Recreation Advocate

The OutdoorWire family websites feature news and information affecting outdoor recreation opportunities and access to public lands. 
John Stewart

Off-Road Vehicle Management for Cape Hatteras National Seashore Scheduled

[Federal Register: July 8, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 131)] ----------------------------------------------------------------------- DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR National Park Service   Negotiated Rulemaking Advisory Committee for Off-Road Vehicle Management for Cape Hatteras National Seashore AGENCY: National Park Service (NPS), Interior. ACTION: Notice of Sixth, Seventh, Eighth and Ninth Meetings. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given, in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92-463, 86 Stat. 770, 5 U.S.C. App 1, section 10), of the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth meetings of the Negotiated Rulemaking Advisory Committee for Off-Road Vehicle Management at Cape Hatteras National Seashore. (See DATES section.) DATES: The Committee will hold its sixth meeting on September 8-9, 2008, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on September 8, and from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on September 9. The meetings on both days will be held at the Avon Fire Hall, 40159 Harbor Drive, Avon, North Carolina 27915. The Committee will hold its seventh meeting on October 22-23, 2008, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on October 22, and from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on October 23. The meetings on both days will be held at the Hatteras Village Civic Center, 56658 Highway 12, Hatteras, NC 27943. The Committee will hold its eighth meeting on November 14-15, 2008, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on November 14, and from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on November 15. The meetings on both days will be held at the Clarion Hotel, 1601 South Virginia Dare Trail, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948. The Committee will hold its ninth meeting on December 11-12, 2008, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on December 11, and from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on December 12. The meetings on both days will be held at the Avon Fire Hall, 40159 Harbor Drive, Avon, North Carolina 27915.     These, and any subsequent meetings, will be held for the following reason: To work with the National Park Service to assist in potentially developing special regulations for ORV management at Cape Hatteras National Seashore.     The proposed agenda for the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth meetings of the Committee may contain the following items: Approval of Meeting Summary from Last Meeting, Subcommittee and Members' Updates since Last Meeting, Alternatives Discussions, NEPA Update, and Public Comment. However, the Committee may modify its agenda during the course of its work. The meetings are open to the public. Interested persons may provide brief oral/written comments to the Committee during the public comment period of the meetings each day before the lunch break or file written comments with the Park Superintendent. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mike Murray, Superintendent, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, 1401 National Park Drive, Manteo, North Carolina 27954, (252) 473-2111, ext. 148. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Committee's function is to assist directly in the development of special regulations for management of off-road vehicles (ORVs) at Cape Hatteras National Seashore (Seashore). Executive Order 11644, as amended by Executive Order 11989, requires certain Federal agencies to publish regulations that provide for administrative designation of the specific areas and trails on which ORV use may be permitted. In response, the NPS published a general regulation at 36 CFR 4.10, which provides that each park that designates routes and areas for ORV use must do so by promulgating a special regulation specific to that park. It also provides that the designation of routes and areas shall comply with Executive Order 11644, and 36 CFR Sec. 1.5 regarding closures. Members of the Committee will negotiate to reach consensus on concepts and language to be used as the basis for a proposed special regulation, to be published by the NPS in the Federal Register, governing ORV use at the Seashore. The duties of the Committee are solely advisory.     Dated: June 9, 2008. Michael B. Murray, Superintendent, Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
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John Stewart

THE PARTNERSHIP FOR JOHNSON VALLEY HOSTS A STRATEGY MEETING AMONG OFF-HIGHWAY VEHICLE LEADERS

THE PARTNERSHIP FOR JOHNSON VALLEY HOSTS A STRATEGY MEETING AMONG OFF-HIGHWAY VEHICLE LEADERS

The Partnership for Johnson Valley, in the spirit of cooperation, met with off-highway industry leadership to discuss possible Marine Base expansion into Johnson Valley

Glendale, CA - The Partnership For Johnson Valley (PFJV) hosted a two-hour meeting last Wednesday, July 2nd at the California Trail User Coalition’s headquarters to strategize and align communication amongst a multitude of OHV Leaders. The strategy meeting was originally announced June 16th, following a Johnson Valley presentation given by PFJV to many of the same groups of OHV leaders. The purpose of the strategy meeting was to invite the many concerned OHV leaders into a collaborative, trusting and open relationship in an effort to preserve Johnson Valley as an Open Access multiple-use area managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

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John Stewart

ARRA Newsletter - July 2008

ARRA Newsletter - July 2008Senate OHV Hearing------------------We reported in the last newsletter that the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee had scheduled a hearing for June 5th on federal OHV management issues. In preparation for those hearings, ARRA made a number of visits to Senate offices to discuss the importance of OHV recreation on public lands and to answer any questions that Senate staff might have about OHV management issues. We found a great deal of interest and support for OHV recreation and we think this attitude was reflected in the hearing as well.

