Oceano Dunes (Pismo Beach) has been in the limelight lately. The only beach in California where you can legally drive on the shore (seven out of 840 miles of coast) has been in the news about air pollution. There were recently two (separate) deaths there related to off-road vehicle accidents. These are huge tragedies that never bode well for us. Also very bad was a recent argument between two camps that resulted in one man shooting six people from the other camp. None died and the shooter is in custody. This makes it harder for our good guys to keep the park open for OHVs, but we will keep trying.
You might remember the saga of the red sticker program being dismantled. After all the CARB proposals, meetings and comments, the final action has been voted on. By the way, the California Air Resources Board is an appointed body of 16 members tasked to improve air quality. The agency has a staff which answers to the Board and was tasked with the job of reducing air pollution from off-highway vehicles. The staff is who we have been dealing with and after it figured out what it want to do with us and our dirt bikes, it brought its proposal to the board. The board voted on pretty much what I reported last year on what they want to do with our program. From the CARB website:
- Ending certification of uncontrolled red sticker OHVs beginning with model year 2022 and lifting the riding restrictions on public lands for red sticker OHV in 2025;
- Harmonizing California’s emission standards for off-highway motorcycles with U.S. EPA standards for evaporative controls from 2020 through 2026 and for exhaust controls from 2022 through 2027;
- Adopting more stringent emissions standards for OHVs from 2026 (for evaporative emissions) and 2027 (for exhaust emissions) onward;
- Adding provisions for alternative certification of evaporative systems; and
- Enhancing fleet averaging and zero emissions credit provisions to provide flexibility and promote zero emissions technologies in the off-road sector.
So the year 2021 is the last year you can buy a race-tuned dirt bike in California and operate it on public land. After that, you will be able to buy street legal and green sticker dirt bikes to ride on public land. You will still be able to buy race-tuned bikes, but you will only be able to operate them on private tracks and during actual competition events on public land. CARB staff has discussed how to curb “tampering” (changing pipes, ECU’s, engine modifications, removing or modifying evaporative systems, etc.) on clean bikes, but they have not proposed any plans. Starting in the year 2025, all old red sticker bikes will be regulated the same as green sticker bikes and can go to all the areas year around. So start saving for that 2021 race bike you can hang on to.
We joined with TDS 4 Wheel Drive Club to host a cleanup and trail-trimming day in Corral Canyon. This event was an overwhelming success with 122 people signing up to help out. People picked up trash and trimmed trails all over the area. I personally trimmed Wrangler, Bobcat and Corral trails plus Sodbuster from Corral up to the rock pile. The day was cool and lots of trail was still moist. We BBQed hot dogs and raffled off some cool prizes afterward. The forest staff was very grateful for our help. They have two people who work on the ground out there and with over 50 miles of trails plus the office work they have to do, managing the area can be a little overwhelming at times. When I was young, I thought it was best not to have anyone managing the areas I wanted to ride. Now with the wisdom of age, I understand that the best way to keep riding areas open is to have them properly managed.
We are hosting another highway cleanup on June 8. Last time, we didn’t get to the south side of the highway. If you would like to help out and look for treasures, meet us at the Buckman Springs exit off Interstate 8 at 8:00 am. By the way, if you need community service hours for school or for any trouble you might have been in, we can sign them off.
We were in the Lakeside Parade again this year. We had lots of entries with Jeeps and a big group of BMX riders. This is a fun event and anyone is welcome to join us next year.
We had an election for the SDORC Board of Directors. I’d like to thank Audrey, Rob and John for staying on for another term, and welcome our new secretary Nicole Honstead and Director at Large Austin Dvorak. I agreed to stay on as president for another term.
The green sticker grant application comment period has ended and once again I have found some interesting applications and commented on them. A few highlights: The San Bernardino National Forest has asked for $16,500 to buy 5 sets of night vision goggles. They are also asking for $100,000 to fix up two trails, 2N33 and 2N36, about 13 miles of motorcycle trails near Lake Silverwood.
Madera County is asking for a large sum of money to buy land to open an off-road park.
Kern County is asking for money to search for land suitable for an off-road park.
Quoting my comment from Imperial County Sheriff’s safety application “I don’t understand $15,000 for pens, sports bottles, rulers and flags. I also don’t understand $3300 for a laptop. I just bought a Chromebook for $180 and can get Windows Office for $99. I don’t think this is the right category for the purchase of a sand rail. How do you use a rail for outreach?”
Cal4wheel Conservation & Education Foundation asked for money to buy trash bags and to make off-road related coloring books for kids. We used these bags in the Corral Canyon cleanup.
Palm Springs BLM wants to make a Special Recreation Management Area OHV Plan. They are even looking to make an “open” area. Palm Springs BLM manages the east side of Riverside County, a lot of land. I was very supportive of this application.
My comments on the request of the BLM – Needles Field Office: “Nice group of grants to support OHV in this large area. I am curious about Staff-Wilderness Specialist and wilderness regulations. I have not seen this. Is there more to wilderness than no mechanized travel? I haven’t heard of OHV ethical programs. I’d love to know about that too.”