Big news at Oceano Dunes: The county supervisor who opposed off-roading in the dunes, Adam Hill, whose office was recently raided by the FBI, has committed suicide. While it is a human tragedy, now we may never know why he was being investigated. It was alleged he was taking bribes, possibly from marijuana people and, some believe, Shea Homes, the developer who built homes near Oceano Dunes and has two more subdivisions planned. We are supporting Stacy Korsgaden for replacement. She ran against Hill in the recent election, supports OHV in Oceano Dunes, lost the election by fewer than 600 votes and was a guest on SDORC Radio last month.

After more than a year, our state parks off-road vehicle program has a new deputy director, Sarah Miggins. Sarah has been on the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Commission for a few years now. She has experience running several environmental organizations and is a Democrat. Before you get upset about the appointment, you should also know she owns a Jeep and is OK with responsible off-road vehicle use. While on the commission we never saw her look toward off-roading in a negative way. She is a governor appointment and given that our governor is a very left-leaning Democrat, we should be pretty thankful to have gotten a very reasonable deputy director. I believe she will serve us well and I plan to interview her for next month’s issue.

We had our first outdoor meeting last month in the park by Lindo Lake in Lakeside and it was pretty nice being outside. Thanks, Audrey, for bringing the pizza, and we just may be there a few more times on the first Tuesday of the month until restaurants are reopened.

Congratulations to our longtime supporter and treasurer Rob Smith for making it to the other side and retiring. Rob has been essential to the success of our Lost Lizard Fun Run for many years and I hope to continue working with him in the future.

There has been activity with the two bills we are watching in Sacramento. SB1024, the bill that would allow red sticker racing motorcycles and ATVs to continue to be used on public land (with the operator carrying a racing license) has been moving. Bills have to pass through committees in both the Assembly and Senate and this bill, which has already gone through the Senate, is now in the Assembly. It recently was heard in the Assembly Transportation Committee, where it passed through on a 10 to 2 vote. I was able to call in and tell the committee that SDORC supports this bill. Next, the bill moves to Assembly Appropriations.

The bill we are actively opposing, AB3030, is also moving. It passed through the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee on a 6 to 2 vote. This is the bill that would “protect” 30% of California’s land and water. This bill has been amended several times and, while there has been some improvement, it is still not satisfactory to us. I thought this amendment would help: “The International Union for Conservation of Nature has established guidance related to access, resource use, and visitation in protected areas, providing that if activities are compatible with a protected area’s objectives, and they are permitted within the terms governing the protected area, the activities may be allowed.” The problem is with the word “may”. We would prefer that word be changed to “shall”. With the word “may” we have no assurance that our areas will remain open for our use. What may ultimately kill this bill is that it has some costs involved and with the State having greatly reduced tax revenue, every unnecessary cost will probably be denied.

From the Americans for Responsible Recreation Access Newsletter: “On July 22, the powersports industry and off-highway enthusiasts nationwide welcomed the passage of the Great American Outdoors Act (H.R. 7092) in the House by a bipartisan vote of 310-107 and the President signed the bill into law.” And Erik Pritchard, MIC President and CEO, said: “On behalf of the U.S. powersports industry, thank you, Congress, for passing the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA). It not only boosts recreation opportunities across the U.S., but it also supports the nation’s economy. The GAOA addresses the $20 billion maintenance backlog facing our public lands and waters, and will provide infrastructure for the recreational community, improving public lands for motorcycle, ATV, side-by-side, and snowmobile enthusiasts across the country. This funding will ensure that adequate infrastructure for all types of recreation on U.S. public lands and waters can support rural communities and economies.”

This bill will send money to the Bureau of Land Management and National Forests and should directly help San Diego off-roaders.