Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Ed Markey (D-MA) and Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) have once again introduced legislation (H.R. 1187, the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act) that would designate a massive 23 million acre area across five states (Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming) as wilderness. This means each of these 23 million acres would be made permanently off-limits to motorized and mechanized recreation, including off-highway motorcycles, ATVs, ROVs (side-by-sides), 4x4s, snowmobiles and mountain bikes.  It is particularly important to note that the lead sponsor, Rep Maloney, represents Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn in New York City, yet has introduced legislation that would have an economic and social impact on millions of Americans who live, work and recreate on or near the lands in question.  In a particularly ironic twist, Representative Maloney and the other cosponsors will not accept emails from anyone who does not live in their districts.  So, these Members seek to force the most restrictive land management on millions of Americans, but will not listen to their concerns.

Editor’s Note: Del Albright, long-time off-road enthusiast and advocate for land use and trail access, recently published a column regarding concern for the Rubicon Trail. Below is his column as well as information about how to get involved.

WORRIED ABOUT THE RUBICON TRAIL

IS GOVERNMENT LISTENING TO THE USERS?

I left my leadership position in Friends of the Rubicon (FOTR) and the Rubicon Trail Foundation (RTF) a few years back, thinking that we had laid a positive foundation to continue these incredible efforts to keep the Rubicon Trail open to all of us…all year; for all types of rigs; with challenges for us all.

NOT THE CASE!!!

Note: This was sent over from the Trail Political Action Committee (TPAC) forwarded by Del Albright regarding the upcoming elections.
 

Dear Trail Voter,
The mainstream media is working overtime to bias the news to discourage pro-trail voters in blue and battleground states in the hope that you will give up and stay home. The Trail PAC is going to counter that with the 1st ever pro-trail social media week. This national counter offensive is called OPERATION SOARING EAGLE.

Some congressional races are won or lost by less than 50 votes or just one vote per precinct. With the election just a few weeks away, it is important for trail voters to inform their Facebook friends about our targeted races and encourage them to go to the polls on November 6 and VOTE!

TPAC knows many people are busy trying to make a living and don’t have time to follow political campaigns. That is why it is important for YOU to LIKE the pro-trail candidates below so your social networks throughout the country will know about these candidates and the issues.

TPAC is not asking for any donations today. Our national counterattack is FREE. All we ask of you is to go to the following races and LIKE them. Also, feel free to share your support of the Trail PAC and these candidates with your social networks. Just those few extra votes WILL make a difference in this historic election.

ACTION ITEM: Go to all of the candidate’s websites and LIKE them.  This will have a huge impact and best of all it’s FREE!

Here is TPAC’s list of targeted key races as of October 2, 2012

U.S. Senate

Tommy Thompson (WI-Senate)
http://www.tommyforwisconsin.com/

Dean Heller (NV – Senate)
http://deanheller.com/

Denny Rehberg (MT-Senate)
http://dennyrehberg.com/

George Allen (VA- Senate)
http://www.georgeallen.com/

Jeff Flake (AZ – Senate)
http://www.jeffflake.com/

Heather Wilson (NM-Senate)
http://heatherwilson.com/

Rick Berg (ND-Senate)
http://www.bergfornorthdakota.com/view/

U.S. House of Representatives

John Koster (WA CD-1)
http://www.kosterforcongress.com/

Koster’s Facebook page link since it was harder to find on website:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Koster-for-Congress/246070079439

Dan Lungren (CA CD-7)
http://www.danlungren.com/

Chip Cravaack (MN CD-8)
http://chipcravaack.com/

Ricky Gill (CA CD-9)
http://www.rickygill.com/

Scott Tipton (CO-CD-3)
http://www.votetipton.com/

Thanks in advance for taking a few minutes to help save our trails via the election process.

Feel free to check back into these campaigns throughout the week to see how many of your friends are getting engaged.

Thanks also for your support of TPAC.

