Access Issues

  • Week #9: OHV Coronavirus update

    I personally did not get out for Memorial Day Weekend but many of you did. Johnson Valley, Moon Rocks, Sand Mountain, Rubicon, Fordyce, Hollister Hills SVRA and many other trails and campgrounds all had big crowds over the weekend. Unfortunately, I saw way too many posts on social media about piles of garbage left behind on our trails and in our campgrounds.

  • Week #8: OHV Coronavirus update

    Slowly we are starting to see states, counties and cities begin to reopen after governors start to ease up on their local “shelter in place” orders. It’s going to be a slow process getting everything reopened and everyone back to work, but unfortunately for us who live in California it will seem like we are in slow motion. Governor Newsom’s four-phase plan will keep many parts of our economy locked down for a few more months.

  • Update on Carnegie legislation

    Here is a quick update on both the bills regarding Carnegie SVRA.

    AB 2551- Alameda/Tesla Carnegie SVRA Expansion – As of April 30, 2020 the bill had been cancelled at the request of the author.

    SB 1147- Carnegie SVRA – The bill has been referred to the Senate Rules Committee on March 5 and no action scheduled.

  • TreadLightly! at a distance flyer

    Week #7: OHV Coronavirus update

    The good news is that some of this week’s updates are places opening back up and not being closed due to the coronavirus. Although USFS Region 5 has announced that most developed recreation sites will remain closed through May 15, the individual forests are slowly opening motorized roads and trails as seasonal road and trail closures are lifted.

  • Public meeting on Oceano Dunes Habitat Conservation Plan May 13

    Public Meeting Purpose:

    The purpose of the public meeting is to receive comment on the Oceano Dunes HCP Draft EIR. This is an opportunity for the pubic to provide verbal comment on the environmental analysis contained in the Draft EIR. Anyone wishing to provide verbal comment will be given an opportunity to speak. Meeting participation is the only way to submit verbal comment. It is not necessary to attend the meeting to submit written comment. The public may also submit written comment on the Draft EIR through emailing comments to the following address: OceanoDunesHCP@parks.ca.gov.

  • BLM seeks public comment on off-highway vehicle routes in the Vinagre Wash Special Management Area

    The Bureau of Land Management El Centro Field Office invites the public to provide written comments on additional off-highway vehicle (OHV) routes in the Vinagre Wash Special Management Area, near Palo Verde, Imperial County.  The public comment period will end on May 21.

    This Special Management Area, designated under the John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act (Public Law 116-9) in March 2019, allows for the consideration of additional routes that would provide significant or unique recreational opportunities and are consistent with the purposes of the Management Area. 

  • Week #6: OHV Coronavirus update

    As we go into the sixth week of this “shelter in place order” there looks to be light at the end of the tunnel. This week, 16 states are taking the first steps to reopening and putting their people back to work.

  • Week #5: OHV Coronavirus update

    Well, here we are five weeks into the “shelter in place order” and most Californians are doing their best to follow the rules and help flatten the curve. The first few weeks were not that bad, we got a few projects done, binge watched our favorite shows, worked on our off-road vehicles, or just relaxed a little. But I see cracks beginning to develop in even the best of people; this home isolation is beginning to take its toll and cabin fever will be the new pandemic to sweep through our community. The off-road community is used to being outside, we enjoy all types of outdoor recreation, but not being able to spend time out on the trail with our off-road family has been difficult.

  • New legislation proposed for Carnegie SVRA

    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.

  • Week #4: OHV Coronavirus update

    I hope everyone is staying sane during this shelter in place order. I know its hard for me to just stay home, but I’m trying to do my part and do what ever it takes to get back to a place when business can start to open back up and when we can return to recreating on our favorite trails.

  • Bi-State Sage Grouse photo courtesy US Fish and Wildlife Service

    US Fish & Wildlife withdraws proposed Endangered Species Act designation for bi-state Sage Grouse

    The US Fish and Wildlife Service announce plans to withdraw a propose rule to extend Endangered Species Act protections to a distinct population of greater sage grouse found only along the California-Nevada border.

    After a yearlong review of the bi-state Sage Grouse population, the FWS has determined that the threats are no longer as significant as was believed when FWS first proposed listing the bird as a threatened species in 2013.

  • Week #3: OHV Coronavirus update

    On Sunday President Donald Trump extended the voluntary national shut down for another month, until April 30. The initial 15-day period of social distancing urged by the federal government expires today and the President decided to extend the guidelines when the current modeling showed that they should expect the coronavirus pandemic to peak within the next few weeks.

    In California, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the lockdown which includes shelter in place and distancing measures will continue on through at least the end of April but also possibly through mid-June.

