I just took a quick trip to Sacramento for the memorial service for our slain lobbyist, Kathy Lynch. We met at the Sutter Club close to the capitol where friends and family of Kathy spoke. I went up and told my story of why we needed a lobbyist, how I found her and how she exceeded all our expectations representing us. Every client she served felt like they were her only client and numerous people mentioned getting emails from her late at night and on weekends. The common point each speaker made was that Kathy had integrity and was very effective in her work. One person said that she was more of a legislative advocate than a lobbyist. Whatever she was called, she is missed by many. I spoke to three lobbyists while there who represent our type of interest, and will be working with our partners to decide our best course of action going forward.
We had our first “reflector party” recently and placed several thousand reflectors on the new fence between the Superstition open area and the Navy bombing range. We did the fence along Huff Road and covered about a mile of fence from the Dip toward Superstition Mountain. We put a black and a white reflector between each post. We will be having another go of it soon, possibly during the June full moon. Let us know if you would like to help.
The event went off without a hitch and I am very relieved. A little background: Last summer our secretary, Nicole, drove over Otay Mt. and noticed it had a lot of trash on it. We decided to host a cleanup there in September, which was a success. Right afterward, our contact from the BLM told us that the Border Patrol is interested in closing the northwest trail that goes from Pio Pico Campground to the summit because of too much illegal activity. The BLM stated that they did not want to close the trail, but it is hard to go up against Homeland Security. I reasoned that if the BLM had a permit application in hand for an event to use the route, it would help them to keep it open. I ran into Mimi Selly shortly after that, and she told me she was taking over San Diego Adventure Riders (SDAR), and that they were short on cash to pay for their website. (They didn’t have their Desert Dash event this year.) I decided to step in and help the trail and SDAR at the same time. Mountain Dash was born and with the help of some cool volunteers we were able to pull it off. We rode over Palomar, Julian and Otay mountains and ended in Pio Pico Campground, where we had dinner, awards and a raffle. Everyone had a fun time (except the guy who broke his chain) and we raised a few dollars. We will likely do it again next year, so keep an eye out if you ride a dual sport or adventure motorcycle.
Pacific Island Brewery
Pacific Island Brewery is teaming up with us for an event on July 17 at the brewery. It will be an off-road show in their parking area and guests can buy a spot for their interesting off-road vehicles for $20 and show them off. There will be food and all proceeds will go to help SDORC fight for your right to off-road.
Congratulations to those of you who were in the SDORC “float” at the Lakeside Parade. Our float received Grand Marshal Best Overall award. Thank you to Audrey Mason for coordinating our participation in the event, and to everyone who drove, rode and helped.
Some little things
Brian Pepin is running for Poway City Council. He comes to SDORC meetings and rides a Honda CRF450, so if you live in Poway, please consider voting for him.
We are being given a kiosk by the BLM along Wheeler Road and are working on putting that together.
I was on an all-day BLM Desert Advisory Council Zoom meeting last Saturday. I am happy to report that there were no off-road vehicle issues discussed. We talked about an endangered vole, a small mammal that lives in the desert. At its lowest, there were only 32 individuals left in the world. Through the BLM’s efforts that number has gone up quite a bit.
Geothermal was discussed and while there are no new plans in any OHV areas, the one in north east Ocotillo Wells may move forward with both energy development as well as lithium extraction.
State Parks grants
We review and comment on many Green Sticker grants each year. I have been reviewing the grants in the southern part of the state for 16 years now and sometimes I find some screwy applications. Once I found a forest asking for thousands of dollars for radar guns. Another time we found a city asking for money for a side-by-side and ATV along with salaries to patrol city beaches as well as patrol costs, but there was no mention of any agreement with the lifeguards, who have ATVs and the power to arrest. Our comments let the State Parks grants staff know details they may not know, as we have on-the-ground knowledge of the areas and agencies.
I am reviewing several grants and commenting on some of them. I considered, but ended up not commenting on, a request from the city of Los Angeles for $200,000 to show kids how to ride minibikes.
Below are some of the grant applications I did send comments on:
• El Centro BLM
• Palm Springs BLM
• California City
• Friends of El Mirage
• Friends of Jawbone