America’s Great Outdoors Idea Jam

Posted by on August 10, 2010 under Legal, Updates. This post currently has 6 responses.

What would you think if you could tell the Obama administration how you feel about outdoor recreation and conservation? It would be nice since wealthy lobbyists for conservation groups like the Sierra Club seem to have a stranglehold on influence in Washington. But now it is possible to speak to Washington about your concerns and to counter the ideas promoted by OHV opponents.

Blue Ribbon Coalition’s website informs us of a new law signed by Obama, “America’s Great Outdoors Initiative”, which directs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Council for Environmental Quality (CEQ) to coordinate with the Interior and Agriculture Departments on a program to promote conservation and outdoor recreation.” Go to the Blue Ribbon website to learn how you can join the discussion.

Don’t let the groups who are trying to stop OHV recreation hog all the ideas. We need to input our thoughts about the proper utilization of recreational resources. Off road recreation is not a crime. Go to: http://ideas.usda.gov/ago/ideas.nsf/ and let them know what you think.

Can’t We Just Get Along?

Posted by on August 2, 2010 under Legal, Updates. This post currently has 6 responses.

Karen Schambach’s organization the Center for Sierra Nevada Conservation in conjunction with the Center for Biological Diversity is behind a new petition for wit of mandate to stop a Green-Sticker funded trail near her home in Georgetown.

They are suing the California Department of Parks and Recreation, Division of Off Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation along with Eldorado National Forest and The United States Forest Service to shut down the Rock Creek Development Project. They allege that 8.9 miles of new trail is a major expansion of off road vehicle use, thereby requiring an Environmental Impact Report. The project includes three new bridges and a rest room near the Rubicon. She is asking the judge to block the construction of the new trail until an EIR is approved. Think the Alameda/Tesla property.

To read the as yet unfilled writ of mandate see here.

Diana in DirtRider

Posted by on July 27, 2010 under Press. This post currently has 8 responses.

Our own Diana Tweedy got a post published in DirtRider. Way to go!

You can read all her post on our site here.

Latest Court Ruling on Carnegie SVRA

Posted by on July 16, 2010 under Legal, Updates. This post currently has 2 responses.

In the Registry of Actions for the Superior Court of California County of Alameda on Thursday July 15th, Judge Roesch did not grant CSPA and PEER a new trial on all causes of action. There is certainly some ambiguity in the Judge’s order, but it appears that the first, second and third causes of action dealing with the Porter Cologne act water discharge standards were hopefully dismissed.

The actions that were most likely dismissed are as follows:
- first – closing Carnegie SVRA
- second – requiring a waste discharge report, and
- third – meeting water discharge restrictions.

The one cause of action that was not dismissed was the fourth cause of action to make the park abide by Public Resources Code section 5090.35, which requires the Park to monitor soil and wildlife habitat. A trial will be set to resolve these issues later.

Other than the ambiguity surrounding the causes of action, there’s additional ambiguity in the judge’s ruling which leaves the door open for misinterpretation and the continuation of this suit.

It is not over yet. This can be considered a possible positive outcome for the park and its users, depending on how the judge’s order is interpreted. CSPA and PEER are still wrestling with their administrative remedies at the Water Board. A battle may have been won, but the war continues.

Independence Day Surprise

Posted by on July 6, 2010 under Legal, Updates. This post currently has 3 responses.

I just learned that on June 18th 2010 CSFA and PEER filed a Motion for a New Trial in San Francisco Superior Court (asking the judge to set a date for a new trial) even though the Appellate Court had already issued an order dismissing CSFA and PEER’s First Amended Writ of Mandate, the Writ of Mandate that the “new trial” is supposed to resolve. Does that make sense? CSFA and PEER are asking the judge to set a new trial date on an action that has been dismissed (that no longer exists). Rather than going directly to the Appellate Court and asking for Reconsideration of the Order of Dismissal, CSFA and PEER are asking Judge Roesch to overrule the Appellate Court’s Order of Dismissal, by assigning a new trial date for that very same action, i.e., the action that has been dismissed. Judge Roesch has already ordered a hearing on CSFA and PEER’s Motion for New Trial for July 15th where he will either order a new trial date or not. (Are they forum shopping?) But it is not as simple as that. The plot sickens.

