Today we will look at some OHV grant applications, state bills, law suits and our own Lost Lizard Fun Run.
The Lost Lizard Fun Run planning is under way. If you would like to help, please contact us at [email protected]. We are excited to have Amy Volmer helping us with the many details this event needs sorted out. Former event chair and event anchor for the last five years, Audrey Mason, will still be helping, it’s just that she will also be concentrating on her Rebel Rally event entry with SDORC secretary Nicole Honstead. The two are looking forward to a great event and we will be pulling for them. Lost Lizard will be much like previous years, so if you liked it before, you will like it again.
We should have our Lost Lizard Fun Run pre-registration entry form up on our website soon. Please sign up and attend this fun event that helps keep the desert open.
Bills and Round Table
We were recently invited to a legislative round table with State Senator Brian Jones, his staff, lobbyist Jim Lombardo as well as Audrey, Nicole and myself from SDORC. We discussed the four bills on our priority list as well as trying to halt a transfer of cash out of the OHV bank account. It is nice to have a state representative that listens to us and we can count on.
Our reciprocity bill, AB232, has cleared the Assembly and is going to the Senate now. Brian’s Red Sticker bill, SB227, is still moving, though we are worried that the Sierra Club as well as some clean air groups have discovered the bill and are opposing it. Funny thing about that is that they so strongly oppose the bill and are unwilling to discuss ways to amend it to their liking, it may move without their weighing in on it. Every legislator understands, even if they don’t like it, that motorcycle competitors have a right to compete on new equipment. The opposition’s unwillingness to propose compromises could actually work in favor of the author and competitors.
The two bills that threaten to have the State sell off the expansion land at Carnegie SVRA are still moving. Our point behind our opposition is that it sets a bad precedent for State Parks to sell off land and that State Parks are very good stewards of the land.
Friends of Oceano Dunes have introduced a third lawsuit designed to keep the park open to off-road vehicles. The first suit alleges that the California Coastal Commission failed to perform any environment analysis before their decision to ban off-road vehicles. Their second suit says the California Coastal Commission failed to follow the California Coastal Act when banning off-road vehicles from Oceano Dunes. This third lawsuit is a “quiet title” suit that says with “implied dedication”, the Coastal Commission has no authority to ban off-road vehicles from Oceano Dunes, that they are allowed there “forever” and that no government agency can take that right away.
Ecologic Partners is also suing on environmental grounds similar to Friend’s first suit. I have read all the complaints and while I am no lawyer, I believe we have a real chance to beat the Coastal Commission here.
Our green sticker and fuel tax dollars are at work again going to agencies and non profits, through grants, that have to do with off-road vehicles. I read through applications from the southern half of our state and have written comments when I think they need to hear from users. This year there were fewer grant applications than normal and fewer that contained any “funny business”.
The Cleveland National Forest northern is asking for $35,000 to work on trails in Wildomar. While I like trail maintenance, that is a lot of money to spend on an area that has only eight miles of trails. I recommended they rent a bobcat for the day for trail work, as that only costs a few hundred dollars.
Palm Springs BLM is asking for money for law enforcement and restoration. These are perfectly reasonable categories for OHV grants, but I mentioned that I would really like to see some planning grants to improve some OHV staging or areas as well as some ground operations grants to maintain existing areas or trails.