Friday, July 30, 2010

Update on Phony Sac Bee Crime in State Park Report

Since the Sac Bee’s journalist embarrassments on “crime” in CA State Parks hit the newsstands this last weekend followed by a politically motivated Opinion published shortly thereafter, HQ has been doing an investigation and trying to burrow down through the case to get some facts.

Original Sac Bee Crime Article

Blog on Sac Bee Crime Op Ed with Background on State Parks Initiative

The Sac Bee article includes a link to state park crime logs where you can go and look at law enforcement data from each park

Law Enforcement Logs

HQ’s review of the almost 6,000 crimes cited in the July 27 Sac Bee Opinion at Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area shows only 255 were serious crimes such as DUIs or vehicle theft. Most of them were “visitor contacts” where a ranger helped a stuck vehicle, issued a warning to for a rider to wear a helmet on an ATV, checked a green sticker, responded to a report of a sick sea gull, or responded to a report of a raccoon stealing a lunch sack.

The General was not the only political observer to question the bogus news articles. The folks at Cal Watchdog published a great article that is worth the read.

Cal Watchdog Article on Phony Crime Wave

HQ thanks Cal Watchdog for publishing The General’s Op Ed on this issue since it appears mainstream media spiked our collective responses to the articles.

Don Amador’s Op Ed on Bogus Crime Report

HQ is hopeful that State Parks will issue a rebuttal or clarification of the Bee’s dishonest reporting.

Addressing serous crime issues on public and private lands is something we all can support. However, crisis mongering by the media to push a political agenda is not acceptable and has been rightfully called out.

Visitor contacts are not a crime and should be encouraged.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

BRC Supports H.R. 5580 - Send Letter to Oppose Obama Monuments

Since the Recreation HQ and Congress found out about the Department of Interior’s National Monument-related “secret documents” that were leaked in February 2010 to the public, The General has been working hard by filing FOIAs to find out just who is pushing this idea. HQ’s good friend Congressman Devin Nunes recently took the bull by the horns and introduced H.R. 5580 to stop presidential abuse - for political gain - of the Antiquities Act.
PHOTO: BRC's Don Amador on Designated Trail in Proposed Stonyford Obamument or NCA

Yesterday, BRC stated its support for H.R. 5580. HQ applauds this effort and that of other organizations such as the Cattlemen’s Association to support this bill.

BRC Support for H.R. 5580

Since a number of these monument proposals include popular OHV areas such as Stonyford, HQ urges riders to take advantage of AMA’s action alert and letter generator to let your congressional representative know of your support of H.R. 5580.

AMA Alert and Letter Generator for H.R. 5580

The General used this AMA alert to send a message and again asks you to do the same.

HQ knows that OHV is getting hit with a barrage of issues lately but urges all riders to stay the course and remain engaged.

Thanks for your service!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Op Ed on Crime in CA State Parks and Yellow Journalism

HQ wrote the Op Ed below because it believes the Sac Bee and a number mainstream media outlets are guilty of yellow journalism or a shade thereof when they mischaracterized crime statistics for political purposes by claiming that illegal activity in state parks (mostly where OHV and powerboats are allowed) is out of control.
PHOTO: The Quiet Warrior

July 27 Sac Bee Editorial on Crime in State Parks

Thank goodness we have an alternative media. The General sent this Op Ed yesterday to the Sac Bee, Merced Sun Times, Fresno Bee, SF Chronicle, Modesto Bee, and McClatchy Washington Bureau yet none of those papers even called to verify that it had been received and was under consideration. At the time this blog was launched, no newspaper had printed the Op Ed.

So today, HQ is bypassing mainstream media and publishing this Op Ed. Slams like this against families who like to OHV at SVRAs and for folks who like to PWC or fish/water ski using powerboats will not be tolerated by The General.


Visitor Contacts are Not a Crime
By Don Amador
July 27, 2010

As a native Californian and land-use professional, I was disappointed today by your editorial entitled: It’s the Wild West in our state parks.

Rather then developing an opinion based on a dispassionate review of the facts, the Bee appears to have relied on the hype surrounding the State Parks Initiative and its proposal to create a $1/2 billion dollar per year slush fund by levying an $18/yr. tax per vehicle owned.

The editorial wrongly lumps ranger contacts with visitors who are reporting a bee sting, or a raccoon stealing a sack lunch, with real crimes such as DUIs, drug trafficking, vehicle theft, and vandalism of public property.

