(Photo credit: Laura Feist, NOHVCC)
2023 NOHVCC Conference a Rousing Success
The 2023 NOHVCC Annual Conference held in Midway, Utah, saw more than 120 OHV enthusiasts, NOHVCC State Partners, Land Managers, and OHV stakeholders in attendance. The mobile workshop once again kicked off the conference on Oct. 12, where 80 attendees could tour trails within Wasatch Mountain State Park and the Pleasant Grove Ranger District of the Uintah-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. Attendees also had the opportunity to attend presentations on OHV sound and emerging technologies with Chris Real of DPS Technical, learn more about the Utah OHV Program, learn about the resources offered by Tread Lightly, and have an open discussion with Pleasant Grove District Ranger Russ Hanson. It was frigid, with some snowfall, but attendees were in good spirits and thoroughly enjoyed the day outside.
The successful main conference was held on Oct. 13-14 at the Zermatt Resort. Presentations included the Utah OHV Program, OHV recovery and the importance of trails in emergency preparedness, Trails Master Plans for your county, the RideSafe Foundation, the successes in healing the East Troublesome Burn Scar in Grand Lake, Colo., and more. Afternoon sessions were reserved for open discussion forums on topics such as insurance for OHV clubs, recruitment and retention of volunteers, regional discussion sessions, and other relevant topics. The event was capped off with an awards banquet to recognize the contributions of outstanding volunteers and professionals contributing to a positive future for OHV recreation. Feedback from attendees has been overwhelmingly positive, and the NOHVCC staff and board are already beginning to plan for another exciting conference in 2024.
The CRT is Still Accepting Nominations for the 2023 Trails Achievement Awards
The Coalition for Recreational Trails is accepting nominations for its 2023 achievement awards, which will recognize outstanding trail projects funded by the Recreational Trails Program (RTP). CRT will host an awards ceremony honoring the winners on Jan. 24, 2024.
Award winners will be selected from projects nominated by public agencies, trail administrators, or other project sponsors. Projects must be completed to receive an award. In addition, projects completed before 2018 are ineligible. Project award categories include:
- Construction and Design
- Maintenance and Rehabilitation
- Public-Private Partnerships and Access to Public Lands
- Community Linkage
- Education and Communication
- Accessibility Enhancement
- Multiple-Use Management and “Corridor Sharing”
- Use of Youth Conservation/Service Corps and Community Outreach
- Engaging Public-Sector Partners
- Enhancement of Federal Lands
If you know of any completed award-worthy RTP projects, fill out this nomination form or forward the form to anyone you know who may be aware of an appropriate project. The CRT recognizes excellent projects through these awards and raises the RTP profile on Capitol Hill, which will help keep the program funded and secure. The deadline for nominations is Nov. 17.
Despite Veto Threat, Interior Appropriations Bill Heads to the House Floor
In late October, President Biden stated he would veto H.R. 4821, the House’s fiscal 2024 Interior-Environment bill, because the legislation would slash agency budgets and environmental spending programs. The administration was critical of House Republican leadership for including steep reductions in their policy statement. “These levels would result in deep cuts to clean energy programs and other programs that work to combat climate change, essential nutrition services, law enforcement, consumer safety, education, and healthcare,” the statement said.
Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID, 2nd), chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, recently appeared before the rules committee to defend his bill. As a result, the committee approved the package on a party-line vote. In total, 131 amendments were made to the bill, which will be debated and voted on the House floor in early November. In July, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved its Interior and Environment bill but has yet to reach the floor.
The bill has two provisions that interest ARRA members. In Section 453 (a), any regulation promulgated by the Secretary of the Interior to establish fees to recover the costs of processing an application for a special recreation permit or monitoring an authorization under a special recreation permit for competitive or organized group or event use shall include an exemption providing that fee may not be recovered for not less than the first 100 hours of work necessary in any one year to process the application or monitor the authorization. In Section 490, none of the funds made available by this Act may be obligated or expended to— (1) develop, finalize, or issue a final rule concerning the proposed rule entitled ‘‘Conservation and Landscape Health’’ published by the Bureau of Land Management in the Federal Register on April 3, 2023 (88 Fed. Reg. 19583); or (2) implement, administer, or enforce such proposed rule or any substantially similar rule.
