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Welcome to the November 2020 UFWDA eNews 


Thank you to all those who joined us at the 2020 'online' annual meeting earlier this month and we apologize for the glitch that occurred midway through that had some attendees cut off... we need to practice more to improve our communications with that technology, which does enable direct contact with members across North America and the rest of the world.

UFWDA has the capability to more regularly connect with members and representatives of our organizations to help identify four wheeling concerns that we may be able to assist with, or create connections with others who've also experienced similar matters. 

It was interesting to have a Canadian from Trails 4 Tomorrow (T4T) sitting in on our meeting with a interest in working together with United, along with increasing interest in membership by Australians.
 
Please feel free to forward these editions of UFWDA eNews to other four wheelers. Because some of our member organizations don't enroll their members as members of UFWDA, we don't have email addresses of those individuals.  Member numbers count when advocating for a cause.

Here at UFWDA, we are volunteer based and our Board members are geographically dispersed, so regular 'online' meetings have been our primary management tool for quite some time. Our 'overheads' are minimal, but we still need to have a good membership base. You can join or renew at https://united4wd.org/join-ufwda
Stay safe
Peter Vahry: editor

United Four Wheel Drive Associations Inc. Annual Meeting


.I would like to thank everyone that took time with us to attend the United Four Wheel Drive Associations annual meeting on Zoom this last Thursday 12 November
It was good to see a wide area of the country and world represented at our Zoom meeting.
We discussed a possible new US administration and the changes that might come to the land use agencies.  Legislatively we should benefit from a divided congress as the Green New Deal would probably not be kind to motorized recreation, but we will have to be vigilant with a new administration in regard to what new heads of the Department of Agriculture (US Forest Service) and Department of the Interior might try to implement administratively.  We are fortunate to be partnered with other groups in Washington DC so we will be in the know as to what is going on and be able to represent our members and our community.  We are excited that we have built good partnerships with industry through ORBA, SEMA and others.

We also need feedback from all areas of the country and world with things that are going on that effect motorized recreation.  We did have a gentleman from Maryland that had positive news of new OHV opportunities being developed by the Resource Management Agency in Maryland, We hope to hear more about this development in the future.

We were joined by Kerry Angus, Vice President, Trails 4 Tomorrow in Canada, it was interesting to hear about some of the news from North of the Border and look forward to working with Kerry in the future.
 We also touched on a few questions that Jerry Smith presented for the agenda.
  1. Should Public Lands be returned to states and/or privatized?
    1. This should be determined on a case by case basis as many areas are different and may not benefit from not being managed by the US Government and shifting to State Local or Private management.
  2. Should Public Lands be used for new drilling and extraction?
    1. This is within the mission of the agencies and should be managed to protect the land, but can be beneficial for recreation if access is maintained.
  3. Should Wilderness Areas be protected or expand if roads are not closed?
    1. By definition Wilderness should not have roads, however compromises can be made to maintain roads and trails and need to be evaluated on a case by case basis.
  4. What "Forest Management Activities" should be prioritized to maintain healthy forests?
    1. to prevent and mitigate wildfires
      1. We support good forest management practices that improve forest health and minimize damage due to wildfire.
    2. to maintain road and trail access
      1. Trails should be maintained to provide access in case of fire and restored to the condition before the fire as not to compromise the experience of the users after a fire.
  5. UFWDA's position on Climate Change:
    1. Is climate change real?
      1. The climate has always changed and will continue in the future.
    2. Do human activities contribute to climate change?
      1. Undetermined, but we should support reasonable efforts to improve the environment, we noted improvements in technology will continue to benefit the environment.
    3. What measures or activities can / should be done to mitigate climate change from the off roading community?
      1. Improvements in technology will continue to benefit the environment and can improve our experiences as well.  We should continue to recreate and adopt best practices to improve the environment and continue to provide for our access to the land.
 
There were no new nominations for the three open positions on the Board of Directors so
The following will serve for the next two-year term.
Steve Egbert, President
Peter Vahry, International Vice President
Tom Mandera, Membership
 
I would like to thank everyone that participated in the meeting and thank them of their input and interest. I look forward to continued progress in our mission to protect motorized recreation throughout the world.
 
