BLM proposes to raise ISDRA fees next season

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BLM proposes to raise ISDRA fees next season

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BLM Announcement on proposed fee increase

ISDRA Fee announcement

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Re: BLM proposes to raise ISDRA fees next season

Post by gelwell »

Great a 64% increase for what? Trash cans coming back? More dunes being open? Washroad open? What do we get for a $140? It seems like every year we are continually getting screwed.
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Re: BLM proposes to raise ISDRA fees next season

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I've got a good set of sandshark II Paddles that fit a Raptor 700 for sale...

Ef'n a-holes... :roll:
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Re: BLM proposes to raise ISDRA fees next season

Post by GlamisSandDuner »

If it went towards construction and maintenance of a new washroad than I would understand the reason for the fee increase. If that is the case, then they will start collecting funding for the road next season, which means that it will probably be a long time before a new washroad is built :( Bottom line is that I don't support any raise in fees, especially one that drastic :evil:
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Re: BLM proposes to raise ISDRA fees next season

Post by Sandcock »

The BLM says "additional revenues are needed to maintain public safety and enhance recreational opportunities." Can they please be a little more specific? After going to the site, there was reference to a link for FAQ's. Couldn't find anything. There's another link to email your concerns. My question is: Are my concerns going to fall on deaf ears and its a done deal? Or is this issue still up for debate? $140 up from $90 is a bit steep :shock: Or, has this something to do with the awarded contract, i.e. the contractor/vendor wants more $$$$ because of lost revenue due to less visitors? This is WRONG :!:
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Re: BLM proposes to raise ISDRA fees next season

Post by DuneRookie »

Not surprised. I brought this up mid March. said due to lower visitor counts they cant maintain services. I say cut back on overtime and way too many Rangers and such. Match the enforcement to visitor levels. Thats the problem with govt agencies. They get used to the dollars and then dont want to let go of the revenue. I say make cuts like everyone else has to.

OK this was on their site.Projected Revenues under Proposed System

$5,400,000 with the following variables:

60,000 permits sold
80% of permits will be sold off site
Weekly and seasonal permit sales remain at similar percentages
Visitation levels remains constant
The BLM continues to manage at reduced levels.
(Seems like increased levels to me. )

FY 10 - If there is a surplus the first year, BLM will try to make improvements to the Recreation area.
(WT heck. How about a fee reduction. That would be an improvement)

FY 11 - In the second year, the BLM could break even.
(How is this figured out)

FY12 and beyond - Potential shortfalls are forecasted without cost reduction measures.

How will the public benefit?
The Public will not see a decrease in services such as:
Law Enforcement
Medical Rescue
Maintenance of Facilities
Maintenance of roads
Potential improvements to the Recreation area
(Ok, I'll bite, can you give us an example?)

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Re: BLM proposes to raise ISDRA fees next season

Post by YumaDune »

How can we be surprised? The bureaucrats want us to use less water and then increase the price due to lower revenues! I saw a marked decrease in people at the dunes in the 10 trips and fully expected this... Fits right in with all that we are seeing with the current leadership...HAH! in DC. Pay more for less and 95% of us are seeing less taxes? Again HAH! The USofA as we knew is lost forever! I've only been off roading for 40 years so what do I know..
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Re: BLM proposes to raise ISDRA fees next season

Post by Washroad »

People in this state are already paying too much in taxes. That's a "period."

This year alone, my wife and I will pay a minimum of $2400 more in taxes, and I'm not getting anywhere near what we will pay in the increased sales tax.

Our green sticker fee doubled.

I haven't gotten a raise in 3 years and going into the 4th without one. Why? Because my company saw the bad times coming so we got ready for it. We put off buying new equipment, stopped giving bonuses, cut over-time, reduced hours. You know what? We're still in business and haven't laid off anyone. The govmint should come over and see how we do it.

