California Huge OHV Victory
Future Secured by Bipartisan Legislation
BLUERIBBON COALITION/SHARETRAILS.ORG MEDIA RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: September 19, 2017
Contact: Don Amador, 925-625-6287
FUTURE OF OHV RECREATION IN GOLDEN STATE SECURED BY PASSAGE OF BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION
POCATELLO, ID (September 19, 2017) – State lawmakers in Sacramento recently passed Senate Bill 249 that permanently reauthorizes the California OHV Program. This historic vote-which also included Senate Bill 159, a companion bill that contained the funding structure for the program-had precedent setting broad support from both the conservation and OHV communities.
The BlueRibbon Coalition/Sharetrails.org (BRC) was part of a diverse OHV stakeholder group that championed the current OHV program managed by the California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division (OHMVRD) that is an important member of the California State Park family.
Don Amador, Western Representative for the BlueRibbon Coalition/Sharetrails.org, stated, “As a member of the 2007 drafting team that helped create the SB 742-based current program, I believe passage of the new SB 249 legislation honors the spirit and intent of our program that has been heralded as a national model for environmentally responsible OHV recreation.”
“I believe a lot of credit goes to the thousands of OHV enthusiasts, partners such as county sheriffs, and non-profit conservation groups, who took time to write letters and/or make phone calls to legislators and the Governor stating their strong support for the current program that granted monies to maintain trails, support law enforcement, open new riding areas and trails, fund important restoration projects, and pay for valuable rider education programs,” Amador continued.
“Credit should also be given to Senator Ben Allen, author of SB 249, for listening to concerns voiced by the OHV coalition, partners, and rural communities about how changes needed to be made to the original bill as that early version was simply too costly because it imposed an unwarranted level of additional environmental studies, reviews, and reports. The OHV Commission and State Park leadership also had key roles in helping resolve contentious issues with early versions of SB 249,” Amador concluded.
The OHV community and our conservation partners should be proud of the passage of this legislation that finally removes the sunset and makes our OHV program a permanent fixture at State Parks. We look forward to Governor Brown signing these bills in the near future.
For those of you following my website, you know of my issues with off-road hitches. Here is a link to the two previous postings:
The “Lock N Roll” Great Lake Forge hitch didn’t seem to like the tight turns and difficult terrain of the Rubicon Trail. I bent two of them! Though I must admit, I did roll the trailer twice with that hitch.
So I’ve moved on to the Max Coupler hitch by Kilby Enterprises:
After unbolting the previous hitch, I inserted a 18″ ‘receiver’ tube and drilled two vertical 5/8″ holes to mount the receiver tube to the trailer. A third horizontal hole mounts the unit in the receiver tube and trailer.
FYI, the wheeled trailer stand gets removed before hitting the trail.
I lucked out and the first hitch configuration I used to mount the unit to the Jeep got the trailer pretty level. If I hadn’t bent the stock Jeep ball hitch, I think this would be dead level.
Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll get a chance to test the new set-up this season. Although I will be out on the trail, I don’t think I’ll be needing the trailer. I’ll post up again after I test it out.
Here is the email I recently received from the ENF regarding the Deer Valley Trail:
You are receiving this email to inform you that a Draft Decision Notice and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Deer Valley 4wd Trail Meadow Restoration and Blue Lakes/Meadow Lake Road Maintenance Project has been prepared and is available for your review. See attached cover letter.
The Draft Decision Notice and FONSI, Environmental Assessment (September 2016), and Specialist Reports can be found on the Eldorado National Forest website at: http://www.fs.fed.us/nepa/nepa_project_exp.php?project=45439
This proposed decision is subject to objection pursuant to 36 CFR 218. See attached cover letter for more information on the administrative review process. The legal notice announcing the opportunity to object to the proposed decision is anticipated to be published in the Mountain Democrat on September 30, 2016.
Please let me know if you have any questions. Thank you.
Matt Brown Botanist
The next step is a 45 day “objection period”. After that, Crabtree has to issue a final decision. Unfortunately, they can and will delay enough to postpone the re-opening of the trail until next season. The season officially ends Jan 1st but will most likely it will be moved up because of wet conditions.
