Sunday, August 14, 2016

OPINION - Transformation of the CA State Park Transformation Process

State Park Director and CA OHMVR Commission Listen
to Public Input on the Transformation Team Process
August 11, 2016, Ontario Double Tree Hotel

By Don Amador
Date: 8/14/16
Words: 374

*Permission to reprint is hereby granted

Transformation of the Transformation Process

The terms “honest” and “genuine” have not been adjectives normally associated with leadership at the California State Parks Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR).  This is especially true when it comes to how DPR has treated the OHV community over the last 30 years.

It has been my experience that self-proclaimed experts (often with an anti-OHV bias) at DPR decided what was best for the OHV program and then crafted a public process that would support a preordained outcome.

A chief concern of mine with the Transformation Team (TT) over the last few months is that it was just another process where government appointees with little substantive knowledge of the OHV program were following the traditional decision-tree at DPR.

After attending the August 11, 2016, TT meeting with OHV stakeholders in Ontario, California, my concerns about the future of the OHV program have been somewhat allayed by the precedent setting substantive engagement efforts of State Park Director, Lisa Mangat, and her management team.

Most impressive has been their willingness to acknowledge and address the institutional bias at DPR against OHV and other forms of active recreation.   There is a reason why reference (photos, printed materials, etc.) to our nine State Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Areas (SVRAs) and riding opportunities on federal and non-state lands have been largely scrubbed or hidden from public view at the main agency website.

Over the last six weeks, I have seen a rather marked shift in the tone and direction of the TT’s narrative as it relates to potential recommendations for the OHV program.  Because of their engagement with OHV leadership, partners, and other stakeholders they are beginning to understand the complex size and scope of the program and how it has become woven into the economic fabric of California.

Director Mangat said that no TT policy recommendations have been written yet and that it is critically important for OHV stakeholders to remain engaged with the process.

At this juncture, I believe the at-large OHV community should give them the benefit-of-the-doubt and continue to readily embrace this genuine effort by the agency to craft a plan that secures the future of our world-class OHV program.

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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.  Don is also a 2016 Inductee into the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame.  He may be reached via email at:

1 comment:

  1. thank you Don and Dave and the rest for jumping on this ..It pretty simple . Do not change our ohv division and or blow it up and suck it and our money back into state parks general fund.. We have already been robbed many times over the life of our division.. Very good people that work in the OHV stage parks division need to keep doing what they do . We also need our division to be a permanent OHV division . We have earned that and proved it works..Move could be done with less restrictions being handed down from state thanks again . We are watching and won't stand for this change.. Tone is great but actions mean more.. reverse their idea of taking our Division .. and all will be good again....................... specialed