Access Issues

Reach out to your congressman to support Cook bill

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The House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Federal Lands will be hearing H.R. 3668, the California Minerals, Off-Road Recreation, and Conservation Act, on December 9th at 2:00 P.M.

Could you let all of our friends in the off-road community know about the hearing and encourage them to weigh in and express their support to committee members.

See this article for more about the bill

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San Bernardino NF seeks public comments on Rattlesnake Mountain OHV Trails project

The San Bernardino National Forest (SBNF) is pleased to announce the availability of the draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Rattlesnake Mountain OHV Trails project. The Forest Service is seeking public comments on this proposal for 30 calendar days; comments must be received by December 16, 2015.

The Rattlesnake Mountain OHV Trails EA evaluates the environmental consequences of the proposal to designate off highway vehicle (OHV) routes and to close/restore unauthorized routes in the Rattlesnake Mountain and Big Pine Flat areas of the SBNF.

The proposed action is to designate 8.1 miles of OHV trail and road access and to close/restore approximately 25 miles of unauthorized routes within the approximately 8,000 acre project area. The proposed action also includes a project-specific Forest Plan amendment to change current zoning along some of the proposed trails from non-motorized to motorized use.  An alternative to the proposed action has been developed in response to public scoping. The alternative would designate an additional 4.9 miles of Coxey Road (3N14) as OHV mixed use.

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17 candidate species found to no longer warrant listing

ESA-driven collaborations among states, landowners and federal agencies are protecting once-imperiled species across U.S.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) completed status reviews for 17 species that were candidates for listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and found that all are now doing well and no longer warrant listing. These species will be removed from the ESA Candidate List. These findings represent years of collaborative efforts across the United States to conserve and restore once-imperiled species and their habitats and eliminate the need for ESA protection.

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Small subset of Sierra Nevada Red Fox Warranted for ESA listing

Service finds subspecies not in danger of extinction across its entire range

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced today that the Sierra Nevada red fox as a whole does not warrant listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). However, a small population of the fox located north of Yosemite National Park is warranted-but-precluded from ESA listing by higher priorities at this time.

The most up-to-date scientific information available, some of it discovered since the time the Service was petitioned to list the Sierra Nevada red fox, shows it is more widespread than originally thought, residing in suitable habitat in Oregon as well as California. Based on this information, the Service determined that the Sierra Nevada red fox as a whole is not at risk of extinction now or in the foreseeable future.

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Plumas announces proposed action for over-snow vehicle use designation

The Forest Service will prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) on a proposal to designate over-snow vehicle (OSV) use on roads, trails and areas on lands within the Plumas National Forest. The EIS will also identify snow trails available for grooming on the Forest. Public input on the initial proposed action is encouraged.

Designating OSV use on the Forest will ensure over-snow vehicle activity (such as snowmobile riding) is effectively managed to:  provide access; ensure OSV use when there is adequate snow; promote the safety of all users; enhance public enjoyment, minimize impacts to resources; and minimize conflicts among users.

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Rep. Paul Cook introduces California Minerals, Off Road Recreation and Conservation Act

Today, Rep. Paul Cook (R- Apple Valley) introduced HR 3668, the California Minerals, Off-Road Recreation, and Conservation Act. This bill presents a balanced approach to protecting, managing, and using our desert and forest areas in San Bernardino and Inyo Counties. This bill would deal with the management of existing federal land and would not result in an increase in federal landownership.

This bill establishes a Mojave Trails Special Management Area (SMA) in an area south of the existing Mojave Preserve and northeast of the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center. This designation protects existing mining operations and allows for future mining exploration as long as mining projects never exceed ten percent of the total acreage. It would also prevent the installation of any industrial-scale renewable energy projects. Additionally, this bill would protect from development any lands within the management area donated to the federal government for conservation purposes. Over 1,200 miles of roads and off-road vehicle trails are written into law as well.

This bill establishes five new National Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Areas in Spangler Hills, El Mirage, Rasor, Dumont Dunes, and Stoddard Valley, together creating the first system of National Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Recreation Areas in the nation. Additionally, it redesignates Johnson Valley as a National Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area and expands it by nearly 20,000 acres. This bill affords additional protections to OHV users and ensures that these areas cannot be closed administratively. In total, this legislation preserves a total of 300,000 acres for OHV recreational use.

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Cal4Wheel braces for predicted storm over Sage Grouse

The California Four Wheel Drive Association (Cal4Wheel) today responded to the just-announced Department of Interior decision that endangered species listing for the greater sage grouse is "not warranted." 

“We believe this decision of listing is 'not warranted' is appropriate," announced John Stewart, Natural Resources Consultant for Cal4Wheel.  “However, while agency leadership is proclaiming a great victory and collaborative success story, the 'devil is in the details' and we expect to become mired in avoidable litigation.” 

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Upper Richardson Lake Road now open

The upper part of the Richardson Lake Road (14N39) on the Pacific Ranger District in the Eldorado National Forest is now open for motorized vehicle use, completing the final phase of corrective work on this route.   

Richardson Lake Road is on the far northeastern end of the forest, and must be accessed through roads leading from the Lake Tahoe area. This 2.65 mile road is used to access Richardson Lake for camping and fishing, and travel to the top of Sourdough Hill to enjoy the scenic vistas, including a good view towards the Rubicon Trail. The route also provides access to the Pacific Crest Trail.  A 4WD vehicle must be used to reach this road.

The first phase of work allowed the Richardson Lake Road to be re-opened up to the Pacific Crest Trail beginning in July 2014.  Recently, improvements to the upper part of the road were completed in which a rolling dip was installed; an existing sediment basin was emptied and enlarged; and rock was placed over areas of bare ground. "These measures will help prevent erosion and protect delicate meadow ecosystems while allowing recreationists to enjoy one of the most popular motorized trails in the forest," said District Ranger Richard Thornburgh.  

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Barrett Lake trail reopened July 23

Volunteers from the Hi-Landers 4WD Club transported gravel to the Barrett 4WD Trail project site this summer for construction of rolling dips.

The Barrett 4-wheel drive (4WD) Trail, a rugged six-mile off-highway route from Wright's Lake to Barrett Lake, just west of Desolation Wilderness, was re-opened today (July 23, 2015), now that reconstruction has been completed on three segments of the trail to protect sensitive meadows. The Barrett 4WD Trail has been used by recreationists since the 1960s and offers one of the most challenging off-highway vehicle (OHV) experiences in the Sierra Nevada. The trail has a high rating for difficulty and is only recommended for very experienced OHV users prepared for remote travel over large rocks. Motorized travel on this trail is typically at a rate of approximately 1- 2 miles per hour. 

The Barrett 4WD Trail was identified as one of 18 routes in the Eldorado National Forest travel system which needed corrections to comply with the environmental protection guidelines in the Sierra Nevada Plan. These routes were closed in 2012 to complete further analysis and make corrections to ensure the hydrologic connectivity of meadows would not be significantly impacted by motorized vehicle use.

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