Cover letter to object link:
So, next year, six weeks after the snow melts at the weather monitoring site, the trail will open. Historically, that will be mid-July although it could be as early as late June or as late as mid-August.
I have asked the ENF if we can perform trail maintenance this year on the approaches and departures to both creek crossings. This would allow the work to harden over winter, a common FS practice. The ENF has not replied to my emails.
I just sent a letter to the president and vice president of the Rubicon Trail Foundation (RTF) asking that they keep the users informed of any maintenance efforts by either county PRIOR to any decision being made so the users can comment on these efforts.
Some maintenance efforts are being done that have nothing to do with safety or water quality. It’s all about making the trail easier in certain places so some people don’t put a scrape on their rig.
Rubicon Trail Foundation
September 27, 2016
Sean & John,
I am writing to ask that RTF keep the users of the Rubicon Trail informed of any maintenance efforts prior to the work being approved in order for the users to be able to comment on these efforts.
There are past examples of work done that was neither a safety issue nor a water quality issue. There is one effort planned, but not yet performed, that does not fall within either of those categories.
By creating a new page on your website of proposed, current and completed Rubicon Trail maintenance and which agency is leading it and how the public can comment on those issues, the users would be informed and would have the ability to comment on how our trail is managed.
Rogue maintenance is also an issue. RTF should develop professional relations with all organizations that may have or might perform such maintenance without agency approval and discourage such actions.
Too many decisions are being made behind closed doors or without users’ approval or input. Some of this is on us for not attending meetings but most users work M-F and can’t attend these meetings. So, again I am asking that RTF attend those meeting on our behalf and to keep us informed.
I will be starting a thread on www.Pirate4x4.com to allow Rubicon Trail users comment on this idea. I ask that you join in on the conversation.
I’ve also started a thread on Pirate4x4 to allow the public to weigh in with their thoughts. Please feel free to follow and/or comment on the issue.
Author’s note: I was going to hold off on this just to space out my posts but a conversation online just now made me decide to post it. For the record, I don’t alter the trail. I repair the trail. My work is pre-approved by the Tahoe National Forest or involves getting water off or across the trail in order to minimize erosion. (Also pre-approved; generally not specifically.)
Unfortunately, there are those out there that alter the trail for their own personal gain, either making the trail easier or making the trail harder. Some are trying to do good work but skip too many steps and the work doesn’t last and sometimes hurts.
In order for keep our trails open, safe and maintained properly, we must all speak up when our opinions are being asked. We should volunteer when we can. Comment on grants, attend your local FS meetings, join organizations that fight for your ‘pursuit of happiness’! Rant Off.
A new illegal bypass has appeared on Cadillac Hill this summer. I don’t know when it appeared or who started it but it’s not the first of it’s kind. Not twenty yards from this one was a previous attempt to bypass the trail around a difficult section.
You can see the ‘new’ bypass looking straight in to the photo. The top of the old bypass is in front of the bumper of the Jeep on the right side of the photo.
I get that people are tired and sometimes broken when they are driving out, but that doesn’t mean you are allowed to make an easier route. Please stay on the trail.
The bypass was blocked by moving a rather large log to block the route.
Both ends of the log were drilled and rebar was placed to prevent the removal of the log. I know this will not prevent those who really want to remove it from removing it but they will have to work at it and they will know they are doing something wrong.
Signs were placed on both sides of the log to let people know that this is the will of the forest service, not an individual.
Not wanting to hide from the work I perform under the guidance of the forest service, I put the logo of this website on the sign along with the USFS logo and the CA State Parks logo because they mange and fund respectively a large portion of the maintenance of our OHV trails.
We are our own worst enemy sometimes. Driving off trail and creating new route just gives the anti-OHV people more ammunition to use against us and to close our trails.
We need to work together. There are those who illegally modify the trail to make it harder and there are those who illegally drive off trail to find an easier route. We need to find a middle ground.
If you would like to discuss this issue further, please email me TheOtherRubicon@Charter.net.