Yamaha-OHV-Logo-11-10-11CYPRESS, Calif. – August 1, 2013 – Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A., the industry leader in Guaranteeing Responsible Access to our Nation’s Trails (GRANTs), today announces the recipients of the second quarter GRANT awards from its OHV Access Initiative.   This funding cycle contributed more than $62,000 to projects supporting safe, responsible riding and open, sustainable OHV access to trails and riding areas.
The Q2 funding cycle of the Yamaha OHV Access Initiative included a continuing GRANT supporting the Off Road Business Association (ORBA).  Yamaha’s support will assist ORBA in its ongoing efforts to secure OHV access rights in Johnson Valley as well as U.S. National Forest Service properties throughout California.  Other 2013 Q2 Yamaha GRANT recipients include:
·        Itasca County Land Department, Minn.
·        Racers Under The Son, Ore.
·        Rock Run Recreation, Pa.
·        Valley ATV Riders, Maine

SEMA-Logo-1-3-13Diamond Bar, CA (April 23, 2013) – The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) has endorsed a proposal by Rep. Paul Cook that would end a five-year debate on how to expand the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) base at Twentynine Palms, California.  Under the compromise, the Marines would have access to the adjoining Johnson Valley Off-Highway (OHV) Recreation Area for up to 42 days a year for training exercises but the OHV area would be otherwise preserved in perpetuity.

“SEMA thanks Representative Cook for crafting legislation that addresses the needs of local residents, the OHV community and the Marine Corps,” said SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting.  “It represents a commonsense, shared-use compromise that fairly protects the interests of all stakeholders.”

As OHV enthusiasts prepare public comments due April 8 for the Eldorado National Forest SEIS, long time recreation advocates have reacted to the latest development in this almost never-ending travel planning and litigation saga.

“We hope the Eldorado is finally moving toward defensible authorization of historical access on these treasured high elevation trails,” said Don Amador, BlueRibbon Coalition Western Representative.  Pro-recreation intervenors including the California Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs, California Enduro Riders Association, American Motorcyclist Association District 36, and BlueRibbon Coalition have participated in all aspects of the planning process and earlier litigation starting back in 2002.

The groups were generally pleased with the May, 2011 decision of the federal court for the Eastern District of California that rejected the majority of challenges brought against the Forest by preservationist groups lead by the Center for Sierra Nevada Conservation.

CYPRESS, Calif. – Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A., employees volunteered to help restore one of the San Bernardino National Forest’s most popular multi-use off-highway vehicle (OHV) staging areas this past weekend.

Eighty volunteers, comprised of Yamaha employees and their family and friends, along with members of the San Bernardino National Forest Association (SBNFA), contributed approximately 240 hours of volunteer service to maintain and improve the Cactus Flats staging area.

The San Bernardino National Forest sees approximately 2.4 million visitors each year, and Cactus Flats is a popular spot for OHV enthusiasts providing access to some of the best trails in Southern California.  Thousands of visitors, including OHV enthusiasts, hikers and mountain bikers among others, enjoy the staging area and surrounding trails each year.

The Off Road Business Association (ORBA) has joined the growing number of individuals and associations looking to affect the national elections of key states in hopes that pro-trail candidates will win back the Senate. OHV Enthusiasts now have their own national Political Action Committee or PAC so it was an easy decision for the ORBA Board of Directors to seek support. Offsetting the big money of the environmental movement will be no easy task, but at least the OHV industry is making headway.

Don Amador founder of the Trail PAC explained the scenario in 3 key races in which Pro OHV candidates are facing attacks. George Allen in Virginia, Denny Rehberg in Montana, and Heather Wilson, in New Mexico.  In Wilsons race in New Mexico five “Big Green” groups have formed a coalition to defeat Wilson, who is running for the seat left vacant by Democratic Sen. Jeff Bingaman’s retirement. Her Democratic opponent is Rep. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., a board member of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. “That group has a long history of opposing responsible OHV recreation on public lands,” Amador said.

