Every National Forest, BLM area and State Vehicular Recreation Area operates under general plans. These plans have everything to do with what we can do in the areas. What type, where and when you can use your vehicle is controlled by the plans. Where or even if you can camp is also controlled by the plans. Taking part in plan formations and upgrades is crucial in protecting our rights. Three SVRAs are upgrading their plans now. Carnegie, Hungry Valley and Ocotillo Wells are all at different stages of updating their plans. I just reviewed the proposed plan for Carnegie and am pleased to report there is nothing toxic in the proposed plan. Carnegie is a 1500-acre park between Modesto and San Francisco that mainly caters to motorcycles but has a 4X4 challenge area and allows all vehicles to use various trails. In fact, there are a number of improvements planned for the park. Below is text taken directly from the draft plan document:
There are numerous off-highway opportunities for motorcycles, ATVs, 4x4s, and side-by sides. The General Plan will continue to provide multi-use OHV routes and specific OHV use designated areas and provide more riding and practice opportunities.
OHV Use Goal 1: State Parks will maintain, improve, or expand visitor area connectivity, practice areas, and riding opportunities for all OHV recreationalists.
• OHV Use Guideline 1.1: Develop a new single native surface motorcycle trail, with turnouts, south of and parallel to Corral Hollow Creek, that will provide connectivity between visitor experience areas and help reduce traffic on the main SVRA road (the exact trail alignment to be determined by SVRA staff and resource specialists).
• OHV Use Guideline 1.2: The existing special event/day-use area north of the existing Motocross (MX) track is underutilized. State Parks will consider developing a portion of or the entire area into an ATV track and/or a trials motorbike track, or other type of OHV practice facility.
• OHV Use Guideline 1.3: Develop a flat and oval kid’s mini-bike track on the east end of the SVRA campground. The track will improve safety by redirecting children away from riding among motorhomes, trailers, vehicles, and people in the campground.
• OHV Use Guideline 1.4: Finish rehabilitating the area south of the Franciscan OHV loop trail (including the area that was damaged in the 2015 Tesla Fire) into a sustainable OHV trail network for advanced riders (the exact trails alignments to be determined by SVRA staff and resource specialists).
• OHV Use Guideline 1.5: State Parks may enhance or develop other trails, practice areas, and riding opportunities for motorized recreationists of all skill levels and as allowed in the visitor experience areas (may require additional environmental analysis).
State Parks will develop four campground host sites at the SVRA.
Information on the Carnegie General Plan can be found here.
The Ocotillo Wells plan is interesting because they have made two big efforts to start a plan update in recent years, only to stop cold. The plan formation is complicated by the fact that a large part of OW is owned by the BLM and managed by State Parks. So, a new plan will need to be independently completed by both State Parks and the BLM. The reason it was stopped last time was because the BLM pulled out of the project. Last time the OW plan got to the draft stage and while we didn’t like all of it, most was good. We expect the plan process for OW to be introduced in the coming months and strongly encourage everyone who loves OW to participate in the process. Look in future columns here for details and tips on how to comment.
Our new lobbyist gives us a bill update each Monday morning and we have been looking at a few bills until right at the deadline for this issue. As the bill introduction deadline has just passed, a flood of last-minute bills was introduced, and we have been given a long list of bills that may affect us to be reviewed. We will be looking at these bills for ones that will directly or indirectly affect us. As for bills we know about, the only one we are concerned with is SB708, which has been held over since last year. This bill will allow State Parks to issue a sticker for what were formerly red sticker racing motorcycles so they can be identified for law enforcement, issued insurance and transported. Last year the bill was held in an Assembly committee. That committee chair has been changed and the bill has a shot at making it over the finish line this year.
Dirt Sports Expo
Last summer SDORC held a successful off-road jamboree at Lakeside Rodeo. Audrey and the rest of our crew did an amazing job putting that event together. We have been talking about doing another event and with Laura at the helm we are moving our next event to the new Diane Jacobs Equestrian Facility in Lakeside, a short distance north of Lakeside Rodeo. We decided to choose the date of June 22 and began working toward it when we discovered that the Off-Road Nights event has been planned for the same day in Escondido. After a lively discussion, we are pushing our date back to October 5. This will make it a “back to the desert” event and we expect good weather and more time to put the pieces together for a great event. I toured the new facility and found it to be a wonderful venue. It has a very large covered space that we may be able to fit the entire event under. The same facility will be hosting a real monster truck competition on March 23. I’m planning to attend monster trucks to see how an event will look there. If you would like to volunteer to help with the Dirt Sports Expo or recommend a vendor, club or other group for a space, contact us at [email protected] or (619) 995-2797.
Our next membership meeting will be postponed one week due to the election. See us Tuesday March 12 at Ranch House Restaurant on Woodside Ave. at 6:30 pm. Be sure to put the Lost Lizard Fun Run on your calendar for November 9. Remember, SDORC is a membership organization. You can join us online by clicking here.