Tread Lightly!

Local Volunteers Join HUMMER Recreation Rescue Project In Sierra National Forest

DETROIT – More than 35 volunteers from local four-wheel-drive clubs, Tread Lightly! and HUMMER joined U.S. Forest Service employees on August 1, for a day of trail maintenance on the Bald Mountain OHV route in Sierra National Forest, east of Fresno, Calif.

The project was the second trail maintenance event supported by a new Tread Lightly! program called HUMMER’s Recreation Rescue. Thanks to funding from HUMMER and the help from local volunteers, Tread Lightly! is providing project grants to recreation projects around the country to ensure land remains accessible for responsible recreationists.

“This project is a great opportunity for the Forest Service and the forest visitors to work with Hummer and Tread Lightly!, who are dedicated to providing recreational experiences while protecting the integrity of the forest ,” said Greg Marks, Sierra National Forest Off Highway Vehicle Manager.

The volunteer team worked the entire day to improve and stabilize a section of the Bald Mountain trail that is subject to erosion during the spring snow thaw and summer storms. The group also closed and restored unauthorized routes that developed over time. The project concluded with the development of a trail map and brochure to ensure that visitors drive only on the designated routes and learn the Tread Lightly! principles to responsible recreation.

Volunteers from several U.S. states and Canada participated in the event, representing more than eight off-road organizations, including: Clovis Independent Four Wheelers; Mountain Toppers Four Wheel Drive Club of Fresno; California Association of Four Wheel Drive Clubs, Inc; California Association of Four Wheel Drive Clubs Safety and Education Foundation, Inc.; 4x4Him Christian Wheelers; Californians for Public Access, Inc, (Cal Access); Northern California Land Rover; and Lock and Low Four Wheel Drive Club of Visalia.