The Blueribbon Coalition recently sent over this update for the Wallowa-Whitman Travel Management Plan. See their news item below:

Since the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest released its travel management decision, there has been huge public outrage over the amount of road and trail closures. Indeed, over 800 people showed up in opposition to the travel plan at a recent public meeting organized by a group called Forest Access for All.

In a letter to the editor, Wallowa-Whitman Forest Supervisor Monica J. Schwalbach announced the withdrawal of the travel management decision. Please read Supervisor Schwalbach’s announcement here:

Forest Supervisor Stops the Clock on Wallowa-Whitman Travel Management Plan
http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/wallowa-whitman/news-events/?cid=STELPRDB5363914

While this is certainly good news, many local OHV enthusiasts are assuming the agency will “start over” and begin the travel planning process anew. We want to caution our members and supporters that such a “re-do” is highly unlikely. It is far more likely the agency will simply wait until the outrage subsides and make only minor changes to the plan.

BRC strongly recommends local OHV enthusiasts identify the most glaring flaws in the plan and submit their proposed changes both to the District Ranger offices and the counties. General comments such as “keep existing routes open” or “start the planning process over” probably won’t be effective. Instead, identify the roads and trails that were proposed for closure, and make the case that they be open. Be specific as possible.

BRC will be blasting an update as soon as we learn more. Thanks to everyone who have been involved. As we often say… stay tuned!

As always, please call or email if you have any questions or comments.

Ric Foster
Public Lands Department Manager
BlueRibbon Coalition
208-237-1008 ext 107

CYPRESS, Calif. – Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A., has taken a leading role in supporting safe, responsible riding and open, sustainable riding areas by GRANTing nearly $2 million through its OHV Access Initiative since 2008.  This financial support has proven critical in areas such as building bridges over fish-baring streams, improving thousands of miles of trails, and renovating staging areas.

In addition to financial support from the OHV Access Initiative, Yamaha employees out of the company’s Cypress, Calif., headquarters have taken on a personal obligation to support this mission as well.

Earlier this October, more than 60 employees, family members and friends convened in the San Bernardino National Forest (SBNF) volunteering more than 200 work hours and kicking off a long-term restoration project at the popular Cactus Flats staging area near Big Bear Lake.  Volunteers reached some initial restoration goals through weeding, grubbing, seed collecting, planting native shrubs, watering and other important clean-up projects.

“It’s exciting to see so many Yamaha employees volunteer their weekend and get their hands dirty in support of our local mountains and OHV areas,” said Steve Nessl, Yamaha ATV and SxS group marketing manager, who participated in the volunteer project and helps spearhead the OHV Access Initiative.  “The San Bernardino National Forest Association has a model OHV program that garners thousands of volunteer hours every year.  We’re happy to do our small part for our local trails, and we encourage OHV enthusiasts across the country to continue to keep their riding areas safe and sustainable, as well as look to our OHV program for support.”

PICKERINGTON, Ohio – In a victory for off-highway vehicle (OHV) riders nationwide, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has reversed his position on his controversial new Wild Lands policy, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports.

In an announcement made June 1, Salazar said the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) wouldn’t designate any Wild Lands, which would have been managed as if they had received the restrictive Wilderness land-use designation from Congress.

Instead, Salazar said the BLM, which is a part of the Interior Department, will work in collaboration with members of Congress and others to identify public land that may be appropriate candidates for congressional protection under the Wilderness Act.

“We will focus our effort on building consensus around locally supported initiatives and working with members [of Congress] to advance their priorities for Wilderness designations in their states and districts,” he said.

Rob Dingman, AMA president and CEO, said he was pleased by the news but cautioned that OHV riders must remain on guard.

“This is a major victory for motorcyclists and all-terrain vehicle riders and others concerned about appropriate access to public land,” Dingman said. “But we must remain vigilant. Anti-access groups will continue pushing for legislation to inappropriately close off millions of acres of public land to OHVs. Not only are BLM lands under attack by these groups, but U.S. Forest Service land as well.

“I want to thank all the AMA members and others who attended meetings and contacted their federal lawmakers to oppose the Wild Lands policy,” he added. “Your voices helped put pressure on Secretary Salazar to convince him to abandon his ill-conceived Wild Lands policy.”