Steve Egbert

Another Southern Four Wheel Drive Association video

https://vimeo.com/158436533?ref=fb-share&fbclid=IwAR34pYufWbHJALN-2iVSCY1YrzNNMdqFB5inUUcyv_73GWrMxGRiK6OiB6E 

Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account Briefing Follow-up

Fred Wiley, the UFWDA Treasurer, participated in the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable conference and was able to see firsthand how important this report is to our industry and members. Fred outlined this conference during the UFWDA annual meeting.
SEMA and ORBA are members of ORR.

If you wish to watch the presentation, the video is available here: https://youtu.be/zvBPVgV9gvM

Some numbers....
ACCORDING TO THE BUREAU OF ECONOMIC ANALYSIS, OUTDOOR RECREATION’S ANNUAL ECONOMIC IMPACT IS:

$788 Billion

 
A DRIVER OF JOB CREATION - BEA REPORTS THAT OUTDOOR RECREATION ACCOUNTED FOR:

5.2 million jobs in 2019

 
A KEY COMPONENT OF THE ECONOMY AND ACCOUNTED FOR:
 

2.1% of GDP in 2019


UFWDA 2020 AGM Report
by Jerry Smith; Director of Environmental Affairs

To Whom It May Concern:
The year 2020 has been fraught with a million ways of chaos.
Many, if not most events were canceled, and that was just the beginning. The BLM and USFS were largely relegated to working from home in the beginning. Talking with them took an act of congress, which by the way, was also mostly incognito. All of this slowed many projects to a halt and the rest dragged on like a freight train on a steep hill.

My main project has been mapping and attempting to get designated an extension of what I hoped would the Rim Rocker Trail. It was brought to my attention that the Montrose, CO County Commissioners have a Trademark on the name and the trail from Montrose to Moab. That is a 165-mile trail through some mighty fine country. Most of it is on county roads, so the difficulty is light, but some stretches will slow your progress to a crawl.

The trail I mapped would add about 200-miles from Moab to Fruita, (Grand Junction) CO. Then it runs south to Montrose again for another 150-miles of nearly all off-pavement. If Montrose doesn’t allow the use of the RR name, I have ideas of changing the end going to Montrose and adding another 100+ miles to another destination. It will still be mostly off-pavement and be either the longest, or second-longest, Overlanding trail in America with little pavement. To pull this off, I need blessings from the BLM Field Offices in Moab, Grand Junction, and Montrose, the USFS in GJT, two National Conservation Areas, and the County Commissioners of 4-counties. This is how things get done in the UFWDA.

This will be an addition to the other 110-miles of trails that I have opened over the last 15-years. Everyone tells me this cannot be done. I don’t listen to them. Members of my Jeep club (Grand Mesa Jeep Club) have worked to open other trails and one connector with a legal highway crossing that took over 30-years to happen. They are working on others as well. I have been working with the USFS in Moab to allow their opening of an old Jeep trail that would connect two trails. It exists in what is known locally as “the little forest”. It is a landlocked area between two private ranches and BLM. To reopen this trail will require the USFS to change the status of at least a corridor through the Nat’l Forest and a formal Right-of- Way granted from one of the ranches across their land. We already have a Memorandum of Understanding with the ranch, but the USFS is slow to complete the action. I’ve been working on this for two years, so you might understand the frustration.

This is another instance where Persistent Patience is required. While all this goes on, we still keep up on the few EISs and Travel Plans that are proceeding around the country. There are several other issues we follow, but being far from the areas and not familiar with the roads and trails there, makes comments limited to making sure the agencies are strictly adhering to the laws. Yes, I know the laws.

Many, many times I have reached out for help from the locals, but not once has anyone responded. So, if I get my back up when someone asks me, “What have you done for us?”, don’t expect a kind answer! That question works both ways friends.

