one or two pages will do the trick at
this point in the planning process.
SAMPLE LETTER ************************************************
Forest Supervisor Mendocino National Forest 825 N. Humboldt Avenue Willows, CA 95988 FAX: 530.934.7384 Email: email@example.com
Dear Supervisor Tune:
I am writing to you with the request that your office
support the BlueRibbon Coalition’s request to rescope the proposed Mill Fire
Salvage and Hazard Tree Removal Project.My family has been riding at the Stonyford OHV Area since the
1980s.The current proposal has many
unintended negative consequences to the OHV program on the Grindstone Ranger
District.These impacts will be lasting
OHV recreation has an important impact on the area’s
economy.Thousands of people attend
enduros, dual-sport rides, or camp each year to enjoy the trail systems that
are threatened by the current plan.The
proposal appears to threaten that use by extending the closure another 2-3
Again, please rescope the plan so that OHV recreation and
the sale’s impact to the trail system can be properly analyzed in creation of
new scoping documents.The Mill Fire had
a severe impact on the OHV program; please don’t compound this issue by
destroying our OHV program by authorizing a salvage plan that does not protect
and enhance recreational opportunity on the unit.
PS - Thanks to the RRMC, OMC, MCMA, SCSA, Valley Trail Riders, NBMC, and VCMC (there may have been other clubs too) for hosting a great meeting last night in Napa where we and about 60 riders discussed this issue. Great to share stage with D36's Dave Pickett. Thanks for being engaged in OHV recreation!
Don is owner of Quiet Warrior Racing, a recreation, land-use, and political consulting company. Don is also a consultant to the BlueRibbon Coalition and serves as their western representative. Don has over 20 years in the field of recreation and land-use advocacy. Don served as a commissioner on the California Department of Parks and Recreation Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Commission from 1994-2000. Don has also served on many recreation stakeholder groups and advisory committees. Don currently serves on the USDA Region 5 Recreation Resource Advisory Council. Don has a BA from St. Mary’s College of California.