Don Amador, Founder
The Trail PAC
www.thetrailpac.com

On Nov. 9, 2011, the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, chaired by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Cali.), voted in support of S. 1813, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) Act.  The measure is a two-year transportation funding authorization bill that specifies what transportation programs are approved to receive federal dollars. Unfortunately, this bill also includes a provision to eliminate dedicated funds for the Recreational Trails Program (RTP), which provides money to states to develop and maintain trails and to educate trail users.

The RTP funds represent a portion of the federal motor fuel excise tax collected only from non-highway recreational fuel use. In other words, the RTP is a “user-pay/user-benefit” program for off-highway vehicle recreation, which includes snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), off-highway motorcycles and off-highway light trucks.

By eliminating this program’s dedicated funds and diverting these fees away from the RTP, MAP-21 is creating what is essentially a new tax on responsible motorized recreationists.

Since S. 1813 was approved by the  EPW Committee, it will now be considered by the full Senate. A date for that vote has not been scheduled, so there is still time to appeal to your Senators.

The AMA needs you to call your Senators today and ask them to amend S. 1813 to restore dedicated funding to the RTP.

To call your Senators, click on “Take Action” to insert your zip code in the “Call Action” box to get your Senators’ phone numbers. Or, you can call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask for your Senators by name.

Call your Senators and remind them the RTP is a “user-pay/user-benefit” program. Let them know that eliminating its dedicated funding would create what is essentially a new tax on you and their other constituents that participate in responsible motorized recreation.

The Utah Shared Access Alliance passed along a note regarding a meeting in Moab, Utah, today, regarding job creation and off-highway access:

MOAB, Utah-On Wednesday, Sept. 28, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar will join Moab community leaders and outdoor recreation stakeholders for a conversation on the importance of conservation and outdoor recreation in creating jobs and building strong local economies across America.   During the visit, the Secretary will hear about locally-driven conservation initiatives taking place on public lands in Utah and learn how the Department can better support them. Prior to the discussion, Salazar will visit the Mill Creek Canyon Wilderness Study Area (WSA) to learn firsthand about recommendations to preserve unique recreational and wilderness values of certain areas, such as Mill Creek, through potential Congressional action.

In June, Secretary Salazar directed Deputy Secretary David J. Hayes to solicit input from members of Congress, state and local officials, tribes and federal land managers to identify lands that may be appropriate candidates for Congressional protection under the Wilderness Act.  Hayes will deliver a report to the Secretary and Congress regarding those areas that the Department believes can be the basis for a bipartisan wilderness agenda that can be enacted in the 112th Congress.

WHO: Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior                        Jeffrey “Rock” Smith, Bureau of Land Management Regional Office Manager

WHAT: Conversation about Outdoor Recreation, Conservation, and Job Creation

WHEN: Wednesday, September 28, 2011                        4:30 p.m. MDT

Conversation about Outdoor Recreation, Conservation, and Job Creation

WHERE: Location:  Moab Adventure Center225 South Main StreetMoab, UT 84532

The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports that the lead law has finally been fixed.  On August 1, 2011, H.R. 2715 was introduced by U.S. Reps. Mary Bono Mack (R-CA), chair of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade and G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), ranking member of the same subcommittee. The bill would exempt kids’ off-highway vehicles (OHVs) from the lead law that will effectively ban the machines at the end of the year.

The House of Representatives is expected to consider H.R. 2715 either today or tomorrow. Your support is critical. Please take action immediately to urge your Representative to vote yes on H.R. 2715.

As you may know, a similar bill, S. 1448, is under consideration by the U.S. Senate.

Both bills would provide the categorical exemption of youth OHVs as included in H.R. 412, the Kids Just Want to Ride Act, which was introduced January 25 by Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT). The riding community’s overwhelming support of H.R. 412 has helped contribute to the fast-tracking of these new bills.

H.R. 2715 would exempt youth OHVs from the lead-content provisions of the Consumer product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008, otherwise known as the “lead law.” Those provisions contain overly restrictive lead-content limits that have practically destroyed the sale of youth OHVs and severely hampered youth motorized recreation.

