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Rubicon Water Quality Being Studied

In mid-March, the Water Quality Control Board will convene a meeting between trail closure advocates and OHV activists, with representatives from the responsible agency, El Dorado County’s Department of Transportation, as well as representatives from affected agencies such as the Forest Service, the Department of Fish and Game, and the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Department. The Water Quality Control Board is scheduling this meeting and extending the comment period as a fact finding mission and a discussion of completed, ongoing, and planned mitigation efforts, proven best management practices, and schedules. Discussion may also include what stakeholders would like to see in the future for the Rubicon Trail.

Randy Burleson, President of the Rubicon Trail Foundation, stated that “OHV users welcome the openness of the Water Quality Board to hear the full story of the many improvements which have already been completed, are now in progress, or are planned for the Rubicon. The few individuals lobbying to close and/or restrict trail usage omitted details of effective mitigations, decreased traffic, and improved trail conditions. We look forward to sharing these facts with the Regional Water Quality Board, and adding them to the list of agency partners working together for the good of the Rubicon Trail.” Friends of the Rubicon and Rubicon Trail Foundation work well together, and have successfully partnered with El Dorado County, Placer County, El Dorado National Forest, Tahoe National Forest, the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Board, and the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division.

Please join the Rubicon Trail Foundation in providing substantive comments to the Water Quality Control Board, especially those regarding the abatement order, or the Assessment of Sediment Delivery from the Rubicon Trail study cited in it. The March meeting agenda will focus on best management practice and working together to form an abatement order that 4x4 and OHV users and closure advocates alike can live with – the Foundation needs your help to shine light on all of these issues in your letters. Questions and comments may be directed to CVRWQB’s Sue McConnell by email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. – please copy the Foundation on any comments at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The Foundation lists discussion points at our website: www.RubiconTrailFoundation.org.

The Rubicon Trail Foundation was formed in 2004. We are a federally recognized non-profit organization dedicated to the future health of the Rubicon Trail and our mission is to enhance the future health and use of the Rubicon Trail, while ensuring responsible motorized year-round trail access. We work with the individuals, clubs, organizations, and agencies to maintain and manage the trail. Our Officers and Directors represent a wide variety of Rubicon Trail OHV users, land owners, county representatives, manufacturers, and event organizers.

More information is available at www.RubiconTrailFoundation.org

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If you would like more information on this topic, or to schedule an interview with a representative of the Rubicon Trail Foundation, please e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Off Road Businesses Urged to Oppose S.22

BAKERSFIELD, CA (February 10, 2009) S. 22, an omnibus public lands bill approved by the Senate January 15, 2009 has now moved to the House of Representatives. This bill would designate over 2 million acres of public lands as wilderness, the most restrictive land use designation available. All forms of motorized and mechanized recreation are prohibited in wilderness areas. In a time when our economy is seeing a dramatic slow down it makes no sense to eliminate one of the few income makers in some of the rural communities effected by this bill, OHV recreation.

 We recognize the need for wilderness in the appropriate areas and with the proper local input so that trails and areas of high recreation value are cherry stemmed or excluded totally from this type of designation. It is not good public policy for congress to push a 1200 page piece of legislation through without giving people the proper time to digest and understand it, as they are attempting to do with this bill.
A recent addition to this bill is the codification of the National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS). The NLCS would, in our opinion, create an additional and undue level of bureaucracy for the national system of public lands.
ORBA urges its members and anyone who enjoys motorized recreation on public lands to contact their representative and ask them to oppose S.22. If you are not sure who your U.S. Representative is go to the following link to find out. https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml

ORBA is a national trade association composed of off-road related businesses united to promote common goals that support the prosperity and growth of the off-road industry.

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Federal Statutes: What They Are and Where to Find Them

This report provides a brief overview of federal statutes and where to find them, both in print and on the Internet.

When Congress passes a law, it may amend or repeal earlier enactments or it may write on a clean slate. Newly enacted laws are published chronologically, first as separate statutes in "slip law" form and later cumulatively in a series of volumes known as the Statutes at Large. Statutes are numbered by order of enactment either as public laws or, far less frequently, private laws, depending on their scope.

Most statutes are incorporated into the United States Code. The United States Code and its commercial counterparts arrange federal statutes, that are of a general and permanent nature, by subject into titles. As the statutes that underlie the Code are revised, superseded, or repealed, the provisions of the Code are updated to reflect these changes.

