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Chief

Is Growing Trees Coming Back?

A recent report released by the Society of American Foresters, with collaboration by US Forest Service, raises some interesting points.  According to the news report (included below), U.S. environmental and energy policies should be based on science-informed premises.

One of the premises states: -- Forest products used in place of energy-intensive materials, such as metals, concrete, and plastic can reduce and store carbon emissions and can in some cases, substitute fossil fuels to produce energy.

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Chief

Election 2008 - Get some exercise

That the population of the U.S. continues to grow is documented by census data.  That the sale of OHVs continues to grow at triple digit rates is documented by industry sales data.  That attendance at events continues to increase every year is documented by increased registrations.  These trends point towards an increasing population growth fueling an increase in demand for recreation - notably, motorized recreation.

Key to supporting the increases in population and recreation demand is access to land.  That is a good news-bad news situation.  Your view of good or bad depends on your understanding of the demographics behind the increasing population.

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Chief

Election Year Pontification

Time for a little "election year" pontification......

Election 2008 (Election Day is Nov. 4, 2008) is shaping up to be a watershed year in U.S. politics.  As election day apporaches, many issues are surfacing that trigger emotions.  It is time to turn the focus on to the structure where events are being shaped that will have a significant impact on the future.

Starting from top down...

Federal:

The President does set an agenda. Also, the President does appoint some critical positions that can have a significant impact on access to public lands.

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Chief

Is geothermal on the move?

A "news release" from the Department of Energy is included below.

Apparently, the Department of Energy (DOE) is considering issuing "funding opportunities" to groups that can figure out a method of "...increasing the use of traditional hydrothermal and geothermal" projects under a "demonstration project" concept "...in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance our energy security."

There are numerous existing technologies in world-wide daily application that do generate electrical power from hydrothermal and geothermal resources.
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Chief

Bi-Partisan Political Activity - A Primer

Bi-Partisan Political Activity - A PrimerJohn StewartNatural Resource ConsultantCalifornia Association of 4 Wheel Drive ClubsWhether your club focus is social interaction or working to save your favorite wheeling area, members are what make it possible. It starts with membership in a local club centering on a shared goal. Soon, you find that others share common concerns about their area of interest and you begin sharing information. You have started "networking", the basic building block of a creating a coalition. Soon, you will find yourself in position to engage in political activity; either by contacting you elected representative to talk about an issue of concern or to endorse a bill.Wheelers are interested in recreation and have spent many hours learning how to drive and fix their rig. While the mechanical skills have been honed, the political skills have been ignored.The reality is that the quality of your recreation experience is dependent upon how articulate, active, and successful you are in bi-partisan political activity. The following is a "no nonsense" guide to bi-partisan political activity.1) ALWAYS TALK ABOUT YOUR RECREATION ISSUES AND CONCERNS. During conversations with political staffers, candidates, or elected officials, stick to the topic of your concerns; not party affiliation.2) TALK ABOUT WHAT HE (or SHE) IS FOR AND WHAT HE (or SHE) IS AGAINST THAT AFFECT YOUR RECREATION OPPORTUNITY. You may be a mechanic, teacher, web designer, or business owner. Talk about your recreation opportunity and how the proposed bill will affect it.3) DON'T TALK ABOUT OTHER POLITICAL ISSUES OF HIS POLITICAL PARTY. Your concern is a single issue, recreation. Talking about other issues will get you locked into being a party supporter of that candidate or issue.4) BE SUPPORTIVE OF A CANDIDATE ON ISSUES THAT CONCERN US, EITHER PRO OR CON.5) NEVER PUBLICLY ENDORSE A CANDIDATE, BUT PRAISE HIS OR HER SUPPORT FOR RECREATION ISSUES. If you endorse someone, you lock yourself in. You become a "Democrat" or "Republican", and the other side will tune you out.6) NEVER PUBLICLY ENDORSE AN AMENDMENT OR REFERENDUM THAT DOES NOT DIRECTLY AFFECT RECREATION, BUT LEND SUPPORT THROUGH COALITIONS ON ISSUES THAT DO AFFECT RECREATION MEMBERS. Coalitions achieve their strength through diversity. That is where we can leverage recreation positions and ideas.7) WE MUST HAVE ACCESS TO ALL ELECTED OFFICIALS (OR THEIR STAFF) WHO CAN OFFICIALLY AFFECT US - - - AND THAT MEANS WHO'S IN OFFICE IS WHO WE WANT TO BE INVOLVED WITH - - - WHO WE WANT TO LISTEN TO US.8) PARTY AFFILIATION IS YOUR PERSONAL BUSINESS, AND YOU SHOULD ACT ON IT ANY WAY YOU WANT. HOWEVER, YOU SHOULD COMMUNICATE WITH ELECTED OFFICIALS AND PROMOTE RECREATION ISSUES REGARDLESS OF PARTY AFFILIATION.The above are elementary political techniques - - - things that recreationists need to learn more about --- think more about --- and do more about. Bi-partisan activity through coalitions will strengthen all of us.
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John Stewart

Recreation – A New Era

Recreation – A New EraJohn StewartNatural Resource ConsultantCalifornia Association of 4 Wheel Drive ClubsIn the mid-1990’s, the Clinton administration foisted the “roadless rule” on an unsuspecting public, initiating a fundamental change in the way the Forest Service would approach land management. Since its inception, the “roadless rule” has been the subject of on-going litigation challenging the legality of the action. The 10th Circuit and 9th Circuit Courts are at odds with differing opinions of the legality of the rule and its various iterations.

While the courts argue, the agency is left with trying to base decisions without knowing the ground rules. The infamous “roadless rule” is but one of several efforts undertaken by agencies to bring land management policy into sync with the 21st Century. All efforts to modernize 40-50 year old policies have been subjected to court challenge by zealots that wish to roll the clock back a few centuries.Today, the recreation community is committed to working for solutions. Beginning with the 1937 Pittman-Robertson Fund through the 1991 National Recreation Trust Fund, the recreation community has been subjecting themselves to a “tax” that is earmarked for support of recreation activities. In California, the Off Highway Motorized Vehicle Recreation Trust Fund is a “tax” levied on recreationists for the purpose of supporting that form of recreation.While recreation interests are proactive in providing funds for game and fishery habitat management and trail maintenance, forces are at work to eliminate the very forms of outdoor recreation that are providing the funds supporting environmental improvements.In California, as elsewhere, critical issues impacting recreation are centered around access to recreation opportunities. Federal agencies are engaged in “travel management”, which is eliminating many of the historic routes used by hunters and fishermen for several generations. Agencies are defining “critical habitat” for threatened or endangered species with accompanying access restrictions that place those areas off-limits to human activity.Political actions are defining “wilderness areas” which includes many miles of routes in use for decades by the average citizen with a desire to leave the suburbs for a day and picnic under the pines or view the desert wildflowers in bloom.There is an appropriate adage: The difference between an “environmentalist” and a “developer” is simple. The environmentalist has a home in the “wilderness”. A developer wants to put his home in the “wilderness”.Today, protection of the environment is marred by court intervention. Will the real environmentalists, the ones contributing their heard-earned money, succeed in the new era?

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