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Get Involved: The 5-Minute Activist

By: John Stewart
Managing Editor, MUIRNet-News and 4x4Wire.com

Organizations exist because people care about their outdoor recreation opportunities.  In the beginning,  organizations formed for social reasons which soon became political reasons to maintain outdoor recreation opportunities.  Organizations exist because of members.  Members are volunteers and important for the success and effectiveness of any organization.

Volunteers can be activists.  More and more, members becoming activists for a few minutes a month are making a difference.

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CA4WDC BOD Meeting - Aug 21-22, 2010

CA4WDC BOD Meeting - Aug 21-22, 2010

A developing issue involves the fatal crash at the California 200 off-road race in Johnson Valley OHV Area.  While the event was a commercial/competition event, it was a permitted event.  Early word from BLM indicates there is significant pressure from Washington to closely review future permitted events.  BLM has begun a review of event permit criteria with an eye towards safety.  The environmental community has stepped up lobbying efforts to halt future permitted events.

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NRC Report - October 2010

NRC Report - October 2010

During the October Desert Advisory Council meeting, the BLM Permit system was addressed.  BLM is holding to a strict interpretation of the permit regulations which require permit applications to be submitted no later than six months prior to the scheduled event.  All permit applications are undergoing close review and BLM has established an internal team to review their process for review and issuing permits.

Due to the strict interpretation of the permit process, the compromise for Devil’s Canyon is out.  Devil’s Canyon is still open for people to submit an application for a permit; however, an insurance policy is required.

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NRC Report - September 2010

NRC Report - September 2010

Special Use Permits are at the top of the list of concerns.  The investigation of the the California 200 accident is expected to be complete late October.  Already, BLM is taking steps in response to that accident.  As directed by Washington headquarters, BLM has begun a review of their permit policies to ensure that all permits are issued in strict compliance with existing rules and Code of Federal Regulations.  This review has been directed agency-wide.  Within the California Desert District, one immediate change is being applied.  Permit applications are required six months prior to event date.

A formal letter articulating recreation concerns with the permit process has been submitted to CDD Manager on behalf of CA4WDC.  In addition, a formal request to be part of future discussions concerning the permit process was presented to CDD Manager at the Desert Advisory Council meeting in Needles on Oct. 2.

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NRC Report - August 2010

NRC Report - August 2010

A developing issue involves the fatal crash at the California 200 off-road race in Johnson Valley OHV Area.  While the event was a commercial/competition event, it was a permitted event.  Early word from BLM indicates there is significant pressure from Washington to closely review future permitted events.  BLM has begun a review of event permit criteria with an eye towards safety.  The environmental community has stepped up lobbying efforts to halt future permitted events.

Early indications lean toward more stringent participant and spectator safety requirements.  And, indications are  insurance will surface as a major issue.

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NRC Report - July 2010

NRC Report - July 2010

There is breaking news and concern with travel management.  On Aug 4, USFS Region 5 held a selected invite Focus Group on the Travel Management Rule, Subpart A - Administration of the Forest Transportation System at the Center for Collaborative Policy in Sacramento.
Two key paragraphs from the invitation announcement (and organizations confirmed for the Focus Group) are quoted below:

Nothing in print will be provided prior to the meeting as the Forest Service does not want preliminary draft materials being widely distributed as this could generate unnecessary concern/feedback prior to the “official” roll-out, which will not commence until sometime after this initial focus group. However, a brief presentation will be given by Forest Service staff to provide an overview of the proposed process and key messages relative to Subpart A. Focus Group discussion will focus on a few key issues/topics generated by the material shared in the presentation. We will allow time for each and every participant to state their reaction to the materials and provide their suggestions for how to undertake the overall planning process.

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