As you all are well aware, a rather large storm has recently passed through the Sierra. The storm brough much needed rain and even snow in the higher elevations. This will help firefighters get better control of the Mosquito Fire. This morning, the containment was reported at 49%! Hopefully, that will mean reduced closures.
Also, CORVA has stepped up and into the arena and has been working to get our lands reopened that were unnecessarily closed. They have been in contact with the Forest Service, trying to explain the other side of the argument.
Several points were made to those in authority:
-the fire is 10 miles away from the Loon spillway and almost 20 miles from Rubicon Springs
-no other areas were closed along-side the Rubicon
(There were literally guards on the access road to the Tahoma staging area!)
-no other activities were shut down besides OHV
-most OHV users along the Rubicon can be contacted by radio to alert them
-OHV has the ability to extract much more quickly than other activities
-the fire is headed to old burn scars and will die down when it reaches them
One of the main points made is that OHV needs to be treated the exact same way as other forms of recreation.
It is our hope that the Forest Service will recognize the errors of their way and back down on the closure orders. Unfortunately, I don’t see the FS working very fast on this. I will post up as soon as I hear anything.
If you don’t know CORVA, it is the California Off-Road Vehicle Association. www.CORVA.org Join today. Join right now. CORVA gets out there and fights the fight. They fight for access to our public lands.
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