July 2023

(Photo credit: Ty VanHooydonk)

A Major Victory for the OHV Community at Oceano Dunes

The San Luis Obispo County Superior Court ruled that the California Coastal Commission (CCC) does not have the authority under state law to ban all OHVs at Oceano Dunes. The Court’s ruling covered four lawsuits – three brought by Friends of Oceano Dunes and one by EcoLogic Partners, which is made up of the Off-Road Business Association (ORBA), American Sand Association (ASA), American Motorcyclist Association District 37, and California Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs. As a result, OHVs are not banned, and the Pier Avenue beach access will no longer be closed.

The CCC said two years ago that it wanted to end vehicle access to the Oceano Dunes SVRA, located about 200 miles north of Los Angeles, by 2024. The Court clarified that if the Coastal Commission wants to attempt to ban OHV recreation at the park, it must convince San Luis Obispo County to amend its local coastal plan or compel the State Legislature to change its local coastal plan. “Friends argued that the local coastal plan only authorizes the County, not the Coastal Commission, to close the park, and even then, the closure may only be temporary,” said Jim Suty, President of Friends of Oceano Dunes. “The Court agreed with that analysis and agreed that the Commission’s effort to ban OHV unlawfully attempted to amend the County’s plan in violation of the Coastal Act.”

“We are excited about the recent Court ruling about Oceano Dunes State Vehicle Recreation Area on the central coast of California,” said Fred Wiley, President and CEO of the Off-Road Business Association. “The court’s ruling sends a clear message to the California Coastal Commission that the commission cannot overstep its authority. The motorized recreation community will continue to work with all the different agencies to ensure that all types of recreation will be able to enjoy visiting the central coast of California. Grassroots, industry, families, and many national organizations joined together to do the right thing allowing responsible and meaningful recreation to this great and historic place,” Wiley added.

The Court also ruled in favor of Friends’ argument that the Commission failed to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act or CEQA because it failed to do a proper traffic impact analysis when it decided to close Pier Avenue as a vehicle access point to the beach.

The court victory has significant implications beyond OHV enthusiasts, providing a shot in the arm for local businesses. A recent study showed that Oceano Dunes visitors from outside San Luis Obispo County generated a total economic impact of more than $500 million in 2019.


Register for the 2023 NOHVCC/INOHVAA Annual Conference

Registration is open for the 2023 National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC) and the International Off-Highway Vehicle Administrators Association’s Annual Conference in Midway, Utah, October 12-14. Early Bird registration will close on August 15 at 5 p.m. MST. Everyone is encouraged to take advantage of this discount pricing as prices will increase on August 16 and remain at that price until the conference kick-off.

“The NOHVCC Board and staff are extremely excited to hold the 2023 annual conference in Midway on October 12-14,” said Marc Hildesheim, Executive Director of the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC). “We look forward to showing participants the great things that the Utah OHV Program is doing and sharing the many successes of our NOHVCC partners across the country. We look forward to a weekend of collaboration, learning, and camaraderie among the enthusiasts and managers who share a passion for OHV recreation.”

The conference will feature a Mobile Workshop on October 12 at the Wasatch Mountain State Park. The workshop will include a management tour of the area with a discussion regarding successful management practices and sustainable trail development. This year’s conference will feature speakers from the Utah Division of Outdoor Recreation, the International Off-Highway Vehicle Administrators Association, and NOHVCC Board members. Topics will include Insurance for OHV Clubs, Healing the East Troublesome Burn Scar, Fox Factory’s Trail Trust Grant Program, and the Role of Trails in Emergency Preparedness.

Click here to register, explore sponsorship opportunities, and view the preliminary schedule.


Coalition for Recreational Trails Seeks Nominations for 2023 CRT Awards

The Coalition for Recreational Trails (CRT) has called for nominations for outstanding projects that utilized funds from the Recreational Trails Program (RTP).  If you know of any completed award-worthy RTP projects, fill out this nomination form, or forward the letter 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. Nominations are due November 17.  Award winners will be honored at a ceremony on January 24, 2024.

Click here for more information about the CRT.