Now a fee increase to go to the dunes. We are already seeing that visitor count is down, so the govmint wants "their" income to remain level. Why?

They project a surplus the first year. With this increase, I gurandamntee there will be no surplus because visitor count will go down (I'll go elsewhere several times a year in protest), so the level projected will drop and then guess what?? No surplus. It'll be a deficit and knowing the govmint, they'll come and ask for more money right away.

There are plenty of people that have volunteered time/money/equipment to build a new washroad. All the BLM has to do is get the proper permits/etc. and the American people will get it done, on time, UNDER BUDGET(I know being under budget is an alien concept to any govmint agency).

I will say now, and loudly....

No to fee increases!

If the aSa BOD decides to support this, it will be a first time I've opposed the aSa on a major issue. I will remain opposed to a fee increase and will remain very vocal and loud about it.
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Re: BLM proposes to raise ISDRA fees next season

Post by DuneRookie »

YumaDune wrote:How can we be surprised? The bureaucrats want us to use less water and then increase the price due to lower revenues!..
Same thing with gas. People are driving more fuel effieicient cars therefore less fuel used less revenues for the state. They wanted to raise the gas tax to maintain that portion of income.

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Re: BLM proposes to raise ISDRA fees next season

Post by ChuckZilla »

Users numbers are down. Pass compliance is the highest it's ever been. Citation numbers are 4 times the typical average. The agencies that run G have never had more money coming back than they have now. What I want to know is, at what point, does the BLM start reducing services? When user numbers are half of today's numbers? A quarter? I envision Glamis with one user, who paid 5 million for his pass, surrounded by rangers, and still no Wash Road.
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Re: BLM proposes to raise ISDRA fees next season

Post by YumaDune »

For what it's worth... use the feedback link and send them an e-mail. If nothing is said, nothing will be done!! I did and although it took some restraint I was nice....
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Re: BLM proposes to raise ISDRA fees next season

Post by jhitesma »

Here in PHX for the ASA BOD meeting...this was a VERY hot topic tonight.

Comments at the RRAC sound like they're going to be important....BUT....just like the old TRT the RRAC is NOT BINDING. In other words even if the RRAC listens to the public and tells the BLM "no dice" the BLM can still go ahead and do this anyway.


I'm too tired right now to go into full detail but a few points from my notes and in regards to things posted above:

Trash collection IS back in the budget and is part of why they want to raise fees.

The BLM is working with UDG to try and partner in a complex way that will hopefully help cut costs by letting the UDG bid on things instead of the BLM (then the BLM pay the UDG for them) since as a non-government entity the UDG gets much better rates. (Trash is a biggie they're trying to work this way since the quotes the BLM gets are way higher than the quotes the same companies give the UDG!)

The BLM's numbers don't add up for visitors and pass compliance. BLM claims 1.2 million visitors and 89% compliance - but only expects to seel 60k passes next year. (down from 79k this year and even more the year before.) ASA's overflight study showing that visitation is probably 40% LESS than BLM estimates in most areas and as much as 80% less than the BLM estimates in the washes.

Correction to the above: Trying to decipher my notes late at night I made a mistake and got things a little backwards on that last bit. According to the ASA's overflight comparison to the BLM's visitation counts there were 20% fewer visitors in the washes than the BLM claimed and 60% fewer on Gecko. In other words the counts from the BLM are higher than what's really happening - and the counts at places like Gecko and Buttercup (where there's more in/out traffic) are more incorrect than the counts in the washes where people tend to stay once they arrive. It's theorized that this is in large part due to the BLM's reliance on axle counters at the entrances but that has not been conclusively proven.


Last year 73% of passes sold were weekly passes with 85% of them being sold on-site. Yet overall 50% of sales were off-site which due to this years two level pricing is one of the reasons the BLM is short this year - they didn't expect to actually get 50% sold off-site and were expecting more of the higher on-site passes to sell...despite previously claiming they felt most visitors already bought off site.

