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John Stewart

Travel Restrictions in New Owyhee Wilderness Announced


Section 1503(b)(1) of The Act states, “Subject to valid existing rights, each area designated as wilderness by this subtitle shall be administered by the Secretary [of Interior] in accordance with the Wilderness Act [of 1964].”

While The Act specifically provides for continued operation of commercial outfitting and guiding activities in wilderness areas, those activities are limited by the requirements of Section 4(c) of the 1964 Wilderness Act, which states that “…subject to existing private rights…there shall be…no use of motor vehicles, motorized equipment..., no other form of mechanical transport, and no structure or installation within any such area.”

On the subject of Road Closures, to comply with the Wilderness Act of 1964, BLM is locating and signing wilderness boundary roads, which will remain open to the public. All roads leading into Wilderness Areas will eventually be signed and barricaded. According to the Act, gates will allow passage of motorized vehicles and equipment for emergency purposes, and will also provide grazing permittees access to repair or maintain existing range improvements on a limited and as-authorized basis only.

Hunters and other recreationists accessing Wilderness Areas will not be allowed the use of motorized or mechanized vehicles or equipment. Section 1507(d)(1) of The Act also states, “…all recreational motorized and mechanized off-highway vehicle use [within Owyhee County] shall be limited to roads and trails lawfully in existence on the day before the date of enactment of this Act.”

BLM has maps on its website, which can be downloaded, showing where these Wilderness Areas are located in Owyhee County. To view the latest maps of the new Wilderness Areas, go to www.id.blm.gov and click on “Owyhee Wilderness MAPS”. The routes on the maps that appear to enter Wilderness Areas are cherry-stem routes that Congress specifically excluded from Wilderness designation. All other routes, whether or not they are currently gated or barricaded, officially end at the wilderness boundaries. Please ensure that you do not enter any Wilderness Area on a closed route.

If you have questions regarding the above information, please call Bruneau Field Manager Arnie Pike at (208) 384-3331, Owyhee Field Manager Buddy Green at (208) 896-5913, or Jarbidge Assistant Field Manager Jill Ralston at (208) 736-2364.

 

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John Stewart

DNR announces temporary road and trail closures in 31 of 58 Minnesota state forests

(March 31, 2010) - The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds people that it has temporarily closed many of its state forest roads and trails since they are not yet firm enough to support vehicle traffic.

The state forests temporarily closed to vehicle traffic as of Monday, March 29, include Badoura, Big Fork, Blackduck , Bowstring, Chengwatana, Fond du Lac, Foot Hills, Golden Anniversary, Hill River, Huntersville, Land O’Lakes, Lyons, Nemadji, Paul Bunyan, Pine Island, Remer, Rum River, Smokey Bear, Smoky Hills, Snake River, St. Croix, Two Inlets, Waukenabo, Wealthwood, White Earth, and Whiteface River.

State forests with some, but not all, roads and trails closed as of Monday, March 29, include George Washington, Koochiching, Red Lake, Savanna, and Solana.

“The DNR will lift road and trail closures as soon as possible, some of them as soon as next week,” said Keith Simar, DNR forest recreation coordinator. “We will let users know when and where they can drive. In turn, we ask that they check before riding.”

People can check “Current Conditions” on the DNR Web site or by calling the DNR Information Center for updates. The Info Center can be reached at 651-296-6157 or toll-free at 888-MINNDNR (646 6367) between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. weekdays.

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John Stewart

Court Orders Closure of State Park



The order stems from a complaint filed by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) and the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance.  The group's complaint alleged OHV activities at Carnegie SVRA are causing discharge to enter Corral Hollow Creek, which flows through the park. The creek only runs 4 to 6 weeks a year, and after leaving the park eventually runs out into an agriculture field and   disappears into the ground.

"If  regulatory agencies are satisfied with what the park has been doing, why does this judge in Alameda think he knows better than the environmental professionals?," asked Dave Pickett, President of  American Motorcyclist Association District 36 and member of the Carnegie OHV Taskforce. "This is an attempt by special interests groups to highjack lasting collaborative solutions, and deny family recreation enjoyed by over a 100,000 visitors to this park annually. This is just flat wrong!"

For years, staff from Carnegie has been working with the Regional Water Board and nearby property owners to address water quality issues in Corral Hollow Creek, which runs through the State Park. In 2004, State Parks initiated a watershed assessment, paid for with OHV user fees, to diagnose potential issues in the watershed and design fixes. Regulatory agencies together with State Parks are identifying solutions to address problems.

