(Photo credit: Don Amador)
Members of Congress Petition BLM to Reopen Clear Creek Recreation Area
In early April, Representatives Jimmy Panetta (D-CA-20th) and David Valadao (R-CA-21st) sent a joint letter to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) California State Director, Karen Mouritsen, urging her to take administrative action to reopen the Clear Creek Recreation Area to managed OHV use. Currently, BLM is undertaking an internal review process to consider the latest scientific information and risk assessments from the EPA. The letter urged BLM to expedite this process and provide an update on this review to the Representatives’ offices at their earliest convenience.
The Clear Creek Recreation Area was a nationally recognized 70,000-acre OHV recreation area that provided motorized access to non-motorized recreation and other outdoor activities such as hunting and geological exploration. Before its closure, Clear Creek registered over 35,000 visits a year and was named one of the top 10 off-road areas in the nation. The Clear Creek Management Area (CCMA) was an essential economic link among California’s many statewide OHV recreation districts. The abrupt closure by BLM has resulted in severe economic consequences for surrounding towns that rely on recreational visitors in the region. Additionally, the closure created severe overcrowding and capacity issues at the Hollister Hills State Recreation Area and other counties, state, and federal OHV sites throughout California.
Representatives Panetta and Valadao said restoring public access would benefit non-motorized recreation and address illegal uses. The letter also cited the field trip last year to Clear Creek as an important opportunity for local stakeholders and government representatives to learn about the risks associated with reopening the area and for BLM to hear the community’s concerns that strongly support the reopening of the recreation area. Don Amador, President of Quiet Warrior Racing and Director of Government Affairs for AMA District 36, states, “the joint letter sent by Representatives Panetta and Valadao petitioning the BLM to reopen Clear Creek is just the sort of good news the OHV community needs to hear.”
Biden Administration Provides $31.1 million to the U.S. Forest Service
In April, the Biden-Harris Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service announced $31.1 million for 15 projects funded through the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP). The funding aims to reduce the risk of severe wildfires, support local economies, create jobs, and enhance forest and watershed health in eight states with partnership support.
“Programs like this show just how much we can accomplish across a shared landscape when we work together,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Under President Biden’s leadership, the Department of Agriculture is leveraging partnerships and seeking new opportunities to protect our communities, natural resources, and support and create jobs where they are needed most.”
These funds were made available through funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and annual appropriations. The selected projects are in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Washington. Collectively, these landscapes cover 17 million acres – an area larger than the size of West Virginia.
“The selected projects will enhance the work already accomplished through the program. Together, they highlight the widespread support of the work to improve the nation’s natural resources for the benefit of everyone,” said Forest Service Chief Randy Moore. “The infusion of funding augments the work we do with other governments and partners around other important work such as improvements to infrastructure and the 10-year wildfire strategy. The Collaborative Forest Restoration Program is working for all Americans.”
Recent BLM Activity
- Arcata, California – The BLM will be temporarily restricting public access to Jetty Road and the parking area at the Samoa Dunes Recreation Area, near Eureka, while the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers completes improvements to the Humboldt Bay north jetty. The temporary closures will be in place from April 11 through April 15, and from April 19 through 25. Visitors will still be able to access the off-highway vehicle parking staging area via Bunker Road and the Cypress Grove picnic area during the project.
- Redding, California – With summer camping season just around the corner, BLM opened Trinity River campgrounds, along California State Highway 299, on Friday, April 29. These campgrounds are first-come, first-served, with no reservations taken. Campers can deposit their fees in cash at campground collection boxes. The maximum stay is 14 days.
- Salt Lake City, Utah – The recent uptick in visitors to public lands has made obtaining a campsite at popular recreation areas more challenging. BLM is excited to provide the public with the option of advanced reservations which will give visitors peace of mind knowing their vacation plans are in place ahead of time. The BLM Salt Lake Field Office will now only accept online payment for fees associated with the Knolls Off-Highway Vehicle Special Recreation Management Area (Knolls) in Tooele County. The use of the Recreation.gov online portal will make fee compliance easier for visitors and will eliminate tube theft for onsite fees.
- Idaho Falls, Idaho – The Egin Lakes Campground opened on April 23 for the 2022 season. Visitors are reminded that the new campsite reservation system will be in effect for 26 of the 48 campsites this season. Reservations for these 26 sites can be made on www.recreation.gov or by calling 877-444-6777, and will no longer be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Each of the reservable sites will be signed as “Reservation Only” to avoid any confusion.
- George, Utah – Starting May 1, 2022, visitors will be able to better plan their trips to the Virgin River Campground by securing their visit with advance reservations.
- Marina, California – The BLM Central Coast Field Office is seeking public input on a draft plan to improve the off-highway vehicle riding experience at the Williams Hill Recreation Area in southern Monterey County. The BLM has prepared this plan with support from the California State Parks’ Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Division, recognizing that nature and recreational opportunities on public land are essential to the health, well-being, and prosperity of every family and community in America. Public comments on the plan are welcomed through May 23 and will be used to shape the final plan for the recreation area.