The State Vehicular Recreation Areas, water-based State Recreation Areas, and State beaches have the highest visitor usage in the State Park system. Of course there are going to be higher crime rates with parks with the highest visitation. But it is wrong to mischaracterize a visitor contact as a crime.

Crisis mongering is unattractive and seldom offers real solutions. I have always supported law enforcement and proper management of our public lands. However, popular self-funded user-pay/user-benefit programs such as OHV and Boating and Waterways should not be sacrificed on the alter of political correctness to support an Initiative that directs tens of millions of dollars to non-park related environmental groups and state agencies such as the Ocean Protection Council.

Support for the State Parks Initiative should be left up to the individual taxpayer and public land user without cheerleading from a biased media.

# # #

Don Amador was a commissioner on the California State Parks Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Commission (1994-2000) and is currently a land-use consultant. He writes on environmental issues from his office in Oakley, California. He may be contacted by email at:

For those who are interested, you can check out my archived blog below on the subject of
the State Parks Initiative.

Blog/Overview of State Parks Initiative

Thanks for your service and support of The Quiet Warrior. Being quiet on the trail is good -- being silent when OHVers are getting hammered is not.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Carnegie, OHV Wars, and a Call to Action

The General has often said that the rewards of being a land-use professional are few. In fact if you are doing your job well - as pointed out in NIMBY WARS - you will be given little if any credit for a win. HQ’s reward comes when a local rider is awakened out of his or her “land-use slumber” and becomes a grassroots leader who works to inspire others to do the same.
PHOTO: Infamous Carnegie Hoax Fish
NIMBY WARS Book Review (overview of various roles we play in land-use)

Such is the case with a new SF Bay Area OHV advocate, Diana Tweedy. She recently wrote a great article in Dirt Rider Magazine (see link below) about her epiphany during the 2009 Carnegie Rally to help keep the SVRA from being closed by a judge’s order.

Sept. 2010 DR MAGAZINE - The Battle for Carnegie and Joining the Fight

Tweedy hit several common themes that you have seen articulated at the HQ. Public land recreationists have large numbers and we can win if we put differences aside, band together, AND join BRC and other groups fighting for your access rights.

Some riders may ask, “What has OHV won lately?” Well, Carnegie is still open thanks to the huge turnout at the Freedom Rally where that support gave momentum for the OHMVR Division’s legal efforts to challenge the anti-OHV lawsuit.

Recently, a coalition of user groups won a legal victory where the FS was ordered to reopen OHV trails and campgrounds.

OHV Legal Victory to Reopen FS Trails

For some more background info on the 2009 Rally at Carnegie SVRA with links to articles, etc. please go to the blog overview below.

Blog on Overview of 2009 Carnegie Rally

Tweedy also notes she had often read Jimmy Lewis’ (editor of DR) columns where he urged or pleaded with riders to “get involved” and join BRC and other organizations who are in the trenches fighting the enemy on a daily basis. However, it took a major event such as the imminent closure of Carnegie to wake her up.

Her involvement now gives encouragement to folks like The General and Jimmy Lewis who have been sounding the land-use alarm for many years. HQ thanks her and her friends for becoming soldiers in OHV Wars.

To honor her commitment, HQ requests that you do two things today.

1 – JOIN BRC and a local or state OHV group

2 – Subscribe to DR Magazine

Without members and member support, BRC cannot do its job. Without subscribers, Jimmy Lewis and DR cannot get the land-use message out to average riders so that when a closure crisis occurs those riders will know what do to (hopefully riders will join before a crisis hits!).

Thanks for your service!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Motorcycle Racing History, The Cuttenkid, and Home

As some of you know, The General was born and raised in Cutten, California on the outskirts of Eureka. After spending several days last week at access-related meetings in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties, The General wants to challenge the old saying…”that you can’t go back to your childhood home.”
PHOTO: Jimmy Walker in his 1970s era Chevy
(click on photo to expand)

While visiting at the home of local off-road and access leader (and a fast rider too), Dale Warmuth, we reminisced about a seminole moment in motorcycle racing history. That event was the 1973 race to see what vehicle was fastest around the 3/8ths mile dirt track at Redwood Acres Raceway. Both of us were at the event. Dale was there because his dad who owned Leon’s Mufflers was a main sponsor of Jimmy Walker’s Chevy stock car. As a kid, The General was there because he loved to see the motorcycle and stock car races that took place at Redwood Acres.

