California Natural Resources
This month has finally seen the release of the California Wildfire and Forest Resilience Task Force proposed Joint Strategy for Sustainable Outdoor Recreation. To review the document, click here:https://www.calrecvision.org/_files/ugd/51d842_70b5c495fa064d1185cd72f9fad1167d.pdf
As I previously reported to the BOD, I was finally granted an opportunity to talk with the drafters of the document before its release to the public and share my concerns. The draft was primarily composed by the Forest Service along with John Wentworth from Mammoth Lake Trails and Public Access Partnership:https://www.mltpa.org/. After extensively reviewing the document I have concerns about terminology along with many comments about each of the proposed actions. I have attached my comments to this email which are still a work-in-progress. The comments are still evolving and I will work with the VP of Land Use and Public Policy to submit comments for CORVA. I attended the public meeting on August 18th, and was very pleased to also see Michael Leuders, CORVA member, participating and providing excellent comments.
John Wentworth holds monthly meetings for the Eastern Sierra Sustainable Recreation Partnership that I have now been invited to, and participate in, as well. The meetings are reminiscent of the quarterly meetings Ed Waldheim would hold in various areas around the state. John's meetings involves all government agencies including BLM and Forest Service, and Parks departments from Inyo and Mono counties.
I participated in the meeting on August 18th to review the document, there is still more meetings on August 22nd and 24th should anyone want to participate. This is the link to register for the meetings:https://info.mltpa.org/rescheduled-feedback-on-the-draft-joint-strategy-for-sustainable-outdoor-recreation-in-california-1?ecid=
One of the key problems with the document is the lack of a glossary with terms such a 'sustainable' are defined. For those that have been involved with land use planning, we all know how verbiage can be used as weapons. The term 'sustainable' has been one of the terms previously used to condemn motorized recreation. We cannot allow terms like this to be weaponized against motorized access and opportunities. And the document is replete with such words or terms including 'climate smart practices', that seem to be more political rather than practical proposals. There are some good proposals as well in the document, such as calling for roads and areas to be reopened more quickly after fire, which would be a welcome change. Also, another proposal endorses working more closely with rural communities and fire-safe practices and working on community support for recreation. For those that have been on the board for some time, you may recall the lawsuit CORVA filed with Butte and Plumas Counties, and Sierra Access Coalition, where I served as lead plaintiff. One of the key issues in the lawsuit concerned working more closely with rural communities on recreation issues and access. The proposals in this document do validate key issues in our lawsuit.
I will be attending the 2-day meeting in Grass Valley September 26 & 27th when the recreation proposal will be reviewed by the entire task force and potentially be adopted.
There have been no updates to the California 30x30 plan, but there also have not been updates to the percentage of land already considered conserved under the 30x30 criteria. If anyone has an area that they believe should be included in 30x30 as already conserved land, it can be submitted for review here:https://survey123.arcgis.com/share/8397283d95a34a4fad138b752ca0f7ba
The upcoming month will be very busy for State Parks, but the past month has been very interesting as well. The state is still working on supporting the chapters of the former "NYPUM" program that are still active in California and include El Centro based at Heber Dunes and Ocotillo Wells SVRAs, and LAPD based at Hungry Valley SVRA. Both of these programs have adopted a new name "OHV4ME" which stands for OHV for Mentoring and Education. The goal of these programs remains teaching and mentoring children from underserved areas of the communities using dirt bikes. I participated in a meeting on August
The OHV Safety Summit will be held on Tuesday, August 23rd in Sacramento and virtually on Microsoft Teams. A number of members of the CORVA BOD are participating. It is very exciting to be at the forefront of determining future actions for UTV recreation. One of the criteria that must be considered is additional areas and trails available solely to UTV recreation. Lack of planning by all agencies have contributed to the lack of trails specific to the needs of UTV enthusiasts. SB 155 (2021) was passed specifically with this concern in mind, it is up to us to insist that more opportunities be available for UTV travel. Another fatal accident involving a UTV was reported at Hungry Valley yesterday (Saturday) and while the details have not yet been released to the public, it is believed to be a sole vehicle accident, possibly a rollover.
There will be an upcoming OHMVR Commission meeting on September 16th, with the tour the previous day, September 15th. This will again be a hybrid meeting. I have heard the meeting may be held in North Lake Tahoe, at Kings Beach at the facility right on the lake that had previously held a commission meeting pre-pandemic.
After the Safety Summit on August 23rd, I was invited to join an ad hoc meeting of the OHMVR Commission meeting on August 24th dedicated to exploring ongoing issues at Oceano Dunes SVRA. I asked that Mike McGarity and Bruce Whitcher also be included in that meeting.
