Friday, July 8, 2016

Op Ed - EVISCERATION OF THE CA OHV PROGRAM



It appears that hostile political forces in Sacramento are on the verge of functionally eliminating the CA Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division (OHMVRD) which includes OHV-related grant funding to the Forest Service, BLM, counties, local sheriffs’ departments, non-profit trail and conservation groups, and other partners.

The State Parks Transformation Team is recommending that OHMVRD, which is a separate and highly specialized department, is moved back into the offices of the CA Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR).

In the early 1990s when OHMVRD was located at/in DPR, the OHV program languished in obscurity and irrelevancy while trying to operate under the oppressive bureaucratic thumb of apathetic and/or anti-OHV Resource Agency and DPR leadership.

Even worse, prior to 1982 the entire OHV program was divided up among numerous Parks Department Divisions and had no cohesive element. Employees would work on OHV for a few hours and then move to other unrelated projects. There was no opportunity to develop the expertise and understanding of OHV that has evolved since the legislature saw fit to create a separate Division to oversee the program and an Independent Commission to concentrate on making sure resources are allocated where they are needed to provide a safe and enjoyable OHV experience while protecting California's environment."

It is important to remember that the OHV program has a distinct mission that is often lost in DPR where there has been (and apparently continues today) a corporate or institutional movement to end or severely restrict motorized recreation, MTBs, and horses on DPR lands.   

Based on what I know today, I believe the Transformation Team’s proposal has nothing to do with improving government efficiency.   Rather, it is a crass political maneuver to eviscerate the OHV program and lay the groundwork for permanently sunsetting the program on January 1, 2018.

The good news in the dark aforementioned potential future of OHV is that there are millions of motorized recreationists who can speak up as a strong political force against the Transformation Team’s plan.  

Your loud voice was heard 20 years ago to save the CA OHV program and now government officials in Sacramento need to hear from you once again!

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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: damador@cwo.com



7 comments:

  1. Thank you Don, for your comments, they are "right on". The move to oust all forest use has gone on for almost FOUR decades now. That's because the "no forest use" GREENS are now in charge of our forest management agencies, so it will continue UNLESS Donald Trump becomes president. He's the ONLY CANDIDATE who will rein in the EPA, the power behind the GREENS.

    These people follow their own narrow agenda, and don't care that their "no use" policies have increased forest densities and undergrowth, contributing to the wild fire catastrophe in the Western forests (that burns up the habitats they profess to protect). This fact alone proves that their REAL AGENDA is hidden behind their rhetoric. While Trump is not perfect, he LOVES AMERICA, and will do his best to see that common sense prevails. It's clear that he's our only hope to keep "access for all".

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  2. Dear Anonymous, over the last 40 years both GOP and DEM administrations in Sacto have supported efforts to defund and/or gut the CA OHV program.

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  3. Follow the money... Users pay agencies to deprive them of Public use of Public lands. Say nothing and you will all be looking for a new place to recreate. Where is ORBA on this Don? How about MIC?

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  4. George, all OHV groups and assn. are engaged in this full court press. Watch for alerts, etc. early next week... including the July 19 (6-9pm) "Parks Transformation Team" meeting in Sacto.

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  5. I assume they would still be collecting Green Sticker Fees but provide nothing for it?

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  6. Has the Transformation Team published any rationale for their recommendation to re-integrate the OHMVRD? Often these decisions are based purely on economics and an attempt to reduce duplication of services. Usually they fail, for the reasons you mentioned - ie lack of focus, re-prioritisation of staff time etc. Of course there can be years of backwards progress before the failure is recognised! But if the battle over the economic imperative can't be won, then maybe focusing on a potential structure and degree of autonomy within the DPR might be a practical target for advocacy. If the right people are given the right mandate within an agency good things can still happen. May not the best outcome from an OHV perspective but might be an achievable fall-back position. Best of luck with this new challenge.

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  7. gnarlydude3@gmail.comJuly 9, 2016 at 12:42 PM

    OHV enthusiasts PAY money and respect the land (most of us). Closures will leave greens no money.
    Our efforts to preserve recreation, whatever it may be shall not be infringed upon. Enough failure in Government and dilly dallying around, "Trump Em". Circle the wagons around America, tighten our wasted spending and let the rest of the world be their own leaders, we Can't influence the world when our policies are larger than lame. Keep up the great work Don.

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