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Don Amador

Helmet Law in California for Side X Sides

b2ap3_thumbnail_sxs-no-helmet.jpgAs owners of Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles (ROVs) get ready to hit many popular OHV riding areas in California, it is important to remember that helmets are required to be worn by the operators and passengers when traveling on public roads, trails, and areas designated for such use.

Effective January 1, 2013, the California Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 38601 requires all passengers and the operator to wear a safety helmet while operating an ROV which are also known as Side by Sides, Recreational Utility Vehicles, or Utility Terrain Vehicles.

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Don Amador

Mill Fire Salvage Sale Makes No Cents!


Is This the Future of OHV at Stonyford for the Next 2-3 Years?
As some of you already know, the Mendocino NF issued a public notice on Nov. 20 for comment on the Mill Fire Salvage and Hazard Tree Removal Project. Public comments are due by Dec. 17.
Mill Fire Salvage Scoping Letter (with contact info)
Mill Fire Salvage Project Info
Mill Fire Salvage Project Map
While HQ historically supports responsible timber/salvage sales, this plan hardly mentions OHV recreation. In addition, the proposal functionally closes the area until late spring/early summer 2014 for both casual riding and permitted OHV events. I also think this proposal seriously undermines the agency’s credibility with the OHV community and other stakeholders.
It appears many important connector roads and trails will be closed during logging/treatment. Again, this could mean no enduros in 2013 and possibly 2014. The proposal gives no estimate on when the trails could be re-opened for casual use. Again, OHV recreation is hardly mentioned. There is no mention of what this functional closure would have on the largest FS destination OHV area north of the Grapevine. There is no mitigation for repairing the trail system. At 20K/mile (or more), it could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix obliterated trails.
Also, there is no mention of the sale’s impact on the current and ongoing post-fire trail restoration efforts.
The proposal does not address what HQ feels is a critical matter and that is dealing with the knobcone pine infestation (and the beetles/bugs that are eating them) on Sullivan Ridge and the Potato Hill area. How would this closure of the area impact the potential for grants during the closure time?
All of the affected trails listed below would be most likely converted from a system trail to a road and closed during the logging operation. At a minimum, a project like this would have to have project level NEPA to analyze the conversion of 50 inch or wider system trails to roads.
Initial List of Impacted (e.g. closed/obliterated routes by salvage sale)
Trails 03, 11, 13, 14, 15, 20, 22, 33, 35, and 36.
4WD/OHV route/roads – 17N02, 17N14, 17N62B, 17N62C, 17N95, and 17N97
Be assured that HQ and BRC will be sharing our concerns with the FS, users, and conservation groups about what appears to be an ill-advised plan. This proposal as currently crafted is nothing more than an appeal and/or litigation magnate. I expect the FS will get hit from both sides of the land-use spectrum unless this plan is withdrawn or rewritten.
This proposal does not make any cents! (Yes, I mean cents as in wasted taxpayer and green sticker monies)
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Original author: Don Amador
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John Stewart

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4x4Wire is proud to welcome Don Amador, Quite Warrior and Western State Representative for BlueRibbon Coalition as a contributing ... Read More
Friday, 30 November 2012 00:36
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Don Amador

Stonyford - Mill Fire Update - Good and Bad News!


View of Trails 40, 32, and 34 from M5
View of Trail 33 Near Mill Valley Campground
The Recreation HQ got to spend a few days up at Stonyford last week touring (and working too) the burn area with FS staff. We reviewed the good, the bad, and the ugly of the Mill Fire and looked at the extent of the damage and some of the challenges the agency must address before reopening it for public use.
The good news is that the campgrounds at Fouts and Davis Flat are open for camping. Non-street legal OHVs can use Trail 42 that is a loop next to Davis Flat. However at this time, there is no access to the main trail/road network (i.e. Trails 34, 32, 40,37,39, or the shortcut to M5). In fact, M5 remains closed at this time.
If you have a dual-sport you can ride up M10 and get on the trails/roads that are open (i.e. Trail 6, 8, 12, 45, etc.). If you have non-street legal OHVs, you can trailer them up and park along M10 where it becomes a mixed-use road. That begins just past the junction of where the Letts Lake Road intersects with M10. Now is a good time to take the OHV corridor over to the Upper Lake OHV area and explore some of those trails.
The bad news is the main trail network that got burned looks like it will remain closed through the winter so that portions of the routes that have to be restored after getting blitzed by the bulldozers cutting firebreaks can heal.

