CORVA Field Representative Doug Varner:
PCT Survey Report (Release Edition)(11-2-16)
On Friday November 4, 2016 I attended a California State Parks Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation commission meeting in Holtville, Ca. On the agenda for this meeting was a report by the Kern County Sheriff’s Office on the Pacific Crest Trail. Sergeant Fred Wheeler and Sergeant Steve Williams representing the Kern Sheriff’s Department presented their report on the Pacific Crest Trail to the OHV Commission and the public in attendance. The Sheriffs gave a very detailed report on their OHV trespass Investigation and Hiker Survey. Attached is a copy of their 15 page report. In short, the investigation shows “motorized trespass on the Pacific Crest Trial in Kern County in negligible”. Some of the reports of trespass on the Pacific Crest Trail were false. The conclusion of the Sheriff’s Survey of Pacific Crest Trail hikers found that “hikers and off-highway vehicle recreation can coexist harmoniously and peacefully”.
The eight members of the OHV commission then made made their comments to the public. All eight members made positive comments on the Kern Sheriff’s report. Commissioner Ed Patrovsky stated that he had taken a tour of the area a few years ago with main complainer of OHV activity in this area of the Pacific Crest Trail. He admitted that he was “taken in” by the reported “freeway like conditions of OHV activity on the Pacific Crest Trail.” He now realizes from the Sheriff’s report and our work that the initial reports of trespass were exaggerated. Commissioner’s Slavic and Lemmon both felt some type of action should be taken against the individuals making false claims of OHV use on the Pacific Crest Trail.
Finally Commission Chairman Ted Cabral stated that the agenda of this public meeting had been made public for sometime. The agenda had been emailed to all of the interested parties in the topic of trespass on the Pacific Crest Trail. Commissioner said he found it telling that parties that were so eager to report “freeway” like conditions of Off-Road vehicles on the Pacific Crest Trail would not appear for a public hearing and comment on the report by the Kern County Sheriff’s Department.
We must continue to tell our off-road friends and guests to avoid the Pacific Crest Trail. Kern Sheriff’s, BLM Rangers, US Forestry Rangers, and California State Parks Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Police will continue to patrol the Pacific Crest Trail.