  • BLM temporarily closes developed recreation facilities in California

    Following the COVID-19 guidance from the Center for Disease Control and from state and local public health authorities, the BLM is temporarily closing developed campgrounds and recreation sites in California to limit the spread of the virus (download closure order).
  • COVID-19 from an OHV perspective

    Shelter in Place Order

    Gov. Gavin Newsom on March 19 ordered California's nearly 40 million residents to stay home, making it the first state to impose that strict mandate on all residents to counteract a looming surge of new infections.

    The order takes effect immediately and remains in place "until further notice." Californians are not allowed to leave their homes except for essential purposes. The mandatory order allows Californians to continue to visit gas stations, pharmacies, grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores, takeout and delivery restaurants, banks and laundromats.

  • Friends of Jawbone seeks comments on OHMVR grant applications

    Friends of Jawbone seeks comments on OHMVR grant applications

    On March 2, 2020, the Friends of Jawbone, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, submitted grant proposals for the 2019/2020 Grants and Cooperative Agreements grants cycle through the California State Parks, Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) Division.

  • Cal4Wheel attends California OHV Commission meeting February 27

    This meeting was like most meetings, long and dry, with comments from CORVA, Friends of Oceano, AMA District 36, Cal4 Wheel and more. Topic for the meeting was about the Transformation of the OHV Division into the Parks and Rec. Further topics brought up were Carnegie and Oceano.

  • 2020 Johnson Valley closure dates announced

    The Marine Corps will temporarily close the Johnson Valley Shared Use Area to the public beginning Thursday 30 April through Monday 11 May 2020 in order to conduct military training. The closure period will include the necessary time required to conduct pre- and post- inspections of the land with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The Marine Corps will provide notification when the area is reopened for public access.

  • California State Parks fences off 48 acres at Oceano Dunes SVRA to meet January 1, 2020 air quality requirement

    California State Parks fences off 48 acres at Oceano Dunes SVRA to meet January 1, 2020 air quality requirement

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California Department of Parks and Recreation (State Parks) has taken an important step at Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA) to improve air quality conditions for nearby communities. On Monday, Dec. 16, 2019, State Parks began fencing off 48 acres around an area commonly referred to as the foredune area (Post 4-1/2 to Post 6) to meet a Jan. 1, 2020 San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District (APCD) Stipulated Order of Abatement (SOA) deadline. It is important for the public to know that the department will be honoring all current reservations at the SVRA. Additionally, the off-highway vehicle riding area will not be impacted by the closure of the foredune area.
  • Friends of Oceano write letter in opposition to Oceano SVRA foredunes closure

    Friends of Oceano write letter in opposition to Oceano SVRA foredunes closure

    The California Coastal Commission has issued an emergency permit requiring California State Parks to immediately close 48 acres of camping area ahead of the Christmas and New Year's holidays, resulting in a 50% loss of camping spaces on the dunes.

    In response, the Friends of Oceano Dunes have written a letter addressed to State Parks asking them to delay the closure.

  • Good news on Carnegie SVRA lawsuit

    Good news on Carnegie SVRA lawsuit

    On November 21, 2019, the Superior Court of the State of California, County of San Joaquin, Stockton Branch, rendered a jury verdict in favor of managed OHV recreation at the Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA).

  • Red Rock General Plan comments submitted

    Comments have been submitted to California State Parks regarding Red Rock Canyon State Park's general plan.

    Download the comments at this link

  • Oceano air quality hearing disappointing

    I attended SLO Air Pollution Control District (APCD) Oceano Dunes SVRA hearing in Arroyo Grande yesterday and came away very disappointed in the way California State Parks just rolled over and gave the local APCD everything they wanted.

  • Johnson Valley closures announced

    The Marine Corps will temporarily close the Johnson Valley Shared Use Area to the public beginning Thursday, April 30 through Monday, May 11, 2020 in order to conduct military training. The closure period will include the necessary time required to conduct pre- and post-inspections of the land with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The Marine Corps will provide notification when the area is reopened for public access.

  • Governor vetoes Carnegie bill in a win for OHV users

    Governor vetoes Carnegie bill in a win for OHV users

    From Don Amador

    GOV. NEWSOM VETOES CARNEGIE BILL – Big victory last night for everyone associated with OHV recreation. Congrats to all of the activist men and women who attended hearings, sent letters, made phone calls, or provided insight while all the time remembering that we are stewards of this generation who protect responsible OHV recreation for future generations of California families.

  • Quartzsite Solar Project EIS open for comments

    If approved, the $1-billion solar energy project would generate 870 jobs and $72 million annually during peak construction, and deliver power to 117,000 homes in Southern California upon completion. The Bureau of Land Management is seeking public input on actions that would allow the proposed development of the Desert Quartzsite Solar Project, a 450-megawatt solar development in eastern Riverside County.

    The publication of the draft Environmental Impact Statement in the Federal Register through the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday, Aug. 10 will signal the start of the 90-day public comment period, which will end on Nov. 8. In addition to the draft EIS, other documents made available for comment include the Environmental Impact Report and draft Land Use Plan Amendment.

