Back to Driving Force, Summer 2017

 

LEGISLATIVE FRONT LINES

Celebrating the Great Outdoors

 

Alaska OHV Area: Legislation establishing the Jonesville Public Use Area to protect, maintain, perpetuate, and enhance year-round public recreation was introduced. The bill would, among other things, provide opportunities for the public to enjoy the area through a full spectrum of public uses, including the maintenance and enhancement of off-road vehicle recreational opportunities.

California OHV Programs: Legislation to make permanent California’s Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) program was approved by the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee. Currently, the program is slated to expire at the end of 2017. The OHMVR program provides funds to local, state and federal agencies, educational institutions and nonprofit entities for OHV management on both federal and state lands.

Kentucky Off-Highway Vehicles: Legislation to promote and fund outdoor recreation and tourism development by establishing the Kentucky Mountain Regional Recreation Authority (KMRA) was signed into law by Governor Matt Bevin. Under the new law, the state will establish, maintain, and promote a recreational trail system throughout the KMRA to increase economic development, tourism, and outdoor recreation for residents and visitors. The law will provide recreational opportunities for, among other things, all-terrain vehicle riding, motorcycle riding, rock climbing, off-highway vehicle driving, and pleasure driving.

West Virginia OHV Areas: Legislation to require the state create and publicly post a list of state-managed areas where the operation of off-highway vehicles by the public is permitted died when the legislature adjourned for the year. Separate legislation to require the state create a searchable digital road map which indicates the condition of public roads was signed into law by Governor Jim Justice. The new requires that the digital road map indicate whether public roads are unpaved and unimproved, unpaved and improved, unlined and paved, or lined and paved. The digital road map will also indicate the types of vehicles that may use each road, including fullsize vehicles and off-highway vehicles, such as all-terrain vehicles, utility-terrain vehicles, motorcycles and off-road vehicles.

California National OHV Area Designations: The SAN is working to pass a bill, the “California Off-Road Recreation and Conservation Act,” which would permanently designate six existing OHV areas comprising 300,000 acres in San Bernardino County as “national” OHV areas: Johnson Valley, Spangler Hills, El Mirage, Rasor, Dumont Dunes and Stoddard Valley. The bill has been introduced by Rep. Paul Cook (R-CA) in the House while Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has introduced a similar bill in the Senate. The Senate bill would also protect the OHV areas but does not yet include the symbolic “national” designation.

National Monument Designations Review: The U.S. Department of Interior is reviewing up to 40 national monument designations dating back to 1996 and will recommend whether any should be rescinded, resized or modified. The review applies to monuments larger than 100,000 acres and those designations the department determines were not sufficiently coordinated with stakeholders. Hundreds of millions of acres have been set aside over the decades leading many to question whether the footprints are larger than necessary. Two examples include the 1996 Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (1.88 million acres) and the Bears Ear National Monument (1.35 million acres), both in Utah. The SAN supports the review of national monument designations and legislation in the U.S. Congress to curtail the President’s power to unilaterally designate national monuments by requiring their approval by Congress and the impacted state legislature(s). The issue is consequential since national monuments automatically prohibit new roads or trails for motorized vehicles and require a new land management plan be drafted that could lead to more road closures.

BLM Reopens Utah’s Recapture Canyon to Motorized Recreation: The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) opened nearly seven miles of trails in the north end of Recapture Canyon in San Juan County, Utah, to motorized recreation. Off-road enthusiasts will be able to enjoy 5.6 miles of trails specifically for all-terrain vehicle use and 1.2 miles of trails that can accommodate full-size vehicles. BLM’s new travel management plan lifts a 2007 ban on motorized travel through Recapture Canyon, which closed 1,871 acres to motorized vehicles.


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