With all the wildfires around the country, I expect there will be closures galore. Some will go a year or two and others will likely be permanent. If you are someone who is close to these burns and have favorite trails within them, NOW is the time to work on getting on the speed dials of your agency people who will make those decisions. If you wait, you lose!! It is just that simple. You should be asking what YOU can do for the agency people too, not the other way around. You and your clubs MUST be turning in thousands of volunteer hours annually to show you deserve some respect. Don’t leave it up to one person. This needs a team of no less than 3 and more are better.

We have written comments regarding “The Gulches” trail system near Buena Vista, CO. This trail system is being closed with what appears to be illegal means perpetrated by the USFS. The local wheelers have made huge efforts to correct this and have an attorney who has requested and received emails and other documents that appear damning to the USFS and others.

Travel plans in many Utah BLM field offices are in full swing. These are court-ordered travel plans from a suit brought on by our nemesis SUWA. We are commenting on them as they become available. The COVID-19 mess has dragged most of them past the original due date, but we must be vigilant. United was instrumental in the creation of the Agreement that is largely being used to pursue this suit. The Nat’l Historic Preservation Act, that the Utah State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) operates from, administers the national historic preservation program at the State level, reviews National Register of Historic Places nominations, maintains data on historic properties that have been identified but not yet nominated and consults with Federal agencies during Section 106 of the Act.

This required 4-trips to SLC and many hours of research and commenting to produce. The trips and hotels were all on my dime, so don’t tell me United does nothing for YOU!! I know that some of the larger 4wd Associations are very active. Two that I am aware of have staff that work within their regional areas. But what about the rest of you?? Who is representing you when an EIS or EA requires comments?? Who is writing your Congressmen and Senators? Admittedly, I don’t have time to do every one of these, but I think most of them have comments on the record.

So, when we ask you to be a member of United, think about adding your name to the membership list and be counted when we comment or ask for help from DC. They respect a large block of voters, money, and little else. Your membership dues help keep the Association operating while the numbers of members give us more “voting” memberships to help sway the lawmaker's position.

Land Use Update - The Gulches

**The PSI Draft ROD is Out!**

Watch the video for the full update and see which trails are potential wins and losses. There is a ton of info, and we highlight what you need to know. 

Data Links are as follows: 

ArcGIS Map - https://www.arcgis.com/home/webmap/viewer.html?webmap=e991cee73d9145d0b413ff91deaffbcb&extent=-105.449,39.0226,-105.0061,39.2373

Forest Service Document Page – 

https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=48214

GoFundMe – 

https://gf.me/u/yz5iwg

Road Viewer App – 

https://psi-route-viewer.firebaseapp.com/routes

KMZ File – 

https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fpmckay.maps.arcgis.com%2Fsharing%2Frest%2Fcontent%2Fitems%2F319fb42668424408bf779fbebaf8898d%2Fdata%3Ffbclid%3DIwAR0HF2eFIXjCh2iA1bA6x8KxmVKVKyJvCuBY2nQL4dMoLXucMVaJaOL1tB8&h=AT36MJ_2b_uJ3AsbJageIhXiINrhNhkOp2minGfVCP1Hz6MrFm79mQBmVquGBE_J9KFobC4qcCcGkHt_hgtGws1frp_jJEXD2zFkEdewRLZMMn7KQqBY8hbvyNJYi_eAy6ZkIE2ZkQ&__tn__=R]-R&c[0]=AT3zM8icC4mmX3_vUlM9kJ1UIF4AdFQDABj_epBRyI32jlKI6Xs56oflh6KxXGLREWvCczLHE-1IRsCRVStD7RVDdXBe4wRyG3K6fCit_UvA9c40y5JX_2ssYafCNjUHalqA_DahElgjzrTIEdTkJ2Y5yZbcA8wpbSo


UFWDA Facebook updates
 
The UFWDA Environmental Director, Jerry Smith maintains a steady flow of information through Facebook  which includes updates from sources such as the Federal Register  
There is now a link to that FB page on https://united4wd.org/land-use-access
UFWDA eNews is published monthly, about the 15th of each month. Compiling eNews depends on you, our readers, for material about events, land access issues, etc. The monthly deadline is the 10th of each month and material, or links to sources should be emailed to editor@united4wd.org 
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