Copy
View this email in your browser

Welcome to the March 2021 UFWDA eNews 


 
I hope everyone is staying safe and looking forward to improvements in the pandemic situation.  Here in California, we faced a big decision this week by the California Coastal Commission regarding their attempt to force California State Parks to end OHV use at Oceano Dunes State Vehicle Recreation Area. The Coastal Commission Staff has recommended removing OHV recreation from the SVRA over the next five years.  The staff has made recommendations based on several points, many have been proven false claims.  The public is invited to have input through letters or comments at meetings, such as will take place this week.  As is often the case I wonder what effect we have making our voices heard in the public process when we have good facts on our side, but are often unsure if they matter.  Will we change the minds of the commissioners over the recommendations of their staff of “experts”, not likely.

What we need is for State Parks to stand up to the Costal Commission.  Clearly State Parks has not done this thus far and even tried to placate the Commission with the current Public Works Plan that is not of any benefit to the OHV community.  The only option we may have is to go to court to remedy the situation with the Coastal Commission. Then we will need to have support from State Parks to do what is right to make Oceano Dunes a model SVRA.  We will see where it goes this week.  I would like to thank our partner ORBA for the support for Oceano Dunes and being engaged in the process and willing to take up the fight together wherever the decisions may take us.  We always need more support from the OHV community.  Many of our community are very engaged but far more are not and we need to continue to work on community engagement as a long term goal.
Steve  Egbert
UFWDA President

https://mailchi.mp/cal4wheel.com/ohmvr-meeting-020821?e=33a896c5bb 

Working together to find OHV solutions in the Black HIlls

  • By Aaron Thompson, President of the Spearfish Livestock Association  
  • Mar 6, 2021

OPINION — I had the privilege to be a participant in a Zoom meeting organized by the Forest Service last month that had nearly 100 people in attendance. Surprisingly it was nowhere near as painful as I imagined going into it. The topic was Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) travel in the Black Hills — think four-wheelers and side-by-sides. The summit was comprised of loggers, ranchers, hunters, environmentalists, landowners, an assortment of OHV groups, and a heavy contingent of Forest Service personnel rounding things out.

The issue at hand was the incredible growth the Hills have experienced in the demand for off-road travel, and the side effects that are incurred by other users. The heavy OHV traffic has overwhelmed current trail infrastructure, causing damage to roads and trails, watersheds, and range condition in the Hills, while simultaneously decreasing the quality of experience for OHV users. This past summer’s huge jump in OHV use was due in part to COVID putting the brakes on other forms of recreation across the region, and also the governor encouraging people to visit or even move here, but let’s just put a pin in that for a minute. The long-term trend for OHV use had been increasing at an increasing rate for years though.

Comments from virtually all stakeholders were in agreement that there is a major issue occurring with OHV travel. Surprisingly, there was also a significant amount of overlap with stakeholder’s positions on how to remedy the issue. Generally a three-point approach was advocated were fees, education, and fines/enforcement and all featured heavily.

The increases in fees and fines would hypothetically help with funding for expanding and maintaining trail infrastructure. The education component would, at no small cost, communicate to the public a bunch of stuff they should have learned by third grade (leave it as you found it, be respectful, don’t be a wild redneck), and the enforcement component would make the small percentage of people who clearly weren’t paying attention in grade school behave themselves.

The only problem with all this is that it’s a dubious assumption that any dollars generated would find their way back to the Black Hills after being dumped into the labyrinth of the federal billfold. Education has value but we all remember back in school when the people who needed the most “education” were also the hardest demographic to reach. Enforcement and fines sound like a lot of fun, but the reality is that the Forest Service has three fulltime law enforcement officers spread over 1.2 million acres and nonexistent funding for more. Additionally, authority to increase fines to a level that actually might deter someone from misbehaving comes from within the Department of Justice, in other words no small task to bring about.

It should be mentioned that the current trail system in on the forest is currently listed as a little over 700 miles, and often, trails dead end and fail to loop or meet back up with other trails or roads.

The saddest part of all of this is that private funding and labor are readily available outside of the Forest Service to address these problems, certainly not in their entirety, but it would be a welcome start. Unfortunately, it’s pretty difficult to get the agency to allow people to come play in their sandbox for a myriad of reasons.