CSFA and PEER’s brief in support of their motion for new trial includes as an exhibit a copy of the State’s Appeal. It appears that the State only appealed the second cause of action requiring Carnegie to cease any new or changed pollution discharges pending submission of the Waste Discharge Repot, which the lower court judge interpreted as justification to shut down Carnegie. The State, rather than appealing the duty to prepare a Waste Discharge Report, provided one to the Californian Regional Water Quality Control Board. CSFA and PEER contend that the Regional Board responded to the State’s submission of the Waste Discharge Report and said that it was incomplete. CSFA and PEER also claim the Regional Board confirmed ongoing discharges into the creek. Although CSFA and PEER only seem to be asking the court to order a new trial on the fourth cause of action (monitoring soils wildlife, etc.), with this judge anything is possible.

In their Appeal the State (our side) failed to bring up the issue of the failure of CSFA and PEER to exhaust administrative remedies before the Regional or State Water Boards (procedures they must follow through with the water boards before asking the court for a writ of mandate). The Appellate Court used the failure to exhaust administrative remedies as the basis for its decision to dismiss the CSFA and PEER’s action, i.e., dismissal of their Writ of Mandate. This decision was based purely on an argument put forth as an Amicus Brief filed by the Water Board (who was not a party to the action). The Appellate Court did not have to pay attention to the Amicus Brief, but thank God they did.

CSFA and PEER are in the process of exhausting administrative remedies even now as we speak. Arguing failure to exhaustion administrative remedies is not foolproof since CSFA and PEER could go and exhaust administrative remedies and then go back to the court and ask for the same relief, which is what they are in the process of doing.

We don’t know what Judge Roesch will do; whether he will order a new trial on one, two, three or all four causes of action; or do as he should do, lacking jurisdiction in the matter, not order a new trial at all.

The State only appealed the second cause of action which the judge used as justification to close Carnegie until a waste discharge report is acted upon by the Water Board. CSFA and PEER contend that the Water Discharge Report submitted by the ORV State Recreation Parks Dept was deficient in several respects. At this point it can be argued that the State has not gotten approval of its waste discharge report and perhaps the lower court could include the second cause of action in the new trial, when CSFA and PEER have exhausted administrative remedies. Then Judge Roesch could issue an order closing Carnegie again (worst possible outcome imaginable).

That also leaves the other three causes of action:

  1. First Cause of action – Duty to submit waste discharge report (that CSFA and PEER contend has still not been properly submitted)
  2. Third Cause of Action complying with water quality objectives
  3. Fourth Cause of Action – Monitor soils wildlife, shut down noncompliant areas, etc.

Our Judge could order a new trial on one, two, three or all four causes of action if he wants to. We don’t know what he will do, but if we go by the sort of decisions he has made in the past, we do know that he will bend over backwards to benefit CSFA, PEER and their cronies.

Don’t get me wrong, I am certainly not a part of this lawsuit, and not an expert on this case. But this is what I can piece together after looking at the registry of actions in this case. Go here and enter the case number RG09474549. Good luck; the documents are voluminous.

Attorney General Jerry Browns’ name is on the Appeal we supposedly won. Anything could happen. This is not real life. It has nothing to do whether there is any water in the so called creek, any fish; or any sediment killing fish in the so called creek. This is about politics. I am not an optimist and I say watch out. Of course, it goes without saying, that you should get on your bike and ride Carnegie this weekend, but don’t run over any RockFish.

Is Mother Nature Really Out To Get Us?

Posted by on July 6, 2010 under Legal, Updates. This post currently has 2 responses.

The state legislature is about to pass a bill, SB624, declaring that Serpentine be removed as a state rock. It goes on to cite unscientific facts about the rock being carcinogenic. See ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES and the editorial in today’s newspaper.

This is a slippery slope and could result in even more closures. The text of SB624 declares that serpentine contains chrysotile asbestos and that exposure increases the risk of cancer mesothelioma.

As stated in a letter to the editor from John M. Stoiz, civil engineer: “This is a non-fact. Serpentine is a general name given to magnesium iron phyllosilicate minerals, and it can refer to any of twenty varieties. There are three polymorphs (or kinds) of serpentine: antigorite, chrysotile and lizardite, but only chrysotile contains asbestos”.

