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The General's Recreation HQ - Don Amador

Don Amador

Travel Management - Good Idea or Big Mistake?


At the recent CA State Parks OHV Commission meeting in San Jose, Commission Chairman Gary Willard asked the Forest Service representative for an accounting of the more than 12 million dollars of “OHV Green Sticker” grant funds that were spent on the CA OHV route inventory and designation process (RID) circa 2002-2007.

With more CA National Forests coming out with their DEIS’ – that are proposing to close a significant amount of historic OHV routes - there is a growing number of users asking if the CA RID process and its off-spring the National Travel Management Rule (TMR) have been “worth it” or if we are witness to a colossal mistake.

In CA, the 12 million dollars for RID essentially dried up grant funding for trail maintenance on most Forests for almost 6 years. Many users, including yours truly, were convinced that RID was simply an elaborate scheme by the anti-access majority on the OHV commission to enact the closure agenda of the extreme preservationist movement. Remember, it was just that sort of agenda-driven decision-making by the OHV commission that resulted in the new CA OHV program in SB742. Also, a number of FS staffers privately told me that those who supported the now infamous CA RID process would rue the day the MOI was signed and a “forced RID/TMR” process was imposed not only on the users, but on understaffed Forests and Ranger Districts.

Click here to read more of Travel Management - Good Idea or Big Mistake? from "The General"

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Don Amador

Saved By Zero - 24 Hours of Electricross


Saved By Zero - 24 Hours of Electricross

When you take the OHV sound testing program often taught by Dr. Rob Harrison (the godfather of the SAE J1287 “20-inch” sound test for OHVs) he asks the class this question, “If a tree falls in the forest does it make a sound or a noise?”

If you have taken the class you know the answer -- which is -- yes, it makes a sound since sound is a scientific measurement, but not a noise since noise is based on human values or interpretation.

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Photo to right is of Team HotChalk - hey, is that WPS's Rex Halepeska in the picture?

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John Stewart

Forest Service "Trees and Trails" Concept

Recently key trail and recreation stakeholders were invited to attend a meeting in Fairfield, California with Region 5/Forest Service where they unveiled Randy Moore’s “Trees and Trails” vision for the future. Randy is the regional forester for R5.

 
As some of you know, the FS has historically focused on the extractive industry where often "Recreation" is at the bottom of the priority and funding list.

On behalf of the BlueRibbon Coalition, I attended the mid 1990s Forest Congress and the 1999 Recreation Congress where the FS and stakeholders talked about recreation but not much was done.

This Trees and Trails concept is the first FS "recreation" oriented theme/effort of any size/scope that I have seen.

The group voted to move forward with having the agency look at starting a state-wide stakeholders group this year. Also a number of other concepts were voted on.

There was a lot of enthusiasm in the room and it appears the FS and other trail partners want to work together for the good of trails, the forest, and recreation.

I know we have been disappointed in the past with the agency's lack of attention or focus on recreation issues, but I think this appears to be something more substantive and may actually have a chance to succeed. Maybe recreation will no longer be considered as the “crazy uncle in the basement” but rather be invited to sit at the table with the other adults.
 
Read more about the Forest Service "Trees and Trails" Concept from Don Amador's aka "The General" Recreation HQ Blog.
 
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John Stewart

Proposed Raid on OHV Trust Fund in California

Many already know of the proposed raid by the Governor’s Office and state legislature of almost 90 million dollars from the OHV Trust Fund to help solve the budget crisis in California. This is a very disturbing prospect for me on any number of levels and it shows just how bad the economic situation is in what used to be called the Golden State.

One of my first state-oriented land-use battles in the early 1990s was fighting the Wilson Administration’s raid on the OHV program. Early in that fight, I had received a heads-up from a federal land management employee that they were being told by Region 5 to expect massive cuts in the OHV grants program. Many groups and activists held letter writing and fax campaigns, started a massive state-wide phone-in to the Capitol, and had pro-access US Senators send letters of protest to the Governor’s Office and Resource Agency.

While some may argue the success of those efforts, the fact remains that the OHV Division and grants program continued. Sadly, the monies collected for the acquisition of new riding areas from that time has largely sat in a stagnate account being unspent.

As an OHMVR Commissioner in the mid 1990s, I remember looking at potential sites ranging from Humboldt County, down in the Central Valley, and in So Cal.

Regardless of how rural those sites were, there was ALWAYS some local NIMBY or green citizen’s group that loudly protested to elected officials and the media.

When I asked one of those groups why they were protesting a new OHV site, they would say… “I support OHV but not at this site.” Then I would ask them to ID a site. Their response was always stone cold silence.

Read more about the Proposed Raid on OHV Trust Fund in CA from Don Amador's aka "The General" Recreation HQ Blog

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John Stewart

Thoughts on Mixed Use in Region 5


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

From The General's BLOG - Thoughts on Mixed Use in Region 5

In response to a Jan. 13, 2009 “mixed-use” memo from Region 5, first let me state that I believe Region 5 has created an number of unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles when it comes to the designation of level 3 roads as mixed-use where that road is open for use by both street legal and non-street legal OHVs. I have shared those views with R5 on a number of occasions and in comment letters on travel management planning efforts.

It has been my experience that there is little – if any on some Forests – accident history on level 3 roads between OHVs and passenger vehicles. If there were accidents they were most likely OHV vs. OHV rather then OHV vs. a passenger car.

If there is a silver lining in that memo - it is the direction for encouraging Forests to reclassify a level 3 road to a level 2 road. I think that is a plan of action that OHVers could and should support.

The only other viable approach – and one that I hope R5 will support - would be to construct parallel (companion trails) or alternative trails that lead to the same destination or complete a loop opportunity. Many of those trails could be constructed basically in the road prism where there should be less environmental concerns or obstacles.

Read more on The General's Blog - Thoughts on Mixed Use

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