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Designated Trails

Posted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 8:13 pm
by Sandcock
Over the last year the State has been installing trail markers on all the main trails in OW SVRA as well as on the adjacent BLM land. Last outing when at Pumpkin Patch I picked up a new map from the Rangers. In conversation with a Ranger my son-n-law asked what the shaded area on the map East of Pole Line was about. (That area belongs to BLM). The Ranger said that there was riding on designated trails only. I stated that many camp all over the place East of Pole Line which means that there are established riding trails all over the place and some good riding at that. The Ranger said that they help manage the BLM land and can write tickets for camping and riding on non-designated trails over there. Seeing that BLM, to my knowledge, has not implemented a trail management plan I do not see how the State can make the decision what trails can be rode on and which ones can’t. In my opinion, the State is now in the beginning stages of establishing which trails they want you on and where you can and can’t ride. OW SVRA is wide open, but I can see restrictions coming, much like they have been continually fencing off random areas.

Any thoughts or comments?

Re: Designated Trails

Posted: Sun May 26, 2013 7:46 pm
by tomjeeps2 ... R.facebook
Lawsuit aims to shut down ‘open riding’ at Ocotillo Wells off-road park ... Id=8906970

OCOTILLO WELLS, Calif. (CBS 8) -- Two environmental groups filed suit in Sacramento on Tuesday seeking a court-ordered shut down of open-riding areas at Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area.

The lawsuit alleges off-road vehicle activity at Ocotillo Wells has violated environmental protections mandated under state law.

Specifically, the suit describes widespread erosion, damage to desert soils and plant life, and non-protection of the park's 1,200 archeological and historic sites.

The lawsuit names as defendants the California Department of Parks and Recreation, the Division of Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation, and the division's deputy director, Christopher C. Conlin.

It seeks a court order "to immediately suspend the open-riding policy at Ocotillo Wells" and limit off-road vehicle activity to designated trails in the park.

Ocotillo Wells SRVA is in the process of developing a new General Plan, which will govern future off-road use at the park. Officials said the General Plan process requires an environmental impact report and approval is not expected for at least a year.

"That General Plan update, promised since 2007, never seems to get done. We will not sit back and wait until the park is totally bereft of plants, wildlife and cultural resources," said Karen Schambach, president of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), the Sacramento-based plaintiff. The other plaintiff is the Desert Protective Council (DPC), based in San Diego.

In March, PEER issued a demand letter to State Parks Director Major General Anthony Jackson threatening legal action if the open-riding policy was not shut down.

A News 8 investigation revealed a State Parks environmental scientist first filed a whistleblower complaint in 2011 alleging environmental damage at Ocotillo Wells.

In that News 8 report, which aired May 17, local off-roading groups opposed the closing of any areas at Ocotillo Wells.

"Off-roading is a family adventure. The off-road kids, brought up in the off-road industry, they're taught from the get go, you protect your environment," said Dennis Nottingham, president of the San Diego Off-Road Coalition.

Nottingham said off-road permit fees pay for environmental protection and enforcement at Ocotillo Wells.

"Anybody that has an off-highway vehicle, they pay $52 every two years. That goes into a green-sticker fund, which helps support the state park," said Nottingham.

"Sure, there may be a few less plants, but it's an off-road park. That's what it was built and designed for. How many millions of acres do we have in Southern California that have got plants off over the place?" Nottingham said in his earlier interview.

Ocotillo Wells' newly-hired District Superintendent Garratt Aitchison told News 8 his rangers do take environmental laws seriously.

"Oftentimes on these busy weekends during the fall and winter, the skeleton crew of rangers are responding to injuries and accidents," said Aitchison.

"I don't know if you have noticed, but there are a lot of new signs that have gone up. Right now, we're down four peace officer positions so that affects our ability to enforce," Aitchison said.
Yup...TJ #-o

Re: Designated Trails

Posted: Mon May 27, 2013 7:07 am
by tomjeeps2 ... 9706043832
May 30, 2013, Ranch House Restaurant. 7:00 p.m.

There will be a multi-club meeting to get started on the opposition to the proposed "Whistleblower" action against Ocotillo Wells. Please spread the word and plan on attending.

This is crucial. The time is now. YOU are needed to help save YOUR public designated open riding area.
Ranch House Restaurant
11510 Woodside Avenue, 619.448.2087. Driving North on Hwy 67, take the Riverford exit and turn right on Woodside Ave. Driving South on Hwy 67, take the Riverford exit, turn left on Riverford, and then right on Woodside. The restaurant is down about one-half block on the right.

Re: Designated Trails

Posted: Tue May 28, 2013 11:37 pm
by tomjeeps2
From Ocotillo Wells District Superintendent

Ocotillo Wells SVRA

Many of you have voiced concerns about the recent news regarding the litigation filed against Ocotillo Wells SVRA. Please see this open letter from District Superintendent Garratt Aitchison addressing your questions.

Hello Ocotillo Wells Enthusiasts….

Thank you for your interest in this important issue, but due to the pending litigation, I cannot comment on the lawsuit itself.

However, it is important to note that this area of desert has been in off-highway vehicle use for more than 60 years and the California Public Resources Code designates it as an off-highway motor vehicle park. Therefore, under the law, California State Parks has an obligation to operate this area as such.

In recent years, State Parks, through work with staff and private consultants, has identified the need for a revised Ocotillo Wells SVRA General Plan. That process is currently underway and I encourage your involvement as we move through the plan writing process. In the meantime, we will continue to insure protection of critical resources, while still offering quality recreation in a place that is designated for such use under law.

