Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Stonyford - Mill Fire Update - Good and Bad News!

View of Trails 40, 32, and 34 from M5
View of Trail 33 Near Mill Valley Campground
The Recreation HQ got to spend a few days up at Stonyford last week touring (and working too) the burn area with FS staff.  We reviewed the good, the bad, and the ugly of the Mill Fire and looked at the extent of the damage and some of the challenges the agency must address before reopening it for public use.
The good news is that the campgrounds at Fouts and Davis Flat are open for camping.  Non-street legal OHVs can use Trail 42 that is a loop next to Davis Flat.  However at this time, there is no access to the main trail/road network (i.e.  Trails 34, 32, 40,37,39, or the shortcut to M5).  In fact, M5 remains closed at this time.
If you have a dual-sport you can ride up M10 and get on the trails/roads that are open (i.e.  Trail 6, 8,12,45, etc.).  If you have non-street legal OHVs, you can trailer them up and park along M10 where
it becomes a mixed-use road.   That begins just past the junction of where the Letts Lake Road intersects with M10.  Now is a good time to take the OHV corridor over to the Upper Lake OHV area and explore some of those trails.
The bad news is the main trail network that got burned looks like it will remain closed through the winter so that portions of the routes that have to be restored  after getting blitzed by the bulldozers cutting firebreaks can heal.
The ugly news is there are a lot of potential impacts to the roads and trails from excessive soil erosion if the area gets hit with heavy rains.  For example, a lot of tree stumps burned down to the root systems which often cross a road or a trail.  Now with the stump/root gone, there is the potential for water to carve or gully up the road/trail bed.
Stump/root burnout on road
There are a number of volunteer days still ahead where you can help.  Here is a link to where you can sign up.
HQ Blog with Vol. Dates and Sign Up Info
HQ believes that after these initial rains, the agency should make it a high priority to open up several corridors ASAP (i.e. Potato Hill and M5) so that riders can access the trails that are open in the non-burned areas.
HQ also wants to thank the agency and state trail crews that have been working very hard since the fire to help bring the impacted trails up to specs.
Watch for an update soon on the 1st volunteer trail day last week.  We had a great turnout!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Siuslaw NF Sticks Head in Sand in ODNRA DEIS

Historic Forest Sand Trail Closed in DEIS
The Recreation HQ is strongly disappointed in the preferred alternative (Alt. 4) selected in the Siuslaw National Forest’s DEIS.   HQ is still reviewing the document but it appears the agency is basically implementing their Clinton-Gore era 1994 Management Plan.  That plan functionally closes all historic sand trails that exist in forested or vegetated areas.   If the plan is adopted it will forever change the riding experience at the dunes.
 BRC Alert on the DEIS/ Comment Period which ends Dec. 10, 2012
YouTube Video of OHVers on Sand Trail Closed in DEIS
Please see HQ blog from 2011 on FS Closure Plan
As some of you know, BRC toured the area last summer with OHV enthusiasts and even had the Forest Supervisor come out for a one day tour of the area.  Unfortunately, it appears the agency has stuck its head in the sand by selecting an ill-advised plan from a bygone era.  
For a background of BRC’s concerns about the proposed action, please read our July 25, 2011 comment letter which was apparently ignored by the agency.
HQ believes it is important for OHV users and related businesses in the OR Dunes area to immediately contact their county commissioners and make sure the counties comment on the DEIS too.
Thanks for your time to review this issue!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

HQ Closed Oct. 17-21 - In the Field

HQ will be in the field with little if any cell.  Oct. 17-21.  Will reopen Oct. 22.

OHV and Nature Can Coexist at Carnegie/Tesla?

The Recreation HQ would like to give an update on the East Bay Regional Park District’s planning effort and how their narrative has apparently softened a bit when it comes to new OHV use on the Tesla property which is part of Carnegie SVRA.

I thought the Bay Nature article below did a pretty good job of weaving through the concept that managed OHV recreation and resource protection are not mutually exclusive and can and do co-exist on many state and federal lands.

Oct. 15 Bay Nature Article

What appears to be a new era of cooperation between the District, OHMVR, and user groups would not have happened without thousands of OHVers and their families showing up at various public meetings and sharing their views both verbally and in writing with District staff and board members.

I believe the various letters from OHV groups including BRC’s documents obtained by a public records act request had helped illustrate to the District that it was engaged in a less than robust quasi-CEQA process with unclear goals and objectives. 

HQ Blog with Orig. BRC CEQA Concerns and Overview

In addition, I feel that the OHV Commission’s interest in seeing that OHMVRD and the users don’t get railroaded the District’s public-process - that left out the OHV community as legitimate stakeholders—will have an important role in new outreach by the District to OHV groups and clubs.

Link to Oct. 15 OHMVR Commission Letter to the District

Let’s hope the end result will be mutual cooperation and respect between the District, OHMVRD, OHV clubs, and environmental groups.  We need to be ready to review the draft policy document when it comes out in January or early February.   Mike Anderson, the District’s lead planner, told me at the Dublin meeting that the public would get a chance to review and comment on the draft policy document BEFORE it goes to the park board for approval.