As if all this wasn’t awful enough, in 2010 the Forest Service spent no small amount of time and money revamping its Travel Management Plan in an effort to get ahead of the issues it saw coming with OHV use and general travel management issues in the Hills. We’ll just let that one marinate for a bit.

The point of all of this is that the solutions tossed out to address the problem have been tried before and continuing to do the same thing again expecting different results might not be the best use of everyone’s time. While education, fees, fines, enforcement and improving trail infrastructure all have a part to play in the coming drama, it is my fear that the Forest Service will again prove too cumbersome a machine to address what is a truly dynamic and complicated issue that is causing damage to natural resources and hampering the use and enjoyment of the Hills of OHV users and other stakeholders as well.

Reproduced with permission
This conversation is ongoing with a follow-up article


Legislative Effort to Support Entertainment Venues Impacted by COVID Attendance Restrictions
A coalition letter that was sent to the House and Senate Small Business Committees. Thanks to all the organizations that signed on!
March 3, 2021
Dear Chairs, Cardin and Velazquez and Ranking Members Paul and Luetkemeyer:
Our organizations represent businesses that provide live entertainment through recreation, sports, and amusement venues in communities across the country. We applaud how the U.S.Congress responded to the plight faced by live performing arts entertainment businesses within the “Shuttered Venue Operators Grants” program. We respectfully urge lawmakers to create a similar program to provide grants to recreation, sports, and amusement venues, which provide live entertainment yet were excluded from SVOG.
The COVID- 19 pandemic and associated shutdowns has resulted in unprecedented financial losses to American businesses and workers. Even as stay at - home orders were lifted, many states placed restrictions on the sizes of gatherings that continue to impact the operations of entertainment businesses— from racetracks to agricultural fairs and amusement parks  to minor league sports. While we support the intent of state and local governments to protect public health, lockdowns and capacity restrictions have endangered the future of many entertainment
venues, which desperately need an economic lifeline from the Federal government.
Efforts such as the Paycheck Protection Program have helped many small businesses, although more assistance is needed to save live entertainment in communities across the country. The “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021” (Section 324 of Public Law No:116- 260) created a $15 billion grant program to primarily help indoor entertainment and performing arts venues. A similar program should be enacted to help struggling recreation, sports, and amusement entertainment venues, which are not eligible for this program but have endured equal financial hardship. The requested $15 billion economic lifeline is vital for the local communities that count on live venues for entertainment and the people they employ. As with the SVOG program created in the last stimulus bill, this fund should be designated to include payroll, rent payments, mortgage payments, utilities, PPE, and similar expenses.
We appreciate efforts in Congress to address the continued financial needs of individuals and businesses across the United States during these challenging times. We respectfully request ​that this include financial support to ensure our nation’ s recreation, sports, and amusement small business es that provide live entertainment are able to recover.
Sincerely,
American Horse Council
American Quarter Horse Association
American Motorcyclist Association
American Sportfishing Association
Diving Equipment & Marketing Association
Formula Drift
International Association of Fairs & Expositions
League of Agriculture & Equine Centers
Major League Fishing
National Thoroughbred Racing Association
New York Racing Association (Belmont Park , Saratoga Race Course, Aqueduct Racetrack)
Off Road Business Association
Performance Racing Industry
Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association
Specialty Equipment Market Association
Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park
The Stronach Group (Laurel Park, Pimlico Race Course, Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park)
United Four Wheel Drive Associations
U.S. Motorsports Association

BLM Top Recreation Opportunities Maps

The BLM's Top Recreation Opportunities Mapping Series is designed to provide and promote a greater awareness of recreational opportunities on BLM-managed public lands.

Users can now find information to plan their next exciting ride while at home or on the road. Using an interactive web-based storymap, users can get familiar with recreation site amenities, season of use dates, camping availability, and more.

GET THOSE JEEPS READY - BANTAM IS BACK!

The ongoing pandemic has caused a lot of uncertainty, but there is one thing that we want you to know. Bantam IS happening! While we fully anticipated we would be able to have the majority of the Festival following Pennsylvania's earlier coronavirus restrictions, the recent increases in capacity for outdoor events are enabling us to have the Festival with only some modifications. Of course, social distancing, hand washing and mask wearing guidelines will be encouraged to keep everyone safe. If you have been waiting for positive news before you register your Jeep, your wait is over! Lets get this Jeep party started!