The slip law versions of public laws are available in official print form from the Government Printing Office. Federal Depository Libraries (e.g., university and state libraries) provide slip laws in print and/or microfiche format. The Statutes at Large series often is available at large libraries. The United States Code and its commercial counterparts are usually available at local libraries. In addition, statutes and the United States Code can be found on the Internet.

Many significant statutes (for example, the Social Security Act and the Clean Air Act) are published and updated both in the public law, as amended, version and in the United States Code. For some titles the public law, as amended, is the authoritative version of the statute and not the Code. In these instances, an asterisk will not appear next to the title in the Code. After providing an overview on the basics of federal statutes, this report gives guidance on where federal statutes, in their various forms, may be located on the Internet.

Click here to download a copy of this Congressional Research Report.

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Residents Oppose Wilderness for the Panamint Valley Area

CWC representatives Ryan Hensen and Laurel Williams explained they are interested in providing legislative protection to the lands while retaining access to the routes used by recreation for access to desert areas.

For purposes of this meeting, Searles Valley and the Great Falls Basin were the only areas open for discussion.  Efforts to include Surprise Canyon in the discussion were rebuffed as irrelevant.

During the CWC presentation, statistics were presented that indicated wilderness provided an economic growth and use of wilderness areas was increasing.  John Stewart, Natural Resource Consultant for California Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs challenged the data presented.  Stewart noted that the numbers presented were for a mid-1990 time frame and did not reflect recent data indicating that use of wilderness areas has been in decline for the past 10 years.  Further, the growth of motorized recreation on public lands has increased by over 25% during that period.

In addition, Stewart stated the CA4WDC hosts the annual Panamint Valley Days event that brings significant financial contributions to the local economy.  That economy impact for one weekend exceed the recorded hiking days per year for the area.

Stewart noted, "Public meetings have a general tone to describe the meeting.  This meeting had no general tone, only a direct, pointed message that said:  No wilderness in our desert.  Go back to your city life,  We know how to care for our desert."

The CWC is seeking to gather "public support" for a wilderness proposal that identifies routes of travel and areas of special interest to exclude from wilderness.  All other lands between the identified routes will be designated as wilderness.  CWC representatives declined to guarantee that identified routes would be formally excluded, only that their proposal would request they be excluded.

While still being developed, the entire wilderness proposal is expected to exceed 600,000 acres.  While some is converting existing wilderness study area to wilderness, much of the acreage is expanding existing wilderness to preclude economic development.  When pressed, CWC representatives did acknowledge their goal is to protect the desert from industrial development,  Their definition of "industrial development" is mining and renewable energy projects.

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Throughout the country, units of the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service are in various stages of the route inventory and designation process as outlined in the National Travel Management Rule. The Sierra National Forest published a Notice of Intent on September 12, 2007, in which the proposed action would preclude motorized use on about 90% of presently-open and historically-traveled routes. That proposal could even ban OHV use on the popular Stagecoach Trail near Miami Creek.

Stewards of the Sierra National Forest are submitting comments and proposing an alternative in the DEIS that they hope will inspire the Forest to meet users halfway. Some club members are hopeful the agency will come forward with a plan that designates at least 250 miles of historic user routes in this once Open Forest, where cross-country travel was the legal and valid travel prescription.

Don Amador, Western Representative for the BlueRibbon Coalition, states, "I think the success of travel planning will depend on whether the public perceives the agency as striking a balance and meeting all users at a middle point. Just how the Forest Service recognizes the validity of historic user routes--which often have official agency signs and are on current federal maps--will determine how the public accepts the route designation process."

"The organized OHV community recognizes the importance of, and generally supports, the designation process. As these plans are finalized, it will behoove all involved for the agency to enlist the organized recreation community's help in the implementation of the program. However, such support will be difficult to muster where the agency operates from the default setting of route closure," Amador concluded.

Further details regarding the Forest's planning process are available at: http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/sierra/projects/ohv/index.shtml

Stewards of the Sierra National Forest: http://www.sotsnf.org


The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible recreation, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. It represents over 10,000 individual members and 1,200 organization and business members, for a combined total of over 600,000 recreationists nationwide. 1-800-258-3742. www.sharetrails.org


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