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John Stewart

Save Johnson Valley Fight Heats Up

As a partner in California Motorized Recreation Council, the Board of Directors of California Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs has approved releasing $9,733.94 in legal funds held by the Association to help fund the Washington, DC lobbying efforts.  These funds were collected through donations and fund raising activities specifically for Johnson Valley efforts.

Mark Cave, President of Cal4Wheel, stated, "These funds were provided through our member efforts to help preserve 4-wheeling in Johnson Valley.  The Board believes that support of the lobbying effort is in the best interests of Cal4Wheel."

CMRC has created a broad based coalition to assist with the funding of the fight to Save Johnson Valley.  CA4WDC is committed to working with the coalition to preserve recreation access to Johnson Valley OHV Area.

 

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John Stewart

Witnesses Call for Increased Public Participation

“Whether it is various insect and disease infestations, unnaturally-overgrown forest stands, catastrophic wildfire, or any combination of such, no one can deny that our National Forests are in dire straits.  National forests are an important and necessary source of economic activity and recreation for local communities and the public.  This vital resource needs to be managed for the benefit of all users and I strongly believe that there is plenty of it to go around,” said Chairman Bishop (UT-01). “Today, we heard from witnesses who described a variety of situations in which their popular and longstanding use of public land and water has been impacted by not only increasing regulations and policy, but also the Forest Service’s implementation of such. Water rights are a sacred issue in the West and any attempt to upset the balance of state water law and primacy is something to be taken very seriously.”

“Over the last few decades we have experienced a fundamental shift in resource development and forest management that has resulted in decreased access to our public lands and threats to our water rights.  The federal government’s cooperation with local, state, and tribal governments concerning these important issues has quickly deteriorated.  In the West, as exemplified in my home state of Nevada, access to our public lands is critical to job creation and our economic viability.  I hope our concerns regarding Nevada water law and federal collaboration in travel management don’t fall on deaf ears so that we can once again manage the lands for the benefit of all,” said Rep. Amodei (NV-02).

Under the 2005 Travel Management Rule, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) is required to develop travel management plans for designating a system of roads, trails and areas for motor vehicle use within our National Forests and Grasslands.  In implementing the rule, the USFS is required to collaborate with federal, state, county and other local government entities as well as tribal governments in the route and area designation process.  However, according to Mr. Howard Hutchinson, Executive Director of the Coalition of Arizona/New Mexico Counties, “repeated attempts to secure local government participation and meaningful input into the NFMA, NEPA, ESA and other planning processes have been met with extreme resistance by federal agencies.”  Mr. Hutchinson cited several examples where the federal government ignored local opinion in favor of restricting access on public lands.

Implementation of the proposed travel management plans will severely hurt economies throughout the West.  According to Elko County Commissioner Charlie Myers’ testimony, “Seventy-five percent of the lands used for outdoor recreation in Elko County are managed by the Federal Government (7.5 million ac.). The total economic impact of outdoor recreation to Elko County is almost $165 million.” Mr. Myers discussed the lack of scientific evidence supporting the need for limiting access to Forest Service lands.  “NEPA requires that an action such as prohibition of motorized vehicle use must be based on the best available commercial scientific data. Elko County has asked the Forest Service on four different occasions for the scientific data used for the ROD determination and the last request for this data was through the Freedom of Information Act. We have yet to receive any data.”

Gerald Temoke, Chairman of the Elko Band Council for the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone, spoke of the importance of public lands access to the tribes of Nevada.  “We have been walking, then riding and now driving around these mountains for hundreds, more likely thousands of years, many county residence have been here for generations. Most of us spend our lifetimes here. This is our home.” Mr. Temoke expressed deep concern and disappointment over the lack of consultation by USFS on the proposed travel management plans that would strip tribes of access to roads they regularly use for game retrieval, wood cutting, gathering of food, getting close to certain medicinal plants & roots. “Existing roads that are not on the Forest Service map are considered not to exist. If these roads are not allowed to be used after a short period of time they will for all intents and purposes disappear. … The Forest Service never consulted or attempted to consult with us until after it was announced that there would be a Congressional Hearing.”

