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John Stewart

Recreation Groups Join Efforts to Challenge New USFS Planning Regulations

Sacramento, CA (August 14, 2012) -- Recreation advocates yesterday joined with several other organizations in a legal challenge to new forest planning regulations promulgated by the U.S. Forest Service.

The BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC) and the California Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs (Cal4Wheel) joined forces with the other forest product and multiple use groups in filing a lawsuit to require the Forest Service to modify its new planning rule to avoid its devastating impacts on the health of the National Forests, recreational uses of the forests and communities located nearby. 

The U.S. Forest Service formally adopted new National Forest Planning rules on April 9, 2012. The new regulations shift the agency away from a jobs and ecosystem approach. Instead, the planning rule would cement the National Forests in endless litigation over single species management; an approach that even the agency admits has failed repeatedly in the last three decades.

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John Stewart

Update on the AB 1595 Fix

(Sacramento, CA) - I want to provide everyone with an update on the status of the AB 1595 fix. We have a limited window to get any bill passed, so I have been working closely with the Senate and Assembly Transportation Committees on language that can be passed before the legislature adjourns on August 31. I believe I have been able to reach an agreement on two provisions that will guarantee that come January you will still be able to ride with your kids while using aftermarket seats. It will also provide time for a more complete legislative fix next year.

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John Stewart

Nielsen Comments On Off-Highway Vehicle Funds

(Sacramento, CA) – California Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber) released the following statement today following the State Parks and Special Funds hearing at the State Capitol.

“The hearing today confirmed that many Californians are being overtaxed, which resulted in this vast accumulation of funds at the parks department. Of particular note is the 34 million dollars accumulated at the Off-Highway Vehicle Trust Fund. It is clear the money has not been used to accommodate those who paid these fees, or to open new recreation areas for off-highway vehicles.

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John Stewart

Court Releases Final Decision on Eldorado National Forest Lawsuit

Pro-access recreation groups are disappointed with the order but glad to see the case concluded.  Several key organizations participated in this suit and decades of litigation involving the Eldorado, including the California Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs (Cal4), California Enduro Riders Association, District 36 of the American Motorcyclist Association and the BlueRibbon Coalition.  Mark Cave, President of Cal4Wheel, observed, "We're concerned these closures are unnecessary and issued without legally required findings.  But the "interim" status was complete closure of the 42 routes, so even this result is a step forward that allows some access." The Forest is completing renewed analysis and will issue a new decision on these routes.

Cave used the "David versus Goliath" analogy to describe how difficult it is to prevail against the well funded preservationist efforts. Still, none of the groups involved are willing to give up. "We encourage interested parties to stay in the loop, participate in the ongoing management process and help support whatever next steps the recreation groups decide to take." Cave added.

The case is entitled Center for Sierra Nevada Conservation v. U.S. Forest Service, Case No. CV-09-2523.  A copy of the Court's order including a description of the 42 meadow routes may be viewed at http://www.sharetrails.org/uploads/112-Order_on_remedy.07.31.12.pdf .

 

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John Stewart

OHV COMMUNITY SUPPORTS GOVERNOR’S EFFORT TO REVIEW FUND

OHV leadership is asking that the OHV program, a national model and one with absolute fiscal clarity, be restored completely.

The OHV program is the most successful division of State Parks and responsibly provides recreational opportunities to millions of Californians.  OHV recreation is also critical to the rural economy of the state.

OHV leadership noted they are not amused by the protestations of former Director Ruth Coleman that she had no idea the problem existed. Certainly, her career as a budget expert spanning more than two decades is a matter of record.  "The buck stops someplace…we hope that is where the investigation will begin."

OHV leadership welcomes the scrutiny and looks forward to participating in the process and restoring the state OHV program to its national prominence.

 

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