Northern California dirt-track racing legend, Stormy Winters, ended up fending off the other riders on his HD 750 for the honor of representing motorcycles in the stock car v. motorcycle challenge. If my memory serves me correctly, Stormy beat Ray Beck, Gary Thompson, Clarence Oliver, Pat Richter (yes, that Pat Richter who became famous for being the first Moto-Cross Fox rider ), and Dennis Palmer. I also think, Dennis “The Chicken” McFarland was there on his Ossa. For exhibition, a guy named Louie did a wheelie around the track on his BSA 350.

The best part was that after our journey down local racing’s memory lane, Dale handed me a black and white photo (for me to keep and you to see) of Walker’s car with Leon’s Mufflers proudly displayed on the front fender.

Some of you may ask what does this story about childhood memories have to do with land-use. The short answer could be that sometimes HQ will offer a story that is just of human interest. The real answer is that because of support from Leon’s Mufflers - for my work at BRC to champion responsible access to public lands - and other small businesses, clubs, benefactors in the area that The General is able to successfully challenge closures on the North Coast.

I don’t know if you can really go back to your proverbial childhood home but after visiting with a number of local access leaders in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties last week, HQ believes that you just might be able to.

Jimmy Walker won the stock car v. motorcycle face-off with a best time of 20.900 on the 3/8 dirt mile at Redwood Acres. Jimmy is still racing today at selected events. HQ hopes to honor that commitment by doing its best to represent the OHV community in that area and elsewhere.

Thanks for taking time to join me on memory lane. Sometimes it’s a journey worth taking.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

HQ Closed July 21-25

HQ is closed while The General is at access-related meetings on the N. Coast

OHV Cost Recovery Fight on Eldorado NF

The Recreation HQ has been working with AMA D36 and others to address the issue of exorbitant fees being charged to clubs for permitted events by some FS units under the guise of “cost recovery.”
PHOTO: The General riding one of the event trails for the 2006 Fools Gold Enduro

The Eldorado Fight was recently highlighted in this Sac Bee article

The public process for the 2006 Cost Recovery Rule actually started back in 1999. BRC urged its members to comment as well as submitting its own formal comments.

2000 BRC Cost Recovery Article and Concerns

As some of you know, the focus of the aforementioned cancelled permitted OHV events is on the Eldorado National Forest. The General along with leaders of CERA and AMA D36 met with the Forest Supervisor to express our strong concerns and objections to the unit’s misuse of cost recovery to essentially bankrupt several OHV clubs.

The Forest did not really have an answer to our questions about why their cost recovery charges are so extreme when other federal units (Mendocino NF, Cow Mountain, Chappie-Shasta, and CCMA when it was open, etc.) with AMA-sanctioned permitted events have more reasonable charges.

The General will say what the Forest was afraid to state. HQ believes the high cost being charged to clubs is because there is a nationally-recognized anti-OHV leader who is a vexatious litigant. She lives on the Forest and uses her green legal clout as a club to beat the Forest Service into submission with legal action or threats of legal action unless the agency uses cost recovery to put the clubs out-of-business.

Description of Vexatious Litigant

The issue of cost recovery is complex. Riders must understand that the issuance of permits for most recreational events is totally discretionary. At the end of the day, the FS does not have to issue a permit if it does not want to. HQ does not believe that litigation regarding the Eldorado issue has judicial merit at this time. Rather, OHVers should look to resolve this issue via regulatory reform or political pressure.

Here are several suggestions.

1 – AMA, BRC, and other national groups should seek amendments or revisions to the cost recovery rule that might allow the agency more flexibility when faced with a vexatious litigant or other adverse circumstance.

2 – Congress might have a role in passing legislation to address exorbitant fees

3 – Congress should pass EAJA reform to discourage and not reward vexatious litigants
with taxpayer funded awards.

HQ is certain there are answers - albeit not easy ones - to this issue. OHV clubs that use the Eldorado NF are seeing the ugly side of OHV Wars. Enviros have perfected the fine art of green litigation to stop OHV recreation (and other uses such as farming in the Central Valley, logging on federal lands, etc.).

BRC working with other OHV partners have been and will continue to fight back. One recent victory regarding TMR is noted in the MIC press release below:

MIC News Release on recent TMR victory where trails and campgrounds were reopened

Just how the Eldorado NF cost recovery issue is resolved is yet to be determined. One thing for sure is that the OHV community cannot give up and let the extreme enviros succeed in kicking us out of the Forest.

