Tuesday, February 23, 2021

PSA - Hone Skills/Learn about CA OHV Program - Attend Feb. 26 OHV Commission Meeting

 




CHALLENGE, CHAMPION, HONE SKILLS - ATTEND FEB. 26, 2021 

OHV COMMISSION MEETING

 

For OHVers and others who want to learn more about the CA OHV Program, you may want to attend the virtual meeting of the CA Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Commission on February 26, 2021 at 8:30 a.m.

 

LINK AND SCROLL TO FEB.  26 OHMVR COMMISSION MEETING, AGENDA, AND SIGN UP

https://ohv.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=27160

 

These public hearings are also a great opportunity for OHV club representatives to hone their political skills, enhance their understanding of key issues, meet/see Park leadership, observe actions taken by the OHV commissioners, hear federal land agency reports, budgets, and share their concerns about important recreation challenges – such as Park Transformation/Pathforward 2026, Permitted Events, and Oceano Dunes - during the public comment periods.

 

Members of the public and organizational representatives are encouraged to give testimony during the comment period for each agenda item.   These comments should be related to the specific agenda item.

 

There will also be a general public comment period where attendees are encouraged to offer testimony on subjects not on the agenda.

 

OHV continues to face challenges on many fronts and your participation can make a difference.  However, there are also opportunities that enhance managed OHV recreation.  Get engaged and join with fellow recreation advocates to challenge poor agency decisions and champion good decisions and policy.

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Friday, February 19, 2021

NEWS RELEASE - BIDEN ADMINSTRATION RESTARTS BLM RESOURCE ADVISORY COUNCIL MEETINGS

 

NEWS RELEASE

 

Amador at BLM's Cow Mountain OHV Recreation Area
Ukiah Field Office, California



Contact: Don Amador

Phone: 925.783.1834

Email: Damador@quietwarriorracing.com

Date: February 19, 2021

 

BIDEN ADMINSTRATION RESTARTS BLM RESOURCE 

ADVISORY COUNCIL MEETINGS

 

OAKLEY, CA (Feb. 19) –  Quiet Warrior Racing’s, Don Amador, commends the Biden Administration’s  relaunch of BLM Resource Advisory Council  (RAC) meetings in California.  In 2019, Acting Secretary of the Interior, David Bernhardt, appointed Amador to serve on the BLM’s Central California RAC.  The first meeting of the BLM Central California RAC is February 24, 2021 and is administrative only for RAC members.  Regular RAC meetings are open to the public.

 

This particular RAC advises the BLM on public land issues within the boundaries of the Bakersfield, Bishop, Central Coast, Mother Lode and Ukiah field offices, which comprise the Central California District.

BLM RAC Districts in CA

According to the agency website, the BLM maintains 37 chartered advisory committees located in the West. These include 30 statewide and regional Resource Advisory Councils; 5 advisory committees affiliated with specific sites on the BLM’s National Conservation Lands; and two others, including the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board and the North Slope Science Initiative Science Technical Advisory Panel.

 

RACs are sounding boards for BLM initiatives, regulatory proposals and policy changes. Each citizen-based council consists of 10 to 15 members from diverse interests in local communities, including ranchers, environmental groups, tribes, state and local government officials, academics, and other public land users.

 

The Department of the Interior (DOI) established the RACs in 1995. RAC members vote on recommendations related to public land management and provide those recommendations to the designated Federal official who serves as liaison to the RAC. The Designated Federal Officer is usually a BLM line manager, such as the state director or district manager.

 

Although RACs are solely advisory in nature, the contributions of RAC members are of great value to the BLM and have aided in the development of balanced decisions that serve the interests of all public land users.

 

Upon the request of the Designated Federal Officer (DFO) the RAC may develop recommendations for BLM with respect to the land use planning, classification, retention, management, and disposal of the public lands within the area for which the advisory council is established and such other matters as may be referred to it by the DFO. 

 

The RAC can also make recommendations on programs and policies to increase outdoor recreation opportunities for all Americans, expand access for hunting and fishing on BLM land in a manner thatrespects the rights and privacy of inholders, and implementation of the agency’s regulatory reform initiatives.

Don Amador, a trail recreation and forest health advocate, states, “It’s great to get to see the Administration restart RAC meetings.  It is an honor to serve on this RAC since most of my recreation and resource management career has been spent on public lands within the RAC boundary.”

 

“Managed OHV recreation in the 21st Century is a sophisticated activity and has many moving parts which include construction of engineered trails, restoration of lands damaged by unauthorized use, law enforcement, maintenance of existing trail networks, protection of cultural resources, planning for new OHV areas, and education/safety programs,” Amador continues. 

