Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Recent OR Court Decision Good for Both Winter and Summer Motorized Recreation


The Recreation HQ wants to congratulate the Oregon State Snowmobile Association and partners regarding a recent legal victory where a federal court issued a decision  that rejects the “user conflict” and “minimization” arguments filed by anti-access groups.  The case was regarding the Kapka Butte Sno-Park project on the Deschutes National Forest.

OSSA Legal Victory including link to Court Decision

HQ believes there is a growing body of legal cases that are building support for the concept the FS and other federal land agencies can designate roads, trails, and areas for both summer and winter motorized recreation.

HQ Overview of the Minimization Issue

Anti-OHV groups in OR were also rebuked by the court in 2010 when a federal judge rejected their petition to block construction/designation of a short OHV connector trail from Riley Ranch (a county OHV park) to the OR Dunes National Recreation Area.

Riley Ranch Decision

“Minimization” is a ploy anti-access groups have been trying use as a legal tool to force the agency to restrict or even ban OHV/OSV use during travel planning efforts.

OHV users in Idaho won a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Decision which also nuked the concept of minimizing OHV/OSV out of existence on public lands.

9th Circuit Court Decision in Idaho

There also was another case in the 9th Circuit regarding an AZ BLM travel planning process.

9th Circuit Court Decision in AZ

There are two other recent cases in NV and CO where the court ruled against the concept that minimization means closure. 

NV and CO legal cases

These and other legal cases should help bolster the spirits of users and those agency planners who want to treat all recreation groups in a fair manner.  Minimization and user conflicts are important concepts to remember and address in planning efforts but there are ways to mitigate those concerns other than closure.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Editorial Response - No Room for Trail Bigots in the 21st Century

Failed Sediment Basin in Non-Motorized Recreation Area

Trail bigotry is ugly and counterproductive to ongoing collaborative efforts between OHV, conservation groups, local government, and land agencies to manage motorized recreational opportunities in a sustainable manner.

I was prompted to write this response after reading Jan Ziman’s Editorial: “We're being taken for a costly ride” in the Wyoming Trib.Com.

Link to Ziman’s Editorial

Cherry-picking anecdotal stories about trail impacts to the resource, user conflicts, and planning challenges is an old literary trick that is outdated and ineffective.

I could cite a recent incidence in the San Gabriel Mountains where an equestrian jumped off his mule and sliced the rear tire on a kid’s bike when the small group of mountain bikers pulled off the trail to let him pass.

Or, I could include a picture (which I am going to do at the top of this story) of a failed soil catchment basin along a “Hiking only” trail in a large non-motorized recreation area in East Contra Costa County, California.

As I work with various land agencies and user groups of all persuasions in California and elsewhere, I have found such illustrations – when used to try and impugn other user groups – to be nothing more than a cheap shot that makes the presenter look small and mean-spirited.

Merriam-Webster defines a bigot as a person who hates or refuses to accept the members of a particular group.  In my view, there is not a lot of room left in the land use debate for trail bigots who seem stuck in a 1960s-era mindset.


Friday, April 4, 2014

Public Comments for CA OHV Grants Ends on April 7, 2014 - Send in a Comment Now



The Recreation HQ wants to send out a simple reminder about the public comment period for the CA OHV Preliminary Applications for the 2013/14 Grants and Cooperative Agreements Program that ends on April 7, 2014.

This is your chance to submit a comment letter. HQ believes it is important for local users to review the preliminary grant applications and offer your views.   It is a great time for your club to weigh in with a support letter for those land agencies that are trying to offer the OHV community some high quality managed motorized use on roads, trails, and areas.

Please go to the CA OHV Grant website below and follow the directions.  You will see that many units have not yet received a single comment letter.

CA OHV Grant Website

You don’t have to comment on every single grant, but please try and comment on the riding areas that you like to frequent.  Agency recreation staff and leadership read each one of these letters and I believe it is important for us to let them know that we appreciate their effort.

Thanks for your review of this request.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Travel Management for MTB and Equestrians at CA State Parks


The Recreation HQ has long supported the concept of land agencies designating roads, trails, and areas for OHV use.   Although we disagreed with a number of tenets in the 2005 FS Travel Management Rule, TMR is here to stay.  HQ believes public involvement, a genuine collaborative process, sound management tools, and line-officers that are committed to have a quality trail program are key elements to sustainable OHV recreation for years to come.

TMR also includes wet-weather or seasonal closures to help prevent trail damage during wet conditions and that is why it looks like the CA State Park proposal to designate routes and times of use to better manage MTB and other trail users is appropriate and needed.

CA State Park Rule Proposals (Comments due April 4)

Some units of the Forest Service open and close designated routes and areas to OHV, MTB, and equestrians to avoid severe impacts to the trail system during wet conditions and HQ believes those Best Management Practices should be used at state parks (SVRAs already use wet weather closures and trail designations to manage OHV) to manage MTB and equestrian use.

OHV, MTB, and Equestrian Trails Opened or Closed Due to Wet Weather

I don’t think the MTB community does itself any favor when they oppose the use of modern trail management tools at regular state parks.  


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

BLM Presents Clear Creek Decision to San Benito County - Routes, Fees, and Gates


The Recreation HQ continues to be concerned about the national precedent being set by the BLM’s Record of Decision (ROD) to severely limit public access – including the functional elimination of historic OHV use - on the Clear Creek Management Area.

