I would like to respond to the 5/12/18 letter to the editor regarding the Adventure Trails Program. I don’t own a dirt bike or ATV so I don’t personally benefit from Adventure Trails, but I am an advocate for access to public lands.
The writer pointed out some misdeeds by OHV users and therefore indicated the Adventure Trails Program was a cause. Unfortunately, the OHV user group does not have a monopoly on misdeeds. Hikers have also “crushed brush”, created “adventure trails”, camped in sensitive areas, cut switchbacks, improperly disposed of trash and human waste, created improper fire rings etc., etc. This does not mean that we should close the Pacific Crest Trail.
The comment that “The Alabama Hills are being trashed by these people” has a similar bias. There is plenty of blame to go around for damage at the Alabama Hills, such as: large RVs, mountain bikes, bouldering enthusiast, and yes even hikers.
What are these user groups doing to prevent damage and restore areas? The dirt bikes and ATVs (non-street legal OHVs) pay a “Green Sticker” fee to Sacramento and the Off Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division (OHMVR) uses that money and other fees to provides grants of approximately 30 million dollars each year. That money is used for restoration, law enforcement and trail maintenance related to OHV use. Last year grants were given to Inyo National Forest, Bishop BLM, Inyo County Sheriffs, Inyo County Public Works, Mono County Sheriffs, Inyo Forest Patrol District, Death Valley National Park and other groups to support OHV use in our area. Approximately 1.6 million dollars last year alone was granted for local OHV use.
Like other user groups, the OHV community tries to educate the participants and also volunteers for restoration and community projects. To maintain and protect our public lands we need to all work together.