Sunday, June 29, 2014

Bike Week Radio Show - Don't Assume You Will Always Have OHV Trails!

Historic and Legal Single Track MC Trail Proposed for Closure

As riders prepare to celebrate the 4th of July Holiday with family and friends, the Recreation HQ wanted to let you know that Don Amador was a guest on Bike Week Radio today.

Link to Bike Week Radio Interview (48:51-56:29)

Lots of off-road related topics were covered in that interview.  Those issues include the loss of historic single track trails via the 2005 TMR planning process, what riders can do to get those routes back, quality OHV programs require commitment to the collaborative process, obliteration of trails during the initial attack on wildfires, new single track trail machines such as the ST240, and off-road voters getting engaged in the 2014 midterm elections.

Here is a link to the “Loss of Historic Single Track Trails”

Comments welcome.  Have a great 4th of July!


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Essential for FS to Use Discretionary Authority in TMR Plans

Don Amador Reviewing Draft Smith River 
NRA Travel Plan with Local Access Leader

As BRC states in its June 9 comment letter on the Smith River NRA Draft Travel Plan,  it believes it is both legally necessary and pragmatically essential that the agency use its discretionary authority to formally establish a functional yet sustainable network of designated routes. 

June 9 BRC Comment Letter with Legal Citations

As both agency staff and recreationists know, various preservationist and anti-access special interests will always incant a litany of alleged legal violations that prevent adoption of an Alternative that designates any meaningful network of vehicle route.  They are certainly entitled to voice their opinions, but the agency should carefully evaluate any such claims and realize they are thinly veiled efforts to advance an agenda that includes significantly reducing, if not eliminating, recreational use of vehicles in the National Forest System. 

HQ believes the agency is empowered to reject these anti-access positions through correct interpretation of the law, as reflected in various recent court decisions cited in the aforementioned comment letter.

There is a growing body of legal decisions that debunk the notion that “minimization” means the elimination of OHV recreation on Forest Service lands.


Friday, May 23, 2014

2014 NCAT Tour - North Coast "TMR Genie" Has Left the Bottle

The QWR/BRC Official NCAT SUV

As HQ prepares for its 2014 North Coast Access Tour (NCAT) early next week, it is reminded there are no silver bullets or shortcuts when it comes to OHV-related access issues.  The 2005 Travel Management Rule’s Subpart B planning efforts over the last nine years have been challenging for both users and agency officials.

Nowhere has this complexity been more evident than on the Smith River National Recreation Area located on the Six Rivers National Forest in Northern California.  During that time-period there have been stakeholder groups, lawsuits, a stipulation, and lack of a substantive or meaningful relationship between the agency and county.  

As the news article states below, it is my hope that the access community can find a way to support an alternative that embraces the tone, direction, and spirit of the earlier stakeholder process.  For better or worse, the “TMR genie” has left the bottle a long time ago and it is time to settle on a base network of routes.  Once that foundation is codified, I believe it will allow the agency and users to ID some post subpart B projects that enhance the OHV experience.

Triplicate Article (short overview of TMR history on the unit)

Over the Memorial Holiday, HQ will ground truth the preferred Alternative with local interests to see if it is something that OHV can work with either as presented or in a modified version.  To the agencies credit, it does appear they have listened to some of our concerns by proposing the designation of the 305.125 4WD trail that at one time been slated for closure.

2007 Tour of the Smith River NRA

2007 Video of Jeep Tour of the 305.125 Road

On the other hand, the preferred alternative closes the only single-track motorcycle entrance-to-exit trail on the unit.  Strangely, the closure of that trail had never been proposed in any of the earlier discussions.

2003 Post-Biscuit Fire Motorcycle Tour of Smith River NRA

It is my goal to also stop by and visit with my access contacts in Humboldt County to get an update on TMR on the southern end of the Forest and to see what new OHV opportunities might exist on private or county lands. Hope to see some of you on the tour.  Thanks to all of you who make these efforts possible!

Monday, May 19, 2014

AMA and Friends of CCMA to Testify at Clear Creek May 20 Hearing

2006 Pre-Closure Ride - Don Amador (L) and Ed Tobin (R)

The Recreation HQ wants to thank all those in the extended OHV family who have worked tirelessly over the last 7 years to reopen Clear Creek after it was closed in May 2008.  I won’t mention any of you by name because you know who you are. 

HQ believes this hearing on May 20, 2014 moves HR 1776 one giant step closer to becoming a reality.

BRC Alert with Link to House Subcommittee Website (with video link)

Many of you have asked if there is a way for you to express your support of HR 1776 to the subcommittee?   One simple way is for you to show your support for the bill is to send a short letter (on personal or business letterhead) to:

Rob Bishop, Chairman
House Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation
1324 Longworth Building
Washington, DC 20515
Attn: Otto Mucklo

Link to National OHV Group Support Letter to Congressman Sam Farr on HR 1776

Here is the witness list for HR 1776 from a E&E article today.

Congressman Sam Farr (D-Calif.)
Former Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.) -VP, American Motorcycle Association
Steve Koretoff of Kerman, Calif. – Spokesman for Friends of the Clear Creek Management Area

Here is a quote from the E&E article:

"This bill brings environmentalist and off-road vehicle enthusiasts together in the common goals of reopening Clear Creek for the public to enjoy and creating new wilderness land for future generations to enjoy," Farr said in a statement when the bill was introduced last year. "This partnership between the two groups will allow us to achieve two victories to benefit to the local communities."

HQ hopes passage of this bill will help reestablish the good will and partnership that once existed between the OHV community and the Hollister Field Office.  Let's move forward.

Again, HQ thanks each and every one of you who helped get us to this point.








