January 2022

Outdoor Recreation Office Established in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is joining several states focusing on the connections between having fun outdoors, the health of people and communities, and the outdoor industry. Pennsylvania is the 19th state to create an Office of Outdoor Recreation and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) recently announced Nathan Reigner as its first Director of Outdoor Recreation.

“I am proud to welcome Nathan to DCNR and eagerly look forward to the impact his work will have in expanding outdoor recreation access in Pennsylvania,” DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said. “Public lands are at the heart of outdoor recreation, making it critical that DCNR continues to focus on strategic growth and coordination to ensure the outdoors are welcoming and accessible to all.”

The announcement comes on the heels of Governor Tom Wolf’s announcement in December of 2021 to dedicate more than $17 million in American Rescue Plan Act Funding for Marketing and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Programs to jumpstart tourism recovery. Pennsylvania has the sixth-largest outdoor recreation economy in the nation, accounting for billions of dollars in economic impact each year.

The priority for Reigner and the DCNR will be to focus on getting acquainted with the many facets and partners in outdoor recreation in Pennsylvania and collecting and providing input with and for a strategic vision that is aligned with the goals of Pennsylvania’s 2020-2024 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan.

USFS Unveils National Strategy to Reduce Wildfire Risk

On January 18, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Forest Service Chief Randy Moore unveiled a comprehensive response to address the nation’s growing wildfire crisis. The 10-year strategy aims to squarely address the wildfire crisis in the places where it poses the most immediate threats to communities. The Forest Service will collaborate with states, partners, tribes, and local communities to implement the new strategy across jurisdictions to protect communities, critical infrastructure, watersheds, habitats, and recreational areas.

Additionally, the plan calls for the agency to treat up to 20 million acres on National Forest System lands and up to 30 million acres of other Federal, State, Tribal, and private lands. Click here to view the 10-year strategy.

ARRA Members in Connecticut Respond to Thomaston Dam Proposal

In early January, ARRA members swiftly responded by writing to Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Christopher Murphy (D-CT) and opposed a proposal made by First Selectman of Thomaston, Connecticut, Edward Mone. Selectman Mone provided a proposal to Congress that would eliminate motorized recreation at the Thomaston Dam altogether. This would end year-round riding opportunities for people of diverse economic backgrounds and people who don’t have the physical ability to hike or bike the property, as well as families who utilize motorized off-road vehicles on the trails to haul equipment for fishing, lawn games, picnicking and other services such as trash removal.

In the public comments to the Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments (NVCOG), the majority of the responses were opposed to any encroachment on the riding area. The February 12, 2020 draft report from the NVCOG also conveyed other routes that the greenway could take that would not disrupt this singular and unique recreation opportunity.

Thank you to the ARRA members who quickly responded to the call to action alert. We will keep ARRA members apprised of any future developments and alert members if any additional action is required.

Recent BLM Activity

  • Cottonwood, Idaho – Boat launch construction began at the Slate Creek and the White Bird launch sites which will include constructing new concrete ramps that extend further into the river. Construction is to be complete by March 31.
  • Twin Falls, Idaho – The BLM’s Burley Field Office will implement its annual seasonal motorized travel closure in the South Hills area Sunday, January 16 to Tuesday, March 15, 2022, to prevent resource damage and protect crucial mule deer winter range and sage-grouse habitat. The area is still open to the public for non-motorized use.
  • Barstow, California – The BLM implemented a temporary closure of public lands in the Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Recreation Area in San Bernardino County from January 29 – February 5. The temporary closure will enhance public and participant safety during the 2022 King of the Hammers desert race events, which are authorized by a BLM Special Recreation Permit.
  • Ukiah, California – The BLM Ukiah Field Office hosted a virtual public engagement workshop on Thursday, January 20, to hear public input on how to make the South Cow Mountain OHV Management Area more family friendly, increase safety, and improve the trail system. The virtual public engagement workshop will provide an opportunity for the public to propose future routes, facilities, and other improvements by using an interactive map at the popular off-highway vehicle recreation site.
  • Winnemucca, Nevada – The Humboldt River Field Office temporarily closed Water Canyon Campground Road due to treacherous driving conditions. The closure went into effect on January 11, 2022.
  • Winnemucca, Nevada – The Black Rock Field Office, Winnemucca District, will be seasonally closing a portion of the High Rock Canyon Road to vehicle use beginning Monday, February 7, through Friday, May 6, 2022. High Rock Canyon Road is located in the Black Rock Desert-High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area. High Rock Canyon will be closed between the mouth of High Rock Canyon and about 5 miles below Stevens Camp.