Polaris Safety Update!
New OHV Legislation Pending!
Glamis Restrictions Finally Lifted! (Almost)
Spring is in the air! This year's riding season is about to hit in full swing, so as usual, we have all the news you should know about .
Our Website and Newsletter have basically two objectives, and they are:
1. Unite all ATV riders, this includes all Duners, Trails, Woods, Mudders, Desert, and Utility riders, and of course families.
2. Provide ATV resources such as ATV news, safety training, vendors, tire and rim dealers, videos and DVDs, riding areas, clubs and associations, safety recalls, legislative decisions, land closures and openings, registration and insurance, do you see where going here...All the info they left out of your owners manual.
Third, well, there is no third, so let's get started with the Newsletter!
Safety Recalls and Issues
Since safety is always the most important part of ATV Riding, we'll start with the safety recalls that we know about. If your ATV is involved in a safety recall, please let us know. This way we can make sure that as many ATV riders as possible, are in the loop about it, and can get their ATVs fixed.
Last Newsletter, we told you of a fines accessed against Polaris by the CPSC. The CPSC alleges that Polaris had knowledge of a design flaw which had led to the oil lines disconnecting, which allowed the hot engine oil to burn the rider, melt plastic, and in a few instances, start a fire. There were reports of numerous injuries, not to mention damage to the ATVs. It is expected that Polaris will appeal the decision and the fines, we will keep you informed of the appeal outcome.
Even though there were numerous incidents and injuries reported, there has not been a recall of the affected Polaris ATVs. If you have one of these Polaris ATVs, you may want to see about purchasing aftermarket replacements, and keep this problem from affecting you and your ATV.
If you come across a good replacement supply for the Polaris oil lines, please send us an email, and we can let everyone else know about that vendor.
Legislative Actions, New Bills and Pending Legislation
H.R. 3, the Transportation Equity Act, passed the House of Representatives 417-9. The Senate is likely to begin debate on its version of the transportation bill soon. This act distributes funds from the federal gasoline tax to various programs, including the Recreational Trails Program (RTP). Last year, the bill made it to a conference between the House and Senate, but stalled there. In this Congress, the bill passed the House of Representatives on March 10th, and that funding for RTP in the bill is $380 million over the next four years. This comes from the gasoline taxes you pay at the pump—for your off-road motorcycle or ATV, your snowmobile or 4x4.
The Senate will begin debate on H.R. 3, after the Easter recess.
Representative Tom Tancredo (R-CO) recently introduced H.R. 975, the TRAIL Act of 2005, in the House of Representatives. This legislation as an important first step for all who pursue recreation on public lands in a responsible manner. “This bill is significant because it will keep public lands open to recreational pursuits,” said ARRA Executive Director Larry E. Smith. “It will also provide for consistent penalties across all public lands agencies for those who would abuse our public lands. Instead of allowing those few who misbehave to deny opportunities to everyone, the TRAIL Act will make it possible to penalize the wrongdoers while keeping our public lands open to all.”
ATV-411.com would like to thank the bill’s sponsor, Representative Tom Tancredo (R-CO), and co-sponsors Mark Udall (D-CO), Bob Beauprez (R-CO), Butch Otter (R-ID), Joel Hefley (R-CO), and Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO), for their support of this legislation.
“Mr. Tancredo and his colleagues have consistently supported sound recreation policy and have been instrumental in the introduction of the TRAIL Act,” Mr. Smith said. “All of us who value responsible recreation deeply appreciate their good work.”
The TRAIL Act would enforce a consistent set of fines and penalties for the following federal agencies with jurisdiction over public lands: the National Park Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service.
H.R. 585, the Gateway Communities Cooperation Act, was recently introduced in the House of Representatives. This bill would require that federal land management agencies seek greater communication and cooperation with gateway communities. This will help insure that land policies are not decided behind closed doors, and allows for open comment periods, meetings with local agencies and organizations, and input from the land users themselves.
The Senate Natural Resources Committee passed three wilderness bills, sending them to the Senate floor for future consideration. The first bill, S. 128, would designate 300,000 acres in northern California as wilderness. The area includes portions of Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino, and Napa counties. Additionally, the proposal includes making the Black Butte River a wild and scenic river.
The Wild Sky Wilderness Bill, S. 152, would set aside 106,000 acres in Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest (Washington) as wilderness. This bill has passed the Senate twice before without being acted on in the House of Representatives.
The third wilderness bill, S. 272, designates parts of the Caribbean National Forest and the Luquillo Experimental Forest in Puerto Rico as wilderness.
Local Area Legislation
NY State Releases Draft ATV Policy
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has released a draft of its proposed ATV access policy. There is a series of policy workshops that are open to the public, and comments on the draft will be accepted until May 27th.
FS Seeks Comments on Proposed Trail Connector in Allegheny National Forest - Pennsylvania
The Forest Service is accepting comments on a proposed trail connection from the Timberline ATV Trail to Russell City, Pennsylvania. This trail connector would give OHV riders access to a campground and other services directly from the ATV trail.
Public Encouraged to Comment on Initiative to Help Manage ATV Access on NY State Lands
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced the release of a Draft Commissioner's Policy for public all terrain vehicle (ATV) access to recreational programs on State-owned land. The public is encouraged to comment on the draft policy.
OHV Trails in Maryland Need Your Support
ATV-411.com encourages you to support HB 1290 in the Maryland General Assembly. This legislation would create a state OHV trails program funded by registration fees.
Court Decision Blocks OHV Use on 5000,000 Acres in California
U.S. District Judge Susan Illston ruled last week that OHV use will be prohibited on more than 500,000 acres of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land in California that is habitat for the endangered desert tortoise. The area closed is in two desert wildlife management areas (DWMAs) in Imperial, Riverside, and San Bernadino counties.