The AMA and All-Terrain Vehicle Association (ATVA) applaud Reps. Bono Mack and Butterfield for introducing this bill and ask that you and anyone you know who cares about the future of kids motorized recreation call your Representative today to urge a ‘Yes’ vote for H.R. 2715.

Click here and enter your zip code for some talking points and the phone number for your Representative’s office.

The CPSIA bans the making, importing, distributing or selling of any product intended for children 12 and under that contains more than a specified amount of lead in any accessible part. It also requires that all children’s products undergo periodic testing by independent laboratories approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which is responsible for implementing the law.

The CPSC has delayed enforcing key portions of the law until after the end of the year. Unless the CPSIA is changed, the sale of youth-model motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles that do not conform to the CPSIA will be officially banned beginning in 2012.

Click here to call your Representative today and urge a ‘Yes’ vote for H.R. 2715. A prewritten e-mail is also available for you to send to your Representative by choosing the “Take Action” option and entering your information.

For more information on the CPSIA and everything the AMA has done on behalf of youth motorized recreation, please click here.

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — Testifiers told a key U.S. House subcommittee on June 22 that off-highway vehicle (OHV) recreation puts billions of dollars into the U.S. economy, and public land needs to be opened up for motorized recreation, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports.

Supporters of H.R. 1581, the Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act of 2011, testified that the bill would free up almost 43 million acres of public land that now may be off-limits to off-highway riding.

“As it stands, the BLM [federal Bureau of Land Management] currently restricts activity on nearly 7 million acres of WSAs [Wilderness Study Areas] despite the fact the BLM itself has already determined these areas are not suitable for Wilderness designation by Congress,” testified Thomas Crimmins, spokesman for the group Professionals for Managed Recreation.

“The situation with the Forest Service is even worse,” he said, “as access is restricted to over 36 million acres of IRAs [Inventoried Roadless Areas] that have been deemed unsuitable for ultimate designation as Wilderness.”

The testimony came during a House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands oversight hearing on “Opportunities for Outdoor Recreation on Public Lands, chaired by Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah).

Besides Crimmins, others who testified included Scott Jones, who spoke on behalf of the AMA and the Colorado Off Highway Vehicle Coalition; Dick Lepley of the Pennsylvania Off-Highway Vehicle Association; Russ Ehnes of the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council; Don Amador of the BlueRibbon Coalition; and Karen Umphress of the Minnesota Motorized Trails Coalition and the Coalition of Recreational Trail Users.

The Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act of 2011 would remove stringent use restrictions on 6.7 million acres managed by the BLM and on 36.1 million acres of U.S. Forest Service land that was evaluated for strict congressional Wilderness land-use designations.

The federal agencies have determined the 43 million acres aren’t suitable for Wilderness designation, yet because of various laws and rules they must continue to strictly manage the land until Congress “releases” it for other possible uses, which H.R. 1581 would do.

Crimmins, who worked for the Forest Service for 32 years, was involved in the process for evaluating Forest Service land to determine whether it deserved a Wilderness designation. A Wilderness designation bars off-highway riding and most other uses.

“The intent of the process was to identify any and all areas that could potentially be considered for Wilderness designation and then, once and for all, make recommendations for areas that should be considered for Wilderness designations and areas that should be managed for multiple use,” Crimmins testified. “This would allow the agency to move forward with its mission to manage the national forests.”

While land mangers expected that areas ultimately deemed as unsuitable for Wilderness designation would be released, “this has not been the case,” he said.

On the economic side, Jones testified that “OHV recreation provided over a billion dollars in positive economic impact and resulted in over 12,000 jobs in the state of Colorado alone.”

Umphress said that all-terrain vehicle (ATV) activity alone in Minnesota contributed $2 billion to the economy in 2006.

Lepley, who also owns a motorcycle dealership, testified that the estimated economic value of the OHV retail market was $14.6 billion in 2009, “bolstered by the sale of 131,000 new off-highway motorcycles and 321,000 new ATVs, which are now part of the estimated 12.2 million dirtbikes and ATVs in America.”