Thanks for your commitment and service!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Obama Outdoor Alert - Young OHVers Needed at July 23 SF Bay Area Event

The General will be on the North Coast of CA at various OHV meetings from July 21-25. However, HQ wants young people to be aware of a great opportunity to have their voices heard on July 23rd in the SF Bay Area.

The following alert is from HQ’s good friends at ARRA

ARRA recently sent an alert notifying you that earlier this year President Obama held a conference on America’s Great Outdoors and established the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative to be led by the Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Chair of the Council of Environmental Quality. The initiative is tasked with reconnecting Americans, especially children, to the outdoors and to receive public input and ideas.

Part of this initiative includes a series of Listening Sessions around the country, including a July 23rd youth session for Bay Area young people (Age 16-25) in Berkeley, California to discuss land conservation, recreation, and reconnecting people to the outdoors.

It is vitally important that the Administration hear from you about how you recreate on and enjoy public lands. If you can attend, please take this opportunity to make it clear that millions of Americans responsibly enjoy motorized recreation on public lands.

If you can not make it to the session you can still submit comments on the America’s Great Outdoors website here:

More details about the Berkeley Youth Listening Sessions:

Friday - July 23, 2010, 4:00pm - 6:00pm

Youth Listening Session on President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative

David Brower Center
2150 Allston Way
Berkeley, California 94704

This event is hosted by the Department of the Interior (DOI), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ).

Send an email with your name, email address, and telephone number to

The Recreation HQ would urge young riders to attend the meeting and speak out for responsible OHV recreation and what it means to you and your family.

Thanks for your service!

Dirt Rider Magazine Article on Obama Outdoor Program

The Recreation HQ wants to give some major kudos to the gang at Dirt Rider Magazine for sending a crew to the Obama Outdoor event at Occidental College. DR did a great story on this event with a number of key observations that can be found below. It is worth the read.
PHOTO: Jimmy Lewis telling riders not to be spodes while riding in the SVRA at a DR 24 Hour at Gorman

Jimmy Lewis and Chris Denison at DR have long been strong supporters of the fight for access to public lands. Next time you see them at an event feel free to thank them for taking the time to write about OHV access issues.

As some of you riders know, HQ gave overviews of the Obama CA events held in Davis and LA.

Blog on Obama LA Event

As the DR article and HQ blogs have shown… the events have excluded OHV and have been mostly a forum for people to ask for handouts. According to a report that HQ received yesterday, the Obama event held in Ashville, NC last week was no different than the CA events.

Be assured The General will continue to monitor and give updates on the various Obama Great Outdoor events being held throughout the country. HQ encourages all riders to stay engaged in the process.

Friday, July 16, 2010

HQ Closed July 16-19

HQ will be closed July 16-19. HQ will reopen July 20.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

S. 2921, Wilderness, and Land Use in the 21st Century

The Recreation HQ wants to expand a bit regarding BRC’s support for S. 2921 - the California Desert Protection Act of 2010 as highlighted in The General’s blog regarding the Obama Outdoor Event in LA.

Blog on Obama LA Event with CWC Mention of BRC Support for S. 2921

At the LA event, HQ talked with a number of OHVers and other public land access interests about S. 2921. There were a lot of OHVers who support the bill as it is currently written. Other OHV groups might have supported it but were concerned the bill language would change in committee (a valid concern). Several access groups were adamantly opposed to the bill. Good news it that most of us respect the other group’s opinion and when at odds – we can respectfully agree to disagree.

HQ knows the bill is not perfect and that it is a compromise piece of legislation. If this was 1975 would OHV be supporting this bill? I don’t think so. However, a lot has changed since the old days of 1960-1980s era Big Gulp Wilderness Bills where enviros would push through land use bills that did not have consensus nor support from local stakeholders, county officials, and users.

That old Wilderness paradigm was changed in the 2006 Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act. (HR 233). Just as in HR 233, proponents of S. 2921 held endless meetings with local stakeholders, participated in numerous field trips to ground-truth routes, and although it designated a lot of new Wilderness…not one legal OHV route was closed in HR 233.

HQ believes S. 2921 captured HR 233’s spirit of collaboration by designating OHV use in a number of OHV areas similar to the 2006 Cow Mountain Recreation Area where OHV use was codified.

A great read on the efforts of BRC and others to make sure OHV and access were included in HR 233 is archived at MTB Action

Just as with Obama’s Great Outdoor Initiative, OHV must be actively engaged in the political process. S. 2921, HR 233, and Obama’s GOA prove The General’s now famous axiom that “All land use decisions (and associated processes) are political decisions” and is a cornerstone of modern OHV advocacy.