BLM does not have a plan for what to do if they don't get to raise fees or if legislation introduced last week (by Max Baucus (D-MT) and Mike Crapo (R-ID)) to repeal the FLERA moves forward.


BLM justified charging the fees as an entrance fee (even though legally they're not allowed to charge an entrance fee) because "It's easier"


The ASA BOD has not decided yet if they will support this proposed increase or not, tonights meeting was the BLM's chance to put their case in front of the ASA BOD and the BOD will be meeting in private later this weekend to decide how they will respond. Personally based on what I heard tonight I'll be at least somewhat surprised if they do support it. The BOD seems to recognize that there are serious budgetary issues facing the BLM and have looked hard at the numbers - but at the same time they seem to have serious concerns about the BLM's plans and even bigger concerns about the way the fee is being charged. We should know early next week what the ASA BOD decides will be their official stance on this. Anyone attending the meeting at Foddrill tomorrow I would HIGHLY suggest that if at all possible you find a few minutes to track down an ASA BOD member and let them know your concerns.

Now to end on a positive note. The new head ranger seems genuinely interested in correcting a LOT of the issues regarding enforcement in the dunes. He's promised to institute better training, return discretion to officers (no more zero tolerance), and try to focus on public safety issues. It was also said numerous times by both him and in the BLM's presentation about fees that "The dunes have been returned to a family friendly atmosphere". (Their words not mine.) I told him I've heard that before, but if he does follow through on those promises I'd like to be the first in line to shake his hand and thank him. At least he feels the serious issues have been dealt with now which is at least a breath of fresh air. Unfortunately he doesn't see that as any reason to ease off but rather as an opportunity to "focus on things that haven't been enforced in the past" - which to me sounds somewhat at odds with his other promises.

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Re: BLM proposes to raise ISDRA fees next season

Post by azsandrider »

I mentioned in other posts in January about the pending dumpster removal to the people who didn't want the trash dumpsters to go away that we wold see a fee increase to cover the trash dumpsters of $150....I wasn't far off that figure.....

ALL RESPONSIBLE duners can take their trash home with them and encourage other campers to do so as well!!! We can save alot of money if the dumpsters were removed. Of course some money would have to be spent for education about taking the trash home and greater enforcement concentrating on the people who are dumping bags of trash instead of taking it home....

About the fees, it looks like the fees are for recreation in the dunes, not for entry into the dunes. So I asked that since I have paid my permit for recreating in the dunes with my motorhome, why do I have to buy another permit to drive my jeep in & out if its not an entry fee???? I have already paid the recreation fee to be there. Why do I have to pay twice as much to recreate there? They didn't have an answer except that is how they do it as its the only practical way to enforce the fees. I said that they need to actually come up with a way to comply with the Federal rules reference the FLREA and they need to re-think their enforcement stance on second vehicles that belong to the same owner as the pass and RV....

Lastly, there were a lot of smart, successful businessmen at the meeting that expect a Federal Government Agency to operate the same way as a private business can. While this would be a good thing in a 'perfect world' the reality is there is way to much apathy, red tape, and self serving bureaucrats at the HIGHER levels of the government to permit the level of efficiency that a private business can attain. The hard working BLM employees at the local offices ARE NOT ABLE to control or change the policies. Any changes must come from the top down in Washinton DC.

So please remember when talking to the BLM employees at the meeting that they CAN NOT alter bureacratic policy from way, way above their pay grade. They simply have to deal with what they got. It is up to the policy makers in DC to make the neccessary changes. I don't think that will ever happen.

So please don't berate the BLM employees with unrealistic suggestions. They can't even pass on our frustration to the higher levels, because their bosses boss doesn't want to hear it. Ifthe boss wanted to hear it, he would be at these meeting instead of sending the employees.
(The above statement is my own opinion and not that of the ASA's.)

