Access Issues

Barrett Lake trail reopened July 23

Volunteers from the Hi-Landers 4WD Club transported gravel to the Barrett 4WD Trail project site this summer for construction of rolling dips.

The Barrett 4-wheel drive (4WD) Trail, a rugged six-mile off-highway route from Wright's Lake to Barrett Lake, just west of Desolation Wilderness, was re-opened today (July 23, 2015), now that reconstruction has been completed on three segments of the trail to protect sensitive meadows. The Barrett 4WD Trail has been used by recreationists since the 1960s and offers one of the most challenging off-highway vehicle (OHV) experiences in the Sierra Nevada. The trail has a high rating for difficulty and is only recommended for very experienced OHV users prepared for remote travel over large rocks. Motorized travel on this trail is typically at a rate of approximately 1- 2 miles per hour. 

The Barrett 4WD Trail was identified as one of 18 routes in the Eldorado National Forest travel system which needed corrections to comply with the environmental protection guidelines in the Sierra Nevada Plan. These routes were closed in 2012 to complete further analysis and make corrections to ensure the hydrologic connectivity of meadows would not be significantly impacted by motorized vehicle use.

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Forest Service makes progress on Inyo, Sequoia and Sierra plan revisions

The U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Region continues to make progress revising the land and resource management plans for the Inyo, Sequoia and Sierra National Forests.

The Forest Service is revising the plans under the 2012 planning rule, which also tasks the agency with evaluating lands that may be suitable for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System, and addressing potential Wild and Scenic River (WSR) designations during plan revisions.

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Friends of Oceano Dunes win Air Pollution Control District lawsuit

Entrance signs at Oceano SVRA

Court rules against Oceano SVRA dust rule

After three years of litigation challenging the Oceano Dunes “dust rule,” the 2nd Appellate Court in Ventura ruled Monday that the San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District (APCD) does not have the power to regulate air emissions at state parks through the permit process.

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BLM announces intent to prepare environmental review for Ocotillo Wells SVRA

Public meetings March 18 and 21

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today published a Notice of Intent (NOI) to conduct an environmental review for the Ocotillo Wells Recreation Area in Imperial County.

The BLM will prepare an environmental impact statement to analyze the efficiency and effectiveness of resource and recreation management at the Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA) and a proposed amendment to the BLM California Desert Conservation Area (CDCA) Plan. The California State Parks, who manage the SVRA through a Memorandum of Understanding, will jointly prepare an environmental impact report for their General Plan update.

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Coastal Commission wants habitat conservation plan for Oceano Dunes

The Coastal Commission wants to see a habitat conservation plan for the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area completed sooner than later.

“All this goes to show we haven’t accomplished anything,” Commissioner Mary Shallenberger said about the numerous issues surrounding the operation and maintenance of the Oceano Dunes SVRA.

Shallenberger’s comments came during a lengthy permit review hearing in Shell Beach on Wednesday for the popular off-road vehicle park that hadn’t been reviewed by the commission since 2007.

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McClintock appointed chair of House Subcommittee on Federal Lands

Congress spent much of January getting itself organized. This means appointing committee members and subcommittee members as well as adopting procedural rules for each committee. This process also involves hiring new staff for the various committees.

Of particular interest to us is the fact that Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) is the new chairman of the House Subcommittee on Federal Lands, formerly known the Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation. (We prefer the new name.) We have worked with Rep. McClintock and his staff on a number of issues over the years and believe he has a very good understanding of our issues. He replaces Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) as subcommittee chair since Rep. Bishop has moved up to become the Chairman of the full committee. With Chairman Bishop and Subcommittee Chair McClintock, the House Resources Committee has a strong team of leaders in place and we look forward to active engagement with them over the course of the next two years.

Link to article: http://www.arra-access.com/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5863

Trespass laws to be enforced at popular OHV site

The Red Bluff Police Department announced Wednesday it would begin enforcing trespassing laws on a piece of property located at Walnut Street and Baker Road that is frequently used by all-terrain vehicles.

In a press release the department said it had been contacted by several residents in the area in regards to the constant off road traffic of dirt bikes, quads and four-wheel drive vehicles that recreate in the hills of the area.

The Tehama County Air Pollution Control District has also investigated complaints regarding the amount of dust in the air.

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Frogs & toads to be listed as endangered

CA4WDC issues position statement on ESA Listing of Yellow-legged Frog and Yosemite Toad

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced that the Final Rule for listing of the Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog and the Northern Distinct Population Segment of the mountain yellow-legged frog as Endangered Species and the Yosemite toad as a Threatened Species is pending publication in the April 29, 2014 edition of the Federal Register.

Background:  The current listing effort is the result of a lawsuit settlement between the USFWS and Center for Biological Diversity.

The frogs and toads have been on U.S. Forest Service "species of concern" list for more than 14 years.  As such, they were addressed in the 2000 Sierra Nevada Framework (SNF) with defined management prescriptions as if they were formally listed species.  As such, grazing, logging and recreation activities have lived under the SNF prescriptions which treated the species as listed on the Threatened and Endangered Species List.

This means that when U.S. Forest Service travel management was conducted, the SNF was one of the tiered documents reviewed to determine impact of designating the route.  As such, USFS routes can be (or should be) considered to be in compliance with ESA listing.

Note, I said "should be" considered in compliance.

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Senate committee to mark up wilderness/OHV bills

Reprinted from E&E, June 17, 2013

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee tomorrow will seek to advance a dozen bills involving public lands from a North Carolina seashore to an Alaskan rainforest.

Measures include bills to designate new wilderness in western Nevada, Colorado's San Juan Mountains and eastern Oregon's high desert, each of which is strongly backed by conservation groups.

Members will also vote on bills to convey timber in the Tongass National Forest to an Alaska Native corporation and allow more off-highway vehicle access to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore -- measures that have attracted considerable controversy.

"We're pleased to see the wilderness bills go forward," said Tim Mahoney of the Pew Campaign for America's Wilderness.

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