Tuesday, February 25, 2020

OP ED - State of the CA OHV Program

By Don Amador
Feb. 25, 2020

 State of CA OHV Program

Like many of you, I have had more than a full plate over the last couple of months but am now back more fully in the OHV saddle.  With the upcoming OHV commission meeting slated for Thursday, February 27, I wanted to share my view on the current state of affairs at the CA OHV Program.

The following comments are hard for me to pen and share because of my long history with the Program and my deep appreciation for the OHV staff that I work with and for the many partners it has in various local and federal jurisdictions.

For reasons I don’t fully understand the Program has entered into a “Dark Ages” status where substantive communications with Park/Division leadership are almost non-existent.   Transformation has largely obliterated the hands-on SVRA superintendent role where management is meaningfully engaged with unit staff and partners in operation of the SVRA.

Probable loss of the opportunity to purchase the 1,300 Blue Oak Ranch, because approved grant monies to help with the purchase of the property -  that would act as a high quality staging/camping area for the BLM’s South Cow Mountain OHV area - are now lost in a bureaucratic black hole in Sacramento. 

While there remains the responsibility of grant applicants to be accountable for grant funded projects, there are a growing number of past and potential future grant applicants (including government agencies) that have told me the massive increase in grant reporting requirements goes far beyond other grant reporting requirements including those who get non-OHV grants from other state agencies.

The Oceano Dunes SVRA PWP - absent any meaningful projects that would benefit OHV recreation – is simply adding momentum to ongoing political efforts that seek to permanently ban OHV recreation at the SVRA while at the same time supporting the continued gross misuse of dedicated OHV funds to manage and support non-motorized recreation at the SVRA and other Park units.

It is my hope the Thursday OHV Commission meeting will provide an opportunity for Parks leadership, Division staff, and stakeholders to reconnect, find solutions, and chart a positive course for our OHV Program.

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