Covering recreation and environmental issues within California

Nightmare at Nightmare Gulch

Trespass damage at Red Rock Canyon SP

This was a large group of people in 4X4’s who collectively decided to violate state law. It is estimated this happened within the last two weeks, and there were at least eight vehicles in the group. See attached pictures showing the damage.

This incident at Red Rock compromised a closed sensitive area and certainly does not help our efforts to maintain OHV access to the area, the north end of Nightmare where it transitions out to a gate and eventually leads out into the northwestern portion of Last Chance Canyon and Nightmare Gulch.

Red Rock Canyon State Park issued an Emergency Closure of Nightmare Gulch on October 9, 2013. The Emergency Closure was issued as a result of summer storm damage which rendered the canyon impassable to vehicles. While the closure is temporary, before any trail repair can be performed an environmental assessment is required. This whole process could take many months. - See more at: Nightmare Gulch Closed

This trespass has the unintended consequence of jeopardizing the pending acquisition of Onyx Ranch property in the adjacent Jawbone/Dove Springs area.

Your help is needed to shut down the irresponsible few who are jeopardizing our recreation and resources with their illegal actions is needed.

Stay on designated trails. Stay out of closed sensitive areas. You are responsible for preserving off-road recreation. Responsible recreation preserves access.



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Controversy Around the Sage Grouse

BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC) has taken a leadership role for backcountry recreationists, thank goodness, in bringing common sense to the table regarding the sage grouse.  The whole drama is being played out over possible listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  Ranchers have invested thousands of dollars in modifying habitat on private lands to try and prevent listing; federal and state agencies have invested untold dollars and staff time studying this bird over the last 60 years; and scientists have issued conflicting reports, over and over, contradicting each other, or countering the claims of another group or scientist.  It’s hard to even follow.  But again, thank goodness for groups like BRC.

For those of us who use a motorized vehicle in the pursuit of what makes us happy, or helps us earn a living, BRC has taken the common sense, science-based approach that includes the belief that responsible motorized recreation can coexist with the sage grouse in its habitat by factoring into the equation four pro-active OHV management prescriptions for managing this bird on public lands.

BRC (under the Sage Grouse Task Force headed by Don Amador) is writing comments and helping recreationists provide input in all affected areas with these recommended prescriptions:

1. Maintain TMR direction for using only designated routes and trails.
2. Implement limited operating periods for critical areas (such as crack of dawn around leks) from Mar. 1 to May 15.
3. Adhere to measures to ensure invasive species prevention.
4. Ensure sound ordinances are in place.

People can coexist with the sage grouse but we, the people, must be involved in our agencies and elected officials to ensure that happens!  The THREE things you can do include:

1. Join BRC (if not a member yet) and donate to the Sage Grouse Action Fund.
2. Stay abreast and help your state association in dealing with area-specific sage grouse issues and meetings.
3. Don’t sit back and wait for someone else to do it for you or your trails will be as scarce as logging trucks in a National Park.

The BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC) is a national non-profit organization that champions responsible recreation and encourages a strong conservation ethic and individual stewardship, while providing leadership in efforts to keep outdoor recreation alive and well -- all sports; all trails.  With members in all 50 states, BRC is focused on building enthusiast involvement with organizational efforts through membership, outreach, education and collaboration among recreationists. 1-800-BLUERIB -  www.BlueRibbonCoalition.Org

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Nightmare Gulch Closed

Nightmare Gulch - Red Rock Canyon SP

After meeting with Ranger Williams, Jerry and Mary drove to the east entrance of the canyon to view the damage. They have been running the canyon since 1970 and have seen a lot of changes over the years. Some of the obstacles are now easier and some are harder to negotiate than in years past. Overall, this does not appear to be the worst damage over time. There were tracks in the canyon showing that some vehicles successfully went through prior to the closure.

Two areas where identified where attention was needed (See photos). In one area, you can see where previous visitors have driven through the plants to avoid a small rock pile. The rock pile can be seen on the left side of the photo. The problem can be easily mitigated by moving aside one of the boulders.

The other photo shows a high ledge about half way up the canyon. For reference, the hiking stick is 44 inches tall. You can see on the right side of the photo where previous visitors had built a ramp. However, it is small and the approach is a little tippy. It would not be difficult to expand the size of the ramp.

From the photos, there is a belief the Emergency Closure was unnecessary. However, the issuance of the Emergency Closure starts a process that may be irreversible. Ranger Williams has promised to keep stakeholders informed as the process unfolds.

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