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OHMVR bill signed - program is permanent

| Suzy Johnson | Access Issues

For months, a coalition of off-highway vehicle recreation associations (Coalition) representing off-road recreation enthusiasts throughout the state of California, have worked on legislation to provide reauthorization of the highly successful Off Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) program that is administered by the Department of Parks and Recreation.

The State Assembly recently passed amended legislation that provides permanent status for the program. The State Senate concurred and the legislation was submitted to the Governor for signature. On October 3, 2017, the Governor signed legislation making the OHMVR program permanent.

OHV is a family oriented outdoor sport covering a wide spectrum of the population, young to old, healthy to those with disabilities. They share a common bond of love for the outdoors.

While the main focus of Cal4Wheel is to protect, promote, and provide for motorized recreation opportunities on public and private lands, many of our members participate in multiple forms of recreation; including but not limited to hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, horseback riding, bicycle riding, and gem and mineral collection.

We recognize the positive health and social benefits that can be achieved through outdoor activities. We also recognize that motorized recreation provides the small business owners in the local communities a significant financial stimulus. 

Our members subscribe to the concepts of: 1) public access to public lands for their children and grandchildren; 2) condition and safety of the environment; and 3) sharing our natural heritage. The general public desires access to public lands now and for future generations. Limiting access today deprives our children the opportunity to view the many natural wonders of public lands. The general public is deeply concerned about the condition of the environment and personal safety. They desire wildlife available for viewing and scenic vistas to enjoy. They also want to feel safe while enjoying these natural wonders.  Lastly, the public desires to share the natural heritage with friends and family today as well as in the future. How can our children learn and appreciate our natural heritage when native species are allowed to deteriorate and historic routes are routinely blocked or eradicated from existence?

Cal4Wheel supports the concept of managed recreation and believes it is prudent and appropriate management to identify areas where off-highway vehicle use is appropriate. Such use must be consistent with the public lands management plans, the Plan Standards, and all other requirements found in the Plans, as well as state and federal regulations. Recreation, especially recreation off of paved or gravel roads, is the leading growth in visitors to public lands. Improvements in the planning processes and management of recreation help minimize conflicts and potential resource damage while providing for recreation access to public lands.

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