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Before I get to the main point, a small (and I'm sure temporary) reprieve:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pulls omnibus public lands bill

Posted December 21, 2010 Email this articleEmail Print this articlePrint

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has dropped his effort to pass a massive omnibus public lands bill that would have restricted responsible off-highway vehicle (OHV) access to thousands of acres of public land.

Reid introduced the legislation, S. 303, the "America's Great Outdoors Act of 2010," on Friday, Dec. 17, as a substitute to unrelated legislation titled the "Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act of 2009." Reid's move was reminiscent of the controversial parliamentary tactic that anti-OHV forces used in 2009 to close 2.1 million acres of public land.

"We are cautiously optimistic that this latest effort to keep the American public from responsibly enjoying America's public lands has failed," said AMA Senior Vice President for Government Relations Ed Moreland. "AMA members played no small role in this provisional success, and we thank our subscribers who responded to AMA Action Alerts to oppose this pending legislation.

"However, we must remain vigilant because Reid has indicated a desire for a smaller version of S. 303 prior to adjournment," said Moreland. "The current session can possibly run through Jan. 4, 2011."

Moreland added that in addition to the recent AMA Action Alert on this issue, the AMA has issued letters and applied procedural pressure to combat Reid's effort to restrict access to public lands. To read the latest alert, see American Motorcyclist Association - Update: Senate Majority Leader Reid Pulls the Omnibus Public Lands bill.

Reid's bill was a collection of more than 70 measures and more than 1,000 pages. Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.) was one of several senators who protested the legislation, saying it was too sweeping to consider prior to the end of the current session. In addition, key representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives, such as House Natural Resources Chairman-elect Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), voiced opposition to the measure.

"We need to protect public land for future generations, not from future generations, and that includes responsible OHV recreation access," Moreland said. "In addition, legislation deserves a full and public debate on its merits, and parliamentary tricks and sleight-of-hand, such as what we saw in 2009 and what we've experienced here, do not allow that."

To receive the latest on this and other issues that affect the motorcycling and OHV community, sign up to receive AMA Action Alerts at AmericanMotorcyclist.com > Rights > Issues & Legislation.

This is from the Americas Great Outdoors website mentioned elsewhere and I encourage everyone to go there and strike down some of these moronic ideas...:


These people are truly un American. I was astounded to read this, I had no idea how virulent the ORV haters are. Unfortunately, they also have access to bureaucrats we don't have (because the mostly agree with them) and the time to get in their ear USING YOUR MONEY!

Alliance for Responsible Recreation
a coalition of community groups working to
protect our private and public lands from ORV abuse

October 8, 2010

Jared Blumenthal
Regional Administrator
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9
75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, California 94105

Re: America’s Great Outdoors – the adverse impacts of off-highway vehicles on our public lands

Dear Mr. Blumenthal:

Thank you for taking the time to meet with me about the impacts of off-highway vehicles (OHV)s on America’s public lands. The Alliance for Responsible Recreation is a coalition of all-volunteer conservation and community groups organized to address the crisis of unmanaged and uncontrolled OHV abuse of our private and public lands in Southern California. We believe that federal land use policy should be based on good science and sustainable management to protect America’s Great Outdoors for future generations. The OHV industry is extremely influential in Washington, D.C. as are rider’s groups across the nation. We view the unmanaged use of our public lands for OHV recreation as a public subsidy of the industry at the expense of environmental and cultural resources. In surveys, OHV riders have reported that they breach designated routes the majority of the time resulting in widespread damage to soils, plants and animals, and OHV recreation has been identified by the Department of the Interior as one of the major threats to our nation’s natural and cultural heritage

As indicated in the June 2009 Government Accountability Office Report to the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, Committee on Natural Resources in the House of Representatives , OHVs represent a clear and present danger to our public lands. Some of the conclusions of the report indicate that our federal land use management agencies cannot manage or control OHV activities that result in the destruction of lands held in common for generations to come. These conclusions reinforce our observations on the ground that OHV activities are a major threat to our public and private lands and that abuse of these lands continue with impunity.


Highlights of the GAO Report include:

• Federal land use managers report an increase of OHV activities with adverse impacts on natural and cultural resources, conflicts with other federal land users and an increase in accidents including fatalities.

• The majority of federal field units indicated they cannot manage existing OHV areas in a sustainable manner.

• Field units reported that they are hampered from protection of our public lands from OHV activities due to a lack of resources.

• Federal land use agencies lack key elements in strategic planning for responsible and sustainable OHV recreation.

• Federal land use managers need to improve communication with the public about legal OHV areas and trails.

• Current federal OHV enforcement is inadequate to protect public lands.

• Fines for illegal OHV activities are not sufficient to curtail damage.

Research in California indicates that OHVs are making a significant adverse impact on climate and public health due to the production of green house gas emissions and dust. Refer to the submitted 2008 report Fuel to Burn.

In many parts of the country, public lands are intertwined with private lands. Unmanaged and uncontrolled OHV activities on public lands result in trespass and destruction of private property and at times violent conflicts with private property owners. Local law enforcement and emergency response agencies are overwhelmed with this added burden and the costs of these impacts become the responsibility of local taxpayers. During holiday weekends, OHV recreationists converge on hundreds of thousands of acres of public lands resulting in wholesale damage to those lands. In addition, the lack of signage and public education exacerba
tes these problems.