Is S. 2921 perfect? No. Compromise bills never are. However, the other option of staying home is not viable either. Will green groups continue to push for new Wilderness and NCAs after S. 2921 is signed into law? Yes. To counter that, OHV must be just as committed to champion our access rights to public land and to stay engaged.

Thanks for your service regardless of if you support S. 2921 or not.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Good OHV News - HR 689

The Recreation HQ wants to share some good OHV news that not just benefits motorized recreation in general but more specifically enhances permitted OHV events.

Congressman Wally Herger Announcement on HR 689

For many years, there has been a matrix of federal lands at the Chappie-Shasta OHV Area. The trail system for both casual OHV recreation and permitted events was co-managed by the BLM and FS.

Info on Chappie-Shasta OHV Area

Unlike the BLM’s Hollister Field Office that closed the 75K acre Clear Creek Management Area to all public uses including OHV, the BLM in the this area is committed to providing well-managed and comprehensive OHV recreational opportunities at Chappie-Shasta. The BLM stands in sharp contrast to the Shasta Trinity NF that has never been OHV friendly and just recently issued a travel plan that closed almost 100 percent (over 800 miles) of its single-track trails and trails less than 50 inches in width. Also, the BLM is more supportive of allowing permitted OHV events (enduros, hare scrambles, etc) on this unit. On the other hand, the FS had bound itself by a chain of both real and imaginary regulatory obstacles that stood in the way of the agency supporting permitted OHV events.

Thanks to the tireless efforts of local clubs such as the Redding Dirt Riders and the Recreation Outdoor Coalition, those groups were able to work with Congressman Wally Herger, Senator Diane Feinstein, local elected officials, and other interests to generate support for this important land management consolidation bill.

As OHV continues to get hammered on any number of fronts including the recent cancellation of AMA-sanctioned motorcycle events on the Eldorado NF (due to threats of eco-lawsuits), the news today should give all of us encouragement that it pays for us to “stay the course” and never give up.

The General salutes all those who were part of this effort. Now we just have to wait for the President to sign this bill into law.

Monday, July 12, 2010

HQ's View on SB 435 and Loud Street Bikes

Several street riders have contacted the Recreation HQ to see where The General stands on SB 435. This is a piece of legislation that has evolved from a motorcycle emission bill to a motorcycle sound bill.
Quiet Warrior Racing's Letter to the Sen. on SB 435 (click on it for expanded view)

KCRA Article on SB 435 (a bill in search of an issue)

Having seen the success of addressing excessively loud OHVs on public lands via the 2003 96dBA OHV sound law based on SAE J-1287, HQ believes that street riders should be proactive and embrace a similar effort for CA street bikes based on the new SAE-J2825 sound test.

Edmonton, a town in British Columbia, recently adopted a sound law based on J2825 and is holding sound clinics so riders can find out how loud their bikes are.

See Article on Implementation of Edmonton Sound Law

Both on-road and off-road motorcyclists must understand the general public does not distinguish between a loud off-road motorcycle or a loud on-road motorcycle. To the public - ALL motorcycles are the same and judged collectively. Off-road motorcyclists got their act together almost 8 years ago to protect their access to public lands by addressing excessively loud OHVs. Now it is time for the street-bike crowd to step up to the plate. Be proactive or get shut down.

Thanks for your interest in this subject. Your comments are welcome.

Friday, July 9, 2010

OHVers Attend Obama Outdoor Event in LA on July 8

The Recreation HQ wants to commend all the OHV clubs and members who took time away from their busy schedules to attend Obama’s Great Outdoors Presidential Initiative held on July 8 at Occidental College near Pasadena, California.
PHOTO: Brochure Handed Out at Event

The riders and public land access interests that attended the event include Cal4WD, AMA, AMA D 36/37, Dirt Diggers South, NOHVCC, ALAA, CORVA, ORBA, BRC, High Desert Multiple Use Coalition, and California Equestrian Trails Coalition. I apologize to any groups I missed but things were a bit hectic.

The event started off with the Mayor of LA trying to make some political hay to a largely sympathetic crowd. The General felt the jabs although expected were inappropriate and actually detracted from what should been bipartisan advocacy for the recreation and outdoor goals of the Initiative.

A number of speeches were given by cabinet level officials… some of which challenged the group to tell them what works and what doesn’t and if they should simple get out of the way. I wrote that challenge down to be brought up during the breakout sessions.

