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John Stewart

Riding Ban in Utah Proposed

The bill, introduced by U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey of New York, would ban motorized recreation on 9.4 million acres of public land in Utah by inappropriately designating it as Wilderness.

The devastating proposal would impact the Moab, San Rafael Swell and Chimney Rock riding areas, among others.

"The measure is totally unreasonable and completely unacceptable," said Ed Moreland, AMA vice president for government relations. "Continued responsible access to public lands is a vitally important right for current and future generations.

"This is just the latest step in a massive land grab being orchestrated nationwide by anti-access forces who are seeking to eliminate responsible off-highway riding on public lands by any means necessary," Moreland said. "They want to turn all public land into their own exclusive playground.

"It's important to note that this legislation would make sweeping changes to existing riding areas despite the fact that much of the land to be classified as Wilderness is already managed by federal agencies through local processes and decisions," Moreland added. "The best management of public lands is through local input, and the fact that a member of Congress from New York is proposing closing land in a state where none of that state's own representatives support the bill makes this measure even more unfair to those who live and recreate in Utah."

In 1964, Congress approved the National Wilderness Act that essentially set the criteria for designating land for Wilderness protection. That law was to preserve land that "generally appears to have been affected primarily by the force of nature, with the imprint of man's work substantially unnoticed."

The law led to a nationwide survey of public land to determine whether it should be designated as Wilderness. Since 1964, some 107 million acres nationwide have earned the designation.

"The AMA strongly supports properly designated Wilderness areas," Moreland said. "But anti-access opportunists who oppose off-highway riding are misapplying the intent of Wilderness as a means to push responsible riders off our nation's public lands. It is a disturbing trend that, if allowed to continue, may ultimately spell the demise of responsible motorized recreation on public lands. Indeed, as we speak, there are about a dozen Wilderness bills being considered on Capitol Hill that would close about 36 million acres to off-highway riding. It's patently unfair that so many appropriate off-highway riding areas are being taken away without additional new opportunities being introduced."

Earlier this year, Congress fast-tracked a bill with little public input that President Obama then signed into law to designate as Wilderness some 2 million acres in several states nationwide.

"So with the stroke of a pen, off-highway riding was banned forever, and even more public land is threatened now with closure," said Moreland.

All riders who want to take action on this matter can immediately contact their federal lawmakers by selecting the Issues and Legislation link in the Rights section of the AMA website at AmericanMotorcyclist.com.

Source: American Motorcyclist Association

 

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John Stewart

LAWSUIT OVER OHV RECREATION ALLEGES ILLEGAL DIVERSION OF FUNDS

The Denver District Court lawsuit, spearheaded by the Colorado OHV Coalition (COHVCO), alleges multiple violations of the Colorado Open Meetings Law and seeks to set aside the July 16 actions altering the 21-year old Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Fund grant program.

Co-plaintiff Lyle Borders of Longmont is a former United States Army helicopter pilot who served in Vietnam, where in 1971 he was wounded and had his right leg amputated above the knee. Mr. Borders is an outdoor enthusiast who enjoys hunting and camping using his all-terrain vehicle (“ATV”) to access public lands and to be able to hunt. Mr. Borders pays annual registration fees into the Recreation Fund. He visits the Arapaho, Roosevelt, Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests in Colorado, as well as public lands in the Grand Junction area administered by the United States Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”). Recreation Fund grants traditionally have ensured the proper maintenance of such OHV routes throughout the state, and provide signage, mapping, and education in responsible OHV use.

“I have always been an outdoors person. After my injury my ability to access the outdoors changed dramatically. If less money flows from the Recreation Fund to trail maintenance, I will lose recreation opportunities,” Borders said.
Jennifer Dent of Westcliffe has also joined the lawsuit. Ms. Dent suffered an injury 13 years ago that severely limited her ability to walk and eliminated her ability to hike. “Thankfully, because of the ATV my husband and I own, I can still travel into the backcountry areas that would otherwise be totally inaccessible to me,” she said. Ms. Dent has been riding on ATVs for approximately two years, including on designated OHV routes on the Rio Grande, Gunnison, Pike, and San Isabel National Forests in Colorado. “We should not be shut out of these areas because of the mode of transportation that I rely on,” she added.

“The Parks Board is trying to divert funding away from the fund’s statutory mandates, which all promote or preserve recreation opportunities,” according to Jerry Abboud, COHVCO’s executive director. “Motorized recreationists are understandably upset that their registration and permit fees would instead go to implement closures of recreation opportunities. We entirely pay our own way without a dime of other state funds,” he added.

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John Stewart

TREAD LIGHTLY! STEPS UP OHV EDUCATION EFFORTS WITH MAJOR GRANT FROM YAMAHA

The Respected Access movement, initially created at the request of the Federal Lands Hunting and Shooting Sports Roundtable, is an education and outreach campaign designed to promote outdoor ethics in the hunting and shooting community through a multi-faceted marketing campaign.  Yamaha has dedicated $10,000 toward the development of the respectedaccess.org website.  The website is a central component of the campaign and will include recreation tips, public service announcements and other downloadable resources.  The 2009 GRANT complements an initial $10,000 provided in 2008 by Yamaha to design and develop the Respected Access education and outreach partnership.  Data from the internationally renowned research group, Responsive Management Institute, was used in development.

"The mission of the Yamaha OHV Access Initiative aligns closely with the nationally-recognized work of Tread Lightly!, creating a mandate for our alliance," said Mike Martinez, Yamaha’s general manager of ATV and Side-by-Side Operations.  "Responsible OHV riders demonstrate a strong commitment to land stewardship.  Tread Lightly!'s programs support the OHV community's ability to enjoy the outdoors with respect on a national level."

