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Recreation, environment, access, and land use news and information for California.

OHMVR Program Renewal

At a public meeting in Sacramento on July 19, 2016, State Parks Director Mangat stated: "This OHV program is the national model. It's not just the great program in the State of California, it is the national model, and we recognize that."

The current California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Program (OHMVR) has been in existence since 1971 (Chappi-Z’Berg Act), is a great success, and hailed as a national model providing for a statewide system of managed OHV recreational opportunities. The OHMVR Program assures that quality recreational opportunities remain available for future generations by providing education, conservation, and enforcement efforts that balance OHV recreation impact with programs that conserve and protect cultural and natural resources.

Subjected to frequent renewals over its 46 year history, the original intent of the program has been diluted and subjected to change. The program is up for renewal by January 1, 2018.

Proposed renewal legislation contains the statement:

(a) The protection of public safety, the appropriate utilization of lands, and the conservation of land natural and cultural resources are of the highest priority in the management of the state vehicular recreation areas.

Herein lies a disparity of purpose laying the groundwork for mission creep and further dilution of original legislative intent.

The original act cited providing quality OHV recreation opportunities as primary mission of the program in a sustainable manner for future generations.

This has been achieved and the program is meeting original intent.

Efforts to change the intent reflect petty personal bias, self interests and partisan politics.  Those are not best management practices that contribute to an environmentally sustainable OHV program.

Current law does not preclude implementation of best management practices within an adaptive management philosophy.  In fact, the original intent mandated that approach.

One such example is soils standards....

The current soils standards are based on 1991 standards published by Soil Conservation Service, a former federal agency charged with developing such guidance to establish practices that reduced erosion potential.  

Those standards have been incorporated by other federal and state agencies as baseline guidance for best management practices in a variety of fields ranging from agriculture to construction to road and trail building.

As noted, current law does not preclude, in fact, encourages, implementation of best management practices and adaptive management.  The program is working as intended and needs to be made permanent.

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