“Clearly, the powersports industry contributes mightily to the nation’s economy during both good times and bad, but regardless of the economy, nothing threatens dealerships and the industry at large like having no place to ride,” he said.

To urge your federal lawmaker to support H.R. 1581, the Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act of 2011, go to http://www.americanmotorcyclist.com/rights/issueslegislation.

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — The Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge in Arizona has reversed an unwritten policy and is now allowing street-legal motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) on certain roads, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports.

After being alerted by AMA member Keith Dishong that street-legal motorcycles were barred from three public access roads while trucks and other street-legal vehicles were allowed, AMA Western States Representative Nick Haris and Brian Hawthorne of the BlueRibbon Coalition contacted officials at the refuge, which is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Haris noted that the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan allows street-legal vehicles to use three access roads, so there was no reason to bar street-legal motorcycles and ATVs from those routes.

After investigating, refuge officials agreed.

The officials announced on May 18 that street-legal motorcycles and ATVs are now allowed on three public access roads: the El Camino del Diablo, Christmas Pass and Charlie Bell roads, which are outside designated Wilderness areas. No other roads or trails in the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge are open to motorized use.

“This action does not open the refuge to unrestricted off-road vehicle activity,” refuge officials said in a news release. “Only the three public access roads already open to 4×4 vehicles are open to street-legal motorcycles and ATVs. These vehicles must abide by the same rules and restrictions as all other vehicles that access the refuge.

“Furthermore, permits for accessing these roads are required,” the officials said. “To reduce impact of large caravans, an additional special use permit is required for a party size of five or more vehicles traveling together or traveling in smaller groups but part of a larger organized event. This applies to all vehicles, including motorcycles and ATVs.”

Street-legal motorcycles and ATVs must run a mast displaying an orange flag at least 8 feet above the ground.

As part of ongoing efforts to recover endangered Sonoran pronghorn, seasonal road closures are in effect at the refuge through July 15.

Haris praised the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for reversing its policy that barred street-legal motorcycles and ATVs, and urged all appreciative motorcyclists and ATV riders to send notes of thanks to: Manager Sid Slone, Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge,1611 North Second Ave, Ajo, AZ 85321 or send an email to Sid_Sloane@fws.gov.

“Land managers at the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge were responsive to our inquiries, and forthright in evaluating their existing policy banning street legal motorcycles and ATVs,” Haris said. “Motorcyclists everywhere can appreciate their efforts.”

The 1,000-square-mile Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge shares a 56-mile border with Sonora, Mexico. Almost all of the refuge is designated as Wilderness, which bars motorized recreation. The refuge features rugged mountain ranges, sand dunes and hardened lava flows.

The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) is asking everyone that enjoys responsible motorized recreation to contact Undersecretary Harris Sherman, of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to extend the public comment period for the proposed Forest Service Planning Rule.

On February 14th, the US Forest Service (USFS) issued their draft revision to the Planning Rule that lays the foundation for land management plans in all National Forests. Due to the critical role of the Planning Rule, more time is needed to evaluate the many new concepts and sweeping revisions in the current draft.

AMA recently joined a list of more than 65 local, state and national organizations concerned with the future of our public lands in officially requesting an additional 90-day extension to submit comments on the proposed Planning Rule. You can read that letter by clicking here.

As the letter states, “There are numerous issues of interest and importance to our multiple use organizations that need to be thoroughly vetted within the community so that a thorough and helpful set of comments can be provided to the Forest Service.”

The USFS is to be commended for attempting to create meaningful updates to the land management process through this draft rule. The AMA and other land-use organizations are asking that the public have a more reasonable amount of time to understand how the proposed changes may affect their responsible enjoyment of the National Forests and be able to provide comments accordingly.

Please join the AMA in supporting an extension to the comment period for the proposed Forest Service Planning Rule. You can send a letter to Undersecretary Sherman quickly and easily by following the “Take Action” option in this message.

Thank you for supporting the efforts to maintain responsible motorized recreation on our public lands. For more information on this and other issues motorcyclists are facing today, please visit us at AmericanMotorcyclist.com.