(Photo credit: Don Amador)
ARRA Members Voice Concerns at Recent CA State Parks Meeting
Don Amador – ARRA partner and AMA District 36 Government Affairs Director – along with approximately 40 representatives from various OHV groups, ARRA partners, conservation organizations, and individual stakeholders, attended a February 16th open house in Pleasanton, California hosted by California State Parks. Attendees were given an overview of Senate Bill 155 which transferred funding from the General Fund to the Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Trust Fund to explore acquiring and developing properties and opportunities to expand OHV recreation in new and existing facilities. Other topics discussed included the Department’s process for searching, selecting, and acquiring property; OHV recreation opportunities and visitor needs; and the potential locations for OHV recreation opportunities, such as partnerships, leases, and new properties. The attendees engaged in primarily positive discussions including how to work collaboratively to find a replacement facility for the Tesla property recently added to the California State Park System as a non-motorized area. The meeting had stations with topics of interest and provided time to discuss the project with State Parks staff.
In September 2021, SB 155 passed 68-8 in the Assembly and 28-9 in the Senate and was signed into law. It amended Public Resources Code Section 5090.42 transferring funding from the General Fund to the Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Trust Fund to explore acquiring and developing properties and opportunities to expand OHV recreation in new and existing facilities. This bill also recommended prioritizing opportunities that can serve large urban areas such as the Bay Area and Central Valley, and offer potential recreational opportunities for OHV recreation and motorized access to non-motorized recreation. This meeting was the second of several opportunities to be involved in this project, with both virtual and in-person meetings. CSP will develop a preliminary report, feasibility study, and OHV Recreation Access Plan with recommendations and strategies to enhance existing OHV recreation areas or expand OHV recreation within the state through an acquisition, lease, land swap, or other available means.
“There seemed to be a genuine interest by both sides of the aisle to find another OHV park that is outside of the Greater S.F. Bay Area and to use the monies and legislative directive contained in SB 155 to make that a reality,” said Don Amador.
A Record Turnout for 2023 King of the Hammers
For two weeks, Johnson Valley, California’s quiet desert transformed into the epicenter of off-road racing, camping, food, and fun at the annual King of the Hammers (KOH). In addition to the 4×4 rock racing and hard enduro moto racing, KOH encompassed desert racing, short course racing, Trucks, Buggies, Class 11 Volkswagen Bugs, and UTVs. Once again, all records were broken, with more than 1,700 registered teams, 90,000 attendees, and every form of camping imaginable, from tents to million-dollar RVs. Fans and teams worldwide have made KOH the largest and most challenging Off-Highway Vehicle event in the world.
“KOH is a great place to test drive trucks, SUVs, and UTVs, and get hands-on with almost any aftermarket OHV product worldwide,” said Fred Wiley, President and CEO, the Off-Road Business Association. “KOH also provides attendees the opportunity to meet Congressional leaders, Federal Land Managers, and the U.S. Marine Corps. KOH is also where OHV leaders from around the country meet and plan future issues. Coupling all of this with world-class entertainment, fireworks, and the largest OHV open area in America, only adds to the continued growth of this event,” Wiley added.
Outdoor Recreation Roundtable is Hosting Webinars Focused on Jobs in the Outdoors
In light of unprecedented interest in outdoor recreation, more people than ever before are considering careers in the outdoor industry but may need help knowing where to start. Starting in March, the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable will host a four-part webinar series focusing on the wide diversity of outdoor careers, required skill sets, trends, and technical and academic programs to support prospective talent. The first webinar occurred on March 1st, and the last will be on April 12th. You can register here for all the webinars.
“The outdoor industry provides fulfilling careers across the board—trade roles in RV, motorcycle/ATV, and boat manufacturing; business positions in marketing, sales, analytics, and design; public sector jobs in land and water management, and advanced outdoor infrastructure development, among many others,” said Chris Perkins, Senior Director Outdoor Recreation Roundtable. “This series will feature experts from across the industry discussing the wide variety of opportunities for prospective talent to get involved.”
Recent BLM Activity
- Bishop, California – The BLM Bishop Field Office and the Inyo National Forest solicited ideas on how to ensure off-highway vehicle trails are safe and well maintained on public lands throughout the Eastern Sierra at a virtual public meeting on Tuesday, February 7th. “This public meeting will give off-highway vehicle users a chance to visit with BLM and Forest Service staff and discuss changes or improvements to enhance outdoor recreation,” said BLM Bishop Field Manager Sherri Lisius. “The BLM and Forest Service will use public feedback to prepare grant applications to the California State Parks’ Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) Grants and Cooperative Agreements Program for law enforcement, restoration, and ground operations and maintenance projects.” Preliminary applications must be submitted to OHMVR Division no later than March 6th and will be available on the OHMVR Division’s website at http://www.ohv.parks.ca.gov for additional public review and comment from March 7th-May 1st. The website will provide detailed instructions for accessing the preliminary applications and submitting comments. Public comments must be submitted to both the OHMVR Division and to the BLM Bishop Field Office or Inyo National Forest by May 1st. Comments may also be emailed to the BLM at BLM_CA_Web_BI@blm.gov or to Adam Leidy at the Inyo National Forest at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Marina, California – The BLM Central Coast Field Office is temporarily closing vehicle access to Clear Creek Road in San Benito County until storm-related damage can be repaired. The temporary emergency closure order can be found on the BLM website. “This closure is necessary to protect public health and safety; and prevent excessive erosion,” said Central Coast Field Manager Zachary Ormsby. “During recent storms, a portion of Clear Creek Road was severely damaged near the entrance to the Clear Creek Management Area. Approximately 150-yards of Clear Creek Road was washed away by high stream water in the Clear Creek Canyon area. Clear Creek Road is the only designated open route for public access through Clear Creek Canyon. Two popular BLM-managed campgrounds, Oak Flat and Jade Mill, are inaccessible due to the temporary road closure. The Condon Peak campground is open, however, roads and trails above the campground are seasonally closed to motorized access during winter to prevent severe rutting and unnecessary damage to the public roads.
- Boise, Idaho – The BLM has approved a revised business plan for its Cove Recreation Site, located approximately 35 miles south of Boise that includes raised fees for day-use and overnight camping to help cover increased operational, maintenance and upgrade costs. Day-use fees were raised from $2 to $5 per vehicle, overnight tent camping from $5 to $15 and overnight recreational vehicle camping from $12 to $15. Fees for additional vehicles at a campsite after the first two are being raised from $2 to $5. Current national pass discounts, such as the America the Beautiful Pass, will be honored. These are the first fee increases at the site since 2005.
- Portland, Oregon – In honor of George Washington’s birthday and to increase recreational access to public land, the Bureau of Land Management waived the recreation standard amenity and day-use fees for visitors on February 20th. The BLM invites the public to visit the unique and diverse natural landscapes and visitor facilities on BLM-managed lands to celebrate the life of the first U.S. President George Washington.