Judge’s Ruling Means BLM Can Close Public Land to OHV Use Without Public Input
A U.S. District Court Judge in Utah ruled that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) does not need a public scoping period before closing public lands to OHV use. The ruling stems from a BLM decision last year that closed about 450,000 acres in Box Elder County (Utah) to OHV use. The Utah Shared Access Alliance (USA-All) filed a lawsuit against BLM since they did not allow any public input before issuing the closure. After USA-All filed its lawsuit, BLM decreased the closure to about 190,000 acres and continued to permit OHV use on some trails in the area.
We hope that the BLM will change its decision and will include public input for such major decisions.
Plumas National Forest (CA) Completes OHV Inventory
The Forest Service announced that it has completed its inventory of OHV trails in Plumas National Forest (California). The maps are now available for review. For more information, please contact: Deb Schoenberg, Plumas National Forest, P.O. Box 11500, Quincy, CA 95971, 530.283.7825 voice, 530.283.7716 fax.
The American Sand Association (ASA) today learned that the Record of Decision (ROD) that implements the new Recreation Management Plan at the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area has been signed by the CA State BLM Director Mike Pool.
The ASA is pleased that the ROD has been approved. However, this changes little on the ground as far as the users are concerned until pending legal issues are resolved, which is contrary to what the ASA had understood would happen once the ROD was signed.
“This is just one more step in a five-year journey to re-open areas that were unnecessarily closed,” says Vince Brunasso, ASA Founder and Legal Chairman.
The BLM will not remove the temporary closures because there is a pending legal challenge by environmental groups to the Biological Opinion that supports the Plan which is tentatively scheduled to be decided in September. The ASA, Off Road Business Association and San Diego Off Road Coalition are also involved in this action representing the dune recreation community. The outcome of this hearing is the ultimate factor in deciding whether or not the temporary closures can be removed in accordance with the new Recreation Plan.
The ASA feels strongly that the closures will be removed because the Management Plan and Biological Opinion have been through years of public review and input in accordance with all applicable US environmental protection laws. The ASA vows to continue the fight for recreation rights at the ISDRA regardless of the decisions made.
Please stay out of the closed areas until you hear directly from us regarding their status.
The ASA will host a Panel of the Law Enforcement Experts that directly influence how the ISDRA is operated.
Daphne Greene, Deputy Director, OHMVR Division California State Parks
Lt. Steve Gutierrez, Imperial County Sheriffs' Office
Ed Jahrke, Program Manager, Watercraft & OHV Law Enforcement Arizona Game & Fish Department
Ray Leloup, Chief Ranger, Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area
The American Sand Association (ASA) receives numerous questions and comments from Sand Sport enthusiast's regarding OHV registration, laws and
rules. Many of our 20,000 members visit various recreation areas in Arizona, Nevada, and California. The rules are not the same in all jurisdictions. In the case of the Imperial Sand Dunes on the high use holidays, visiting law enforcement coalition personnel may not be fully aware of enforcement practices for "off" weekends.
*Some of the questions we are asking are listed below
1. Is a red tail light required at the ISDRA even if you are not riding at night?
2. Is a brake light required to be legal at the ISDRA?
3. Is there reciprocity between Ariz. and Calif. regarding street legal ATV's and Golf Carts?
4. Is a light required on your whip if you are riding at night?
5. Is it illegal to ride double in Calif. and Ariz. if the manufacture says the ATV is designed for two people?
6. If it is legal to ride double on an ATV that is designed for two by the manufacture. Then if a regular ATV is modified with the same equipment, is it legal to ride double on it?
7. Are the sound limits in Calif. just for ATV's and motorcycles or all off road vehicles?
8. Some people have received tickets at the ISDRA for no spark arrestor, why would this apply when there isn't a danger of starting a fire? What
does the spark arrestor law say? Isn't there a common sense factor that should be applied? Is this a matter of the letter of the law vs. the spirit of the law? Are spark arrestors required on an OHV's equipped with a turbo charger?
9. Can you ride your Ariz. street legal Golf cart or ATV on maintained roads in Calif.?
10. Does an Ariz. resident with a Ariz. RV plate on their ATV, Sandrail, or Golf cart need to buy a non-resident sticker from Calif. to be legal
in Calif. to ride Off Road?
11. If you are riding a motorcycle off-road in Calif., do you need to wear a Helmet?
12. Where is it legal to use my unlicensed ATV, Golf Cart, or Sandrail in Ariz.?
13. In Calif., is it legal to drive an OHV off road if your driver license has been revoked?
14. Are most Calif. off road regulations the same as in Ariz. or Nevada.?
15. When the Calif. Green Sticker program pays for improvements in an area, do they continue to fund the maintenance on that improvement?
16. With the visitation that the ISDRA gets, why doesn't that area get more Green Sticker money?
17. Do the land managers and the law enforcement agencies have a responsibility to identify and correct inconsistent development and application of
laws and rules in adjacent recreation areas? Within a single agency, across state lines and among similar local, state and federal agencies? If so, what is the process for doing so? How can the OHV community help? (i.e., burning pallets and dumping gray water-BLM Barstow and El Centro Field Office rules are not the same)
18. Are fireworks illegal in a Government directed area such as the dunes? What is enforcement policy?
19. Why isn't the Border Patrol more active in law enforcement in the dunes?
Well gang, that's about it for this month's newsletter. Please keep sending in the emails. It's nice to hear all the compliments, and even the couple of criticisms. Until I see you again...
Ride Safe. Ride Legal. Ride Again...Curtis