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Re: BLM proposes to raise ISDRA fees next season

Post by jhitesma »

Just a quick note that I posted a slight correction to my post above. Talking to Dick Holiday today I realized that I managed to get things a little twisted regarding how the ASA's counts compared to the BLM's counts. I think I got it right this time.

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Re: BLM proposes to raise ISDRA fees next season

Post by gelwell »

azsandrider wrote:I mentioned in other posts in January about the pending dumpster removal to the people who didn't want the trash dumpsters to go away that we wold see a fee increase to cover the trash dumpsters of $150....I wasn't far off that figure.....

ALL RESPONSIBLE duners can take their trash home with them and encourage other campers to do so as well!!! We can save alot of money if the dumpsters were removed. Of course some money would have to be spent for education about taking the trash home and greater enforcement concentrating on the people who are dumping bags of trash instead of taking it home....

About the fees, it looks like the fees are for recreation in the dunes, not for entry into the dunes. So I asked that since I have paid my permit for recreating in the dunes with my motorhome, why do I have to buy another permit to drive my jeep in & out if its not an entry fee???? I have already paid the recreation fee to be there. Why do I have to pay twice as much to recreate there? They didn't have an answer except that is how they do it as its the only practical way to enforce the fees. I said that they need to actually come up with a way to comply with the Federal rules reference the FLREA and they need to re-think their enforcement stance on second vehicles that belong to the same owner as the pass and RV....

Lastly, there were a lot of smart, successful businessmen at the meeting that expect a Federal Government Agency to operate the same way as a private business can. While this would be a good thing in a 'perfect world' the reality is there is way to much apathy, red tape, and self serving bureaucrats at the HIGHER levels of the government to permit the level of efficiency that a private business can attain. The hard working BLM employees at the local offices ARE NOT ABLE to control or change the policies. Any changes must come from the top down in Washinton DC.

So please remember when talking to the BLM employees at the meeting that they CAN NOT alter bureacratic policy from way, way above their pay grade. They simply have to deal with what they got. It is up to the policy makers in DC to make the neccessary changes. I don't think that will ever happen.

So please don't berate the BLM employees with unrealistic suggestions. They can't even pass on our frustration to the higher levels, because their bosses boss doesn't want to hear it. Ifthe boss wanted to hear it, he would be at these meeting instead of sending the employees.
Then what is the point to having these meetings in the first place? If BLM is not going to listen or it is beyond their paygrade. What's the point if the policy is what it is? Is it the illusion that we have a say? It seems like it to me. We are all intelligent people who care about our sport and lifestyle that goes to these things. We make good suggestions only to fall on deaf ears of the bureaucrats. I simply dont see the purpose to exercise my right to voice a frustration that goes no where!!
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Re: BLM proposes to raise ISDRA fees next season

Post by jhitesma »

gelwell wrote: Then what is the point to having these meetings in the first place? If BLM is not going to listen or it is beyond their paygrade. What's the point if the policy is what it is? Is it the illusion that we have a say? It seems like it to me. We are all intelligent people who care about our sport and lifestyle that goes to these things. We make good suggestions only to fall on deaf ears of the bureaucrats. I simply dont see the purpose to exercise my right to voice a frustration that goes no where!!
When the BLM doesn't listen there are political consequences they face. They may find themselves wishing they had done a better job of listening.

They also leave themselves open to more litigation since NEPA does require that they not only solicit feedback but also listen to it.

The BLM can ignore the people and the RRAC - but if they do there are repercussions they face.

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Re: BLM proposes to raise ISDRA fees next season

Post by Sloppyduner »

gelwell wrote: I simply dont see the purpose to exercise my right to voice a frustration that goes no where!!
The ASA (BOD) hears what the people are saying. The members of the ASA have a lawyer that is willing to take action. From being at not only the info meeting in Peori, but also the "open BOD" meetings before and after, I can back up what Jason said and add it IS going to go somewhere.