In December, the AMA and OHV enthusiasts won an important battle for responsible riding on public land when U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) dropped his effort to pass a massive omnibus public lands bill that would have inappropriately designated millions of acres of public land as Wilderness, barring OHVs.

But then just days later, on Dec. 22, Salazar signed Secretarial Order 3310 creating the Wild Lands land-use designation that essentially allowed BLM officials to manage public land as if it had received a Wilderness designation from Congress, but without requiring congressional approval. This new policy was widely expected to restrict or eliminate responsible OHV use in the affected areas, and was seen to be orchestrated by anti-access groups to pull an end-run around Congress.

It also was expected to have a far-reaching impact because the BLM manages about 245 million acres of public land nationwide, primarily in 12 western states.

Federal lawmakers have considered the Wild Lands policy a “land grab” and a blatant attempt to usurp congressional authority. Off-highway riders sporting “Stop the Land Grab” stickers produced by the AMA and distributed by the Utah Shared Access Alliance (USA-ALL) turned out in droves for a meeting of Utah’s Governor’s Council on Balanced Resources that featured BLM Director Bob Abbey trying to explain the new policy.

Several governors were very vocal in their opposition to the Wild Lands policy as well, including Wyoming’s Matthew Mead, Idaho’s C.L. “Butch” Otter and Utah’s Gary Herbert.

Because of opposition from powerful federal lawmakers, governors, the AMA and other OHV enthusiasts, the Wild Lands policy hit a major snag on April 15.

That’s when President Obama signed into law the Fiscal Year 2011 Continuing Resolution — the funding measure that keeps the federal government operating through Sept. 30 – that included language barring the Interior Department from using any money to implement the Wild Lands land-use policy to manage land as if it had been designated as Wilderness.

A Wilderness designation is one of the strictest forms of public land management. Once Congress designates an area as Wilderness, nearly all forms of non-pedestrian recreation are illegal. The AMA supports appropriate Wilderness designations that meet the criteria established by Congress in 1964, but anti-access advocates have been abusing the legislative process to ban responsible OHV recreation on public land.

The Friends of Oceano Dunes have asked that we help spread the word on the proposed plan by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) to designate a large portion of the Oceano Dunes SVRA in Pismo Beach, California as critical habitat for the Snow Plover which would eliminate OHV activity and would greatly affect access to the dunes.

Comments on the proposed plan must be received by 5/23/11. The Friends of Oceano Dunes have drafted a letter for OHV enthusiasts to send to USFWS:

SUGGESTED LETTER:

Public Comments Processing,
Attn: FWS-R8-ES-2010-0070
Division of Policy and Directives Management
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 222
Arlington, VA 22203

Re: Opposition to Inclusion of Oceano Dunes SVRA in the Critical Habitat Designation for the Western Snowy Plover

Dear Fish and Wildlife Service:

I OPPOSE designating Oceano Dunes SVRA as plover critical habitat. It should remain excluded for economic reasons as it has been for the past 6 years without harm to the plover.

I am a frequent visitor to Oceano Dunes SVRA in Pismo Beach, California, where I enjoy one of the most unique off-roading experiences in the world.  I have just learned that the Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to declare a significant part of Oceano Dunes to be “critical” habitat for the western snowy plover.

I am confused by this proposal since I know that in 2005 the Service specifically excluded Oceano Dunes from plover critical habitat because of the severe impacts such a regulation would have on the local and regional economy in San Luis Obispo County.  Miles of riding area have already been off-limits to off-road recreation even though this is not critical habitat. The plover seems to be thriving with all of the conservation measures that State Parks currently has in place. I understand that State Parks is planning even more. In light of all this, what additional benefit can adding the critical habitat regulation have? It seems like it will just be used by extremists to try to shut down the park to off-road recreation.

Sincerely,

Sign Name: *______________________________ Date* _________

Print Name:* ______________________________

Address: *________________________________

City *____________ State:* _______ Zip* ____

*REQUIRED