Both bills that our legislative coalition, the Off Road Vehicle Legislative Coalition, has supported this session have a high likelihood of passing.SB 894passed through the Appropriations Committee and was directed to a 3rd reading on the floor of the Senate. The Senate analysis for the 3rd reading contains the following paragraph:In any case, the bill directs DMV's reasonable costs to implement this bill to be reimbursed from the OHVTF, upon appropriation by the Legislature. This means DMV's costs to modifyits vehicle registration programming – whatever those costs turn out to be – will eventually be covered from funds dedicated to the benefit of OHVs. According to budget documents on the Department of Finance website, the OHVTF has a rapidly diminishing balance, starting atover $61 million in fiscal year 2020-21 and projected to drop to just under $15 million infiscal year 2022-23. Parks, which administers the OHVTF, indicates those numbers are outdated. While Parks could not provide more up-to-date numbers at the time this analysis.
The issue with the health of the OHV Trust Fund has to be brought up in a substantive manner at the next OHMVR Commission meeting. The last analysis the public had been given about the health of the fund was in 2020, and it is time for another review. The public deserves to know the state of the OHV Trust Fund.
AB 2152has been enrolled and presented for the Governor's signature on August 16th. The Governor has 12 days to either sign the bill or allow it to become law without signing, or veto the bill. The bill passed without issue, there is no indication the Governor will veto the bill. This is the bill that allows for a pilot trails program to begin in and around Needles, California allowing for mixed OHV road use following CHP guidelines.
As I've previously reported to the BOD, I have been working with a new group based around the Riverside County/Temescal Valley area called the Cleveland Caretakers. One of the primary goals of this group is to reopen Indian Truck Trail, the only OHV road access from Riverside County into the northeast portion of the Cleveland National Forest. The forest is refusing to consider reopening the trail after a fire roughly 4 years ago. Perhaps the recommendations in the Task Force document can help!
The Forest Service is convening a group to be involved with the Subpart C over-snow analysis meetings for the Inyo National Forest. Both Kevin Bazar and I have been contacted to participate, but more importantly, Kevin has recommended many local snowmobile enthusiasts who can participate.
The objection period has started for the SIerra National Forest Motorized Recreation Project. Both Mike McGarity and Ed Stovin wrote excellent comments, and are eligible to participate in the objection process.
The Lassen National Forest has released a Draft Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact to update the Motor Vehicle Use Map and add roads to the system:https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=55457&exp=overview
The BLM has announced the upcoming Desert Advisory Council Meeting on Saturday, August 27th:https://www.blm.gov/sites/default/files/docs/2022-08/August_2022_DAC_AGENDA_508.pdf
At 9:45am, there will be a presentation on the Mojave Trails National Monument Planning efforts A number of BOD had expressed interest in this planning effort. There will also be an update on participation in the individual subgroups for the DAC:https://www.blm.gov/site-page/get-involved-resource-advisory-council-california-california-desert-district-rac-members. There is also the nomination link on this page for all those interested in serving on a subcommittee, with Dumont Dunes, Imperial Sand Dunes or Mojave Trails National Monument.
I was interviewed by the Desert Sun newspaper about the appointment of Shelley Lynch as the new Desrt District Manager where I was able to note the increases in popularity in off-road recreation since the pandemic and the need for more opportunities for OHV recreation:https://www.desertsun.com/story/news/environment/2022/08/08/blms-new-california-desert-director-shelly-lynch-ready-face-heat/10166420002/
National Park Service
Death Valley National Park has reopened after flash flooding washed out many of the roads through the park. Although most off-roaders do not travel through Death Valley during the heat of the summer, it is a popular destination other times of the year for street legal off-road travel. Many of the roads may be washed out throughout the winter months, and backcountry travel is not advised:https://www.nps.gov/deva/planyourvisit/conditions.htm
August 23rd: OHV Safety Summit
August 24th: Ad Hoc Committee Meeting for Oceano Dunes.
August 31st: Sierra Nevada SustainableRecreation Partnership
September 12th: Eastern Sierra Sustainable Recreation Partnership meeting
September 13/14: California State Parks Rangers Association meeting, Truckee
September 15/16: OHMVR Commission Meeting
September 26/27: California Wildfire and Forest Resilience Task Force, Grass Valley
October 12-14: Nevada Offroad Summit, MInden Nevada. I have been asked to do a presentation! All are welcome.
California Off-Road Vehicle Association