  • Comments submitted on Sequoia-Sierra National Forest Plan Revisions

    Comments submitted on Cal4Wheel regarding the Sequoia-Sierra National Forest Plan Revision Update.

    Download copy of letter

    TEXT OF THE LETTER:

    September 25, 2019

    Plan Revision Team Lead

    323 Club Drive

    Vallejo CA 94592

    Subject: Sequoia and Sierra Forest Plan Revision Update

    Dear Planning Team:

    These comments are submitted on behalf of the California Four Wheel Drive Association (Cal4Wheel) and its membership. Cal4Wheel represents clubs and individuals within the state of California that are part of the community of four-wheel drive enthusiasts. These comments are directed to the Revised Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for Revision of the Sequoia and Sierra National Forests Land Management Plans. This document shall not supplant the rights of other Cal4Wheel agents and organizational or individual members from submitting their own comments and the agency should consider and appropriately respond to all comments received to this proposed planning project.

  • What is standing?

    Many people are voicing complaints about the pending loss of their favorite trail and are threatening to file a lawsuit. Sounds simple. But, is it that simple?

    Keep in mind, to file a lawsuit, you must have “standing” and prove that you are “harmed” by the decision. So, just what is “standing” and what is “harm”?

  • Contact Governor to oppose Carnegie legislation

    Cal4Wheel Access Alert

    OPPOSE: AB 1086 Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area: Alameda-Tesla Expansion Area

    (As Amended September 6, 2019)

    Senate Bill 767 died in the Assembly Appropriations Committee last week.

    But now, SB 767 has been resurrected into AB1086, this bill is a "gut and amend" bill that is very similar to SB767. Cal4 was opposed SB767 and opposes the resurrected AB1086. But in addition to the policy objections of the bill, we object to the underhanded process that is being attempted to ram AB1086 through the legislature with only days to go in this session of the State legislature.

    If you want to watch yesterday's AB1086 hearing in the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee follow this link to the hearing- https://www.senate.ca.gov/media-archive and select the September 11 hearing of the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee and click “Watch.”

  • Johnson Valley Update

    On April 6, 2019, the US Marine Corps and BLM hosted a public meeting concerning the Share Use Area of Johnson Valley OHV area. Two important news points were released at the meeting.

  • OHMVR bill signed - program is permanent

    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.

  • What NEPA is and is not

    I recently received an email from a county supervisor outlining a situation where the county believed that the Forest Service was in violation of a county law when they closed close to 400 miles of routes in the forest that spanned two counties.

    After reading the details submitted, I noted several false assumptions cited in the discussion.

    First, let me address what NEPA is and is not. National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires federal agencies to disclose and analyze the effects of their proposed action on the natural environment. NEPA is the law (passed by Congress) that requires this action. NEPA is an outline of a process with specific actions the agency is required to do. The resulting document from a NEPA process is not a "law". The result of a NEPA analysis is a Record of Decision stating that appropriate level of environmental review has been conducted and the proposed action can be implemented.

  •  Epic decision portends new balance for reopening dunes in Glamis

    Epic decision portends new balance for reopening dunes in Glamis

    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - Recreational visitors observing a fine flaky substance this morning at the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area (ISDRA) will be pleased to hear it is not snow but judicial manna. Barely a month following argument, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston of the U.S. Northern District Court of California yesterday issued a long-awaited decision on the 2013 ISDRA management plan, ruling almost entirely on the side of the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and sand-rider organizations, and against the latest challenge led by the Center for Biological Diversity. The ruling sets the stage for implementation of the 2013 plan, which would allow resumption of access to areas placed off-limits to riders through “interim” closures imposed over a decade ago.

    The litigation over riding at the ISDRA began in 2000, and has resulted in multiple trips to Judge Illston’s courtroom where BLM, USFWS, and recreation enthusiasts have suffered multiple setbacks. The 2013 plan followed lengthy public input and was designed in response to the Court’s 2006 ruling and new critical habitat designation by the USFWS for the Peirson’s milk-vetch (PMV), the plant species of primary concern at the Dunes. Preservationist plaintiffs raised an array of challenges under the Endangered Species Act and other laws to the new plan, but yesterday’s decision rejected those claims and upheld BLM’s plan, with the limited exception of finding that a recovery plan for the PMV is overdue and must be issued by 2019 unless the USFWS makes a specific finding that a recovery plan will not promote conservation of the species.

    A copy of yesterday’s decision can be viewed at this link.
  • Open gates

    Open gates

    All of us love an open gate. Sometimes we see them on our morning commute, or way out in the desert as we head out with our toys. What lies beyond it? Is the public allowed? We make a note to check it out someday.

    That day finally comes and you arrive at the gate. Only this time, it’s closed and a prominent sign confirms that it was closed with finality and purpose. Another opportunity lost. You wonder to yourself if there was something that you could have done.

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