Dumont Dunes Technical Review Meeting Scheduled

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Dumont Dunes Technical Review Meeting Scheduled

Post by Jerry Seaver » Fri Feb 16, 2007 1:04 pm

U.S. Department of the Interior
Bureau of Land Management
News Release


For Immediate Release: February 16, 2007 CA-CDD-07-21
Contact: Stephen Razo 951-697-5217, email: srazo@ca.blm.gov




Dumont Dunes Technical Review Team Meeting Scheduled

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Barstow Field Office has scheduled the next meeting of the Dumont Dunes Technical Review Team (TRT) for Tuesday, March 6 at 10:00 a.m. in the Barstow Field Office, located at 2601 Barstow Road, in Barstow. From Interstate 15 take the Barstow Road/Highway 247 exit and go east. Follow for approximately two miles and the office is located on the left.
For more information visit the website at http://www.blm.gov/ca/barstow or contact Lynnette Elser, Barstow Recreation Branch Chief, at (760) 252-6041.

-BLM-

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Post by SailAway » Tue Feb 20, 2007 2:19 pm

This is probably one of the most important TRT meetings a Dumont enthusiast could attend.

A funding source for Dumont has been cut off (temporarily, we all hope) and now there is a strong push to increase user fees at Dumont.

The BLM needs user guidance on this.

Please attend.

Vicki
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Post by RichB » Tue Feb 20, 2007 5:40 pm

Are you going to be there?
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Post by SailAway » Tue Feb 20, 2007 9:07 pm

Sure am. Burning a vacation day to be there.

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Post by SailAway » Wed Mar 07, 2007 11:11 am

The meeting went well yesterday and the duning community input made a huge difference. Here's a recap that I've posted on some of the Dumont-focused message boards:
Now let's see what I can fill in...

This will be a long one so grab a beverage and relax...

I was pleased to see that the TRT and the BLM representatives were clever enough to see that the primary agenda item would be the fee increase. Although there were some other important items on the agenda, anything else that was handled was done so very quickly so we could spend as much time as possible on the pivotal issue.

Before we get to that though, I do want to assure everyone that the other important items (supplemental rules, camp racers, metal stakes) were only "tabled" for now and will be addressed at the next meeting.

Okay, on to the fees...

One thing to keep in mind from the beginning is that we are not paying a "use" fee. We are not paying to be able to camp, use the bathroom, ride our toys. The legislation that is allowing us to be charged is based strictly on "cost recovery." To oversimplify this, that means we are paying only to cover the costs of operating the riding area... maintenance of the road, ranger services, etc., whether we have one bike in the back of our truck or a $200K motorhome.

There are several funding sources for Dumont. Primarily they are user fees, appropriated dollars and grant money (also known as 'green sticker money').

The expenses for maintaining the 'status quo' at Dumont, which would leave the level of services exactly as they were last year (law enforcement, bathrooms, emergency services, etc.), come to approximately 1.1 million dollars.

Of that, Dumont usually receives appropriated/federal dollars (usually around $400K) and grant/green sticker dollars (usually around $200k) and the rest is paid through user fees.

The grant cycle this year brought zero dollars and the appropriated dollars dropped down to less than a third of what can usually be expected. (The whys and wherefores of the evaporated funding should be discussed, but not here... let's start another topic and get that ball rolling for such an important discussion.)

That means for this season the money is still there, since the grant and appropriated dollars are in place via last year's funding cycle... but next year we will simply not have the money we have been getting because the appropriated dollars were so drastically reduced and grant money dried up entirely.

And that, unfortunately, means only one thing... a hike in user fees.

The initial proposal was based on a three-tiered pass system: 3-day, 10-day and annual. After a lot of discussion it was decided that having three levels of pass is a management nightmare.

At one point we were asked to name a figure of what we would be willing to pay to recreate at Dumont. This is an unfair question and skews the results... excellent tactic though, as it plays on guilt and loyalty and greed all at once. Of course we will all pay whatever we have to pay... but that has nothing to do with what is right or fair.

And we didn't fall for it. Instead, we hammered out the numbers and then came up with something more reasonable that we thought would maintain the level of services and will keep the family duners coming back.

Now... something everyone needs to know is, the bulk of our labor expenses (law enforcement, ranger staffing, emergency services) are from the extra personnel needed for the big weekends (Halloween, Thanksgiving, New Years, President's Day, Easter). Because of this, after MAJOR discussion and lots of back and forth, we proposed the following:

$30 a week
$40 if stay includes a holiday weekend
$120 a year (full access)
$90 a year (blackout for 5 holiday weekends)
$10 at the gate if you hold a $90 pass and arrive during a holiday period

We'll talk about the logistics of this proposal in a moment.