 

“OHV is a significant contributor to the economy and an important part of the California state-wide recreation opportunity matrix. OHV recreation is also an important partner when it comes to addressing the growing threat of intense wildfires on both public and private lands.  I look forward to working with other user groups on the RAC in support of access to, and resource management of, lands within the RAC’s project area,” Amador concludes.

 

Don Amador, a former chairman of the California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Commission,  represents the interests of OHV enthusiasts who enjoy casual use or participate in permitted motorized events.

 

# # #

 

Don is president of Quiet Warrior Racing, a recreation consulting company.  Don also serves as the Government Affairs lead for AMA District 36. He served on the CA Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Commission from 1994-2000. He is president and board member of the Post Wildfire OHV Recovery Alliance, a national non-profit organization, and since 2013 has served as Core-Team Lead for FireScape Mendocino, a forest-health collaborative.  Don is a member of the Governor’s Forest Management Task Force Northern Regional Prioritization Group. He is a 2016 Inductee into the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame and recipient of the 2018 Friend of the AMA Award.  Don is also a contributor to Dealernews Magazine.

 


Sunday, January 31, 2021

2021 MARKS 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF CA OHV PROGRAM


NON-PROFIT CELEBRATES 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF CA OHV PROGRAM

 

Despite numerous shutdown orders, efforts to champion responsible OHV recreation continued during the COVID crisis of 2020.  Some of those activities by government and non-government OHV stakeholders include carrying legislation in Sacramento, securing cooperative agreements with land agencies, applying for OHV grants, field recon of restoration or trail stewardship projects, hosting or attending endless zoom meetings, educating the public about COVID mitigation prescriptions, getting permitted events authorized by county health officials, planning for volunteer events once COVID restrictions abate, and launching a new non-profit organization to support the 50th Anniversary of the CA OHV Program.


 

As a board member of the California Outdoor Recreation Foundation (CORF), I want to share some of the work that CORF has done over the last 6 months during our weekly board meetings.   Of course there was a lot of paperwork that needed to get filed with state and federal agencies.  Logos, organizational narratives, and website also had to be created. 

 

CORF WEBSITE

https://outdoorrecreationfoundation.org/

 

Our new website has gone live and states that CORF was established to partner with the California Department of Parks and Recreation to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Off Highway Motorized Vehicle Recreation Program. CORF will provide promotional materials for this historic milestone, as well as assist in the planning of OHV Safety Week, a new annual program with a goal of educating thousands of recreation enthusiasts throughout California. 



Despite numerous ongoing challenges that face OHV recreation, I think the CA OHV Program and its supporters have a lot to be proud of.   We have a holistic program that is focused on providing access to sustainable high-quality motorized recreation on public lands in CA.  OHV is also working in a collaborative manner with conservation groups, non-motorized recreation organizations, natural/cultural resource interests, and wildfire practitioners to protect and preserve our recreation opportunities for current and future generations.

 

Be sure and check back into the CORF website for future announcements about upcoming activities and events.  Also, feel free to send in a donation to help support the CORF mission as we celebrate 50 years of OHV recreation in California.

 

DONATE TO CORF

https://outdoorrecreationfoundation.org/index.php/donate

 

 

  

Monday, January 18, 2021

JAN. 28 - TRAVEL MANAGEMENT FOR BERRYESSA-SNOW MOUNTAIN NATIONAL MONUMENT

 

National Monument Sign on West Portion of Stonyford OHV Area
Mendocino National Forest

On March 19, 2016, a stakeholder collaborative gathered at the BLM’s Cowboy Camp to participate in the official dedication ceremony for the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument.  Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell was joined by Members of Congress, local elected officials, state dignitaries, Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, BLM National Director Neil Kornze, other FS/BLM officials, and diverse user groups that represented hikers, equestrians, mountain bikers, adventure riders, overlanders, and OHV enthusiasts.

Interior Secretary, Sally Jewell, on OHV Tour of Monument

What made the event unique is that OHV recreation was featured as a key partner in development of the plan to bring additional resources to enhance both conservation efforts and existing/ future non-motorized and motorized recreational opportunities within the Monument boundary.

 

Map of National Monument

LINK TO BERRYESSA SNOW MOUNTAIN NATIONAL MONUMENT

https://www.blm.gov/programs/national-conservation-lands/california/berryessa-snow-mountain-national-monument

 

As an important part of the BLM’s commitment to improve existing and future recreation opportunities, the agency issued a news release on January 15, 2021 that invites the public to the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument’s BLM Trails and Travel Management Workshop on January 28, from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. This virtual workshop will provide an overview of the BLM travel management process, which is scheduled to begin later in 2021, and invite participants to provide comment.