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John Stewart

UNITED FOUR WHEEL DRIVE ASSOCIATIONS TO LOBBY for RTP IN WASHINGTON DC

UFWDA will be joining over a dozen other recreational organizations to help ensure this critically important program is continued without interruption or degradation of the program.  Activities include meetings with several Legislators and their Staff to inform them of the importance the “user-pay, user-benefit” RTP Program has had across the country.  UFWDA  are seeking meetings with the following key legislators, or their staff, on RTP - Rep. Candice Miller (R-Michigan), Rep. Don Young, (R-Alaska), Rep. Heath Schuler (D-NC), Rep. John Duncan (R-TN), Rep, Michael Michaud, (D-ME), Rep. Tim Johnson, (R-IL).  Millions of dollars annually are returned to the States for use improving their motorized and non-motorized trail systems, utilizing the fuel taxes paid by recreationist use of motor vehicles off-highway.

When considering recreation, RTP is one of the nation’s most beneficial programs ever devised.  Please watch for future press releases by UFWDA about this critical topic.  UFWDA anticipates a need for grass-roots supporters to contact their Representatives in the very near future if we are going to rectify the current RTOP funding issues.

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United Four Wheel Drive Associations (UFWDA) is the leading representative for four wheel drive enthusiasts. UFWDA is a group of individuals, clubs, state, regional, provincial and national associations and businesses in the United States and around the world; our members span the globe from the U.S. and Canada, New Zealand, Australia, England, Japan, South Africa, and Iceland. If you would like more information on how you can be a part of this effort, contact United Four Wheel Drive Associations today at 1-800-448-3932 or visit www.ufwda.org .

 

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John Stewart

Yet Another Lawsuit Threatens Colorado Trail Access - Recreation Groups Respond

"We have attempted to form meaningful partnerships with diverse interests, including the hunting and angling community.  Active, effective management should be our common goal, not courtroom posturing," said John Bongiovanni, a COHVCO Director.

The lawsuit is in its initial stages.  The Forest Service's answer is due on February 7, 2012.  The schedule for presenting the merits of the case has not yet been established.

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PAPA is a regional recreation group that supports and champions access and responsible use of public lands, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. PAPA's Mission is to promote balanced, unbiased, responsible use of public lands in collaboration with recreational users of all interests, advocating respect, education and conservation of the environment. Learn more on the web: http://www.papatelluride.org/

The mission of the SJTR is to improve opportunities for off-highway vehicles and assure the best care of the land. SJTR promotes active participation in OHV trail management and other civic activities and maintains a focused and ongoing dialogue with the San Juan National Forest and other public land planners. SJTR educates OHV users about "Tread Lightly" conservation practices and other trail use issues. Learn more on the web: http://sanjuantrailriders.org/

The Trails Preservation Alliance is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the sport of motorized trail riding, educating all user groups and the public on the value of sharing public lands for multiuse recreation, while protecting public lands for future generations. Learn more on the web: www.coloradotpa.org

COHVCO is a nonprofit organization whose member enthusiasts, organizations and businesses collectively comprise over 200,000 Coloradoans and regular visitors to Colorado and other western states who contribute millions of dollars and thousands of hours annually to off-highway vehicle recreation through registration fees, retail expenditure, project participation and related support. Learn more on the web: www.cohvco.org

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. Learn more on the web: www.sharetrails.org

 

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John Stewart

BLUERIBBON SEEKS ROLE IN SNOWMOBILE LAWSUIT

"This is an important challenge which could affect Forest Service snowmobile programs and travel planning nationwide" said Joni Mogstad, President of the BlueRibbon Board of Directors.  "BlueRibbon was involved in all aspects of the process creating the 2005 Rule, and has taken the lead defending recreation interests in numerous lawsuits interpreting the Rule. It is essential that our members' interests in snowmobile access and other forms of recreation be protected here, and our unique experience makes BlueRibbon singularly qualified to serve that role.  We have little choice but to seek party status in this case," Mogstad concluded.

The case was filed in the U.S. District of Idaho in late November, 2011 by the Winter Wildlands Alliance, a preservationist group seeking dramatic restriction, if not elimination, of snowmobile access to the benefit of exclusive "human powered" recreation.  The case is presently assigned to U.S. Magistrate Ronald Bush, who last year struck down portions of the Salmon Challis National Forest travel plan.  The Forest Service has not yet filed an appearance in the new lawsuit.

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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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