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Reports from the California Four Wheel Drive Association natural resources consultants.


Natural resources report for July 2022

Natural resources report for July 2022

SEQUOIA AND SIERRA NATIONAL FOREST LAND MANAGEMENT PLAN REVISIONS

The Sequoia and Sierra National Forests are in the process of revising their forest land management plans. The revised drafts were released in 2019, however, revisions have been revisited since to account for changes across the forest terrain that resulted from multiple catastrophic fires in 2020 and 2021. The planning team is currently finalizing the revised forest plans. Updates include incorporation of the wilderness recommendation process, efforts towards sustainable recreation, and management of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. The plans are currently within the pre-decisional administrative review process (the objection process) for the final environmental impact statement (FEIS), revised forest plans, draft records of decision, and the species of conservation concern lists.

Two virtual meetings will be held to provide information on the status of plan revision, including the objection process. There will be time for attendees to ask questions; staff will be available to address the various resource areas covered under the plans. Both meetings are open to the public. The Sequoia NF virtual meeting will be held on July 12 from 6:00 - 8:00pm. The Sierra National Forest will be held on July 13 from 6:00 - 8:00pm. Visit this link for more information and the meeting links.

The objection process provides an opportunity for those who have participated in a prior formal public comment period for these plan revision efforts to have their unresolved concerns reviewed prior to the Forest Supervisors issuing final decisions on the revised forest plans and the Regional Forester issuing decisions on the species of conservation concern lists for each forest. The 60-day objection filing period begins with the publication of legal notices in the Porterville Recorder and Fresno Bee on June 14, 2022. While members of the public may not have participated in the prior formal public comment period and thus may not be eligible to object, the meetings noted are valuable to attend to gain insight on upcoming changes in forest land management in Sequoia and Sierra NF. Click here for more information on the Sequoia and Sierra Forest Plan Revision.

OCEANO DUNES SVRA

On June 17, the San Luis Obispo Air Pollution Control District (APCD) Hearing Board held a meeting to review progress on activities required under the Stipulated Order of Abatement (SOA) that aims to reduce airborne pollution that is purportedly caused by OHV recreation at ODSVRA. Presentations were shared by California State Parks, the Scientific Advisory Group (SAG), SLO County APCD, and the California Air Resources Board. Public comment was accepted as a decision was weighed to continue or change operating requirements under the SOA.

I attended to provide comment on behalf of Cal4 to urge the board to abandon the SOA, citing evidence from the Scripps Institute Report that proved OHV recreation accounts for only 14% of PM10 (airborne particulate matter) exceedances in the area. I additionally shared grievance over Hearing Board actions that serve to minimize public participation in board meetings and decisions, and grievances over the board’s continued use of selective, biased data to justify the SOA. I was encouraged to see many other advocates from the OHV community on the call, each voicing detailed comments to urge discontinuation of the SOA.

Unfortunately, the state decided to not request any alternation to the SOA at this time. Multiple court cases that are currently in progress continue to be vital to protect the future of ODSVRA.

SIERRA NF OHV PROGRAM FIRST AID / CPR & CHAINSAW CERTIFICATION / RECERTIFICATION

The Sierra National Forest OHV trail opening and maintenance program will be hosting an American Red Cross First Aid/CPR class along with Chainsaw Recertification and Certification (for new users).

  • American Red Cross First Aid/CPR: Friday, July 8, at Prather, High Sierra Ranger District Office, 8:00am to 4:30pm
  • Chainsaw Recertification/Certification: Saturday and Sunday, July 9 and 10, at Kokanee Work Center, 8:00am to 4:30pm each day.

This will be the last Chainsaw Class offered through the Sierra NF OHV program until at least the fall. To RSVP for one or both classes, email Michael Nolan (michael.nolen@usda.gov) or Kevin Woods (Kevin.Woods@usda.gov).

BLM SEEKS APPLICANTS FOR DESERT ADVISORY COUNCIL SUBGROUPS: DUMONT DUNES & IMPERIAL SAND DUNES

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) California Desert District is seeking additional applicants to serve on subgroups of the Desert Advisory Council, a citizen-based advisory committee that develops recommendations for BLM on public land management issues. Responsibilities include reviewing information, seeking input from the public and user groups on various programs, projects, and agency decisions, and providing recommendations to the Desert Advisory Council on the management of these areas. The two subgroups focus on recreation and management of the Dumont Dunes and Imperial Sand Dunes recreation areas; both need additional members. Click this link for more information and application details.

Natural resources report for May 2022

Natural resources report for May 2022

SOUTH COW MOUNTAIN OHVMA

The Bureau of Land Management’s Ukiah Field Office invited public comment on future planning and improvements for the South Cow Mountain OHVMA. In collaboration with Santa Rosa 4x4, a local Cal4 club who regularly utilizes this OHVMA, I submitted a comment to advocate for improvements to trails, facilities, and general park amenities. Specific recommendations included request for jeep trail development, looping of trails, and development of the obstacle course to include 4x4 features. Other suggestions included increased security of trash bins to reduce litter across the park, addition of a picnic area at the 4x4 obstacle course (with shade), and increased ranger or sheriff patrols within the park. Many thanks to Chris Silveira and Santa Rosa 4x4 for providing detailed insight on South Cow Mountain’s current status and needs.

Natural resources report for April 2022

Natural resources report for April 2022

As a newcomer to Cal4Wheel, I appreciate the enthusiastic welcome I’ve received from members across the state. Many thanks to everyone who has responded to my outreach or reached out to me proactively to connect. It is exciting to join a membership of thousands who share my enthusiasm for public land issues. There is never a shortage of issues to address in California, and this season presents an array of critical priorities, including forest management, species-related access restrictions, burn scar restoration, OHV program financing, and Oceano Dunes SVRA.

 

Northern Natural Resources Consultant Report - July 2020

Oceano Dunes SVRA

With the SVRA now closed due to the recent Covid-19 restrictions, the surrounding local economy has been devastated. The tourism that brings revenue into the community has come to a halt. Nearly all of the retail stores, restaurants, hotels, rental companies, and other small businesses in the area are just struggling to stay afloat.

Northern Natural Resources Consultant Report - May 2020

Carnegie SVRA Alameda-Tesla Expansion Legislation- April 2020

Here we go again with more legislation to stop the Alameda/Tesla Expansion at the Carnegie SVRA. Similar legislation was shot down by both Gov. Brown and Gov. Newsom in the past few years. But they are back again, this time even more aggressively trying to keep the expansion and the SVRA tied up in the Legislature and the courts.

Northern Natural Resources Consultant Report - February 2020

State Parks transformation meeting

California State Parks held a special Off-highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) Commission meeting in Sacramento to discuss State Parks transformation process. The OHV community has always been very skeptical of the transformation process and many have asked why it was needed. State Parks says they had to fold the OHMVR Division back into State Parks because they felt it was more efficient and it would save money. But the OHV community fears that they just want to tap into our gas tax trust fund (green sticker fund) money. State Parks has always operated in the red and is always looking for more money from the general fund, while the OHMVR Division uses no general fund money and is always in the black.

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