For me the frustration comes from the point we have to take the actions were taking. Another thing that gets me is the wait and see game we have between mettings, hearings, coment periods, and court rulings.

These info meeting do help, in my opinion, because it gives us an out lines, some info , and the chance to ask questions. Each speaker that was there did give us contact info. I they care enough to come out to an info meeting on a Saturday, I see it that they are willing to answer an e-mail if we have further questions. If nothing else these panel members can see the look on our faces when they feed us their lines rather than sit in an office and put out memos.

On top of all of this I have to thank the ASA for including me in the meetings this weekend. (including the "open BOD meetings) I learned so much more than I ever would have just reading things on a BBS or newsletter. I know Jason, and others, have a much better grasp on most of these issues than I do. BUT I would like to now pass on what I have learned. THAT is, in my opinion, what the point of these meetings are for.
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Re: BLM proposes to raise ISDRA fees next season

Post by gelwell »

jhitesma wrote:
gelwell wrote: Then what is the point to having these meetings in the first place? If BLM is not going to listen or it is beyond their paygrade. What's the point if the policy is what it is? Is it the illusion that we have a say? It seems like it to me. We are all intelligent people who care about our sport and lifestyle that goes to these things. We make good suggestions only to fall on deaf ears of the bureaucrats. I simply dont see the purpose to exercise my right to voice a frustration that goes no where!!
When the BLM doesn't listen there are political consequences they face. They may find themselves wishing they had done a better job of listening.

They also leave themselves open to more litigation since NEPA does require that they not only solicit feedback but also listen to it.

The BLM can ignore the people and the RRAC - but if they do there are repercussions they face.
OK what are the political repercussions? I am glad to see there is that check and balance, but who enforces this? Dept of Interior, an BLM internal affairs, Congress? Who is NEPA? Where would one go (besides court) to make sure the BLM is listening to our concerns?
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Re: BLM proposes to raise ISDRA fees next season

Post by jhitesma »

gelwell wrote: OK what are the political repercussions? I am glad to see there is that check and balance, but who enforces this? Dept of Interior, an BLM internal affairs, Congress? Who is NEPA? Where would one go (besides court) to make sure the BLM is listening to our concerns?
NEPA is the "National Environmental Policy Act" it's the rulebook the BLM has to follow in just about everything they do at the dunes:

http://www.epa.gov/Compliance/nepa/
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires federal agencies to integrate environmental values into their decision making processes by considering the environmental impacts of their proposed actions and reasonable alternatives to those actions.
Court is one of the places these things can and do end up.

But there's a reason the ASA has lobbyists and has been getting involved on capital hill. Some problems are higher up the food chain and have to be dealt with from the top down. I'm always glad to see the ASA make more progress down that road but to be honest...we're still pretty much packing our bags for the trip at this point.

Keep in mind this is a government agency and politics run very deep. There may not be rules I can quote for you about the kind of hot water various people within the BLM would be in if they were to do something like ignore the RRAC's recommendations (whatever they turn out to be) but you can bet it's the kind of thing that would follow them throughout their career as long as they stayed in the DOI.


Two other quotes (not verbatim) from Viki Woods stick in my mind from this weekend. One was "My boss says don't worry so much about these things, we'll find the money somewhere". And the other was "I don't know what we'll do if we don't get the raise, maybe Filner or Duncan Hunter will pull some more strings and find it."

I guess the point I want to make is that it works both ways. Just because the BLM doesn't get what they want doesn't mean they don't almost always end up getting what they need. Congress as a whole may be expecting the BLM to be self-funding...but that doesn't mean congress on a more local level won't make sure that what needs to happen happens.

When the BLM follow procedures and does the best they can and still fails - there's always a "way out" from further up the food chain.

If they slack off and don't follow procedures and don't play by the rules as intended...well they start to run out of way outs on a very personal basis quickly. It goes from putting the agency on the line to putting individual butts on the line. And it's my experience that not many people who've managed to get themselves into government positions like that are willing to do something that puts their own butt on the line - usually avoiding that kind of situation is why they ended up in those positions in the first place.