Forest Service Saw Program


New crosscut and chainsaw training modules will be available soon. The module-based training focuses on “Developing a Thinking Sawyer” and emphasizes risk management, human factors, and sawyer safety. Forest Service sawyers can still attend approved training courses until the new program is finalized.
 

The new Forest Service saw policy directs the use of chainsaws and crosscut saws on National Forest System lands. Forest Service employees, volunteers, partners, and other cooperators can now access consistent training, evaluation, and certification. A highlight of the new policy enables volunteer, partner, and cooperator groups to train, evaluate, and certify their members. The Forest Service National Saw Program and the National Saw Technical Advisory Group (SPTAG) leads implementation of the new policy.

Sawyer Certification Levels

Forest Service employees, volunteers, partners, and cooperators can obtain 4 levels of certification for chainsaw and crosscut saw operation under the new saw policy:

  1. Sawyer trainee
  2. A Sawyer
  3. B Sawyer
  4. C Sawyer

                         

We are a motorized action group based out of Buena Vista, CO. Our mission is to keep the trails in Central Colorado open for all users to enjoy. We have adopted 12 4x4 trails and we help maintain these recreation assets through education, outreach, trail projects, and cooperative efforts.

Lefthand Canyon & Alpine Tunnel Update
 Image from 2007
It's important to get an OHV sticker for your full-size 4x4 and how OHV money can help re-open trails!
Watch for trail updates and then follow this link to the OHV Grant Page: https://cpw.state.co.us/.../Pages/TrailsGrantsOHVApps.aspx
CO Full-Size Trails page: https://staythetrail.org/full-size-trails/
Buy your OHV Stickers here: https://cpw.state.co.us/buyapply/Pages/RegistrationsOHV.aspx
#keeptrailsopen #reopentrails #trailusersunite #ohvgrants

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

Ag Crime Unit Steps Up Citations For Off-Road Users In Areas Of State Forests

Thursday, March 11, 2021
Prentice Cooper State Forest hiking trail damaged by off-highway vehicle use in unauthorized area.

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s (TDA) Agricultural Crime Unit (ACU) is teaming up with the Division of Forestry (TDF) to elevate enfsorcement of tate forest regulations.
The increased law enforcement activity centers around misuse by off-highway vehicle (OHV) and all-terrain vehicle (ATV) users in the state forests. A particular area of concern is land in and around Prentice Cooper State Forest in Chattanooga where destruction of roads and trails has been discovered by visitors, foresters, and ACU agents.
“When people harm our state forests, it affects visitors and nearby residents, the landscape, drinking water, and the overall health of the forest,” State Forester David Arnold said.
“The damage we have seen takes years to reverse so our goal is to prevent it. Ag crime special agents are working with our foresters to protect state forests and to protect citizens’ right to enjoy Tennessee’s great outdoors.”
People using OHVs and ATVs for recreation in the state forests should look for the jeep symbol that indicates the road is open to motorized vehicles. A road use map for Prentice Cooper State Forest can be found here:  www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/agriculture/documents/forestry/stateforests/PrenticeCooperSF-road-map.pdf. Roads are open to all forest visitors including bicyclists and horseback riders. In the recent cases, people using recreational vehicles have damaged hiking trails so that the paths are unusable for other visitors.
“The type of damage we find in Prentice Cooper is preventable,” Captain Greg Whitehead said. “We urge people to be aware of what roads and trails are meant for OHV or ATV use. Ag crime agents are committed to working with visitors who treat the forest with care. But we also want people to know if we find visitors who are violating state forest rules, we will issue a citation which could result in fines and jail time.”
Information about regulations in Prentice Cooper State Forest can be found here:  www.tn.gov/agriculture/forests/state-forests/prentice-cooper.html.
Persons found using off-road vehicles in unauthorized areas of state forests may be charged with criminal trespass and/or vandalism. The offenses carry penalties as high as one year in jail and a $2,500 fine or the value of damages caused, whichever is greater.
 

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 
Twitter
Facebook
Website
Copyright © *2021* * United Four Wheel Drive Associations Inc.*, All rights reserved.


Our mailing address is:
1701 WESTWIND DRIVE #108
BAKERSFIELD, CA 93301

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp