|Back to Back Issues Page|
ATV-411 Newsletter, #05, Our biggest issue yet, lots of legal issues to discuss.
August 26, 2005
Its Great to Be Back to Work, But First, We Need to Get Caught Up On the Legal Fronts...
July 16, 2005
MOTORIZED OHV SUMMIT JULY 12 & 13, 2005 WASHINGTON, DC
Bob Mason, ASA Chairman, and Grant George, ASA President, participated in the two-day conference co-chaired by Roy Denner of ORBA and Jack Welch of the Blue Ribbon Coalition.
Purpose of the Summit
Support House Resources Committee Chairman Pombo’s effort to reform and update the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Educate legislators about the popularity and economic importance of motorized recreation.
Participate in a Congressional Oversight Hearing on Motorized Recreation on Federal Lands.
Meet with executive management of federal agencies responsible for the management of motorized recreation opportunities.
Network with the participants at the Summit.
The Summit was very worthwhile in terms of formal meetings and informal networking opportunities. The OHV panel representatives were very effective. Detailed testimony, meeting notes, and attendance list will be forthcoming. Advance research and preparation of briefing materials relating to the ISDRA budget shortfall was useful. The PMV DVD and the Litter Education PSAs were well received. Thanks to all that assisted in the preparation of briefing materials.
Nearly 100 participants - including representatives of snowmobile, personal Watercraft, and OHV recreation.
Representatives from Pennsylvania, Oregon, Colorado, Connecticut, California, Nevada, Texas, Idaho, and Arizona.
ASA leadership was supported by Dr. Phillips, Botanical and Environmental Consultant; David Hubbard, Attorney; Paul Kavinoky, Washington OHV Lobbyist; and Pete Conaty, California OHV Lobbyist.
ISDRA Small Business owners Mike and Michelle Gilmore (Gilmore Off-Road) and Kathy Godley (KD Cycle) attended meetings with the BLM and their congressional representatives. Gilmore Off-Road and KD Cycle joined representatives of the Arizona State Association of 4-Wheel Drive Clubs in a meeting with the BLM staff responsible for permit administration.
The United Desert Gateway (UDG) communities of Brawley, El Centro, and Yuma were represented by Nicole Gilles, UDG President.
The following is a partial list of meetings ASA had and the discussion topics:
United States Fish and Wildlife Service
Craig Manson, Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks in the U.S. Department of the Interior Julie MacDonald, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks in the U.S. Department of the Interior
Randy Bowman, Special Assistant to Assistant Secretary Manson
Formal delivery of the resubmission of the Peirson’s milkvetch (PMV) delisting petition and DVD
ESA reform and update
ISDRA Biological Opinion (BO) & Recreation Area Management Plan (RAMP) implementation requirements and the associated budget shortfall.
Bureau of Land Management
William Woody, Director, Law Enforcement, Security and Protection for the Bureau of Land Management
Selma Sierra, Chief of Staff at the Bureau of Land Management
Ed Shepard, Assistant Director Renewable Resources
Scott Abdon, Sr Outdoor Recreation Specialist
Bob Ratcliffe, Deputy Manager National Recreation Program
UDG activity update and funding delay
Law Enforcement commitment to ISDRA by DC office
Law enforcement support of Litter Education and enforcement
ISDRA small business activity permits-- ISDRA budget shortfall
Department of Interior
Gale Norton, Secretary of Interior
Scott Stewart, Associate Director, Office of External Affairs
ESA reform and update mutual objectives
BLM overall funding deficit
ISDRA RAMP Biological Opinion implementation funding requirements
ISDRA specific funding shortfall
PMV delisting petition resubmission
Expression of appreciation for support of OHV recreation
Bill Woody supports the addition of the BLM law enforcement shield and logo on the Litter Education public service announcements (PSAs).
Selma Sierra will follow up regarding the delay of UDG Task Order matching funds.
Paul Kavinoky will draft a letter for Congressman Hunter, Pombo, and Filner’s signature supporting increased BLM appropriations for the ISDRA.
ISDRA small business owners presented their concerns regarding the RAMP and vendor permit process to BLM and their congressional representatives.
Gained usefully insight regarding the submission of additional information in support of the PMV delisting petition.
Other ASA News
Dune closure is threatened if litter management is not improved. The dunes MUST be LITTER FREE. Ravens and coyotes are predators of the Desert Tortoise. The dumpsters are feeding grounds for ravens and coyotes. The Biological Opinion issued by the USFWS requires that the dumpsters must be raven and coyote proof. All trash on the ground must be immediately removed -- day and night.
To all you Duners, and Dunatics Heed the warnings, we are very close to getting the RAMP in place, it has been a very long and exhausting battle. Please do your part, If you pack it in, make sure to pack it out.Let's not take a huge step backwards here. Leave the dunes as you found them, and help keep them open for the next generation of OHVers to enjoy, and marvel at, like we all do now.
CAN YOU HELP WITH ANY OF THE ABOVE?
Contact Bob Mason
602 840 3229 or 602 818 1748
Next ASA Open Board Meeting is scheduled for Oct. 22, 2005 at 9:00 AM
The Handlery Hotel
950 Hotel Circle North
San Diego, CA
Guest speakers from Bureau of Land Management (BLM), United Desert Gateway (UDG), Imperial County Sheriff's Office (ICSO)and the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) Division of CA State Parks have been invited. Discussion topics and specific speakers will be confirmed in the Sept. edition of the ASA Newsletter.