Much of the focus at the hearing was spent on how the Bureau of Land Management and the U. S. Forest Service differed in their approach in managing OHV recreation. Both agencies acknowledged that OHV recreation was an important component of the recreational opportunities they provided to the general public and we were pleased to here that affirmation. The Bureau of Land Management did come under some criticism on why it wasn't pursuing a travel management rule similar to the one promulgated by the Forest Service. BLM officials addressed those concerns, but I am not sure that they convinced the committee chairman, Senator Jeff Bingaman, with their arguments. However, I don't anticipate the committee will take any further action this year on OHV issues, but think there is potential in the next Congress. We will be closely following the work of this committee and will alert you in the event any potential action might be of concern. I submitted testimony on behalf of ARRA. If you care to review our testimony or the press release issued about the hearing, please visit the ARRA website: ARRA's submitted testimony - http://www.arra-access.com/arra/arra_senate_ohv_testimony.htmlARRA's Press Release - http://www.arra-access.com/arra/arra_commends_pressrelease.htmlA Full Plate------------Wildfires in the west; floods in the midwest; rising fuel prices throughout the country; home foreclosures soar; financial institutions in trouble; airlines cut back flights; truckers park their trucks because they can't afford to fill up the tank; the auto industry shuts down plants because no one wants to buy an SUV; and our soldiers continue to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq. And, if this isn't enough, it's an election year as well. I have listed just some of the challenges facing our nation and you no doubt can add to this litany of woes. I prepared this list as a reminder that we face some serious issues ahead... issues requiring politicians to put country above party. The price of gas at the pump is just one example. Republicans have for years argued for more domestic petroleum exploration both offshore and on public lands. On the whole, Democrats have opposed such efforts and have done so successfully. Democrats, on the other hand, have argued that we need a national policy that encourages energy conservation as well as the development of alternative sources of energy. Republicans have generally been lukewarm to such ideas because they claimed such efforts wouldn't do enough to close the energy gap. Could it be that we need to do both? What's wrong with increasing domestic oil production while at the same time seriously embracing an energy conservation program? Maybe we need to provide new tax incentives for solar, wind and other forms of energy. Maybe we need a basket of solutions rather than just being for or against oil production. Maybe we need a national collaborative effort on the part of Republicans and Democrats alike so that our country can eventually become energy independent. After all, such independence is in our country's self-interest both from an economic and national security standpoint. Seeking a consensus on more effective forest management practices, meaning that harvesting trees is not a bad thing to do if done right, will go a long way towards minimizing the risk of wildfires. Managing floods may mean providing farmers with financial incentives to cultivate away from watershed areas while also focusing on the need to repair an aging levee system.Having a national energy policy may mean coupling energy production with energy conservation, involving not only the traditional sources of energy but alternative sources as well. Maybe our national energy policy should provide incentives for car and truck manufacturers to find new solutions to energy efficiencies rather than maintaining the traditional adversarial relationship between manufacturers and the federal government. Well, I could go on in citing other potential areas of collaboration for the national good, but I think you get my point. But you are probably asking yourself, what does this have to do with access to public lands? To me it's quite simple. If people are worried about a wildfire or a flood, they are going to attend to the immediate problem and not something down the road. If they can no longer afford filling up their car with a full tank of gas or they are worried about losing their home to foreclosure, they aren't going to spend any time planning a trip to a national forest to camp, hike or ride their OHV. My fear is that with pressing national problems (wildfires, floods, energy shortages, etc.) people are going to be distracted and aren't going to have the time to worry about policy issues affecting the use of our public lands. The national plate is full. Our challenge is to figure out a way to make sure that a small corner of that plate has space for our issues. I have no doubt that the anti-access folks will make sure their viewpoint makes it on the national agenda. And maybe, just maybe we need to think outside of the box and find ways to collaborate with the very entities who want to deny us access to public lands. We can't preach collaboration on other national issues without taking a look in the mirror and realizing we, too, need to change our way of thinking and doing when it comes to advocating for OHV access to public lands. At ARRA, our job is to keep you informed and engaged in the public policy issues affecting access to public lands and we primarily do that through the ARRA website. I believe our job is going to become even more challenging in the months ahead as other pressing issues demand your attention. You can help us help you by letting us know how we can do a better job. We are constantly seeking new ways to become more effective voice in keeping our public lands open to you, the American people. As we celebrate this Fourth of July with family and friends, as we celebrate all that this country means to us and to the world, let us think of ways we can all begin to work together, more effectively. As always, we welcome your ideas. Sincerely,Larry E. SmithExecutive DirectorAmericans for Responsible Recreational Access

