Dirt Rider Foundation
It’s official, the Dirt Rider Foundation is alive. Some of you may remember the group called Fight for Ocotillo Wells; well, that was a part of SDORC. With help of Desiree Bates, it has become its own 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. It will still be working with SDORC, but now will be able to apply for grants that only 501(c)(3) orgs are qualified for. We would like to apply for some green sticker grant money to help with some of the bigger desert and other area cleanups in the near future. These grants take a long time to plan for, but there is a lot of money available.
Off-roading has lost more acres in California to the desert tortoise than any other cause. The federal government is currently working on a Desert Tortoise General Conservation Plan. There was a recent virtual public information-gathering forum to work on managing this species. I attended the meeting to see what’s up. This action will focus on obtaining incidental take permits as well as general management of the species. I asked how this action will affect OHV use on legal routes and open OHV areas. I was told that there would be no effect on legal OHV riding. This is good news, but I plan on following the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process all the way through. In the meeting, I recognized two names of prominent environmental activists, so we need to keep an eye out. There has been an effort to get the Joshua tree listed in both California and in the federal government in the last few years. It was defeated federally recently, but is being looked at in California now. This is a result of a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity. After a year of study by the state Fish and Wildlife agency, the staff advised the commission (which votes on whether it gets listed) to not list. The vote was a tie at 2 vs 2. There are normally five commissioners, but one seat is vacant, so the decision was put off until the meeting in October.
Our two priority bills have been sailing through the legislature this year. SB894 has moved through the senate, is going through the assembly now and will likely go all the way to the governor. This bill would allow racing motorcycles, which used to be able to receive a red sticker, to get a title from the state (DMV). The ending of the red sticker program by the air pollution people did not include any provision to register noncomplying bikes that are just used in competition or on private property. This bill is positive for us, but will not expand any rights taken away from us for these bikes. I understand that a large number of owners of new racing motorcycles have been getting red stickers and titles by mistake. I wonder if the state will be pushing the date of ending the red sticker program back a year because the DMV has made so many errors.
The other bill we have been watching, AB2152, has been moving through unopposed also. This bill would allow roads in the city of Needles to be designated as combined use for up to 10 miles. Combined use means off-road vehicles can share a paved road to reach services like fuel, food and lodging.
I think most of you know we sadly lost our lobbyist, Kathy Lynch a few months ago. We have been talking to a few possible candidates for her replacement and are optimistic we can move forward (thank you Bob Ham and Amy Granat for the help). We will keep you posted as we go.
My term on the BLM Desert Advisory Council has ended. Months ago, I applied for another term, but the government takes a long time to decide. In the meantime, I have been appointed to the Mojave Trails National Monument Subgroup to work with the BLM on forming a management plan for the monument. My interest is making a management plan that meets the needs of people who travel in the desert, whether it’s for OHV recreation, rock hounding, movie making or a host of other activities.
We still have our weekly radio show on KCBQ AM 1170 and FM 96.1, The Answer, at 12:00 noon on Sundays. Old shows can be heard on our website at sdorc.org. We are starting to plan our next Lost Lizard Fun Run for November 5. If you would like to help us with this event or want to advertise on the radio (or even come in the studio to talk about your off-road related business) let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will be at El Cajon Cruise Off Road Madness on July 13, and Pacific Island Brewery for an off-road show July 17.
We still meet on the first Tuesday of each month at Ranch House Restaurant for dinner at 6:00 and meeting at 7:00. SDORC is a membership organization; you can join us for only $25 per year. Be part of the solution and protect your right to off-road.