What this tiered system would do, we felt, was keep the money coming in where the money is most needed and not force the users who will not be using the riding area during the high-cost periods to pay for those high-cost periods.

This is, of course, contingent upon some extra research. The BLM will be looking into exactly how many more passes are sold during those five holiday weekends and will verify that this system will maintain our current level of services. I expect to hear from the BLM very shortly on this and will keep everyone posted.

The logistics... of all the things that were discussed yesterday in regards to passes and enforcement of passes, this seemed to spark the most interest in the BLM. Apparently this kind of thing is done elsewhere and the program is easy to follow and will keep the enforcement problem to a minimum. I was encouraged by their enthusiasm for this proposal.

And, this proposal is also contigent upon being able to reduce the operating budget by at least 10%, no small potatoes when we're talking about $1.1 million. But... I feel very confident that it can be done and will be done.

We helped a little in that regard yesterday when we opened the discussion on vendors at Dumont. What the vendors are paying now is based on an honor system where they pay a percentage of what they make out at Dumont. For now, for the sake of moving along, we are going to accept that all have been honorable in their accounting (to be dealt with at a later date). Aside from that though, we were told that the vendors pay their vending permit fees but not the cost recovery fee that the rest of us pay. Yes, we are aware that there are vendors who are not just out at Dumont selling, they are also using the same resources the rest of us are using. We felt it was not a fair system and have asked the BLM to start charging vendors the same entry fee they are charging everyone else. This is a win-win situation and relieves a strain on the BLM and the folks who sell the permit because they will no longer have to deal with "But I'm with Joe Blow vending and shouldn't have to pay a fee." The BLM is looking into the vending regulations to make sure there is nothing prohibiting them from charging the vending fee and an additional entry fee. I will research this also and will report back what I learn.

There are other areas where costs can be recovered and we will be working very closely with the BLM to make sure this happens.

I think that's about it for now, at least for the primary focus of the meeting...
Vicki
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Post by Dusty Rhodes » Wed Mar 07, 2007 1:09 pm

Although I hate it when any fee is increased, the dollars to run the place have to come from somewhere. We visit once a year and to me, and this is just my opinion based on a once a year trip, $40 is not a problem at all to pay to camp. I also feel that no matter who you are, visitor or vendor, you should have to pay to enter. Fair is fair and it takes the guess work out of it. They enter, charge 'em!
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Post by RichB » Wed Mar 07, 2007 10:50 pm

This is horrendous. Cut the non-existent "services" and leave the fees static or get rid of them altogether.

3 years ago or so and previous to that there were zero fees and we had just as much (actually more) fun/enjoyment as we have now.

This agency thinks it has carte-blanche authority to rape the public while not providing anything worth mentioning in return. Boo-hoo their gov't stream of free money has been cut, do what every other federal agency has to do when that happens......scale back. These guys want to keep their self-licking ice cream cone and keep the LEO gravy train running full-bore no matter what their budget status is. This is wrong as wrong gets.

Put it in some perspective.......you can buy an annual pass to use any National Park in the country for $50. This greedy BLM district wants to charge 3 times that rate for little bitty Dumont. Absurd.

At least at Glamis you're getting something tangible back for the money.
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Post by crash » Thu Mar 08, 2007 7:55 am

Taxation without representation? :roll:

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Post by ChoppedLiver » Thu Mar 08, 2007 11:04 am

They've basically had the same fee structure as the ISDRA to this point. Considering less visits and far less resources needed, this tiered plan pretty much blows. The most they should charge is what they charge now.

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Post by SailAway » Thu Mar 08, 2007 2:52 pm

Yeah, the sticker shock is substantial.

I remember when Glamis went from $30 to $90... only a handful of people stood up against it, everyone else just accepted it as the price of doing business.

The American Sand Association does have a representative on the Dumont Technical Review Team. His name is Jim Bramham and I'm sure someone here can give you an email address for him.

If you are able to attend the next meeting on April 18, 2007, that's where you should express your outrage and demand that services be cut to keep the fees low. Or write to Mr. Bramham and have him take that stance for you.

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Post by Jerry Seaver » Thu Mar 08, 2007 5:42 pm

Please don't confuse people by saying that the ASA has a representative on the Dumount TRT. In that sense, we all have representatives on the Dumount TRT. Yes Jim Bramham is a ASA member and on it's BOD but he was not put on the Dumount TRT as a ASA representative but as representing OHV organizations. He is also a past member of the OHMVR Commission, and past president of Cal-Four-Wheel. I'm sure he would be glad to take anyones input on anything going on at Dumount, as well as any of the TRT members below. The structure of the Dumount TRT is below.

