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John Stewart

Inyo OHV Grants Available for Public Comment

Public Comments Requested on the 2010 Off-Highway Vehicle Grant Applications Open House to be Held March 23

Bishop, CA (February 26, 2010)...The Inyo National Forest and the Bishop Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management have submitted preliminary applications to the Off Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) Division for the 2010 Grant cycle.  Both agencies are now requesting comments on this year’s applications.  The preliminary applications being submitted this year continue the many important and ongoing efforts between the Inyo National Forest, the BLM, the California State Off Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division, and interested stakeholders, at improving OHV opportunities on the ground.  The focus of these grants includes improvements to OHV routes, facilities, and signing, as well as restoration of impacted areas, law enforcement, and educational programs.

The OHMVR grants provide funding to help protect, maintain, and enhance OHV programs.

The public may view and comment on these applications and all the other grant applications on the OHMVR Division website:  http://www.ohv.parks.ca.gov/.    Preliminary applications will also be available for review Tuesday March 2 through Monday April 1, 2010 at the BLM and Forest Service offices located at 351 Pacu Lane in Bishop, just behind the DMV office.

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John Stewart

Sierra NF OHV Grants Available

Sierra National Forest Seeks Public Comment Off-Highway Vehicle Grant Application

Clovis, CA - (February 25, 2010). The Sierra National Forest is seeking public comments on a preliminary application to the State of California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division (OHMVR) for the 2009/2010 grant cycle.  The 30-day public review and comment period for the State’s Grant and Cooperative Agreements Program begins March 2, 2010 and ends April 5, 2010.

The Sierra National Forest’s application has been submitted to the State and will be available for public review beginning Tuesday, March 2 at the following website:  www.ohv.parks.ca.gov Hard copies of the application are also available by contacting Mosé Jones-Yellin at 559-297-0706 ext. 4858.  Comments on the grant application can be submitted online at the above website or by mailing to Sierra National Forest, Attn. Mosé Jones-Yellin, 1600 Tollhouse Road, Clovis, CA  93611.

The Sierra National Forest will also host an open house Tuesday, March 16th between 6pm and 8pm at the Forest Headquarters, 1600 Tollhouse Road in Clovis.  The purpose of the meeting is to provide copies of the preliminary application and discuss the proposal submitted by the Sierra National Forest.  “Without the State’s assistance, sustaining the critical balance between off highway vehicle recreation opportunities and responsible management of our natural resources would be very difficult,” stated Ed Cole, Forest Supervisor.

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John Stewart

President's Budget Proposal Would Slash Trail Funding

The proposed cut is particularly disturbing in light of the Forest Service's recent work on off-highway vehicle (OHV) travel management.  Many National Forest's have only recently completed their travel management plans and will need funding for implementation.  As these plans were developed local Forest Service staff repeatedly told OHV enthusiasts that they lacked sufficient funding to maintain existing trails, provide trailhead facilities or to adequately inventory existing trails.

Furthermore, funding for good trail design, construction and maintenance is >essential to meeting the Administration's stated goals of erosion control, watershed health and forest restoration.

The OHV enthusiast community has done all it can to assist the Forest Service in funding trails.  In partnership with the Forest Service, OHV enthusiasts provide thousands of hours of volunteer hours each year to maintain trail systems.  In addition to consistently asking Congress to provide adequate appropriations, enthusiasts also fostered the federal Recreational Trails Program and state level motorized trail programs that provide non-Forest Service funding for trails.  The OHV community even supported the Forest Service's controversial Recreation Fee program to get badly needed funds on the ground.  But it is incumbent on the agency to seek and provide a reasonable level of funding for trails in its own budget.

Congress will be considering the President's budget proposal over the next few months.  The American Motorcyclist Association urges its members to contact their federal elected officials and request that they oppose any cut in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's CIM budget. 

You can find contact information for your elected officials at AmericanMotorcyclist.com, click on "Rights," then "Issues & Legislation," and enter your zip code in the "Find your Officials" box. Additionally, a prewritten e-mail is available for you to send to your federal elected official immediately by following the "Take Action" option and entering your information.

Please write or call your Senators and Representative today and ask them to oppose any cut in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's CIM budget.

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John Stewart

The Heritage Fund: What its loss will mean to Arizona

“Adoption of this proposal could have significant impacts on Arizona’s land use and growth that will be vital for the state’s economic recovery, as well as affecting outdoor recreationists and the future well being of the state’s wildlife,” said Deputy Director Bob Broscheid. “We acknowledge the difficulties the state faces in addressing the budget situation, but we owe it to the public to inform and educate on what this could mean to them.”

Arizona Game and Fish is a “business-model” agency reliant wholly on non-tax dollars. It is critical that the customers who pay the bills in this “user pay, user benefit” model understand the potential statewide economic effects that could result from a permanent elimination of Heritage funding. Those effects potentially include constraints on land use that could affect our state’s economic recovery.

The approximately 30-minute presentation will start at 6 p.m. at the department’s Phoenix office at 5000 W. Carefree Highway (1.5 miles west of I-17). The public is invited to attend the presentation or view it live over the Internet at www.azgfd.gov/webcast.

The seminar, presented by Broscheid, will cover the history of the Heritage Fund, what it’s used for, how it benefits wildlife, its many success stories, and the impacts to wildlife, land access and Arizona citizens if the fund is lost.

After the presentation, an interactive question-and-answer session with the public will take place. Online viewers can submit questions for consideration via an e-mail link at www.azgfd.gov/webcast.

Passed as an initiative in 1990 by an overwhelming 2-1 bipartisan ratio of Arizona voters, the Heritage Fund provides up to $10 million each year from lottery ticket sales for the conservation and protection of the state’s wildlife and natural areas. The Arizona Game and Fish Department receives no general tax revenue and the Heritage Fund is one of the department’s primary funding sources. The Heritage Fund makes a difference in communities across Arizona and benefits all citizens.

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John Stewart

Grassroots and Industry Urge Permanent Fix to Controversial Youth-Model Bike/ATV Ban

The BlueRibbon Coalition, a national grassroots OHV advocacy group is encouraging their members to contact their congressional representatives and urge them to take action to end the unfair ban. BRC's Call to Action can be found here: http://www.sharetrails.org/alerts/?alert=1105

BRC's Executive Director, Greg Mumm, said, "Congress told the CPSC to report to them about this issue and I think it is appropriate for the American public to report as well. The way the CPSC has implemented this law has cost jobs and actually made children less safe. Congress needs to act now." Mumm said BRC is encouraging Congress to clarify the intent of the law and also to hold hearings on how CPSC is implementing the law.

The power-sports industry is also weighing in. Yesterday, the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) urged CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum to include an amendment that would end the current ban. MIC's letter noted there are a variety of options available to remedy the situation. MIC's General Counsel Paul Vitrano, said, "Everyone agrees that the key to maintaining the safety of youth riders is for them to operate only appropriately-sized vehicles. We are hopeful that CPSC's report to Congress will pave the way to legislation that will ensure youth motorcycles and ATVs remain available."

The American Motorcyclist Association appealed to its members yesterday in a nation-wide email action alert. AMA's Government Relations department has been doing yeoman's work on a bill introduced by Montana's Denny Rehberg. Rehberg's bill, H.R. 1587, would exempt youth-sized motorcycles and ATVs from the CPSIA. AMA reports that although it had 55 bi-partisan co-sponsors, no committee in the House or the Senate has scheduled a hearing on Rehberg's bill. The bill can be viewed here: http://www.sharetrails.org/fwd/hr1587

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