California has Serpentine everywhere, but no elevated disease rates from living here. There is no evidence that outdoor recreation exposure has any effect on human health. Our nonscientific state legislators are confusing daily worker exposure to processed asbestos in various products such as home insulation, insulation on ship’s boilers and insulated wiring with exposure to asbestos contained in the structure of naturally occurring rock.

The Blue Ribbon Coalition has reported extensively about the closure of Clear Creek OHV Park due to supposedly cancer causing asbestos contained in Serpentine. “Paul Turcke, BRC attorney and lead counsel for the recreation groups, states, ‘The BLM has previously and extensively studied the ‘asbestos issue’ and has properly concluded the naturally occurring short-fibered Coalinga chrysotile asbestos presents little or no risk to human health. Specifically, the size and nature of the particles in question allow them to be expunged from the lungs or broken down by natural body processes and rendered harmless. There is no bona fide emergency which justifies this drastic and hastily-reached decision.”

“According to a recent declaration provided by a respected scientist, this form of asbestos is innocuous and should be considered only a nuisance dust. Unfortunately, the “one fiber will kill you” zealots choose not to differentiate between different forms of asbestos…”

“The simple fact is that asbestos-related disease does not show up in any of these populations. Period.” – Don Amador.

Scientific facts to not sway our legislature in their quest to keep people from enjoying the great outdoors. The seemingly innocuous removal of Serpentine as a state rock has numerous implications. I have a sample in my rock collection and I have suffered no ill effects even though it is part of a mineral collection that has been in my bedroom for decades.

Governments working with anti OHV activists

Posted by on June 30, 2010 under Updates. This post currently has no responses.

Don Amador, aka the General, is the voice of reason and an important ally in our fight to preserve OHV recreational opportunities. Check out his blog to get an idea of some of the threats we are facing. See the following which is included in Don’s blog about land closures due to illegal immigrant and drug smuggling:
http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/06/18/federal-lands-arizona-travel-warnings-place/
“Dennis Godfrey, a spokesman for the Bureau of Land Management’s Arizona office, said roughly a dozen signs were posted earlier this month along the Sonoran Desert National Monument advising that travel in the area is not recommended due to “active drug and human” smuggling. “It is a corridor for smugglers of all types,” Godfrey told FoxNews.com…

Similar signs have been posted at the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge and the Coronado National Forest, which covers nearly 1.8 million acres in southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico…
‘This is one of those things that the Department of Interior does not want to publicize,” said Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, ranking Republican on the House ‘Parks and Public Lands Subcommittee.. ‘

Don also has a link to a speech given by Forest Service Chief detailing the four threats to our forests and grasslands, fire and fuels, invasive species, loss of open space, and unmanaged outdoor recreation.
http://www.fs.fed.us/news/2004/speeches/01/idaho-four-threats.shtml

“But Americans are faced with growing threats to their quality of life. I think Jack Troyer recently spoke to you about the four major threats—fire and fuels, invasive species, loss of open space, and unmanaged outdoor recreation.
Each year, the national forests and grasslands get hundreds of miles of unauthorized roads and trails due to repeated cross-country use. We’re seeing more erosion, water degradation, and habitat destruction. We’re seeing more conflicts between users. We have got to improve our management so we get responsible recreational use based on sound outdoor ethics.”

As Don points out, we are under constant attack from our government. From trying to protect us from ourselves with threatened closure of Forest Hill and Downieville, to the outright closure of Clear Creek, to the closure of recreation on public land due to illegal immigration and drug smuggling, to the Forest Service’s assessment that off highway vehicle recreation is one of four major threats to our forests and grasslands; we are under constant assault.

The anti OHV community is strong and powerful beyond its numbers. It is enlightening that the next to last sentence, “We have seen more conflicts between users”, is how Dale Bosworth sums up the threat posed by OHV use as one of the four great threats to out public land. These conflicts are more than likely conflicts between those folks who oppose all OHV use and our OHV community. This is the essence of our battle with the federal bureaucracy which is more in tune with city based anti access groups than with the American public, especially the locals who actually use these forests and grasslands. It is time to stay informed and band together with like minded individuals to fight these nefarious groups and their tools in Washington.