"We have been working with the park to address the hill climbs in Carnegie, which have been problematic, as well as making sure the vehicles are out of the creek. But we have no control over Hetch Hetchy, who illegally performed work in the creek bed, or the munitions testing facility," said Pickett, referring to the activities of neighbors of the park. "It is troubling when the OHV community wants to work within the system and is now taking all the blame."

According to Don Amador, Western Representative for the BlueRibbon Coalition and fellow member of the Carnegie Taskforce, "If the park is forced to close, more than 100,000 park visitors will be displaced. The closure will impact other OHV recreation areas, causing overcrowding and unanticipated effects from the overload. The closure will not hasten better water quality, but is just another example of the Plaintiffs grandstanding and misusing environmental law to enact a political agenda that is anti-recreation and anti-park."

"Californians would be better served if PEER extended the hand of partnership to legitimately address the issue, rather than using the court system to close a park at a time when residents have been fighting so hard to keep State Parks open. This court decision is deeply troubling on any number of levels," Amador concludes...

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The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national (non-profit) trail-saving group that represents over 600,000 recreationists nationwide The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) season is beginning. Federal employees, please mark BlueRibbon Coalition and Check #11402 on your CFC pledge form to support our efforts to protect your access. Join us at 1-800-258-3742 http://www.sharetrails.org

 

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John Stewart

Temporary Stay on Lead in ATVs Released

MOTORCYCLE INDUSTRY COUNCIL: CPSC’S STAY OF ENFORCEMENT IS INADEQUATE; LEGISLATIVE SOLUTION NEEDED

IRVINE, Calif., May 4, 2009 –The Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) and the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (SVIA) issued the following statement in response to the Consumer Product Safety Commission's (CPSC) release of a Federal Register notice on a Stay of Enforcement for all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and motorcycles from the new lead content limits contained in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA):

"MIC and SVIA thank CPSC Acting Chairman Nancy Nord and Commissioner Thomas Moore for attempting to get youth model ATVs and motorcycles back on showroom floors, and for acknowledging that the current ban on youth model ATVs and motorcycles creates a compelling safety issue because it likely will result in children 12 years of age and younger riding larger and faster adult-size vehicles, while, as the CPSC's staff scientists acknowledge, the presence of lead in metal alloys in these youth models does not present a health hazard to children. The Commission also acknowledges that children riding these vehicles only interact with a limited number of metal component parts that might contain small amounts of lead, like brake and clutch levers, throttle controls, and tire valve stems.

However, although the Commissioners' intentions are laudable, it is clear that the stay of enforcement as drafted is a temporary stop-gap measure with conditions largely unrelated to safety. It does not and cannot end the ban on these vehicles. Due to the highly restrictive language of the CPSIA and the fact that the CPSC is not the only agency responsible for enforcing the law, this stay of enforcement is simply inadequate in legal terms and leaves the industry vulnerable to lawsuits and actions by federal and state agencies.

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John Stewart

Forest Service Urges Caution

Be Safe on our National Forests: What to do if you Encounter a Marijuana Cultivation Site

VALLEJO, Calif., May 06, 2009—As the summer approaches, the marijuana cultivation season will begin and it is especially important to be aware of your surroundings on national forests.

Marijuana growers will be active on the national forests from now until usually the end of October. Here are some clues that you may have come across a site:

  • The smell of marijuana especially on hot days is like a skunk.
  • Hoses or drip lines located in unusual or unexpected places.
  • A well used trail where there shouldn’t be one.
  • Voices coming from an unusual place.
  • People standing along roads without vehicles present, or in areas where loitering appears unusual.
  • Usually plantations are found in isolated locations; in rough steep terrains (typically between 500 to 5500 elevation).
  • Camps containing cooking and sleeping areas with food.
  • Small propane bottles (so the grower can avoid detection of wood smoke).
  • Fertilizer, weapons, garbage, dead animals.
  • Individuals armed with rifles out of hunting season.

As soon as you become aware that you have entered a cultivation site, or have encountered any of the above listed situations, immediately reduce the threat by removing yourself from the area. Walk, crawl or run out the way you came in and make as little noise as possible. The growers may be present, and may or may not know that you have found their operation.

As soon as possible, contact your nearest Forest Service Law Enforcement Officer or Deputy and report as much detail about the incident as you can recall. Please contact Acting Special Agent in Charge, Laura Mark at (707) 562-8648 for more information.

Over seven million plants have been seized off California National Forest System lands since 2003.

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