Recently, I’ve posted about the possible end of the CA State Parks OHMVR Division and CORVA’s (CA Off Road Vehicle Association) promotion of a bill to keep that OHV funding source in place.
There is now a bill that has been put forth to END this grant funding for OHV.
If you do nothing else this year for OHV, make a call or send an email to your local elected representative to support the continuation of the CA State Parks OHMVR Grant Program and oppose SB 249.
As a citizen of Nevada, not California, it’s a little tricky for me to contact “my” elected CA representative. But I will use the CA address of my family cabin at Tahoe and submit that I recreate (read as bring money to spend) in CA and the continuation of this grant program with promote me to continue to recreate in CA.
This is HUGE people. I don’t often ask for my readers to act. This blog is for your enjoyment and education. I didn’t start this blog to promote myself or any ’cause’. I try not to rant too often. But, I am promoting this cause because if we lose our OHV funds, our trails will close do to lack of maintenance.
The old saying is: “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain.” Well the new quote will be: “If you didn’t speak out to save the CA State Parks OHMVR Grant Program, you can’t complain when your OHV sticker funds go to maintain a State Park that doesn’t allow OHV use and our OHV trails get closed.” Not as catchy but you get my point.
Contact your politician and tell your friends to do the same.
OHV Grant Funding
The grant cycle has started. Several agencies have help open houses to ask the users what they want done with their trails this summer.
Please take the time to contact your local office and provide polite input as to how you would like to fee your funds spent.
The CA Off Road Vehicle Association (CORVA) has moved forward on the effort to renew the grant program. This great program was scheduled to sunset after this year. These funds are critical for us to maintain our trails and keep them safe and thus open.
The entire (short) bill text can be found here: Read Bill. It is usually short and just removes the provision that details the sun-setting of the program.
It wouldn’t hurt to have you contact your representatives to ask for their support of this bill. This bill does not use general taxes for funding, the funding comes from sales and green sticker fees. It is self contained.
As a new CORVA (CA Off-Road Vehicle Assoc.) Field Representative, I felt the responsibility to phone in to and participate in the Board of Directors meeting Monday night. It is an open meeting, anyone call phone in and participate or just listen. For the most part, it was your typical meeting reviewing minutes, President’s report, old business, etc.
The one thing that jumped out at me was someone (sorry I didn’t note who brought it up) spoke about the new CA Senate Bill SBX1-1. Look it up. (I think there’s a similar one in the Assembly.) In a nut shell, it proposes the ability to change the allocation of the gas tax revenues that usually funds CA State Parks OHVMR grants to be used for all things vehicle related such as general highway repair, adding bicycle lanes to state roads, etc.
I’m not a legal scholar, so I’ve provided a link to the bill below for you to review the bill as well as copied the two paragraphs from the bill that I think sum it up:
(8) Article XIX of the California Constitution requires gasoline excise tax revenues from motor vehicles traveling upon public streets and highways to be deposited in the Highway Users Tax Account, for allocation to city, county, and state transportation purposes. Existing law generally provides for statutory allocation of gasoline excise tax revenues attributable to other modes of transportation, including aviation, boats, agricultural vehicles, and off-highway vehicles, to particular accounts and funds for expenditure on purposes associated with those other modes, except that a specified portion of these gasoline excise tax revenues is deposited in the General Fund. Expenditure of the gasoline excise tax revenues attributable to those other modes is not restricted by Article XIX of the California Constitution.
This bill, commencing July 1, 2016, would instead transfer to the Highway Users Tax Account for allocation to state and local transportation purposes under a specified formula the portion of gasoline excise tax revenues currently being deposited in the General Fund that are attributable to boats, agricultural vehicles, and off-highway vehicles. Because that account is continuously appropriated, the bill would make an appropriation.
This could be a huge blow to funding OHV maintenance and repair. Along with this bill, the entire OHMVR program is coming up for review (it will go away unless it gets voted to continue) and the OHMVR division will be rolled into the CA State Park system and no longer be a different division.
These are a lot of changes facing our grant source all at one time.
CORVA is on it. They are already voicing support to renew the OHMVR program. They are keeping an eye on how this system will be managed under CA State Parks directly. And they are aware of and will work to correct any bill that would defund or reduce funds to our OHV grant program.
As a life member of CORVA, I would ask that you help support the efforts of CORVA in this issue and the many others that CORVA champions. www.CORVA.org
So, yesterday (11/9/16) was a busy day.