Garratt Aitchison
District Superintenden
=D> ...TJ

Re: Designated Trails

Posted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 5:21 pm
by tomjeeps2 ... 9706043832

San Diego Off-Road Coalition (SDORC) shared Desiree Bates's photo.


Good info on the OW Writ of Mandate action. Thank you Desiree.

Meeting Notes regarding lawsuit recently filed by two anti access environmental groups to limit off-road vehicle use in Ocotillo Wells SVRA:
Lawyer: David Hubbard (who has experience defending off roaders in the past)

David started off by ...explaining the extent of the complaint:
It is a Writ of Mandate, which means they are asking the judge to tell an agency (in this case, Calif State Parks) that they are not doing their job. They are making claims that the open riding policy in Ocotillo Wells is damaging the soil, air, habitat and archaeological sites within the park. If the action goes the way he believes it will, it will probably take a year or more to play out. Will Ocotillo Wells close soon? The plaintiffs did not ask for injunctive relief, so they are not asking for it to be closed during the trial. That does not mean they can't ask for that, just that they haven't. Ocotillo Wells is now going through the process of forming a new General Plan and will no doubt be addressed in the proceedings. So what can we do? The State has 30 days to answer the charges. If the State decides to fight the charges, Stakeholders (people like us off-roaders) can hire a lawyer to ask for "Intevenor Status" and become engaged in the suit. If State Parks decides not to fight, then we off-roaders are all in big trouble. If we gain intervenor status, our lawyer will stand in court with the defendants and represent the users.
If we join the suit, the big challenge for OHV people will be to pay for the lawyer. Fundraising will become very important and we will need the help of everyone who loves Ocotillo Wells to donate.
For the most part, concerned off-roaders won't be able to be involved directly with the legal action. We can, however, ask our own state representatives and the head of State Parks for State Parks to vigorously defend against the complaint. Then the case will have to play itself out in the court.

Former Superintendent of Ocotillo Well, Kathy Dolinar spoke next. She explained how the charges can be answered from an administrative perspective in a way to help our cause.
The consensus is the best thing we as the off-road community can do is to fundraise to offset the lawyer's expense. We are developing ways for this to take place. The best thing the concerned public can do is keep an eye on the website and keep in touch with us here on this facebook group for updates and ways you can help.

Other ways you can HELP:
• Please do not portray off roaders negatively by harassing these people by calling or sending nasty emails.
• Donate to (we need lawyers)

If you have not read the complaints please do so at this website ... llo_wells/

Notes courtesy of Ed Stovin ... 1/?fref=ts ... ion=stream

S.s. Offroadmagazine

The FIRST thing that off roaders need to do IMMEDIATELY is to contact your representatives and politely but firmly tell them they need to urge the Department of Parks and Recreation to defend themselves in this lawsuit and fight for the right to keep open off roading in Ocotillo Wells. Give them your history about using the park.

Gail Ramer from Assembly Brian Jones' office said there is strength in numbers and when hundreds of letters are pouring in to the offices of State assembly people someone has to listen.

Given the number of people who recreate at Ocotillo Wells it should be easy to get hundreds of letters and even thousands of letters. It has to happen quickly!
If State Parks chooses NOT to defend this lawsuit within the next 30 days and just accept the demands of the environmental groups, then we lose out and have no opportunity to state our case.

That is why YOUR letters are very important!

Find your state assembly person here

Be sure to write letters on paper and mail them in an envelope or call. These people get thousands of emails a day and if you email them it will likely not get noticed as quickly as an actual letter.

End your letter with this statement "I look forward to hearing your response about my concerns." That way you hold them accountable to get back to you so you'll know where they stand.

And if you feel like it, send us an email and let us know you did so we can keep a tally ourselves of the number of letters going out!
An Update...TJ 8)

Re: Designated Trails

Posted: Sat Dec 21, 2013 9:46 pm
by tomjeeps2
Amy Granat

The California Off-Road Vehicle Association Gives the OHV Community a Victory for Ocotillo Wells SVRA

Sacramento, California (December 13, 2013) - CORVA won an important victory this past Thursday. Earlier this year, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) filed suit against California State Parks to stop current operations at Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area. CORVA consulted with their attorney, Jesse Barton, and at his recommendation filed for intervenor status in the Superior Court of California. CORVA's demurrer supported State Parks and alleged to the court that the suit filed by PEER had no legal viability and must be dismissed by the court. Judge Timothy Frawley ruled in favor of State Parks and CORVA on December 12th, 2013 and upheld the right of State Parks to continue operations at Ocotillo Wells SVRA in the same manner enthusiasts around the state have enjoyed for over 30 years.

In a community that has seen so many attacks against off-road recreation, CORVA is very pleased to share this victory with all motorized enthusiasts in California. Thanks to our attorney and with the support of our members, CORVA is dedicated to striking back and hitting hard when off-road recreation is attacked. Court procedures allow PEER to refile their complaint within 20 days if they find additional arguments to be considered, and should that occur CORVA and our attorney stand ready to file another court action to ensure this suit is permanently stopped. We ask for everyone's support to continue our proactive strategies by joining us at and donating to our legal fund.

For over 40 years CORVA has been dedicated to keeping public land open by advocating of off-road access, educating off-road enthusiasts, and representing off-road interests with governmental agencies. CORVA has worked tirelessly to defend all types of off-road and off highway vehicular recreation including the initiation of many legal efforts aimed at protecting the rights of off-road to access and enjoy the deserts, mountains, and coasts of California.

Amy Granat, Managing Director
(916) 710-1950
Actually some good news however PEER could re-file in the next week or two, for now enjoy PEER getting their long overdue butt kicking...TJ =D>