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John Stewart

State Parks Director Resigns Amid Funding Scandal

According to the Sacramento Bee story, State Parks has been sitting on almost $55 MILLION cash surplus while they have been pleading they don't have the funding to keep the parks open. The threat of closure of 70 state park units has prompted shifting funding from other sources during the recently completed state budget process, including the taking funds from the state's Off-Highway Vehicle Fund.

The emerging funding scandal has prompted a more in-depth investigation to determine the full extent.

The link is to a Sacramento Bee article about the issue.

http://www.sacbee.com/2012/07/20/4645141/state-parks-director-resigns.html

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John Stewart

Tin Benders Off-Road Club Donates $10,000 to Help Save Johnson Valley OHV Area

"This land is very important to all of us, we need to do everything we can to protect it" said club member and Ultra 4 racer Eric Anderson.

Mike Hendrix a long time club member felt the event was the best to date, "even though attendance was down a bit this year, revenue was increased from years past. Nearly everyone who participated in the raffle had a winning ticket and came away with a really great prize."

The Tin Benders are looking forward to next year, and they're issuing a challenge to other clubs to get in gear and do some of their own fundraising to further the Johnson Valley cause. Many people are unaware that the Johnson Valley OHV area, which is the largest in the country, is under threat of becoming part of the massive 29 Palms Marine Corps base. The expansion will make it the largest base in the world - larger than the State of Rhode Island.

Eric Anderson concluded by saying "It's encouraging to see how big an impact a small club like ours can have in such a noble cause, now we hope others will join in and help us win this fight once and for all. We're not a large organization, but we felt we had to do our part to help save this amazing location. I hope others will be inspired to reach in their wallets and help protect this area from expansion".

Fundraising is not new to the Tin Benders club. Many OHV enthusiasts should remember their efforts at Panamint Valley, where the club invested over 30 thousand dollars in an attempt to save Surprise Canyon.

If you would like to follow the lead of the Tin Benders and make a donation to the California Motorized Recreation Council "Save the Hammer's" effort please visit www.savethehammers.org With your help we can save the Johnson Valley OHV area.

 

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John Stewart

RECREATIONISTS JOIN EFFORT TO BRING ROADLESS RULE TO THE HIGH COURT

"This fight has been going on for over a decade.  BlueRibbon and Cal4 have been involved in every facet of the Roadless litigation since the beginning, and we are resolved to stay that course," observed BlueRibbon Public Lands Policy Director Brian Hawthorne.  "We believe the Wyoming court correctly noted the legal flaws in the 2001 Rule.  We also believe that the U.S. Forest Service needs to address "roadless area" management through local planning, not through politically driven-one-size-fits-all-templates created in the White House," Hawthorne concluded.

It is anticipated that an array of states and private interest groups will support the petitions and join in asking the High Court to grant review.

The Supreme Court will conclude its present term in June 2012.  Responses to the Roadless petitions are not due until mid-July, so the Court will apparently decide whether or not to grant review when its next term begins in September 2012.  Obtaining review is a daunting task.  In recent years nearly 1,600 petitions have been filed each term, with the Court issuing 80 or fewer opinions per term.

To see a copy of the BlueRibbon, Cal4, AFRC amici curiae brief click HERE.

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The California Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs is a California nonprofit organization actively promoting conservation and responsible vehicle-oriented recreation.  The Association represents over 8,000 members and 160 member clubs. 1-800-4x4-FUNN. www.cal4wheel.com

The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible recreation, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. With members in all 50 states, BRC is focused on building enthusiast involvement with organizational efforts through membership, outreach, education, and collaboration among recreationists. 1-800-BlueRib - www.sharetrails.org

 

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John Stewart

NATIONAL RECREATION GROUPS SAYS STOP TAXPAYER FUNDED ABUSE OF LEGAL SYSTEM BY GREEN LITIGANTS

Greg Mumm, Executive Director for the BlueRibbon Coalition, states, "BRC has seen where settlements designed in 'smoke filled backrooms' by special interest advocacy groups are being used to expand trail closures beyond the original scope of the litigation.  Sadly, the public is paying for this abuse of the Equal Access to Justice Act, and the Agencies cannot accurately quantify the total price tag."

"BRC respectfully requests that our concerns are made part of the official record, and we will be submitting more formal comments in the coming days," Mumm concludes.

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The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible recreation, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. With members in all 50 states, BRC is focused on building enthusiast involvement with organizational efforts through membership, outreach, education, and collaboration among recreationists. 1-800-BlueRib - www.sharetrails.org.


 

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John Stewart

BLUERIBBON COALITION CRITICIZES U.S. FOREST SERVICE PROPOSED RULE

However, the proposal would also exempt major ground disturbing activities such as completely eliminating the road bed by restoring natural contours and slopes.

"Some of the agency's recommendations make sense, but as usual, they go too far," said Brian Hawthorne, Public Lands Policy Director for BRC. Hawthorne said, "If 40 years of NEPA has taught us anything it is that noble intentions don't justify half-baked analysis. A bulldozer moving dirt is a bulldozer moving dirt. Environmental impacts don't magically disappear because the source of sediment is called a restoration project."

"This borderlines on willful mismanagement," said Greg Mumm, BRC's Executive Director. "The Forest Service is sitting on 20 to 40 million acres of beetle-killed fire hazard and the fuse is lit. Their priorities are out of whack." Mumm said.

As an example, Mumm said that just in Colorado some 6.6 million acres are affected by the mountain bark beetle epidemic. The agency estimates that, over the next 10 years, an average of 100,000 trees will fall daily. Visitors to USFS lands are affected not only by the visual impacts, falling trees pose serious risk to human life and the infrastructure our rural communities rely on. Dead trees across the state have created heavy fuel loading which can result in intense, so-called "fatal wildfires." Beetle-killed trees now threaten thousands of miles of roads, trails and developed recreation sites. Mumm said; "Exempting culvert removal is all well and good, but the agency crosses a line when, at the same time, they increase analysis on such things as maintaining safe power transmission corridors."

Hawthorne also expressed frustration with the proposed changes. He noted that the USFS is saying the majority of issues associated with road and trail decommissioning arise from the initial decision whether to close a road or trail via the travel planning process. "That's not our experience," Hawthorne said. BRC has been urging the USFS to develop a streamlined procedure to allow public comment before any ground disturbing or road obliteration activities are proposed precisely because the travel planning is usually focused on recreational users of the Forest. Other users are often assured their access and activities could still continue under stipulations of their permit, lease or other agreement.

Hawthorne said few, if any, USFS travel planning projects get it right the first time. "Many travel planning projects we are aware of have been amended within one or two years after completion, and many have been amended even before the plan has been completely implemented on the ground." It is quite likely that routes proposed for decommissioning will be necessary additions in future recreation and travel planning. Hawthorne said the fact the agency doesn't want any public involvement means the agency probably doesn't care about any potential recreational uses of these routes.

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The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible recreation, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. With members in all 50 states, BRC is focused on building enthusiast involvement with organizational efforts through membership, outreach, education, and collaboration among recreationists. 1-800-BlueRib - www.sharetrails.org


 

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