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John Stewart

ARRA Newsletter - August 2008

Urgency aside, Democrats and Republicans have slugged it out in terms of what to do. Republicans want to authorize more off-shore drilling and Democrats want to go after oil speculators and compel more energy conservation. Much of the month has been spent in a virtual deadlock, because neither party seems to think that "compromise" is in its political interest. Now that they are about to leave town until after Labor Day, Congressional leadership is beginning to talk with each other about working out a compromise, though both parties seem wary about giving the other party too much credit for solving the energy crisis. Maybe we will have to wait until the start of the "heating season" before a new sense of urgency sets in. Massive CR----------A massive CR has nothing to do with a medical condition, but rather it is the description of what Congress will do in terms of funding the operation of the federal government when the new fiscal year begins October 1, 2008. Normally, Congress would enact specific appropriation measures for the various departments, but whenever it fails to complete work in time for the fiscal year to begin, it takes the easy route and passes a "continuing resolution" which means that agencies will be funded at the same level in the new fiscal year as they were in the previous year. Call it "status quo" funding, if you will. Mind you, there is nothing wrong with this legislative approach. If fact, some policy experts prefer it since continuing resolutions tend to limit the growth of federal spending. But to show how the stalemate over energy policy has affected the appropriations process, Senate Democrats recently cancelled a mark-up session on the Interior Department's appropriations measure for fear that Republicans would use that appropriation measure as a vehicle to offer amendments on energy issues. Senate Democrats decided that the best course of action was no meeting at all rather than being forced to vote on some tough amendments.We are, however, making some progress in the House Appropriations Committee. As the following chart indicates, the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee is recommending an increase in funding for the Forest Service Recreation and Trail programs over what was recommended in the President's budget submission for FY 2009. A number of ARRA members have contacted their Members of Congress on this issue and we are making some headway because of your diligence. For those of you who haven't yet contacted your Representative or Senator on this funding issue, it not too late to let them know what you think. Take action today on the ARRA Website (http://www.arra-access.com/ct/71zUY291-YbR/).Cape Hatteras OHV Access------------------------The Cape Hatteras OHV access issue is getting some attention here in Washington. In our May, 2008 edition of our Washington newsletter, we reported on the situation in North Carolina where a recently approved Consent Degree severely limits OHV access to some of the best sport fishing areas in North America. Well, the OHV community has been busy tackling this issue and legislation has been introduced in both the House of Representatives and the United States Senate that would reinstate the National Park Service's Interim Management Strategy for the Cape Hatteras area. The legislation, if enacted, would ensure that the Interim plan would remain in effect and thereby provide OHV access to Cape Hatteras until such time as a long-term off-road vehicle management plan is completed. This week, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on S. 3113. The House companion legislation is H. R. 6233. You can read the text of both bills by going the ARRA website Federal Legislation page.North Carolinian OHV enthusiasts as well as local and federal elected officials and national OHV groups are working hard in support of this legislation. It merits our support as well, so please contact your elected Representative/Senators and urge adoption of these measures before Congress adjourns this session. If you have an interest in contacting your elected representative, we have a special page on the ARRA website to take action on this issue! Visit http://www.arra-access.com/ct/IpzUY291-YbQ/.Law of Unintended Consequences for Recreational Boaters-------------------------------------------------------Recreational boaters throughout the United States are breathing a bit easier now that the U. S. Senate and the House of Representatives passed the Clean Boating Act of 2008. The bill now awaits the President's signature in order for it to become law. In response to a federal court decision, Congress had to step in and bring some practicality to public policy. This time, it was the recreational boater who was threatened by a 2006 ruling by a federal judge who said that the Environmental Protection Agency incorrectly exempted recreational boats from the Clean Water Act. EPA made that interpretation back in 1973! If the court's ruling remained in effect, beginning September 30, 2008, recreational boaters throughout the United States would have to pay large fees for annual permits similar to those of ocean-going cargo ships. Failure to have such permits and failure to abide by stringent dumping guidelines meant that recreational boating as we know it would have been dealt a fatal blow. Imagine having to pay a large fee for a federal permit just so a couple of times a year you could take your 14-foot fishing boat to your favorite lake. Many people in the recreational boating community worked very hard on this legislation and ARRA sends them our congratulations. This is an excellent example of how a grassroots effort can make a difference! Well done, boaters!!!Land Use Forum Meets in Washington, D. C.-----------------------------------------A number of national OHV organizations met in Washington during July to discuss land use issues. In addition, we met with officials from the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service. Stakeholders present for the meetings were leaders from the American Council of Snowmobile Associations, American Motorcyclist Association, Americans for Responsible Recreational Access, BlueRibbon Coaltion, Motorcycle Industry Council, National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council, Off-Road Business Association, Specialty Vehicle Institute of America, Tread Lightly!, and United Four Wheel Drive Associations. The meeting sessions were held in ARRA's Washington office.The purpose of this meeting was to exchange ideas, share war stories, and talk about the challenges facing us as we approach a new Congress and Administration in 2009. While there is a diversity of views, interests and strategies, we find that by periodically talking and meeting with each other, we can do a better job of working together on those interests that we share in common. Sincerely,Larry E. SmithExecutive DirectorAmericans for Responsible Recreational Access

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John Stewart

ARRA Newsletter - July 2008

ARRA Newsletter - July 2008Senate 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.htmlARRA's Press Release - http://www.arra-access.com/arra/arra_commends_pressrelease.htmlA 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. Sincerely,Larry E. SmithExecutive DirectorAmericans for Responsible Recreational Access

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John Stewart

TDS PROVIDES RED CROSS ASSISTANCE DURING 2007 WILDFIRES

NEWS RELEASE

TDS PROVIDES RED CROSS ASSISTANCE DURING 2007 WILDFIRES

San Diego, CA (Nov 5, 2007): The Tierra del Sol Four Wheel Drive Club of San Diego (TDS4x4) provided assistance during the October 2007 wildfires that swept through San Diego County. As the first responders began to control the wildfires, TDS members joined with the local Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) and American Red Cross to assess the damage caused by the wildfires.

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