Don’s investigation into ties between our government and anti assess organizations is enlightening, especially contacts concerning supposed health risks to the public. Go to the sites that he offers and you will be just as concerned as he is. As Don says;

“What trail enthusiasts (motorized and non-motorized) should be concerned about is that there IS a well thought out strategic effort by the green/governmental complex (EPA, Cal EPA, DTSC, CBD, TWS, etc.) to close OHV trails on FS and BLM lands due to undocumented “health risks” to the public.

Has this closure effort reached the level where the HQ can claim there is a conspiracy to close OHV off public lands? That time may come very soon, but in the meantime The General believes there is a well coordinated effort by greens group and their supporters (or hostages) in the federal government to restrict or ban historic OHV and other uses on public lands.”

Visit Don’s site for more information and ways to make a difference.

Thank you.

Disclose Means Stifle: Sierra Club not Special Interest; What other interests are exempt?

Posted by on June 29, 2010 under Legal, Updates. This post currently has no responses.

Debra Saunders writing in the San Francisco Chronicle today reports that the U.S. House of Representatives last week passed HR5175 which is said to fill in the gaps created by the recent Supreme Court’s Citizens United Ruling that lifted political advertising by labor and corporations. They say House just wants special interests to disclose their funding of independent political campaigns. The new law bans campaign expenditures that do more than $10 million dollars with the Federal Government.

There is only one problem with this law. Washington is using this law to decide which groups get to speak out on the issues. The new law has numerous exceptions written into it. Unions, the NRA and large special interests like the Sierra Club are exempted from the law’s disclosure provisions. “It is an anti-special interest law that exempts powerful special interests.” Besides the Sierra Club, what other special interests are exempted? Just wondering… As we have seen before Washington pays more attention to special interests that provide them with lavish campaign contributions than to the voices of local residents who are affected by their laws.

If the Sierra Club and other so called environmental lobbies are so popular, why do they feel that they should not be subject to the same disclosure laws as everyone else? Just wondering…

See comments to article about closing down trails because of contamination caused by gold mining.

Action Alert: Group’s Study – A Catalyst to Close Down trails – Forest Hills Threatened

Posted by on June 23, 2010 under Press, Updates. This post currently has one response.

According to a San Francisco Chronicle front page article dated June 23, 2010 entitled “Toxic Trails a legacy of Gold Rush” hiking and biking in the Sierra Nevada can be detrimental to our health.

It describes a study done by a so-called environmental group which the group hopes will be an impetus for the Bureau of Land Management to close down recreation due to toxic contamination caused by gold mining in the distant past. One of the areas highlighted in their study as particularly dangerous was Forest Hills, an off road motorcycle riding area.

Several Sierra trails are toxic, group says

“The thousands of mine shafts that pockmark the Sierra Nevada and testify to California’s Gold Rush riches have also left a legacy of toxic contamination in some of the state’s popular recreation areas, according to a new study.”

“Soil tests on a handful of trails near mine mouths in the foothills have revealed extremely high levels of lead, arsenic and asbestos, said researchers at the Sierra Fund, a small environmental advocacy group.

The naturally occurring minerals were pounded to dust generations ago and carted to the surface, where they are now stirred up and inhaled by hikers, off-roaders, bikers and horseback riders.

While their analysis was limited to 80 samples from 11 trails and recreation spots in the Foresthill, Downieville and Nevada City areas, the group says California’s 47,000 abandoned mines pose significant threats to public safety, particularly in the dry summer months when families flock to the foothills.”

…”The fund is also pushing for warning signs and, in some cases, restricting access to public trails with high levels of hazardous minerals.”

“A federal audit in 2008 charged the Bureau of Land Management, which controls a number of abandoned mining sites in California, Nevada, Arizona and other states, with endangering public health by failing to clean up arsenic, lead and mercury near the shafts or to erect barriers around them…That same year, the agency closed about half of the Clear Creek Management Area, a 31,000-acre off-road vehicle paradise in the hills outside of Hollister, after a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report said waste from the defunct asbestos mining in the area posed a serious risk to those who work, camp, hunt and ride on the property.”

”In the Sierra Fund’s study, researchers reported levels of arsenic, asbestos and lead well above levels deemed safe for human exposure. At the Foresthill Off-Highway Vehicle area near the Marall Chrome Mine pit, science director Carrie Monohan said lead levels were nearly 18 times the state and federal standards, and 40 percent of the soil samples showed asbestos contamination.”