Barstow Field Office
Dumont Dunes Technical Review Team (TRT) Members
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sheri Davis, commercial filming, member, California Desert District Advisory Council (2009)
Ed Waldheim, Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Commission (2008)
Terry Allen, Nevada off-highway vehicle (OHV) interests (2008)
Kathleen Stosuy, California OHV interests (2009)
Jim Bramham, OHV organizations (2009)
Gerry Hillier, San Bernardino County (2008)
Randy Banis, other motorized recreation (2009)
John Dalgleish, Friends of Dumont Dunes (2008)
Bill Presch, member, California Desert District Advisory Council (2009)
Ron Schiller, member, California Desert District Advisory Council (2009)
David Charlton, member, California Desert District Advisory Council (2008)

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Post by SailAway » Thu Mar 08, 2007 6:15 pm

Sorry about that Jerry... at Tuesday's meeting he was wearing an ASA shirt and introduced himself as being with the American Sand Association and I didn't realize the distinction. I'll keep it in mind for the future.

However, my statement still holds true even under the clarification, since these are ASA members posting their concerns. If they were film industry members I would have suggested using Sheri Davis as a resource, Terry Allen if they're from Nevada, etc.

Of course all TRT members should be able to pass along someone's comments. By posting the exact definitions of the TRT representatives, those constituents who choose to voice their concerns directly to their representatives will have a clearer idea of who that may be. Thank you.

Vicki
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Post by Jerry Seaver » Thu Mar 08, 2007 6:51 pm

Any concerns should go to all the TRT members. Based on what you are suggesting, the Friends of Dumount Representative for example only represents the members of that organization. I don't agree and that is not the way the ISDRA TRT is set up. I would be surprised if what you are suggesting is the way it is set up for the Dumount TRT.

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Post by SailAway » Thu Mar 08, 2007 6:58 pm

Please Jerry, that's not at all what I am suggesting.

Merely pointing out the resource of having a specific representative.

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Post by RichB » Thu Mar 08, 2007 8:49 pm

Glad the ASA's position in this is clarified somewhat. Based on some comments made on the Dumont boards I was scratching my head on why the ASA was apparently ok with these outrageous proposals.

Quote from the Dumontsanddunes.com thread reference this topic: "The American Sand Association representative responded that Glamis fees are going up also". The inference is that Dumont fee increases are ok because the ASA says they're going up at Glamis too, thus giving BLM Barstow reinforcement of their fee increase proposal.

Clearly FODD cannot do this with any kind of effectiveness by themselves and BTW, why in the heck would they want to anyway when there's other OHV orgs out there (with money, clout i.e. thousands of members, lawyers etc) that are running full-stride nowadays fighting the good fight? Why doesn't FODD ask the ASA and other bigtime OHV orgs for some support? Is it because of old grudges/bad-blood between the FODD president or other board member and the ASA? If old politics is getting in the way of putting up the kind of fight the dune community is capable of then that's a shame. Right now the BLM can propose crazy stuff and then just throw a mini-bone to FODD and everyone walks away "ok" with it......BLM still ends up with what they wanted and maybe a couple of people on the dune side can say they helped limit the damage all the while Joe-duner gets bent over.

p.s. The Cleanup is next weekend. Talk about a slap in the duners' face. 2-weeks before the cleanup lets' tell them we're more than doubling their fee next year even though the "service" has been the worst ever since fee implementation and at the same time doing absolutely nothing about the myriad of other (mostly safety) issues that have been broached this season. Unreal.
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Post by Jerry Seaver » Thu Mar 08, 2007 9:50 pm

I haven't read the Dumont board to know what is being said there but my point is, saying, "The American Sand Association representative responded that Glamis fees are going up also," leads people to think that the ASA is involved and has a representative on the Dumount TRT. The ASA wasn't contacted to furnish a representative to the Dumount TRT or did they ask to be on the Dumount TRT.

Because of my involvement with the ISDRA TRT since it's inception, I have a interest in what is happening at Dumount with the fees even though I have never been there. Seeing the fees go up at Dumount is a concern but under the circumstances that Vicki outlined at the beginning of this thread about funding, it's no surprise. For the record, I haven't heard anything about the fees going up at the ISDRA. There's many factors that can cause a increase though. Some of those being, compliance, and the need for increased LEO or EMS presence. My personal opinion is I'd be surprised if the fees were ever lowered. I hope I'm wrong though.

