It has been busy at SDORC, so let me fill you in. We just had our Lost Lizard Fun Run and what a success it was! The 500 hundred entries we had means a couple thousand people enjoyed the day. The route was fun, the weather just right, the raffle went off without a hitch and no one was hurt or broke down. I have to give it up for chairperson Audrey Mason, who moved mountains to make every detail just right and our 12th annual event a huge success. There were lots of volunteers, some worked checkpoints, others signup and some really great people helped plan the event. SCAR won best checkpoint with the poop toss. A big shout out to KJ, Rob, Kathleen, Rick, Doug, Jim, Robin, Desiree, Gina, Norm, Jim and Jan, Chad, Denise, Shasta and Chris Boyer from the DSC. Click here for pictures taken at the event.

I went out the Wednesday night before the event so we could work on the course Thursday. Friday there was an OHMVR Commission meeting in nearby Holtville, so I left our camp and attended the meeting. I like attending these when I can because I always see old friends and hear what is new in our world. At the Commission meeting I spoke to Lisa Mangot, Director of California Department of Parks and Recreation. I really believe she will give us a fair shake in the reauthorization of our program. She will have a big part to play in it, but she will not have the last word. So, if there are parts of the reauthorization bill we don’t like, we will have to work on legislators and the Governor’s office. I do think we are fortunate to have Lisa in her position and I look forward to working with her and everyone else involved in the coming year. I plan to go to Sacramento soon for some meetings that our lobbyist has set up. Once again I thank Polaris for their grant to make all this possible for us.

At the Commission meeting, a guy from the National Forests spoke about the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). There is work going on to make a “quiet corridor” a half-mile wide on each side of the PCT. This would mean no motorized vehicles in that corridor. After he spoke, Commissioner Ted Cabral went off on him for five minutes telling him what a bad idea this is. Ted reminded him that there are huge swaths of wilderness along the PCT that afford a hiker quiet solitude. It was really a joy to listen to Ted go on and on. Should this quiet corridor come to be, I wondered how it would affect us in San Diego County. The PCT comes close to legal OHV trails in two areas, Corral Canyon and Grapevine Canyon Road. From what I could tell, the PCT at its closest is more that half a mile from either of these areas. There are areas where OHV trails cross the PCT, like in Kern County. It is legal to cross the PCT at 90 degrees on a dirtbike.

You might have heard that a three-judge panel recently ruled in our favor regarding the suit by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) challenging the Recreational Area Management Plan (RAMP) for the dunes. The CBD wants the old closure reinstated to protect the PMV. The CBD just appealed the ruling and is asking the full panel of judges to look at their case. Even though they know they probably won’t win, they are doing this for two reasons. First, there is a chance they might win and second, the dunes will not be included in legislation to make other BLM areas “national recreation areas.” Other BLM areas are being included in a bill S414. Legislators don’t want to change a land designation if the area is under litigation.

You all know there was an election recently with quite a surprise and the result should be good for OHV. We may be able to push back this PCT quiet zone, make meaningful changes to the Endangered Species Act and more. It’s exciting to have a political climate nationally that should be friendly to OHV.

At SDORC we are looking out for areas where we like to go off-roading. We could use a couple people to specialize in Corral Canyon in the Cleveland National Forest and Lark Canyon (in McCain Valley). If you know and love either of these areas and want to become a specialist in one, please let me know and we will get you going. You can write me at [email protected].

As a reminder, SDORC is a membership organization. You can join or donate from our website. You can see updates on our Facebook page. We have meetings on the first Tuesday of each month. We are looking into having a joint poker run with the American Sand Association on February 11 in the South Dunes of the ISDRA, so plan to come out for that. Enjoy the holidays and I hope to see you in the desert.

Ed Stovin