“Because of the diffuse nature of the hazardous minerals in surface soils, they are almost impossible to clean up, according to David Christy, spokesman with the Bureau of Land Management’s Central California division.

’The technology is a challenge,” he said. “The approach to cleaning up mines is steam cleaning them and cementing over them, and that costs a lot of money.’

Under President Obama’s federal stimulus plan, California received about $20 million of the $73 million set aside for cleaning and maintaining abandoned mines nationwide. Some estimates peg the number of abandoned mines in the United States at 500,000 and the amount needed to detoxify them in the billions.”

Read more here.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Sierra Fund is a small environmental advocacy group. That is doublespeak for well a connected organization dedicated to closing out-door recreation. We all know what the Bureau of Land Management did to Clear Creek based on junk science. The Sierra Fund is attempting to prod the Bureau of Land Management to close down other recreational trails in the Sierra Nevada.

Although, predictably, they are attacking off road motorcycle riding areas, they are also attacking hiking, camping, hunting and mountain biking, i.e. families flocking to the foothills (their words, not mine). We are not alone in our fight to maintain access. Downieville and Nevada City are mountain biking Mecca’s. Although I am primarily an off road motorcyclist, I also enjoy mountain biking, hiking, and camping. This is huge. We need to get mountain biking groups involed.

Our nanny state is trying to keep us out of public land for our own good. Don’t believe this. They are not out to protect us, but looking for an excuse to shut us out of our own land. The truth is that our government does not attempt to protect us from drugs made in third world countries and the safety of deep water drilling is left to foreign oil companies like BP. -EXCUSE ME- This is another land grab, pure and simple. See Article in the New York Times entitled “Concern Over Number of Foreign Clinical Trials for Drugs Sold in the U.S.” dated June 22, 2010 and my post in this site entitled “A Fishy Story”.

The Sierra Fund study pinpointed Forest Hills for study which showed lead and asbestos contamination. We have heard this all before. There has been no showing that this so called contamination has ever led to any health problems for families using these areas. Forest Hills is an area dedicated to off road motorcycle use and it is near the Bay Area. We cannot let this happen. They have already shut us out of Clear Creek, and even as access groups are fighting that action, they are seeking to close down other off road riding areas.

Forest Hills is not far from Mammoth Bar in Auburn on the American River. A little history: Our Green Sticker money built and maintained the access road down to Mammoth Bar, an off road motorcycle riding area, which the kayakers used to launch their kayaks. The Kayakers then succeeded in closing down Mammoth Bar to off road vehicle use four days a week, including one day on the weekend. As a member of PITS (Pacific International Trials Society) I am pissed because it means that we can no longer put on trials events there because we need to set the event up the day before. Also the rule that we must always stay on the trails has meant that we can no longer use public land to put on trials events period. Access to the excellent trail system and the sand motocross track at Mammoth Bar has been restricted and these rules have impacted off road use in an area which we have enjoyed for decades.

We cannot let down our guard. Outdoor recreation is under attack. Please discuss this with friends and neighbors. Join access groups like Blue Ribbon which fight for out door recreation on all fronts. Northern California recreation (off road vehicle use and other forms of recreation) has never before been under such relentless attack. These so called environmental groups must be stopped. This is our children’s and grandchildren’s legacy. Please don’t let it be taken away from them.

Meeting in Tracy

Posted by on June 11, 2010 under Updates. This post currently has no responses.

Greetings;

Here is the GOOD NEWS – we are gaining political traction for the motorcycle and 4WD groups at Carnegie.

The meeting at the Tracy Fairfield was a chance to decide on the new name for the non-profit organization – Carnegie Forever (Inc.). Some had to vote via email/phone due to races, graduations, injuries, work, etc.

The AMA D.36 Prez Dave Pickett and Blue Ribbon Coalition area Rep Don Amador heard our positions on the lawsuit, the creek bed designation, Alameda/Tesla Expansion project and rider/staff questions.

The OHV Commissioners could not attend at the last minute but want an update of the meeting.

The goal of the meeting was to alert the OHV leadership groups that Carnegie has a new substantial and professional voice. We will make a presentation to an OHV Commission Meeting in the near future and we will ask that the meeting be held here in Tracy so many more of us can attend.

This was a milestone on our path to our goal of an improved and EXPANDED Carnegie.

Many thanks to all the attendees and especially Dave and Don.

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