"

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Post by dunernr » Fri Mar 09, 2007 7:42 am

So did the ASA guy (BOD Member) make a false statement about fee increases in the ISDRA? :shock: Why would he do this? Just to easy the minds of the Dumont users, knowing that other fee increases are coming to the other recreation areas as well??? :evil: I just don't understand... It doesn't add up??? Can someone please explain? :roll:

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Post by RichB » Sat Mar 10, 2007 10:02 am

Jerry Seaver wrote: The ASA wasn't contacted to furnish a representative to the Dumount TRT or did they ask to be on the Dumount TRT.
And you won't be, at least it looks like while the current leadership of FODD is around. My whole point is you guys have years of experience down in the trenches and have leveraged your way (with the UDG, CORVA, ASA alliance) into a very powerful entity that can, and is making a difference. Again, why FODD would not want to team up and form a powerhouse effort is beyond me other than I'm left at guessing that it must be ego/personality driven.
Jerry Seaver wrote:

I have never been there
No biggie, there's people involved in the hierarchy of FODD and the Dumont TRT that have either never been there or practically never been there i.e. might go there 1x a year.
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Post by Jerry Seaver » Sat Mar 10, 2007 11:57 am

I talked to Jim Bramham and sent him links to the discussions on the boards about what he said and who he was representing. His response is below. He hopes this will shed light on the questions that have surfaced in the posts.
jrs


I would like to take a moment to shed some light on this.
I have never posted on the boards and have asked Jerry Seaver to post this for me. I have been working in southern Nevada with limited Internet access so I apologize if this seems late in response.

Yes I did wear an ASA shirt at the Dumont TRT meeting and yes when we did introductions I identified myself as being with ASA. I am proud of the
organization and its accomplishments. My position on the TRT is not that of an ASA representative, rather because of my long history in OHV
organizations and OHV management issues. In hindsight I could see how some of the visitors could have taken it as if I “represented” ASA. I thought all of the visitors were there with either Friends of Dumont or Duners making a full explanation of my role unnecessary. I am always pleased to see visitors at the TRT meetings and I want to thank them for taking the effort to be part of the process.

My comment about raising fees at ISDRA was a tongue in cheek retort in
response to a statement that if the fees were too high at Dumont that folks would flee to Glamis. At no time was there a reference to this being a new policy, the ASA’s official position, an item on the ISDRA TRT agenda or a recommendation by or to the BLM. I have said in public many times that I do think that at some point the ISDRA will reevaluate fees . I am not personally advocating this or has ASA or the ISDRA TRT taken an official action on this subject. The BLM has stated that there will be no fee increase in FY 2007/2008 at the ISDRA.

The Barstow BLM presented, well before the TRT meeting, ample data to
justify their costs and the requirements to have the fees reflect “cost
recovery” as mandated by Congress. No vote was taken because the Chairman of the TRT found the consensus in the room from both TRT members and guests alike for the proposed new fee structure. There is no blame here for anyone or organization. The realities of Public Land management and funding sources have changed dramatically in the last few years.

I do regret any misunderstandings about my actions and comments. Further I regret the fact this has wasted bandwidth and precious time that a simple phone call or email could have avoided.

Now, let’s go play in the sand, work hard to preserve our sport, and support the OHV organizations of our choice.
Jim Bramham

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Post by SailAway » Sun Mar 11, 2007 9:37 pm

Rich, you may not be aware that FoDD has been and will continue to work closely with all (ALL) other OHV groups. I have absolute faith that if and when a team effort is needed, it will be there. Why do I believe this? Because not so long ago when a petition was filed by the CBD over a lizard at Dumont, I received several offers of help from ASA leaders, as well as CORVA leaders and many more.

As for no one contacting the ASA to be on the Dumont TRT... please don't read anything sinister into that... the process allowed for all interested parties to submit their nominations for any of the various representative positions (previously posted). Besides... it was no more necessary or "correct" to contact the ASA for a Dumont seat than it would have been to contact Friends of Oceano Dunes for a Glamis spot.

I hope this clears up any misunderstanding.

Oh, and I hope that all the people who have been monitoring and contributing to this thread will be at the Dumont cleanup next week! It will be HOT so bring your sunhat and sunscreen.

Now... to quote Jim Bramham "Now, let’s go play in the sand, work hard to preserve our sport, and support the OHV organizations of our choice."

Well said Jim.

Vicki
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