Friday, April 22, 2011

Legislative Fix Needed to Address Denial of Special Recreation Event Permits

As more non-motorized and motorized clubs are being forced to cancel historic permitted events because of a burdensome administrative process, Quiet Warrior Racing believes it is time so seek a legislative fix to this issue.

For the last 13 years, I have worked sound tech at numerous motorized permitted events on Forest Service and BLM lands.  That opportunity has given me the chance to gain insight regarding this issue from both the club and agency perspective.  In recent years, QWR has seen an increased regulatory burden (cost recovery, insurance, agency staff shortages, excessive and/or unwarranted environmental review, etc.) directly causing a dramatic decline in the number of permitted events being authorized on federal lands.

For units that want permitted events to occur, that regulatory burden has made it almost impossible for the agency to authorize an event.  For units that want to eliminate permitted events, that same burden is being used as a convenient excuse for denying that activity.

Currently, the administration of special recreation permits (BLM) and special use permits (FS) is 100% discretionary with no appeal process.  QWR believes that recreationists will continue to see a decline in the authorization of permits unless a solution is found.

QWR is convinced that Congress is best suited to address this issue with a legislative fix.  That concept has evolved over the last several years after reviewing this issue with clubs, land managers, and legislators.

QWR will be encouraging and working with national recreation groups and legislators to find a long-term solution to this growing problem.  QWR believes that the goal of this legislation should be to streamline the administrative process and eliminate/reduce excessive or redundant environmental review specifically in recreation areas that have already been designated for a particular activity such as OHV, rock climbing, OSV, equestrian, and mountain-bikes.

In this climate of fiscal downturn, federal agencies should be working hard to encourage permitted events which often brings much needed economic benefit to the local community.  A solution is out there…now we just need a collective effort to find it.

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