The Respected Access website will be available to the public in October, 2009.

Yamaha funds will support the design of a template for a new travel map that will simplify information from the U.S. Forest Visitor's Use Map by incorporating both motorized and non-motorized travel information, as well as Tread Lightly!'s outdoor ethic.  Initially, this user-friendly public traveler map will be customized and printed for the four districts on the Eldorado National Forest in California.

An important tool in promoting responsible recreation, the maps will educate recreationists to trail designations, area restrictions, and information about local natural resources.  Developed with national application in mind, the traveler map design will be a blueprint for other Forests to utilize.

"When people have high quality information they make better choices," said Ms. McCullough.  "Yamaha’s involvement in creating these easy-to-follow maps is a natural fit with their efforts to further educate the OHV community about responsible practices while recreating."

Yamaha also contributed a Grizzly utility ATV in support of Tread Lightly!’s annual fundraising auction on eBay.  By donating the popular ATV, Yamaha  increased attention and contributions Tread Lightly! relies upon for its education and stewardship programs. 

Yamaha has been a long-time Official Partner of Tread Lightly!, giving annual contributions toward sustaining the nonprofit organization in its mission of promoting responsible outdoor recreation through ethics education and stewardship.
About Tread Lightly!
Tread Lightly!, Inc. is a national nonprofit organization with a mission to promote responsible recreation through ethics education and stewardship.  Recognized as the nation’s signature outdoor ethic, Tread Lightly!’s educational message, along with its training and restoration initiatives are strategically designed to instill an ethic of responsibility in a wide variety of outdoor enthusiasts and the industries that serve them.  The program is long-term in scope with a goal to balance the needs of people who enjoy outdoor recreation with our need to maintain a healthy environment.  With a niche focusing on motorized recreation, Tread Lightly! offers unique programs and services to help remedy current recreation issues.

About the Yamaha OHV Access Initiative
Each quarter, Yamaha accepts applications from non-profit or tax-exempt organizations including OHV riding clubs, national forests and associations, and national, state and local government agencies. A committee then reviews each application and awards GRANTs to deserving projects.

Examples of appropriate projects for GRANTs include, but are not limited to:
Trail development, restoration and maintenance
Trail signage and map production
Staging area construction, renovation and maintenance
Land stewardship, trail safety and education

Updated guidelines, an application form and information on the OHV Access Initiative are available at the newly redesigned web site: www.yamaha-motor.com/ohvaccess. For specific questions about the OHV Access Initiative, call Yamaha’s dedicated OHV Access Initiative Hotline at 1-877-OHV-TRAIL (877-648-8724), email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or write to: Yamaha OHV Access Initiative Review Committee, 6555 Katella Avenue, Cypress, CA 90630-5101.

 

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John Stewart

Professionals for Managed Recreation Formed

Group Comprised of Retired Federal Land Managers Supports Sustainable Recreation

Washington, D.C., May 5, 2009 - A new group, Professionals for Managed Recreation (PMR), has been formed to promote environmentally sustainable, managed recreation.  PMR is comprised of retired land management officials who favor access for managed, responsible motorized recreation on public lands. Each of the officials has extensive experience in successfully managing off-highway vehicle (OHV) recreation on a National Forest and/or Bureau of Land Management unit.

The new group's mission statement is, "Professionals for Managed Recreation is committed to encouraging, promoting and expanding sustainable OHV recreation through training, advocacy and on-the-ground management activities.  PMR's website is hosted by Americans for Responsible Recreational Access and can be found here: http://www.arra-access.com/arra/pmr-home.html.

Tom Crimmins, lead PMR spokesman and retired Forest Service official of 32 years, stated, "Professionals for Managed Recreation presents an opportunity to convey that with proper management, OHV trail systems can be fun, challenging, and most importantly, sustainable."

Crimmins authored Management Guidelines for Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation, which can be downloaded from the PMR website for free.  The book discusses approaches to OHV recreation management to meet both land manager and rider objectives.  Topics addressed include route planning, trail design and active management, with many specific examples.

Currently, four other retired land managers join Crimmins as members of PMR.  Crimmins stated, "We have a great core of experienced land managers who have all successfully managed OHV programs on public lands.  We know there are more folks like us out there who, by definition, are retired but remain actively engaged in promoting sustainable management techniques, and we encourage them to be a part of PMR."

Crimmins concluded, "Closure is not the only option for land managers dealing with OHV recreation.  In fact in nearly every case responsible, active management is the real solution.  Each member of PMR has experience in managing sustainable OHV trail systems and it is that experience that we would like to share."
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John Stewart

14 Monuments Proposed in Secret Document

As outlined in a letter from Representatives Doc Hastings (R-WA), Ranking Member, House Committee on Natural Resources and Rob Bishop (R-UT), Ranking Member, House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, sweeping National Monument designations represent a serious threat to recreation including motorized access. Any OHV use would almost certainly be forever banned in areas designated as National Monuments, and riders would have no opportunity to formally weigh in on the process.

The areas under consideration for this act include, San Rafael Swell - UT, Montana’s Northern Prairie – MT, Lesser Praire Chicken Preserve – NM, Berryessa Snow Mountains – CA, Heart of the Great Basin – NV, Otero Mesa – NM, Northwest Sonoran Desert – AZ, Owyhee Desert – OR/NV, Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument (Expansion) – CA, Vermillion Basin - CO, Bodie Hills – CA, The Modoc Plateau – CA, Cedar Mesa region – UT, San Juan Islands – WA.

 

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