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John Stewart

Be A Good Sport: Tread Lightly

Be A Good Sport: Tread Lightly

Last time I covered the code of ethics that guides off-road driving. I’d like to go into greater detail here, and will use the Tread Lightly! pledge as a guide.

Tread Lightly! has separate categories for land and water, though the rules are similar for both. I’ve combined them, because many off-road enthusiasts also enjoy boating. (For more on Tread Lightly!, go to www.treadlightly.org.) They make it easy to remember the rules.

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John Stewart

UFWDA ACTION ALERT - Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area

Background

On June 11, 2008, members of the North Carolina US congressional delegation introduced HR 6233 & s 3113 to return management of Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area back to the National Park Service by setting aside the recently enacted consent decree that has virtually eliminated pedestrian and off-highway vehicle access at Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area. The bill will reinstate the Interim Management Plan for Species Management adopted through the NEPA process and public involvement by the National Park Service and the US Fish and Wildlife Service and set aside the consent decree. The consent decree was a result of law suit settlement with Defenders of Wildlife and The National Audubon Society represented by Southern Environmental Law Center. How to be the most effective1) Visit – visiting your elected officials is the most persuasive method of convincing them to support HR 6233 and s. 31132) Fax - faxed letters indicating who you are, where you live, why you care, and why they should care are more persuasive than other methods of sending a letter.3) Call – a personal call is very effective and more effective than e-mailing4) E-mail – e-mailing a letter is less effective than visiting, faxing or e-mailing a letter, but will work if that is the method that enables you to do your part.5) Mail – using the U.S. Postal Service takes up to 30 days for delivery so it is the least effective choice in contacting your elected officials. How to find your US Senator or RepresentativeTo find your US Representative(s) click hereOr go here directly: https://forms.house.gov/wyr/welcome.shtmlTo find your US Senators click hereOr go here directly: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm Talking pointsThese talking points are derived in part from information at the Free Island Press, July 1, 2008, “The Case For Passing Legislation That Returns Management of the Seashore to the Park Service”. www.freeislandpress.org. And from information on the University of North Carolina website, www.learnnc.org « Ask them specifically to co-sponsor the bills « Ask them specifically to support passage of the bills« Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area was established first and foremost as a national seashore recreational area under its enabling legislation« The 2007 nesting season, prior to implementation of either the Interim Management Plan or the consent decree, was the most successful piping plover breeding season in over 20 years« Under the consent decree, a single plover chick is given enough beach area to cover the decks of three U.S. Navy super aircraft carriers, the largest warships on earth« In most American communities, a convicted child molester can live closer to a public school than a fisherman and his family can get to a plover« The Atlantic piping plover population is fast approaching 2,000 nesting pairs -- a figure that makes them eligible for de-listing as threatened« American oystercatcher numbers were better last year under the interim strategy than they are this year under the consent decree, proving the consent decree doesn’t work« The Outer Banks of North Carolina attract 5 million tourists each year to the area’s many beaches« The park is largely inaccessible under the consent decree during the spring, summer, and fall, when the majority of Americans who visit the park take their vacations« In 2003, tourists spent $600 million dollars in the Outer Banks. The consent decree is causing a tremendous loss of this tourism revenue resulting in an extremely damaging economic impact state-wide in North Carolina« Before implementation of the consent decree Judge Boyle declared his intention to provide the environmental groups exactly what they sought without hearing any evidence from either point of view and precluded the intervening parties, Dare and Hyde counties and the Cape Hatteras Access Preservation Alliance, from entering any evidence at all in open court. This occurred within the first few minutes of a February, 2008 scheduling conference in Judge Boyle’s court.

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