Recently, public attention has been focused on the tragic impacts of an unmanaged OHV race on public lands in California that resulted in the deaths of participants. In our view, these large scale races are inappropriate for public lands, constitute a public safety hazard, represent a federal subsidy of the OHV industry and consume federal law enforcement rangers’ time and efforts leaving communities and adjacent public lands unprotected.
These large-scale races result in the destruction of large swaths of federal lands impacting endangered, threatened and sensitive species, hydrologic systems, habitat and vegetation. The “collateral damage” from these races includes private property destruction, increased DUI accidents, and conflict with surrounding communities.

Adding to problems with OHV law enforcement is that these vehicles cannot be easily identified since they do not have visible license plates. In addition, unlike other recreational activities on public lands, federal agencies do not have a permit system to control OHVs.

RECOMMENDATIONS

We would like to make the following recommendations:

1. An immediate moratorium on large-scale OHV races on public lands.
2. Dramatically increased fines for OHV violations and an increase in OHV fees for use on our public lands.
3. Increased enforcement of OHV laws and regulations on public lands paid for by rider’s fees and permits.
4. Visible identification on OHVs to aid in law enforcement.
5. Restrictions on OHV activities on public lands including a prohibition of OHV use on Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC)s.
6. Closure of public lands to OHV recreation if it has been demonstrated that land managers cannot adequately enforce relevant laws in these areas.
7. Investigation and prosecution of OHV riders who engage in harassment, intimidation, retaliation and cyberstalking of citizens who report illegal activity to law enforcement.
8. A permit system for OHV activity on public lands to control the scale of activity.
9. A comprehensive public relations campaign that informs riders of the laws and regulations pertaining to OHV activity.
10. Large format signage, informational kiosks with maps in areas of high use to inform the public of the relevant laws and identification of legal routes and areas.
11. A study of the air quality impacts of OHVs on federal lands and adjacent communities including fugitive dust and green house gas emissions.
12. A national campaign to designate legal routes, close illegal routes, erect fencing to protect lands off-limits to OHVs and restoration of areas damaged by OHV activity.
13. Cooperation of the BLM with local law enforcement and federal law enforcement agencies to address OHV abuse areas of mixed public/private land use areas.
14. “Sting” operations by federal law enforcement agencies on holiday weekends and in areas of high OHV use including the Pacific Crest Trail and lands adjacent to wilderness areas, Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC)s, Desert Wildlife Management Areas (DWMA)s and other federal lands including designated wildlife corridors.
15. Protection of American Indian cultural resources including sacred sites, petroglyphs and intaglios from illegal OHV activities.
16. Allocate additional resources toward expediting implementation of the BLM National Trails inventory and Trails Management Program.

It is tragic to witness the gains of the last few decades to protect America’s great outdoors unraveling before our eyes by irresponsible, unmanaged and uncontrolled OHV activity. In many cases, due to a variety of reasons, the federal government has failed to protect this nation’s cultural and natural heritage from the adverse impacts of OHVs. This must change with a renewed effort to control the millions of OHVs on our public lands while we encourage the American public to experience our public lands by engaging in more susta inable
and responsible recreation.

Thank you for the opportunity to participate in the administration’s America’s Great Outdoors national conversation.

Sincerely.

Western San Bernardino County Landowners’ Association
Doug Parham
President
PO Box 903241 Palmdale CA 93590
[email protected]

Friends of Juniper Flats
P.O. Box 83, Apple Valley, Ca 92307
Contact Jennifer Wilder
Jennifer Wilder <[email protected]>
760 220 0730

Transition Habitat Conservancy
Jill Bays
PO Box 720026
Pinon Hills, CA 92372
[email protected]
Home

760 868 5136

Desert Protective Council
Terry Weiner
Imperial County Projects and Conservation Coordinator
P.O. Box 3635
San Diego CA. 92163
(619) 342-5524 cell (office)
(858) 273-7801
[email protected]
Desert Protective Council

Desert Survivors
Contact: Stacy Goss
Stacy Goss <[email protected]>
P.O. Box 20991
Oakland CA 94620-0991

Sierra Club-Tahquitz Group
Jeff Morgan
Conservation Chair

Sierra Club California/Nevada Desert Committee
Terry Frewin
Chair
P.O. Box 31086
Santa Barbara, CA 93130
805.966.3754
[email protected]

ORV WATCH KERN COUNTY
Mesonika Piecuch
Spokesperson
ORV Watch Kern County
P.O. Box 550
Tehachapi, California 93581

San Gorgonio Chapter - Sierra Club
Kim Floyd - Conservation Chair
4079 Mission Inn Avenue
Riverside, CA 92501

Santa Margarita Group
Sierra Club San Gorgonio Chapter
Pam Nelson, Conservation Committee Chair

Community ORV Watch
Philip M. Klasky, Steering Committee
PO Box 1722
29 Palms, California 92277
Steering Committee
Community ORV Watch | Protecting Private and Public Lands From Off Road Vehicle Abuse

California Native Plant Society
Tom Egan
Senior Ecologist
(760) 952-3678 (Direct)
<mailto:[email protected]>[email protected]
 
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