The following sub-panel was comprised of various interests that mostly supported conservation easements and more federal funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The token conservative on the panel was a spokesman for the California Cattlemen’s Association. He lauded conservation easements and the LWCF but saved his credibility in The General’s opinion when he stated his concerns about federal overregulation and land-use restrictions.

The last panelist to speak made an interesting comment about how CEQA was designed to stop projects. I couldn’t agree more!

After the sub-panel presentations, a short video was shown. Every outdoor recreation group was highlighted except OHV. The video showed mountain bikers in a number of slides along with hunters, hikers, water skiers, equestrians, snow skiers, etc.

Great Outdoors Video (sans OHV)

Before the group was adjourned for the 1 hour breakout sessions, the microphone was passed around for about 30 minutes. Meg Grossglass from ORBA, spoke to the Obama administration officials and the over 750 people in attendance about how the OHV community had been wrongly left out of the video when, in fact, OHV recreationists are a major land use partner with the Forest Service and BLM via our state OHMVR grant program and our volunteer efforts. She got a good round of applause!

The rest of the folks that got to speak on the microphone were mostly there to praise the administration and ask for more federal funding for their favorite projects. The last speaker represented the recreational fishing community and said her folks sympathize with the OHV community as a “hated” user group since they too have seen fishing banned in many streams and rivers due to federal/state environmental rules and regulations.

See Blog on Proposed Ocean Wilderness Areas on N. Coast

There were a number of breakout sessions and OHV was well represented in most, if not all of them. The General pointed out in his session that the feds should review model programs of federal/state/local/community collaboration such as exists on the Inyo NF. That Forest has worked hard to have a holistic program that -unlike the Obama plan to date - includes OHV/OSV as an important partner in the recreation matrix.

After HQ’s presentation to the EPA officials who were facilitating his breakout session, one EPA official asked, “What does OHV stand for?” I explained it is sometimes referred to as off-road recreation and then he cocked his head indicating that he might understand what that term means. His ignorance of a major recreation stakeholder was not very reassuring. Both EPA officials seemed stunned when a board member of the California Wilderness Coalition told the feds that BRC and other OHV groups often work with them on land-use legislation.

On the other hand, Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar, knows OHV/OSV very well from his work with COHVCO in Colorado. The General and other OHV interests must continue to attend the “listening sessions” and insist that OHV being included in the Initiative and be formally recognized as a valued land-use partner. Secretary Salazar knows better..

Be sure and check out the Obama Outdoor Website for future meetings and make sure that your club or organization has representatives at those events.

Obama Outdoor Website

Thanks again to all those public land access interests who have attended these events. Your service is appreciated by the HQ and the OHV community at large.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Conservation Easements and Confusion at Davis NCA Meeting

The Recreation HQ has for a number of months shared concerns about how OHV use will be treated in Obama’s Great Outdoor Initiative. The General has kept riders informed about the various FOIAs and other efforts to day-light information on either new National Monuments or National Conservation Areas.

Update on July 8 LA Meeting and Glaring Absence of OHV in Obama Plan and State Proclamations

Today, the General, on behalf of BRC and my friend Dave Pickett AMA D36, attended the Great Outdoors Meeting hosted by Congressman Mike Thompson and U.C. Davis.
There were a number of other OHV representatives there including Amy Granat (Cal4WD) and Nick Haris (AMA). Several riders attended as well.

Rather than having a focused meeting on Outdoor recreation and the proposed Berryessa-Snow Mountain NCA plan, this meeting meandered on several non-recreation topics and was strangely bizarre and abstract. The panel included Cong. Mike Thompson and a several heavy hitters from the Obama administration including Nancy Sutley, Chair, White House Council on Environmental Quality.

I don’t think the topic of recreation was even mentioned by the main panel. Also, the sub-panel (mostly private land owners not in the NCA boundary) gave 3 presentations on conservation, conservation easements, and the need for Congress to fund various entitlement programs that benefit the aforementioned subjects.

While conservation programs are important, HQ felt the panel missed the opportunity present the proposed Berryessa NCA and to highlight outdoor recreation.

At the end of the two panel presentations, Congressman Thompson passed the microphone around the room for people to speak. Most speakers there praised the Obama administration and many asked for taxpayer funded eco-handouts from the federal government.