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Re: BLM proposes to raise ISDRA fees next season

Post by gelwell »

Thanks Jason for the clear and understandable response. It spelled out a little more logic. Yet it still appears as politics as ususal. I sincerely appreciate the efforts the ASA and their lobbyists are doing. I dont relish the thought of what would have happened if the fight was left to just indivduals.
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Re: BLM proposes to raise ISDRA fees next season

Post by L&L Corvairs »

On the subject of the proposed fee increase.

Neil Hamada attended our OCATV BOD meeting last night and made his presentation on the fees. First off, I would like to sincerely thank him for joining us and sharing this with our group. IMO, he was honest and straight forward. It was very educational.

From our side, some of us certainly held his feet to the fire. I would say he also got feed back.

The OCATV BOD did not make an official recommendation either way, however, an informal poll showed that a high majority, though not unanimous, would prefer to have the fees increase then see a reduction in services.

Again, Neil,

Thank you very much.

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Re: BLM proposes to raise ISDRA fees next season

Post by L&L Corvairs »

Ok, now taking the Pres. Hat off, so I’m now only representing myself.

This is a difficult issue and I’m not looking at it quite so much from a personal standpoint, but a ‘macro’ one. I can afford $140.00/yr. For the number of trips I make, to a World Class OHV area, it’s still an excellent deal. But it’s not about me. The fee amount is fast approaching the limit of some, (Jason comes to mind, as well as my young adult children with new families). And this increase, if approved will only be good until 2012. Then what?

We’ve been debating this issue here, on this BBS since the fees were enacted. There are many who predicted (myself included) that this day was coming. At what point do we draw the line in the sand and say enough? Is it 140? 250? 500? What is your financial limit?

I’m personally willing to see a cut in services, especially law enforcement and EMS. Yes, that might result in an increase in the rowdies out there and a decrease in visitor safely. I can accept that risk. Some of us were going out there long before there were any of these services. But as I learned last night, many don’t think the way I do.

Regardless of which way you feel, I highly recommend that you send in your comments to the RRAC. If you don’t, you can’t complain about the outcome, either way.
L&L
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Re: BLM proposes to raise ISDRA fees next season

Post by Sloppyduner »

Got my letter in. You? Just a few day left.
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Re: BLM proposes to raise ISDRA fees next season

Post by Voice »

I see alot of these... "This is what people want."

At some point the desire of the people has to be weighed against the purpose of the land.

I drive on public roads all of the time. I want cheaper gas, more cops and for speeders to be ripped from their cars and shot in the head.
But that just doesn't fit with the purpose of the roads. I bet if you took a poll you might even find a majority to support that. STill doesn't make it right.

Glamis is a wilderness off road area. It is not a national park. You can want reserved parking with valet parking and a cop for every 3 people but that wouldn't serve the purpose of the land. Your poll does not have the power to take my public land from me.

As I see this issue it's pretty clear. The BLM want more "enhanced" services and they have no authority to provide such things. Their JOB is to maintain access and manage the land, not to cater to the whims of Johnny Blow-hard who just bought his second $100,000 Motorhome and feels "unsafe" around the riff-raff.

The BLM need to quit worrying about "enhanced" services and start doing what they are supposed to be doing. Maintain access (wash road) and manage the land.

A fee increase during a drop in attendence is absolutely out of the question.
Mahmoud Ahmedinejad in a letter to President Elect Barak Obama
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Re: BLM proposes to raise ISDRA fees next season

Post by azsandrider »

The ASA had a meeting with BLM reference the way the BLM was trying to push through the fee increase. The BLM has put the fee increase request on hold for now.

