Friday, January 17, 2014

Fee Reductions in So Cal Forest OHV Areas

As some of you know, my last meeting as a member (representing summer motorized) of the California Recreation Resource Advisory Commitee (R-RAC) was held at the San Bernardino National Forest’s main office on January 15 – 16.

The purpose of the public meeting was for the R-RAC to review various proposals from the Angeles National Forest, Cleveland National Forest, Los Padres National Forest, and the San Bernardino National Forest to eliminate many standard amenity recreation fee areas, including OHV areas.  Some of those OHV areas include Ballinger OHV Area, Corral Canyon OHV Area, Rower Flats OHV Area, and Wildomar OHV Area.

Fee Area Reduced to Just the Main Staging Site

In the late 1990s, these 4 southern California Forests, under a fee demo project, created a new concept called the Adventure Pass where the public would be charged a fee if they stopped and used any part of the Forest.   Many stakeholders felt this program was difficult to administer and enforce.

These proposals seek to remove that fee requirement for area use and shrink the fees charged to specific campgrounds, sites, or specially zoned areas.

I believe these plans will help make the fee program on the 4 So Cal Forests more consistent with what other Forests are charging. 

As I look back over the last 5 years of serving on the R-RAC,  I believe the agency is doing a much better job today of communicating with stakeholder groups including local and federally elected officials.  It is that dynamic communication and related oversight that will be important to ensure that fees collected are used for on-the-ground public services that benefit both the user and the resource.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Recreation Fee Meeting in San Bernardino on Jan. 15-16

As the end of my term on the Region 5 Recreation Resource Advisory Committee (RRAC) approaches, I wanted to thank all of you who participated in the public process associated with the committee’s work to review fee programs and projects on Forest Service and BLM lands.

The RRAC has a public hearing scheduled for January 15 – 16, 2014 at the following location:

San Bernardino National Forest Supervisor’s Office
602 S. Tippecanoe Avenue
San Bernardino, CA
Teleconference number: 888-285-4585 Participant Code: 828106

Link to the Agenda and Proposed Fee Projects

It has been a privilege to represent summer motorized recreation on this committee.  I also want to express my thanks to the agency staff and other members of the committee for their dedication and friendship.

Even though I will be stepping down from this appointment due to term limits, rest assured that I will continue to champion responsible OHV use on public lands in other venues and support common sense user fee programs where the agency is accountable for the monies collected.  And, where those fees stay on the unit and are used for “on-the-ground” public services.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Post-Fire Travel Management Tools and Purchasing a Dual-Sport Top 2013 List

As QWR prepares for another busy year in advocacy for responsible OHV recreation, it wanted to look back at the two issues in 2013 that generated the most hits/interest by our readership.

It should come as no surprise that our Post Fire Travel Management Tools (Sept. 25) and Tips for Purchasing a Dual-Sport Motorcycle (July 9) articles were at the top of the list.

Post-fire rehabilitation of destination OHV areas on Forest Service lands requires a lot dedication, determination, and dollars/labor.  Both the 2012 Mill Fire and the 2013 Rim Fire highlighted just how catastrophic wildfires can impact recreational access to public lands.  The fires also illustrated the need for an invigorated forest management program that includes prescribed burning and timber thinning projects.

In the late 1990s, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) determined that it was illegal to register off-highway motorcycles for street use unless they were CARB or EPA certified for highway use.  Today, the dual-sport enthusiast has only two legal options in the State of California.  One, they can purchase a street-legal dual-sport that came from the factory as such.  Or, they can purchase a used “Green-Sticker” off-highway motorcycle that was purchased new by December 31, 2003 and where the owner had initiated its dual-sport conversion with the DMV no later than January 31, 2004.

Travel management and other land-use restrictions has increased the demand for street-legal dual-sport motorcycles so that riders can connect various trail networks that are separated by paved roads where non-street legal motorcycles are prohibited.

QWR believes that 2014 holds significant opportunities to champion responsible OHV use on public lands, but it will require a joint effort by recreation professionals, industry, grassroots leaders, elected officials, and agency staff to find solutions to the regulatory challenges that face our sport.

Post Fire Travel Management Tools

Tips for Purchasing a Dual-Sport Motorcycle

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