Several pro-access speakers got up and championed access to public lands. The General used his one minute of fame to pick up on what the EPA panelist said about how the feds should…”base programs on what works.” HQ could not agree more and, in fact, suggested to the panel that when they go to an area of the country… to simply pick up the phone and call the Regional Forester and ask him/her for the most successful and collaborative recreation programs in their district. Had CEQ called Randy Moore (R5 Regional Forester), he would have told them about how the Inyo National Forest is a model of how to get things done. CEQ should have then invited Inyo staff to be on the panel and give a presentation.

At the end of the day, the Davis meeting was confusing and disappointing. I did get to say hi to Nancy Sutley and gave her my business card and said I would see her at the LA meeting tomorrow. The General also talked with the proponents of the Berryessa plan and told them that any proposal must protect what is the largest and most successful destination federal OHV recreation program north of the LA area. And, that they must do a better job of outreach and communication when making a proposal that could impact OHV.

HQ also talked with Thompson’s staff and urged them to meet with local users, county governments, and other interests BEFORE launching any legislation.

Finally, HQ thanks the riders who showed up for a lesson in politics and process. It takes time to become an effective OHV advocate and coming to meetings such as the Davis event is part of the learning process. Thanks to all those who came to the program.

I hope to see some of you down at the LA Outdoor Meeting tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Update and Thoughts on July 7 Meeting for Stonyford NCA and Video

The HQ apologizes in advance for bombarding riders this weekend with last minute alerts and updates on the July 7 meeting at U.C. Davis hosted by Congressman Mike Thompson.

Cong. Thompson Invite and RSVP

The General is concerned about this meeting being one-sided because the enviros appear to be looped in and, in fact, are included in the formal panel discussions. On the other hand, OHVers and even some in the Forest Service only found out about this meeting last Friday.

HQ believes in genuine collaboration, honest discussions, and public processes that are not front-loaded and agenda driven. The General has sent an RSVP to Jonathan Birdsong (see his email address in the link above) and is hopeful that the HQ will be given some floor time to champion the designated OHV programs on the Mendocino and the partnerships we have with OHMVR/State Parks, volunteer groups, and the local community.

Usually new environmental land designations programs are proposed in good economic times. HQ questions the timing of the Berryessa-Snow Mountain NCA (or National Monument for that matter) when there are a number of economic factors that should be considered such as the cost of administering this multi-agency NCA, the impacts to ongoing recreational activities such as OHV, power boating, hunting, equestrian use, etc, and existing permitted activities such as cattle grazing, recreation events, and timber.

As you attend these Great Outdoor Meetings be sure and talk about what great (and fun) exercise OHV riding is as highlighted in the video below about how OHV impacts York University students who are learning to ride off-road. Great little video!

The General hopes to see some riders at the U.C. Davis event on July 7 and then again at the July 8 Outdoor Meeting at Occidental College.

Thanks for your service!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

ALERT - July 7 Meeting at U.C. Davis on Stonyford OHV National Conservation Area

Even when the Recreation HQ is closed for a national holiday, The General is still on duty monitoring important land use news. Well folks, an issue of such high import occurred on Friday July 2 (regarding a July 7 Great Outdoors Meeting at UC Davis) The General is sounding a Fourth of July “all hands on deck and man your battles stations” alarm
PHOTO; Flag Flying at the Recreation HQ
For many months you have recieved updates on the Stonyford Obamument/National Conservation Area proposals. BRC filed a FOIA, FOIA Appeal (which was denied), and subsequent site-specific appeals to various departments in DOI to ferret out correspondence between green groups and government agencies regarding the push for either National Obamuments or National Conservation Areas that would include the Stonyford and Upper Lake OHV Areas.

Archived Blog on Stonyford Plan and Green Cabal

BRC issued a rare weekend alert yesterday on the Stonyford OHV/NCA meeting on July 7 starting at 11am at UC Davis.

Be of good cheer as OHV is not the only group issuing a strong concern about the NCA plan. The General’s good friends at the Maxwell-based Family Water Alliance (a long time grassroots farming, ranching, and private property rights group) issued a news release on the NCA plan.

FWA News Release with a quote from The General

We all know that a NCA proposal in Northern California is simply a precursor to an eventual Wilderness Designation. As I note in my comments…just look what happened to the 1974 King Range NCA… it became the 2006 King Range Wilderness Area.

It will be important for as many of you who can to join The General at the July 7 meeting and speak up for the well-managed and important OHV programs in the NCA.

I hope to see many of you at U.C. Davis.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Fourth of July OHV Legal Victory in Montana

Although the Recreation HQ is closed for the July 4th Celebration of our Country, The General wanted to give riders some breaking goods news to enhance the festivities and your spirit this weekend.