Recent Bureau of Land Management Activity

  • Bishop, Calif. – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced fire restrictions effective June 28, for public lands managed by the Bishop Field Office in Inyo County. These seasonal restrictions are necessary because of dry conditions and wildland fire danger and are in addition to the year-round statewide fire prevention order issued on April 28, 2020. This seasonal fire order will remain in effect until further notice. This order does not affect the BLM-managed public lands in Alpine and Mono counties.
  • El Dorado Hills, Calif. – The BLM announced fire restrictions effective June 28, for public lands managed by the Mother Lode, Ukiah, and Bishop field offices, primarily located in Amador, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Glen, Lake, Marin, Mariposa, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Tuolumne, Yolo and Yuba counties. These seasonal restrictions are necessary because of dry conditions and wildland fire danger and are in addition to the year-round statewide fire prevention order issued on April 28, 2020. The Mother Lode Field Office and Ukiah Field Office seasonal fire orders will remain in effect until further notice.
  • Redding, Calif. – The BLM announced seasonal fire restrictions effective July 3, on public lands managed by the BLM Redding and Arcata field offices in Butte, Shasta, Trinity, Siskiyou, Tehama, Humboldt, Del Norte, and northern Mendocino counties.
  • Farmington, N.M. – Because of increased fire danger and prolonged drought, the BLM implemented fire restrictions in San Juan, Rio Arriba, Taos, Colfax, Union, Los Alamos, Santa Fe, Mora, Harding, and San Miguel counties, as well as portions of public land in McKinley and Sandoval counties.
  • North Bend, Ore.- BLM Coos Bay District officials increased the public use restrictions on BLM-managed lands in southwest Oregon as the weather warms and fire danger increases across the forest.
  • Spokane, Wash. – Elevated fire danger has prompted fire management officials with the BLM to implement additional public use restrictions to reduce wildfire risk on public lands administered by the BLM in eastern Washington.
  • Dolores, Colo. – Stage 1 fire restrictions went into effect July 10 for all public lands administered by the BLM Tres Rios Field Office within the boundaries of Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, and Montezuma counties, as well as the northwest portion of Montrose County and the western half of San Miguel County, including Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. The restrictions align with local orders and guidelines to protect the public’s safety during high fire danger.
  • Medford, Ore. – Because of recent high temperatures and increasing fire danger, BLM Medford District officials implemented additional public use restrictions on BLM-managed lands in southern Oregon, beginning July 17. BLM Medford District is moved to Extreme Fire Danger. Campfires, including Hyatt Lake campground, will no longer be allowed anywhere in District. Visitors can use portable cooking stoves that use liquefied or bottled fuels. Otherwise, campfires or any other type of open fire, including charcoal briquettes, are prohibited.
  • Las Vegas, Nev. – On July 14, the BLM, Bureau of Reclamation, Clark County, Moapa Valley Fire Protection District, Mt. Charleston Fire Protection District, National Park Service, Nevada Division of Forestry, Nye County, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Forest Service implemented fire restrictions in Southern Nevada.
  • Vale, Ore. – Officials said that recent dry lightning, rising temperatures, and rapidly drying vegetation are increasing the risk of wildfires on public lands managed by the Vale District Bureau of Land Management. Effective July 22, Vale BLM has enacted additional fire restrictions to reduce the chances of a wildfire starting on public lands, including the Owyhee Dam area, which the Bureau of Reclamation manages.
  • Grand Junction, Colo. – Stage 1 fire restrictions began July 21, for BLM-administered lands for the Grand Junction and Colorado River Valley Field Offices in Mesa and Garfield counties. Recent hot and windy conditions across Colorado have dried out lower elevation fuels, while thunderstorms have delivered lightning with little or no moisture. Based on these current conditions of fuels and weather, officials decided to implement stage 1 fire restrictions beginning July 21.
  • Casper, Wyo. – Because of dry conditions and high fire danger, Stage 1 fire restrictions began July 24, on public lands administered by the BLM in Goshen, Platte, and Weston counties. The BLM is working with the counties to coordinate restrictions.
  • Barstow, Calif. – The BLM proposed a five-day temporary closure of public lands for the proposed California 300 off-road race at Stoddard Valley Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Area in San Bernardino County. The proposed closure would facilitate public safety, protect resources and provide an enhanced recreational experience for race participants and spectators. The environmental review analyzes impacts on resources throughout the application period, which includes annual races through 2027. The 30-day public comment period ends on August 23, and the environmental assessment and related map are available for public review on the BLM NEPA Register.