By Don Amador
Date: July 27, 2016
I want to commend the CA State Parks/Transformation Team about its ongoing effort to solicit input from the OHV community and related-stakeholders.
The announcement today about an August 11, 2016 “Open House” meeting in Ontario, CA, is a good sign that agency leadership is making a genuine attempt to ensure the long-term viability of the CA Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division (OHMVRD).
I believe those letters you have been sending in and meetings you have been attending have given the Transformation Team some food-for-thought about its initial proposal to move OHMVRD back into the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR).
I believe the commitment (see link below with FAQs and meeting info) by State Parks that it will continue to separate special funds from other funds utilized by the department is a very positive development in that special funds from OHV would not be intermixed with non-special funds.
LINK TO DPR/TRANSFORMATION TEAM WEBSITE
Based on my 26 years of experience with CA State Parks and the OHV program, I believe that move would devastate OHMVRD’s ability to manage its highly acclaimed system of State Vehicular Recreation Areas (SVRAs). It would also impact the grant program that supports managed OHV recreation on Forest Service and BLM lands, restoration projects, law enforcement, and safety programs.
It is important to remember that the OHV program has a distinct mission that is often lost in DPR where there has been a corporate or institutional movement to end or severely restrict motorized recreation, MTBs, and horses on DPR lands.
I want to encourage OHV enthusiasts and partners to continue their efforts to engage with the Transformation Team so as to educate them on the important role that OHMVRD has in providing environmentally-sound OHV recreation on county, state, and federal lands in California.
The OHV community should continue to remind the Transformation Team about the historic deep level of distrust that exists between users and the DPR. Efforts should be made to restore that trust. Also, organizational safety mechanisms should be put in place to protect the integrity of OHMVRD.
Users should argue against any changes that might negatively impact SVRA operations or grant funding to federal and county partners.
I don’t believe we are out-of-the-woods yet in regards to protecting the CA OHV program. Please continue your efforts to make your voice heard as the transformation process continues over the next few months.
You are making a difference!
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Don Amador writes on land-use and recreation issues from his office in Oakley, CA. Don was Chairman of the CA OHMVR Commission in the 1990s. He may be reached via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org