 

REGISTER HERE FOR WORKSHOP ON JANUARY 28, 2021 – 5:30 to 8:00 pm

https://www.blm.gov/press-release/blm-hold-berryessa-snow-mountain-national-monument-public-workshop

 

Many of the OHV organizations that worked with conservation groups on development of the national monument understand that federal lands in or adjacent to the national monument are home to a number of destination and dispersed high quality OHV trail recreation opportunities that exist on designated roads, trails, and areas.

Monument Sign at Entrance to Knoxville OHV Area
BLM Ukiah Field Office


However, there are some areas in the Walker Ridge/Indian Valley Reservoir part of the monument that do not have a designated route network.  Your participation in the travel planning process will help identify trails that are important and those that may be causing resource damage or trespass onto private property.

 

If you use or want to use this area for motorized or non-motorized recreation, be sure and sign up to be part of this travel planning effort.  It will also be good practice for other federal planning efforts that are being developed.

 

Monday, January 4, 2021

OPINION - PARK DUNE PLAN KICKS SAND IN FACE OF OHV


 

OPINION

By Don Amador

January 4, 2021

 

PARK DUNE PLAN KICKS SAND IN FACE OF OHV

 

On December 31, 2020, California State Parks (PARKS) released its much anticipated Draft Public Works Plan (PWP) and associated Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for Pismo State Beach and Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA).

 

LINK TO DRAFT PWP (comments due March 2, 2021)

https://www.oceanodunespwp.com/en/documents/draft-eir

 

After attending – and speaking at - the December 3, 2020 OHV Commission meeting, many in OHV leadership and other stakeholders had hoped the draft PWP would address our concerns about the planning effort having nothing to do with enhancing OHV recreation but rather was adding momentum to ongoing political efforts that seek to permanently ban OHV recreation at the SVRA.    

 

My comments at the commission meeting also centered on the PWP potentially supplanting the 1982 Coastal Development Permit (CDP) that authorized current levels of OHV activities including beach camping.

 

Unfortunately after doing a speed read of the Executive Summary and the Plan, it appears our comments fell on tone deaf ears based on some of my initial takeaways from the draft Plan.

 

KEY POINTS OF CONCERN IN THE DRAFT PWP

 

Addresses failure in the initial PWP process to include any meaningful benefits to OHV recreation by creating a “future” OHV enhancement concept that might be considered AFTER the Oso Flaco Improvement Non-Motorized Project is completed.

 

RESPONSE: OHV representatives have stated all along the Oso Flaco Improvement Project must include motorized access and camping immediately and not at some uncertain future date.

 

Addresses failure in the initial PWP process to include any meaningful benefits to OHV recreation by stating they might purchase a hazardous waste site - where OHV families can play and camp - from Phillips 66 if the property becomes available for acquisition.

 

RESPONSE:  Placing OHV facilities at hazardous or toxic waste sites is insulting to the OHV community.  It would place an exorbitant cleanup fiscal burden on the OHV program and nobody wants their children to play on an old toxic waste site.  This OHV option also places OHV recreation and camping that much closer to the Mesa residents.

 

Addresses concerns in the initial PWP process about it supplanting the CDP by stating it does not affect or remove State Parks’ vested rights as a State agency that were codified in CDP 4-82-300 relating to park use, or other State laws and codes.

RESPONSE:  Why worry now about grandfathered OHV use in the CDP when the draft PWP proposes to enact their own draconian OHV use and camping bans that are far more restrictive than allowed in the CDP?  Here are those proposed capacity limits.

 

Interim street-legal day-use limit of 1,000 will be implemented and retained until an updated carry capacity study is completed. This limit is a 62% reduction from the current use limits.

 

An interim day-use limit for OHVs of 1,000 will be implemented and retained until an updated carry capacity study is completed. This limit is a 42% reduction from the current use limits.

 

Interim Beach Camping (Oceano Dunes SVRA): 1,000

  

Phase-out OHV/ATV rental concessions as current contracts expire. All existing agreements are set to term out in April 2022 and would not be renewed with the current scope of services. Phasing out of concessions is anticipated to limit the number of inexperienced OHV riders in the riding area, as visitors would have to bring in their own OHVs.

 

RESPONSE:  Tourists from around the world visit Oceano Dunes SVRA to experience riding an OHV at this bucket-list destination.  This feat is usually accomplished by renting an OHV from a concessionaire.  Also, people from all demographics and locations often rent an OHV because they cannot afford to purchase one or they want to try out an OHV to see if they want to take up the sport.  This phase out of rentals would disenfranchise a lot of stakeholders.

 

The draft PWP continues to avoid offering any meaningful enhancements to motorized recreation at the SVRA while trying to console the OHV community with promises of potential “future” opportunities at a hazardous waste site or next to the new non-motorized facilities at Oso Flaco.  

 

Nobody likes getting sand kicked in their face and that includes the OHV community.