About you, your 4x4 and access

Advocating access to public lands carries a responsibility to be part of the solution for managing the public lands.  As a strong proponent for participation to make a difference, I am a full time advocate for recreation and the Managing Editor of the OutdoorWire family websites. 

4x4Wire.com is dedicated to four wheel drive recreation...

Advocating access to public lands carries a responsibility to be part of the solution for managing the public lands.  As a strong proponent for participation to make a difference, I am a full time advocate for recreation and the Managing Editor of the OutdoorWire family websites. 

4x4Wire.com is dedicated to four wheel drive recreation featuring technical articles and information to promote, protect, and provide outdoor recreation opportunities.  4x4Voice.com focuses on California issues. MUIRNet.net is focused on environmental, administrative and legislative news and information. OutdoorWire.com is Access and Landuse Central with an overall index to the contents of the family of websites. 


Swansea-Cerro Gordo Trail

It was 9 am and the temperature was in the mid-90’s when we pulled off the highway at the start of the Swansea-Cerro Gordo Trail. The broad expanse of the Owens Lake lay to the south and the rugged slopes of the Inyo Mountains rose to the north.Swansea-Cerro Gordo Trailhead

Before the water wars of the early 1900’s, Owens Lake and the surrounding valley supported a thriving agriculture and mining population. As the Los Angles area grew, water was diverted from the eastern Sierra Nevada watershed and the Owens Valley to satisfy the thirsty population of the Los Angles Basin. Soon, the Owens Lake was reduced to a dry, dusty flatland. By the late 1990’s, a settlement was reached that reduced the diversion of water from the eastern Sierra Nevada and the Owens Valley. With water flows returned to the Owens River, pools of water were beginning to collect in the once dry lake. The once dry lake was now a patch-work of various colors in the morning sun.

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Boise NF-Emmett Ranger District Begins Travel Planning

The Boise National Forest continues their Travel Planning and is now working on portions of the Emmett Ranger District.  There are a total of 216,193 acres, comprising some 65 percent of the Ranger District, that have not gone through a complete National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) decision process for route designation. These acres are comprised of the "E" travel management areas identified on the current Boise National Forest Visitor/Travel Map. Public motorized travel in "E" areas currently utilizes established user-created routes, as well as formally designated routes.

Of principal interest is specifically which, if any, of the user-created routes within the "E" areas to formally designate for public motorized travel and what site-specific information the Forest Service (FS) should consider in evaluating user-created routes proposed for formal designation. At the conclusion of this process, only formally designated routes will remain available for public motorized travel in these areas.

The first step in the planning process is to develop a detailed proposal for the new designated travel plan. They call this the "proposed action." The FS needs your input! The FS is working on developing that proposed action right now! It is extremely important that individuals and groups who are interested in motorized recreation in these areas participate in this process. All information received will be available for public review and comment later this fall.

The deadline to submit comments for this part of the planning process is August 30, 2008.

Keep in mind that the new Travel Rule applies to ALL motorized vehicles. Hunters who use ATVs or motorcycles to retrieve harvested big game have the potential to be most directly affected by this route designation process.

The FS is holding three public meetings, where they will explain the Travel Route Designation Process for the Emmett Ranger District. (See Schedule below)


Tuesday, July 15, 2008                     7 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Boise Best Western-Airport, Sierra Room
2660 Airport Way
Boise, Idaho

Wednesday, July 16, 2008               7 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Emmett Ranger district Office
1805 Highway 16 #5
Emmett, Idaho

Thursday, July 17, 2008                   7 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Crouch City Hall
329 Village Circle
Garden Valley, Idaho

Site-specific maps of the "E" areas on the Emmett Ranger District will be available at the meetings and, subsequently, on the Boise National Forest website. District specialists will be available to provide information on current uses of the "E" areas.

Additional ways to submit comments:

          Emmett Ranger District
          1805 Highway 16 #5
          Emmett, Idaho 83617

Office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

       Emmett Ranger District office, at (208) 365-7037

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Put "Emmett Travel Route Designation Process" in the subject line. Acceptable formats are MS Word, Word Perfect, or RTF.  Comments should include your name and address.

For information on their planning effort, please contact John Erickson, District Ranger, Emmett Ranger District, at 208-365-7000. The Boise National Forest's Travel Management website (http://www.fs.fed.us/r4/boise/recreation/travel_management/travel_mgmt_index.shtml) will be adding additional information on this planning effort, including downloadable maps of the areas needing designation and a form that may be useful to you in providing your input.


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Off-Road Vehicle Management for Cape Hatteras National Seashore Scheduled

[Federal Register: July 8, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 131)]
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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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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ARRA Newsletter - July 2008

ARRA Newsletter - July 2008

Senate 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.html
ARRA's Press Release - http://www.arra-access.com/arra/arra_commends_pressrelease.html

A 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.


Larry E. Smith
Executive Director
Americans for Responsible Recreational Access

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