HQ believes the ROD could set a potentially dangerous administrative and/or legal precedent which could be cited by anti-multiple use (ranching, mining, agriculture, OHV, etc.) interests as the model by which to restrict or ban public uses on federal or state lands if even a non-proven hint of a dangerous substance (remember that CO2 has been classified as a pollutant) is found on said lands.

BLM's, Rick Cooper, Presents Plan to the Board


The Hollister Field Office Manager, Rick Cooper, gave a PowerPoint presentation to the San Benito County Board of Supervisors today detailing a rather complex fee/permit structure, limited route network, and plans to install gates on the main county roads.  He did state that his office has been working with the OHMVR Division on potential solutions.

The BOS and most stakeholders were most taken back by the proposal to install gates on the county roads.  After much discussion, Mr. Cooper, agreed to meet with county counsel to discuss options such as the county filing a formal RS2477 assertion to help address the gate/road issue.

At the OHMVR commission meeting last week, the BLM representative stated that the agency would not object to the county filing a RS2477 claim.

BRC and the county vowed to continue to remain engaged in the administrative process by filing an appeal by the March 14 deadline.

At the close of the Clear Creek agenda item, BOS chairman, Jerry Muenzer, told the public that in his view the most viable option to restore historic public access and OHV recreation to the area was for the passage of H.R. 1776.  He urged the public to send in letters of support to their Congressional representatives.

Link to BRC alert on ROD and HR 1776

HQ wants to thank all of the users who showed up today to voice or show their support for the ongoing efforts to restore historic OHV recreation and other uses to the Clear Creek area.



Friday, February 21, 2014

Sierra Club Smear Campaign Against Carnegie and the Entire SVRA System


Dishonesty and disingenuousness are not admirable traits in either our personal or professional lives.  Over the years you have seen the Recreation HQ chronicle such behaviors by faux recreation groups and some hard-core anti-access groups.

The most recent example of this is where Kathryn Phillips, Director of the CA Sierra Club, has embraced the aforementioned undesirable traits via their ongoing campaign to attack the CA SVRA system with a disinformation blitz of unequaled proportion.

Sierra Club Attack on SVRAs

Link to History of Eco Campaign to Ban OHV Use at Carnegie/Telsa


As many of you know, I often work with environmental groups in various stakeholder processes.  Some of those efforts to find common ground have been productive.  The key to any collaborative process is based on the personal and professional integrity of the participants.

I would have refrained from this missive if the Sierra Club had acknowledged the hard work by SVRA staff and volunteers to manage those units in a sustainable manner.  Phillips’ disingenuousness is highlighted by the fact she never mentioned the new engineered contour trails that have been constructed and the many historic hillclimbs that have been closed and restored to a natural condition over the last 35 years. 

A Hillside Restoration Project Ignored by Sierra Club

Also, she failed to cite the many trail delineators, signing efforts, and water quality structures installed to protect natural and cultural resources.

Resource Protection Project Ignored by Sierra Club


It is my hope that some of the mainstream leaders in the environmental community will urge their colleagues to abandon their outdated and tired attack strategies and work with the SVRAs and OHV user groups on effective on-the-ground projects that protect resources and provide quality motorized and non-motorized recreational opportunities throughout the state.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

OHV Challenges Green's Claim to Divine Right for Use of Tesla at Livermore City Council Meeting



In response to yet another attempt by some anti-OHV environmental groups and the East Bay Regional Park District to ban or “interfere” with future OHV use on the Tesla portion of Carnegie SVRA, over 200 members of the OHV community – including many youth - attended the Livermore City Council meeting last night to express their support for Carnegie SVRA and future OHV use at Tesla.


In January, a cabal of anti-OHV groups presented the Council with their distorted and perverted view that the Tesla property was actually theirs by Divine Right.  They urged the Council to join and support their politically motivated quest to ban OHV use at Tesla, a use for which that property was purchased – and approved by the legislature – in the 1990s.

Jan. 17 Article on Anti-OHV Cabal at Livermore City Council


A large number of Livermore residents gave their personal testimony about what an important role that Carnegie SVRA has played in their family’s life.  AMA District 36 representatives, 4WD groups, and others talked about the park’s history and its economic value to the local area. 


BRC’s western representative, Carnegie user, and former OHMVR commissioner (circa 1994-2000) Don Amador, explained the OHV community’s original vision for Tesla regarding it being the perfect site for a high quality backcountry trail experience on designated routes for both non-street legal and street-legal OHVs including 4WDs, SxSs, and SUVs.

Amador also presented the Council with several letters that detailed the inappropriate relationship between environmental groups and East Bay Regional Park District.  Those documents highlight what appear to be violations of CEQA and the Public Resources Code.

HQ credits Livermore Mayor John Marchand for his acknowledgment of the Council’s jurisdictional limitations when it comes to formal actions they can take regarding the Carnegie planning process.  The Mayor did say that city staff will review – per standard protocol – the Carnegie Draft EIR for potential impacts to the city.

Link to CEQA and PRC Violations

The Recreation HQ commends the OHV community for their determination to fight for Carnegie SVRA and to challenge those agenda driven environmental groups who want to interfere with responsible OHV recreation at the Park.

*If you attended the meeting… please leave a comment on this forum and tell your story to our readers.