The ugly news is there are a lot of potential impacts to the roads and trails from excessive soil erosion if the area gets hit with heavy rains. For example, a lot of tree stumps burned down to the root systems which often cross a road or a trail. Now with the stump/root gone, there is the potential for water to carve or gully up the road/trail bed.
Stump/root burnout on road
There are a number of volunteer days still ahead where you can help. Here is a link to where you can sign up.
HQ Blog with Vol. Dates and Sign Up Info
HQ believes that after these initial rains, the agency should make it a high priority to open up several corridors ASAP (i.e. Potato Hill and M5) so that riders can access the trails that are open in the non-burned areas.
HQ also wants to thank the agency and state trail crews that have been working very hard since the fire to help bring the impacted trails up to specs.
Watch for an update soon on the 1st volunteer trail day last week. We had a great turnout!
Original author: Don Amador
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Don Amador

OHV and Nature Can Coexist at Carnegie/Tesla?


The Recreation HQ would like to give an update on the East Bay Regional Park District’s planning effort and how their narrative has apparently softened a bit when it comes to new OHV use on the Tesla property which is part of Carnegie SVRA.

I thought the Bay Nature article below did a pretty good job of weaving through the concept that managed OHV recreation and resource protection are not mutually exclusive and can and do co-exist on many state and federal lands.

Oct. 15 Bay Nature Article

http://baynature.org/articles/can-off-roading-and-nature-coexist/

What appears to be a new era of cooperation between the District, OHMVR, and user groups would not have happened without thousands of OHVers and their families showing up at various public meetings and sharing their views both verbally and in writing with District staff and board members.

I believe the various letters from OHV groups including BRC’s documents obtained by a public records act request had helped illustrate to the District that it was engaged in a less than robust quasi-CEQA process with unclear goals and objectives.

HQ Blog with Orig. BRC CEQA Concerns and Overview

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Don Amador

OHV Commission and Users Continue Fight with East Bay Parks


The following East Bay Regional Park District response (Sept. 13) to one of HQ’s longtime friends, Scott Sinclair, shows a high level of arrogance, ignorance, and callous against OHV recreationists in general, Carnegie SVRA staff, and proposed OHV use at the Tesla property which is part of Carnegie SVRA.
EBRPD Response to Scott Sinclair

http://www.sharetrails.org/uploads/East_Bay_Sinclair_Sept.pdf

*Note their response did not address the March 2007 tour and two April 2012 tours with Save Tesla Park advocates. BRC found out about those tours via our public records act request. BTW – did any OHV groups get invited to the May 11, 2012 tour? I also believe if you look at the District’s own “surveys” you will find them to be biased or slanted to achieve a certain result.

Their response only further highlights the need for OHV users to attend the upcoming meetings

in Concord (TONIGHT), Oakley, Fremont, Dublin, and Richmond. The level of your participation will help decide if the District provides future OHV recreation and if they will back-off their current effort to prohibit OHV recreation on the Tesla property at Carnegie SVRA.

The OHV Commission recently voted unanimously to challenge the District Board’s effort to ban OHV use on our Tesla property. It is important to note that even the “environmental appointees” voted strongly in favor of the OHV commission telling the District to butt out!

Again, here is BRC Alert with list of meeting sites and sample letter http://www.sharetrails.org/alerts/2012/09/06/extreme-environmental-groups-collaborate-with-east-bay-region-park-district-to-impose-closureagenda-on-propose

Here is BRC News Release on Public Meetings with link to formal BRC comment letter http://www.sharetrails.org/news/2012/09/10/recreation-group-cites-east-bay-parks-violation-sunshine-laws

Also, feel free to check for updates with my good friends at the Carnegie Forever Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/groups/CarnegieForever/permalink/10150997989856599/

See you in Concord tonight!
Original author: Don Amador
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