I had a 30 minute meeting at 10am with the LTBMU to discuss updates to the new map for the staging area. I got out of that 30 minute meeting at 10:50am. Just enough time to make my 11am meeting with the new Lake Tahoe West Restoration Partnership.
Short story there, this is yet another group formed to ‘restore’ a part of our forest. I’m not yet sure who is funding this effort or why this section of forest was picked. But, Amy Granat of CORVA asked me to be a part of this discussion due to my local OHV knowledge. In order to get an interview with the group, I had to be ‘officially’ affiliated with some recognized group. So, CORVA made me a ‘Field Representative’:
While in the meeting with Lake Tahoe West, the LTBMU texted me to ask if I had time to meet at the Rubicon staging area to discuss ‘things’. Instead of driving over 50 and up 395 to get home, I went back up 89 to the staging area.
On the drive north, I took a few pictures of the recent Emerald Bay Fire. This is just south of Emerald Bay. The first shot is looking south. You can see the open areas near Camp Richardson in the background.
The Forest Service crews were out in strength dropping trees at the edge of the highway, putting down ground cloth and booms to prevent the coming storms from washing off the topsoil and then spraying with that green compound that promotes new growth.
At the staging area, Mike, Jacob and I discussed the sign, the surface of the parking area, signs, overflow parking, etc.
Then Mike said he wanted to see Miller Lake and the turn to the Richardson Trail. Now you must take in to account what I’m driving. It’s my daily driver, a 2012 Chevy Colorado. Now it has the Z-71 package and a 2.5″ lift and 33″ tires. A vehicle quite capable of doing most of the trails in the area, but yesterday, it also had a small load of firewood in the bed and two kayaks strapped to the top.
Up the trail we went. Then Mike asked Jacob if he wanted drive the loop and go out Blackwood Canyon. The Forest Service was driving a stock Ford Ranger, no lift. There were a few puddles that had already lapped at the door of the Ranger. I couldn’t let them drive the loop alone, so with kayaks and firewood in tow, we headed to Barker Pass.
At least I had my winter stuff in the truck: shovel, come-along, tow straps, etc.
Mike was riding with me so I could bend his ear on anything that came to mind. He glanced over and asked if we had enough fuel to make it out. I explained that I normally top off my tank before venturing off-road but I didn’t have that expectation today. I said we’d be fine, but was a little worried when the ‘low fuel’ light came on.
That situation was a great opportunity to discuss the new “No Outlet Nov 6th – June 16th” sign to prevent people from getting stuck at a gate on their way out Blackwood Canyon and not being able to turn around and drive all the way back out to the Rubicon staging area be it fuel, vehicle damage, darkness, injury, etc.
We finished our day at the Middle Fork staging area discussing signage.
I ended up putting 17.4 gallons of fuel in my 19.5 gallon tank. We had plenty, but it was a long day as I didn’t get home until 5:20pm.
The Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) has a few things going on right now. They recently released a letter/report seeking input for a more general scoping process involving roads, trails and facilities. I posted about that on Dec 7th. Comments should be made on that issue as well as this latest release.
This latest release/request (scheduled for today), is OHV specific. The letter was a collaboration between the forest service, Cal4, Blue Ribbon Coalition (BRC) and CORVA. The LTBMU wants to hear from the users what they want done within the LTBMU regarding OHV. This could be very specific maintenance projects on the trail (the 14Nxx trail needs a rolling dip constructed at this point..) or more general comments about how to improve the overall management of OHV process and system (there should be a monthly open house/meet and greet/coffee talk for users to meet with Forest Service employees).
Here is the letter that was written as a collaboration with those listed:
This is a huge opportunity for us, the users, to tell the LTBMU exactly what we want done. Okay, they’re not going to do everything we want but we need to at least tell them. It’s like, “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain”. If you don’t voice what you’d like to see done with OHV, don’t complain.
Possible topics: Signage: simple trail markers, club adopt-a-trail signs; Maintenance projects: water bars, rolling dips, hardening water crossings; more Adopt-a-trails available and supported; a single email address for ALL things OHV within the basin; dedicated OHV employee for consistent communications; etc.
Please email: email@example.com with the title “LTBMU OHV Input”
I’m keeping a positive and open mind on this effort. The LTBMU is acting like they want to make it happen. We need to show support and give them a list of things to do. Again, little specific things or huge sweeping general ideas, stuff for this summer or long term projects that could take years to complete.
Similar to my “Turn Around, Don’t Go Around”, for this post its: “Speak up or shut up”