 # # #

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Update on Dublin Meeting for East Bay Park's Master Plan

 Park Board Member, Amy Wieskamp, Gives Welcome at Dublin Meeting
The Recreation HQ attended the public meeting in Dublin last night regarding East Bay Regional Park District’s General Plan.  The ongoing issue of the District “reaching in” to the Tesla property and the fact that the District does not offer one single acre of OHV recreation to the residents of CCC and Alameda counties (over 28K + registered non-street legal OHVs owned by residents who pay prop WW taxes to support the District in those counties) were topics brought up.
HQ also talked with Mike Anderson, the District planning lead, about next steps in the planning process. Mike said it looks like they will not be able to develop a draft plan for public review and comment until January 2013.  He also said there is not deadline for the public comment period.  However, HQ believes that users should try and get comments in before October 10, 2012.
HQ encouraged Mike to post this information on the District website so the public can be assured that they will have an opportunity to review and comment on the draft master plan BEFORE the park board casts a final vote.   HQ also got to meet one of the board members, Amy Wieskamp, and hopes that she will consider our input regarding OHV use at Tesla and on other District properties.
Thanks to all who came out to the meeting and/or who have been attending the meetings.  Getting involved in the public process is how things get done.  However, I would issue one word of caution to those of you who are posting on other blogs and forums.  It does not benefit our cause or add to our credibility as a user community when a few folks post derogatory and highly inflammable personal comments about District staff or directors.  It is perfectly fine to take them to task on policy issues but keep the personal attacks off the web.  They don’t help.
 The next and final public meeting of this series is Oct. 9 at:
Richmond Memorial Auditorium
Bermuda Room
403 Civic Center Plaza
Richmond, CA 94804
7:00 – 8:30pm
 Again, it is important for OHV to show up and make pro-OHV or other policy comments at the various flip chart stations.  Thanks again to all of you who are taking time out of your busy schedules to attend.
# # #

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

East Bay Park Meeting Tonight in Dublin - Be There

Bowser from the Save Carnegie Xmas Rally Says Be There Tonight!
There is the next to the last public meeting tonight (Oct. 3) in Dublin regarding East Bay Park District’s General Plan which includes the Tesla property which is part of Carnegie SVRA.  HQ understands that there has been a number of communications between OHMVR Division staff and District staff regarding this ongoing controversy.   I hear some progress is being made in that regard.  However, HQ remains concerned that the District still has a CEQA-deficient process in place that illegally placed the Tesla property on their 2007 General Plan Map.
The Recreation HQ will be there tonight.
Dublin Unified School Dist. Board Room
7471 Larkdale Ave.
Dublin, CA 94568
7pm to 8:30 pm
It is important for OHV to show up and make pro-OHV comments at the various flip chart stations.
Also, HQ expects the much anticipated OHV Commission letter to District Park Directors should be delivered soon.
See you there.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Trout Unlimited Defends OHV Trail from Eco-Lawsuit in CO

Hell has frozen over.  OHV enthusiasts in California continue under the threat of trail closures based on our potential impacts to anadromous fish populations in the Sierra and Coastal mountains. For decades OHV recreationists have worked hard with agency staff to maintain trails so that any potential impacts will be minimized.  However at the end of the day, many of us believe that OHV recreation has coexisted with anadromous fish (even the non-existent Carnegie Hoax Fish at Carnegie SVRA) for years in our coastal waterways and mountain streams.

HQ believes our position was strengthened today by an article about the greenback cutthroat trout in Bear Creek near Colorado Springs, CA.  Here you have a coalition of user groups including Trout Unlimited, OHV groups, and others working to reroute a long existing OHV trail and voicing opposition to a recent lawsuit by CBD to close the trail before the reroute is made.

Article on Greenback Cutthroat Trout and OHV Trail Placement


HQ believes that coalitions of various stakeholder groups can find solutions that both protect the environment while allowing for motorized use on designated trails.  How refreshing and cost-effective that approach is compared to the legal route often selected by CBD, PEER, and other branches of the extreme environmental movement to impose their highly selective non-motorized agenda on the public.


Case Study of Eco-Groups Opposing OHV Efforts to protect Wild and Scenic Rivers from heavy siltation during winter months.  Local eco-groups actually got up in front of the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors and defended agency road ripping during the winter rainy season.

Bogus Eco-Lawsuit at Carnegie SVRA


Thanks for your interest in trail management!





Stonyford Post Fire Volunteer Days to Start Oct. 20

The Recreation HQ wants to remind folks that the Mendocino National Forest is getting ready to launch some post-fire trail volunteer days soon with the goal of getting the trail system back online at Stonyford ASAP.

Janelle Taggart is heading up the volunteer efforts temporarily here at Stonyford while Paige Makowski, the regular FS volunteer coordinator, is on a detail assignment. Janelle is a full time student at San Jose State University and has classes in the San Jose Bay Area Monday through Wednesday and will be working in Stonyford, on an internship, Thursdays and Fridays and some Saturdays.

Here are the volunteer dates scheduled throughout the next couple months. The FS has decided to hold monthly volunteer events held on the 3rd Saturday of each month. Please put these dates on your calendars.

 October 20th
November 17th
December 15th
January 19th

If you have not done so yet, complete the OF301a Volunteer Agreement Form linked below and send to Janelle at the address below:  *You must sign and date the form.

Here is the link to the volunteer form   http://www.sharetrails.org/uploads/Volunteer_FS_agreement.pdf

Janelle Taggart
Forestry Rec Tech
Mendocino National Forest
Grindstone Ranger District
5171 Stonyford-Elk Creek Rd
Stonyford, CA 95979


The Recreation HQ will see you on October 20.