The BLM says they need a fee increase, but will have to take public comments and prove why the increase is neccessary. Unfortunately, over the recent years, a lot of new duners have come into the sport and expect the dunes to be like a park, with toilets, dumpsters, and help when you call for it. The dune users raised heck when the BLM said they ran out of money and would pull the dumpsters. If people would take their trash home and the BLM got rids of the dumpsters, that would save over $500,000 a season. The BLM can not provide the same level of services that most of duners seem to want without more money, as costs have gne up a lot since the last fee increase in 2003.

There is also an issue with the way fees are collected. Federal law specifically states that fees can not be an entry fee, which is how the fees are collected at the dunes. Fees are for recreatation at the dunes, so they only apply to people recreating and not just driving through. So there will be some discussion on how to change fee collection to meet federal law and still be enforceble.

The BLM needs over 5 million a year to operate the ISDRA and get NO money for the operation from our txes. The BLM must raise the money through the fees. If they don't get enough money, services can go away. If they don't get enough money, they may have to close off areas as they could not provide services there.

The BLM will not simply leave the dunes to us if they do not have the money to operate. They will close off camping areas to make their costs less.

We saw an example of this back in the 90's when the federal budget was not voted in and signed at the time of the new fiscal year and the President had to order all non-essentential functions to stop until funded. The Forest Service closed all the gates lakes as they were not able to pay for the staffing, even though we rarely saw a FS employee out there anyway. (This was all before the fees) The lakes stayed closed until the budget was signed. They would not let people use the lakes if the FS was not working.

There has not been a fee raise since 2003 in the ISDRA, although costs for everything has gone up. The BLM probably does need a fee increase, but at gradual steps and not such a big jump.

I don't like paying the fees anymore then anybody else. I went to the dunes for years when it was free. I would rather pay more to keep the dunes open then to have the BLM shut parts down as they don't have the funding.
(The above statement is my own opinion and not that of the ASA's.)

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Re: BLM proposes to raise ISDRA fees next season

Post by jhitesma »

azsandrider wrote: We saw an example of this back in the 90's when the federal budget was not voted in and signed at the time of the new fiscal year and the President had to order all non-essentential functions to stop until funded. The Forest Service closed all the gates lakes as they were not able to pay for the staffing, even though we rarely saw a FS employee out there anyway. (This was all before the fees) The lakes stayed closed until the budget was signed. They would not let people use the lakes if the FS was not working.
Just a small correction. That' wasn't something the president HAD to do. It was something President Clinton did to strong arm congress into approving his budget. He basically said "Well, I can't pass the budget by myself...but I can shut down the national parks so that's what I'm going to do until congress approves my version of the budget instead of theirs."

Hopefully with a democratic congress right now we won't face that again...instead we'll just get the democratic budget rubber stamped like we're seeing right now. Not that that's something I like or agree with...but it is better than the "I'm taking my toys if you don't play the game by my rules" approach that Clinton took.

The current fees are also a direct result of that. Clinton and congress stripped the DOI budget to pay for his own pet programs instead and declared that the NPS and BLM need to be self-sufficient. They then instituted the "Fee demo" program to prove that self-sufficency was possible as congress chopped back federal appropriations. Never mind that fact that fee demo was by it's own goals a miserable failure. In typical government fashion congress took that spectacular failure as an indication that the idea of making the NPS and BLM self funding was workable and created the equally broken FLERA that we're now operating under.


The point of all this?


We NEED to be involved at a federal level. We already are but we need to constantly work on getting MORE involved at that level since that's where the real changes can come from.

That doesn't mean we can stop fighting at a local/regional/state level - since right now that's what we have to deal with. But long term there has to be funds for the federal level fights that are ahead.

So while we continue to work on the warchest to fight the real war - right now we need to focus on the battle over how the ISDRA is managed. It's good that the BLM is now going to do what they should have done in the first place. But it's not a reason for anyone who's concerned about the dunes to relax. Rather it's a reason to get more involved and help make sure that what we do get IS what we want.

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