Oceano Dunes
Last month we saw that Friends of Oceano Dunes won their lawsuit against the California Coastal Commission, who voted to end off-road vehicle use there by 2024. We also saw Friends of OD and Ecologic Partners won their lawsuit to open the Pier Ave entrance to Oceano Dunes. A few days ago, the Coastal Commission announced it will appeal the ruling. This drama is far from over, so stay tuned for updates on Oceano Dunes.

BLM Cost Recovery
Language has been added to the Fiscal Year 2024 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act to raise the threshold of what it takes for the BLM to charge cost recovery to permit applicants from 50 hours to 100 hours. We like this clause because each year we pay the BLM thousands of dollars for cost recovery in our Lost Lizard Fun Run permit. It is possible that we would fall between 50 and 100 hours and not have to pay. This provision was included at Rep. McCarthy’s request following years of conversations about how the 50-hour threshold was making it difficult for small / mom and pop clubs to hold events on BLM lands, as well as BLM’s inability to implement a workable Independent Monitoring Program. We are crossing our fingers on this one.

ROV Safety and OHMVR Commission Meeting
I flew to Sacramento to attend a meeting about recreational off-road vehicle (ROV) safety and two OHMVR Commission meetings. The ROV meeting was well attended and focused on how to make side-by-side vehicles safer. There have been a number of serious injuries and fatalities with these vehicles and many people are concerned. We discussed voluntary and mandatory training. We learned that Utah and Oregon have mandatory online training and, so far, Utah has reported success. I’m not sure exactly what might happen in California. I believe that mandatory training would reduce accidents but would also alienate some of our people. If you have thoughts on state-mandated off-road vehicle or any other side-by-side training, I would love to hear from you at [email protected].

The first commission meeting focused on Oceano Dunes. At this meeting, the commissioners sat in the front, while State Parks staff sat at the side of the front. People with disagreements with park management got up to speak and ask for answers. Jim Suty, president of Friends of Oceano Dunes went up with his list. He complained that the park (or State) has no action plan, that the Information Center needs updating, that the park has gone for six years now without a superintendent (only acting superintendent), that the park exceeds goals for snowy plover recovery, yet they still lose land because of the bird and that the Scripps Report says very little dust leaving the park comes from OHV, yet we have lost a lot of land because of dust. Other people complained that the beach rake, which was purchased at a price of $150,000, has never been used. It was reported that the Coastal Commission gave permission to use this on half the beach but it never was. This is a tool that sifts trash out of the sand. Complaints were heard about the orange wind fencing getting buried by sand and not stopping the sand. This fencing is supposed to stop the sand from blowing. Parks says it will remove the fencing. There was a lot of talk about the Scripps dust study that says very little of the “stuff” blowing out of the park is actually dust, but rather salt and water droplets. It was said the vegetation being planted was in areas that have historically not been vegetated.

Three action items came out of the meeting: One, that Parks would remove the orange wind fencing. Two, that the commission would write a letter to the Air Pollution Control District asking them to recognize the Scripps Study. Three, that the Commission would invite members of the Air Pollution Control District to the next Commission meeting.

Lost Lizard and Sand Sports Super Show
The Lost Lizard Fun Run is fast approaching, and we will be at the Sand Sports Super Show asking people to join us for the fun. This is a great show and if you make it, stop by to say hi. Fun Run pre-registration is open, so sign up and order your T-shirt. We may not have as many T-shirts as in the past, so if you want one, it is best to order ahead at https://sdorc.org/fun-run-2023/.

Little Items
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working on a Desert Tortoise Recovery Plan. Off-roaders have lost more acres to the desert tortoise than any other cause. Click here for details.

Indian Truck Trail (in Orange County) in the Cleveland Nation Forest has been reopened, thanks to work by the Cleveland Caretakers, CORVA and the California Trail Users Coalition. It was closed a few years ago due to fire and the forest initially felt the trail was not reparable.

Senator Wyden, from Oregon, introduced bill S1890 that would designate 1.1 million acres of wilderness in Oregon and Idaho.

Yamaha sent us some hay bale covers to go with the hay bales they helped pay for in the kid’s training area in the Corral Canyon Campground. If you have small kids with an ATV or minibike, this is a good place to let them ride laps to their heart’s content. You access it at the north end of the campground.

We are sending two of our regulars to the San Diego Gun Owners Gun Prom September 16 to see how they put together a winning event (click here). I would love to put on a semi-formal fundraising event for off-roaders. Would you attend? Let us know at [email protected].

SDORC is a membership organization. Please help us keep the desert open and join us here . See you at Lost Lizard!

Ed Stovin