On Friday July 2, a federal judge in Montana ordered the Forest Service to reopen about 40 roads and trails and to allow for dispersed camping up to 300 ft. from the route instead of the now infamous “one vehicle length” rule popular in Region 5 and elsewhere.

See the July 2Motorcycle Industry Council’s News Release

The HQ agrees with MIC representatives about the importance of this victory. The General believes this could be a game changer in addressing how TMR is being recast from its original intent into a politically hideous and disjointed hybrid program that is being used on some Forests to enact landscape level closures.

The General is proud of the suit’s legal team of Paul Turcke, Bill Horn, and Ron Cameron. I believe the judge even commended the OHV counsel for a job well done.

This was a team effort and my good friends Russ and Mona Enhes and other groups and leaders deserve some major kudos. This victory proves that we should never give up. Rather, this win should buck us up for other fights.

This Montana victory fills my heart with pride and hope. Freedom is not free and this hard fought and costly legal battle proves that THE PEOPLE can win when they pull together in a just cause.

The General salutes all who worked on and/or supported this legal effort and your country thanks you as well.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Fatigue, Freedom, and July 4

With the virtual blizzard of land-use issues hitting the OHV community on almost a daily basis, The Recreation HQ wants riders to take a few days off from the battle and enjoy what truly should be a joyous celebration of our country, troops, and freedom.

The General must be honest with you when he tells you that it is hard some days to get up and turn on the computer or open the mail to found out what new land-closure plan or proposal has landed on the doorstep. I hear that same concern being voiced by a lot of OHV advocates and access supporters.

Thomas Paine once said, “Those who expect to reap the blessing of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.”

There will be plenty of time starting next week to reengage the anti-access community and closure-oriented bureaucrats. For the next couple to days take time to reflect on the meaning of Independence Day, enjoy your family, and pay respect to current or retired members of the military.

From foreign shores to City Hall, The Recreation HQ salutes all of you who fight for freedom. God bless you and God bless America.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Disparity Between Federal Land Agency Leadership

The Recreation HQ is often asked why there is there such disparity between various National Forests or Ranger Districts. Some units are shining examples of cooperation between federal land management agencies and the local community. For example, The General was at Mammoth Lakes last week as a member of the Forest Service’s Region 5 Recreation Resource Advisory Council to review and make recommendations to approve or deny various fee proposals from the FS and BLM in California.
PHOTO: Inyo NF Leadership Giving Presentation to RecRAC Members and Public on
Recreation Program and Collaboration

Our host was the leadership team of the Inyo National Forest. They have an excellent working partnership with the County Board of Supervisors, the National Park Service, the Town of Mammoth Lakes, and local businesses. The Inyo NF and partners have developed a holistic approach to all forms of recreation management in the area including fishing, mountain biking, snow sports, boating, hunting, OSV, OHV, 4x4 touring, hiking, wilderness, and the list goes on and on.

In The General’s considered opinion the Inyo NF has set a high bar for how a Forest should work with local interests in a collaborative manner.

See blog about Shasta County Fight with the FS and need for BBQ Diplomacy

At the other end of the spectrum, you have the Shasta Trinity NF. As many of you know, the Shasta County Board of Supervisors was snubbed by the Forest leadership team at a recent public meeting regarding the informal disposition of the county’s appeal of the Travel Management Decision that closed basically 100 percent (about 800 miles) of single track trails and trails less than 50 inches in width.

The BRC and BRC legal had also filed appeals in the hope that the Forest and Regional Office would realize they needed a redo or to modify the Record of Decision. Unfortunately, HQ got the Appeal Decision yesterday where the agency denied our prayer for relief.

See Appeal Decision from Region 5

HQ believes the Shasta Trinity NF should have worked harder in a collaborative manner with users and county officials rather than producing a travel management plan that is nothing more than an unenforceable landscape level closure of all single track and ATV trails used by local riders and clubs such as the Redding Dirt Riders.

Can the relationship be salvaged between the Shasta Trinity NF and local interests? Only the agency has the answer to that question and the appeal denial may give us a clue. Not a pretty picture.

Why is there disparity between Forests? The answer is obvious… leadership or lack thereof. Rather then supporting the landscape level closure of trails in the Shasta T NF travel plan, the agency should do a statewide review/analysis of their leadership team and use the Inyo NF as an example of how a federal unit should work with local interests.