Introduction: I wanted to share my letter/thoughts with OHV stakeholders on the August 2016 Transformation Team Progress Report. I think it takes steps in the right direction. However, it needs to more fully incorporate "Recreation" into the soul of the document. I have included the letter I sent to the Transformation Team today. I think this report shows a “preservation culture” still exists at DPR.
LINK TO AUGUST 2016 TRANSFORMATION TEAM PROGRESS REPORT
Dear Lisa and the Transformation Team,
I again want to thank you for your ongoing efforts (which are greatly appreciated) to engage with OHV stakeholders to better understand the OHV Program.
I just read through the August 2016 Transformation Team Progress Report and commend the Team for including pictures of various active forms of recreation on the cover page and noting said activities on page 6 in the Fast Facts section.
While I support, in general, all of the four Transformation Team Strategic Goals, I am concerned about the preservationist nature of Strategic Goal 1 that leaves out any mention of providing environmentally sound or sustainable recreational opportunities.
Strategic Goal 1: Protect and Enhance Natural and Cultural Resources
The California Department of Parks and Recreation’s (Department) mission includes the protection and preservation of California’s most significant cultural and natural resources. By engaging and collaborating with other leaders in this field, the Department will identify and advance pilot projects demonstrating best practices and develop programs and systems that support first in class preservation and conservation of natural and cultural resources. The Department will propel a renewed investment in the stewardship of the globally-significant resources of the state park system. Decisions will be informed and guided by the need to protect natural and cultural resources.
I would urge the Team to consider weaving “recreation” more substantively into the soul of the document including its strategic goals.
In fact, the Team might consider adding an additional goal (Goal 5) that reads something like this:
Strategic Goal 5: Continue to Provide World Class Sustainable Recreational Opportunities The Department will continue to provide access to world-class passive and active forms of recreation that exist within the system. The Department will use best management practices, the collaborative process, and partners to maintain and/or enhance a wide array of sustainable recreational opportunities for the benefit and enjoyment of all people. Off-highway motor vehicle recreation, boating activities, horseback riding, on and off-road cycling, hiking, camping, and rock climbing are some of the recreational activities enjoyed in 280 state parks organized into 22 field districts throughout the state.
Since the program was totally revised in 2008, the OHV Division has been a model of government transparency and efficiency. It has been a model for other States to follow. The Team needs to ensure this program keeps its identity so it can continue to offer the excellent services it has been providing.
As you know, the 9 State Vehicular Recreation Areas (SVRAs) provide high quality OHV recreational opportunities in most regions of the state and the Team should support continuation of that program.
Also, about 80% of OHV recreational opportunities are provided by our partners at the Forest Service and BLM. The OHV Grants Program has been instrumental in providing for quality and effectively managed OHV recreation on federal lands throughout the state. The Team should help ensure the OHV Grants Program stays viable.
Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions or want additional input into the process.
Former Chairman of the OHMVR Commission, Western Representative for the BlueRibbon Coalition, President of Quiet Warrior Racing/Consulting, Member – Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals
Original author: Don Amador