Wednesday, May 14, 2014

UPDATE - Mendocino NF Subpart A Travel Management Meetings - Red Bluff is Tonight!

FS Road Spokesman, Ken Wysocki, Reviews Road Maint. Cost Chart

The Recreation HQ attended the Mendocino NF’s Subpart A Road meeting last night in Ukiah.  The Forest had prepared various “discussion stations” where agency specialists were available to review the road network and how they relate to resource, fire, and recreational activities.

Lone Motorcycle at the Ukiah Mendo Road Workshop

 HQ believes that access interests should come prepared for tonight’s meeting in Red Bluff with ideas and suggestions on how forest roads are used and/or could be used for forest health, resource management, and recreation.

Based on last night’s meeting, I suggest that you should be able to:

Highlight existing OHV recreational opportunities and how roads relate their use.

Identify ML 3 roads that could be reclassified as ML 2 roads for backcountry OHV touring and extended loop opportunities.

Identify ML1 roads (many are administratively closed to the public) that could provide looped OHV opportunity if they were open and managed as a motorized trail.

Identify ML 3 roads that should be designated as Mixed-Use to provide connectivity for non-street legal OHV recreation and touring opportunities.

Identify County road segments that could provide connectivity to the OHV trail network.   Work with county officials to have the county designate them as Combined Use (for paved sections) or Non-Highway (for native surfaced county roads) for use by green-sticker vehicles.  HQ believes that counties have an important role to play as a partner with users and the FS to create new OHV tourism opportunities.

Link to Meeting Information
 
The start/end time for the event is 3:30pm – 6:30pm the last meeting is listed below (however, I understand the Forest might hold another meeting in June)

May 14 - Lake Red Bluff Recreation Area, Camp Discovery Group Camp

Shannon Pozas, the Forest’s road engineer states, “ To be clear, this is not a proposal or decision document, but a transportation study that will help inform future road management planning and can serve as an additional resource in future multiple resource projects,” said Pozas.  “Similar to the MVUM, this document will continue to evolve and change over the years, with opportunities for interested public to share their thoughts and engage in the process.”

As you may know, Forest Service System Roads are the backbone of the Mendocino National Forest’s OHV program.  Many are managed as OHV trails for dirt-bike, ATV, SxS, and 4WD use.  Some roads are designated as “Mixed Use” which allows for use by non-street legal OHVs. Other roads provide connector routes between the trail systems and Ranger Districts.  Roads also provide general public access for hunting, firewood, and driving for pleasure.

HQ has been disappointed in the turnout so far by access interests.  The turnouts have been dismal.  HQ hopes folks will attend the meeting tonight and share their views with the agency. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

ACTION ALERT - Mendocino NF Holds Subpart A "Road" Meetings May 8-14



M5 is a FS System Road that allows for Mixed-Use by
Green-Sticker OHVs

The Recreation HQ wants to alert OHV enthusiasts about the ongoing public meetings (May 6-14 at various locations) the Mendocino National Forest are holding related to Subpart A of the Travel Management Rule.    
Link to Meeting Information

  
The start/end time for each event is 3:30pm – 6:30pm and dates/location are as follows:


May 8 - Covelo Round Valley Library Community Room (23925 Howard St, Covelo)

May 13 - Ukiah BLM Field Office (2550 North State Street)

May 14 - Lake Red Bluff Recreation Area, Camp Discovery Group Camp

Shannon Pozas, the Forest’s road engineer states, “ To be clear, this is not a proposal or decision document, but a transportation study that will help inform future road management planning and can serve as an additional resource in future multiple resource projects,” said Pozas.  “Similar to the MVUM, this document will continue to evolve and change over the years, with opportunities for interested public to share their thoughts and engage in the process.”

As you may know, Forest Service System Roads are the backbone of the Mendocino National Forest’s OHV program.  Many are managed as OHV trails for dirt-bike, ATV, SxS, and 4WD use.  Some roads are designated as “Mixed Use” which allows for use by non-street legal OHVs. Other roads provide connector routes between the trail systems and Ranger Districts.  Roads also provide general public access for hunting, firewood, and driving for pleasure.

HQ urges riders and clubs to attend these meetings if at all possible.  If you can’t make it, try and have a friend or representative attend.  HQ believes it is important for users to attend these public formats to show your support for access to the Forest. 

I will be attending the May 13 meeting in Ukiah on behalf of BRC and QWR.  Thanks for your review of this alert.  

*Please fwd. to your OHV network.






Friday, April 25, 2014

Stakeholder Groups Support Post Rim Fire Salvage Timber Program

L to R - Chuck James, FS OHV Program Manager, Mike Damaso, Merced Dirt Riders,
Don Amador, BRC/QWR/HQ, Dave Pickett, AMAD36

The Recreation HQ wants to commend the Yosemite Stanislaus Solutions working group, a coalition of environmental groups, timber interests, federal tribes, and off-roaders, for sending a recent joint letter of support to the FS for a salvage timber sale related to the 2013 Rim Fire.

Modesto Bee Article on YSS Letter

HQ believes that collaborative stakeholder groups have an important role to play by bringing diverse interests together in an effort to find some middle ground in the land use debate.

HQ recently toured some of the Rim Fire impacts to OHV trails on the Stanislaus National Forest with agency staff and motorized stakeholders including AMA36 and the Merced Dirt Riders.  The Merced Dirt Riders should be proud of their efforts in the local collaborative.

Pre and post-fire forest health projects are an important element in the land manger’s tool box and finding ways to generate community support for those efforts will benefit our natural resources.



*Side note: HQ believes the agency should review its current mandatory post-fire “1 year closed to all user groups” directives.  Historically, the public has been allowed to use the forest once the fire has been extinguished.