Recent Bureau of Land Management Activity
- Marina, Calif. – On Oct. 2, the BLM restored motorized vehicle access to the Clear Creek Management Area. Crews completed repairs to culverts and stream crossings on Clear Creek Road and maintenance work along the entire public touring route network in the Serpentine Area of Critical Environmental Concern; they also repaired the many stream crossings and culverts that were washed away during the winter storms.
- Medford, Ore. – The BLM Butte Falls Field Office will close the Upper Table Rock trailhead and trail on weekdays from Oct. 16 through Nov. 22. The trailhead and trail will be open on the weekends. BLM will work with contractors to re-route steep and unsustainable portions of the existing Upper Table Rock trail. Small excavators and motorized trail-building equipment will be used to complete the work. The closure will allow for public and worker safety during construction periods.
- Taos, N.M. – The BLM Taos Field Office is pleased to announce that Santa Cruz Lake is now open on Mondays for the fall season. The new hours of operation for day use are Thursday through Monday, 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. The recreation site is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Santa Cruz Lake closes annually for the winter from Dec.1 – March 1. The Overlook Campground will remain open 24/7 until the winter closure.
- Bishop, Calif. – The BLM Bishop Field Office is easing seasonal fire restrictions effective immediately on all BLM-managed public lands extending from the southern Owens Valley in Inyo County north to Topaz Lake and the Nevada border in Mono County. The California statewide Fire Prevention Order remains in effect year-round.
- Reno, Nev. – On Oct. 10, the BLM opened a 30-day public comment period to inform the direction of the Draft Programmatic Environmental Assessment (EA) that will cover a range of Special Recreation Permits (SRPs) for Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) events on 8,879 miles of roads and trails in Nevada. “The programmatic EA will streamline the current Special Recreation Permit process for OHV events and lower the cost burden for applicants who bring valuable economic income to the region,” said Tammy Owens, BLM Nevada Recreation Lead for SRPs, OHV, Trails, and Travel Management. “It will also shorten processing time for BLM staff and create a standard set of stipulations and mitigation measures for all Special Recreation Permits.” The programmatic EA will analyze existing routes open to the public and used for OHV events. The EA will not analyze the creation of new routes that have not previously been open to the public. The comment period will close on Nov. 9. The Taos Field Office is focused on providing recreation and economic opportunities while protecting our public lands through Leave No Trace principles.
- Medford, Ore. – The BLM Medford District lifted fire restrictions on public lands administered by the BLM on Oct. 19. Campfires and other activities, such as using a chainsaw, operating a vehicle off-road, and smoking, were again permitted on most BLM-managed lands in Jackson, Josephine, and southern Douglas counties. Visitors are reminded constantly to extinguish campfires entirely and only use campfires in areas free of flammable vegetation.
- Marina, Calif. – The BLM invited the community to Fort Ord National Monumenton Sat., Oct. 28, for a rewarding volunteer work day during National Public Lands Day (Make A Difference Day). Volunteers were needed to help with native plant landscaping, seed and straw throw, invasive weed removal, native seed collection, oak care and watering, and trail maintenance work.
- Lake Havasu City, – The BLM Lake Havasu Field Office announced the temporary closure and restrictions of selected public lands for the Ultra4 USA Legends of the Fall off-highway vehicle (OHV) race events in the Standard Wash OHV Open Area in Mohave County. The temporary closure took effect Oct. 25-29, , and the temporary restrictions from Oct. 24-29.
- Butte Falls, Ore. – The Town of Butte Falls and the BLM invited the public to attend an open house meeting to learn about and comment on two related projects: the Butte Falls Community Forest Recreation Plan and the BLM’s Fredenburg Butte Trails project. The open house occurred on Oct. 26, in Butte Falls. The Town of Butte Falls explained and sought input on the recreation development plan for its recently acquired community forest. Following the acquisition of the community forest in 2022, the Town of Butte Falls began developing its community forest recreation plan with the support of the National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance program. The Town held a public workshop in May 2023 to solidify an initial plan. The Town and the Community Forest Commission seek input from the Town residents and the larger community on the draft plan.