Federal Bill S.873
S.873, America’s Outdoor Recreation Act of 2023, was introduced last March by Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia. The bill discusses a wide variety of recreation topics including long distance bicycling, rock climbing, fees on public land and travel management. It’s this travel management part that has us worried. The bill’s language tells the national forests and BLM to perform travel management over all their routes. This has already been done in recent years and, for the most part, we lost routes during this process. For travel management to take place, the agencies are required to make an inventory of routes in their district and then have specialists inspect the routes. Specialists can “find” things wrong with the routes, or worse, the agency can simply leave routes out of the inventory. When travel management came to the National Forests in the early 2000’s, we lost a lot of routes, many for no good reason. We are working to have the bill amended.

BLM Nation Conservation
The BLM is working on a proposal to raise conservation to the level of multiple use on all BLM land in the country. Right now, the BLM has a multiple use mandate. This has it accommodating all kinds of uses like hunting, fishing, rock climbing, rock hounding (collecting), mining, solar and wind energy development and off-roading. This proposal would allow “conservation easements” to be sold to non-government entities. It would also allow areas of critical environmental concern to be designated more easily. Congressman John Curtis of Utah has introduced a bill, with 18 cosponsors, telling the BLM to withdraw this conservation proposal. SDORC has just sent Congressman Curtis a thank-you note expressing our appreciation of his action.

Johnson Valley
The Johnson Valley Shared Use Area will be temporarily closed to the public beginning Friday August 18 through Monday August 28, 2023, while the Marine Corps conducts critical military training in the area. Upcoming closures of the Johnson Valley Shared Use Area are August 18-28, 2023, and February 15-27, 2024.

California Bills
Brian Jones’ red sticker bill, SB708, is moving through the legislature and has a good chance of passing. This bill would require the department of Parks and Recreation to issue a special permit to California residents to operate certain off-road motorcycles at sanctioned events. Bill AB1617 has died at the request of the author. This would have eliminated displacement from the definition of SXS vehicles. These vehicles are defined as under 1000cc currently. The problem came when Polaris introduced a SXS that looks very much like others but has almost 2000cc displacement. People in these vehicles are not required to wear helmets because of the State’s definition. I reached out to the office of the author of the bill to find out more about why the bill wasn’t moving (before it died). They said there was some pushback from users who drive jeeps and dune buggies and don’t want to wear helmets. The state code currently says “off-highway” vehicles in the definition, so any street legal vehicles would not be affected. It also says, “manufactured vehicles,” which is a little confusing. Is a homemade dunebuggy manufactured? I suggested that they add a clause saying, “manufactured by companies that produce over 99 units per year.” This would separate the small custom builders from the big manufacturers. We expect the bill to come back next year slightly amended and we have offered to help the author’s office craft language.

By the time you read this the off-road vehicle jamboree at Lakeside Rodeo Grounds will be over. Right now, in mid-June, we have sold out of vendor space and are getting lots of online pre-entries. I think the show is going to be a big hit, lots of fun and we want to thank our own Audrey Mason, Clean Dezert’s Adam Filbin and Fernando Martinez of Ferns Semi Famous BBQ for going the extra mile to make this a great event.

Little Items
Our next meeting will be on July 11 at Ranch House Restaurant starting at 6:30pm. We will have El Cajon mayor and congressional candidate Bill Wells come and speak about his campaign for the 51st district.

We have confirmed our spot at the Sand Sports Super Show this September 15-17. Look for us in the same spot as last year inside a building promoting our organization and the Lost Lizard Fun Run.

SDORC is being nominated for an award by the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council for our work in the Cleveland National Forest kids training area.

Amy Reichert is running for San Diego County Supervisor and is endorsed by the San Diego Republican Party. Amy has spoken at SDORC meetings and is supportive of off-road vehicle use.

The Lost Lizard Fun Run is coming this November 4. If you are interested in having a checkpoint, donating raffle prizes, or sponsoring the event, contact us at [email protected]. Pre-entry is open here.

Ed Stovin