Cricket Sankovich has arranged for three "3" kids quads to be donated. Two will be raffled at the MLK cleanup. Ticket sales ($1.00 ea.) will begin at the Sand Sports Super Show. The third quad has been donated to UDG to be used as an incentive to encourage duners to fill out a visitor's survey. Thanks to Cricket and to D&D Motorsports of Apache Junction, AZ and RATV/MX Warehouse of Glendale, AZ for their generous donation.
ASA goes to the LA County Fair
ASA has been invited to participate in the "Caring for the Land" multi-agency exhibit at the LA County Fair (Sept. 9 - Oct. 2). ASA will co-sponsor an "Environmental Magic" show that will feature magician Paul Cash and his sidekick Glitter the rabbit. Paul and Glitter will also make one appearance on the Heritage Stage at the Sand Sports Super Show. The theme of his performance will reinforce Litter Education at the dunes.
United Desert Gateway News
UDG will publish an annual Welcome newspaper that will hit the street at the SAND SPORTS SUPER SHOW. They are working on installing 5 new info Kiosks at ISDRA this upcoming season. Their website is being developed and will include a FAQ's web page. They will kick off their ISDRA Visitor Survey at the SAND SPORTS SUPER SHOW. All of this will be reviewed in detail at a meeting to be held in El Centro in Sept. or Oct. The date and location will be announced at a later time.
SAND SPORTS SUPER SHOW Plans
The SAND SPORTS SUPER SHOW Committee is ready. We have our new canopies and banners. All merchandise is being taken care of. We are going to kick off the Membership Drive at the SAND SPORTS SUPER SHOW. We also have an Information Booth at the SAND SPORTS SUPER SHOW this year and that is something new. This will be an additional ASA booth inside and will be staffed by BOD members and others and will be setup to inform the public of all things ISDRA. A TV will be there to play the new ASA DVD and flyers/leaflets/handouts will be available for anyone that wants to learn something. The outdoor booth will have all the ASA merchandise and the Checkered Flags, Membership signups. The Sand Limo will also be there on stage for all to see with another booth setup for selling the tickets.
Clean Up News
The United Desert Gateway will team up with True Excitement and KD Cycle to coordinate the annual Martin Luther King Day weekend cleanup to be held in Glamis and Buttercup on January 14, 2006. Representatives from each of the entities met recently to discuss the details of the cleanup and to begin the sponsorship drive.
In commenting on the collaborative efforts of the three entities, Jarrod Bullard of True excitement said, "I organized last year's south dunes cleanup and I look forward to continuing with that and working with the UDG and Kathy Godley from KD Cycle to carryout a one-day cleanup of the entire Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area."
Nicole Gilles, president of the UDG, said "As a new organization we are thrilled to be a part of a project that demonstrates our commitment to keeping the dunes open through stewardship programs such as the annual cleanup." "I'm really pleased that Bullard and Godley will be spear heading the efforts as our south and north dunes cleanup leaders," she added.
"The Glamis and Buttercup cleanups, although carried out on the same day, will each have their own staging area, T-shirts, barbecue and prize drawing," said Bullard.
The cleanup task force will be reaching out to local and region businesses to assist with underwriting the cost of the event. Sponsors of the cleanup will be recognized on a commemorative t-shirt, poster and at the event. Bullard added, "This year's sponsors will have an opportunity to sponsor one or both of the events."
ASA Chairman Back to DC Again
The BLM Director of Law Enforcement and Security William Woody has invited the Chairman of the ASA Board to be a guest speaker at a meeting of Sheriff's and BLM law enforcement personnel from the southwestern US. The discussion will focus on partnership building in support of law enforcement activities.
The results of some very aggressive efforts by the ASA, ORBA and SDORC that began over 1 year ago to have the California State Auditors Office audit the OHMVR Fund are finally here. After presenting the various facts and inconsistencies to, and with the help of, Sen. Bill Morrow, this audit was approved and initiated last August. The audit was released on 8/17/05 and, in essence, states that the fund was hijacked by people that weren't interested in OHV opportunities.
The auditor's review of the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Program (OHV program) revealed that:
The Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Commission (commission) and the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division (division) have not developed a shared vision to implement an OHV program that is balanced between OHV recreation and the environment.
The division's recent strategic plan is incomplete and does not include some important elements such as a comprehensive evaluation of the external and internal factors that could affect the OHV program.
In the absence of a formally adopted strategy, the commissioners vote to approve grants and cooperative agreements based on their individual interests rather than on a strategy to achieve a balanced program.
Recent legal requirements to spend designated portions of OHV program revenue for conservation, restoration, and law enforcement have not been met and because the division has not set aside the cash, a growing unfunded obligation exists.
The division and the Department of Parks and Recreation (department) have spent or earmarked $38 million for three land acquisition projects-one completed and two under consideration-that offer little or no additional OHV recreation.
Based on a questionable legal interpretation and inadequately supported cost estimates, the department is using Off-Highway Trust Fund money-$3.6 million during fiscal year 2003-04-to support state parks that do not have OHV recreation.
The division made questionable purchases of goods and services using contracts paid with OHV funds and in numerous instances violated state contracting rules.
The division's management of the funds expended through grants and cooperative agreements needs improvement.
ASA, ORBA, and SDORC, the 3 lead organizations that pushed for the audit, have this to say at this time:
1) The audit is a long complicated document full of major revelations. The core group of OHV organizations are pouring through the document carefully. Any statements made now would be totally premature and possibly incorrect.
2) When the core group agrees to a plan, it will be presented to all interested parties who will be asked for input.
3) Input from all OHV lobbyists in Sacramento, as well as from Senator Morrow's office, will be solicited.
4) A final document that describes the OHV Community's collective concerns and planned course of action will be prepared.
5) All interested OHV organizations will be asked to sign a signature page to this document (if they so desire).
6) Then, our collective position paper will be officially made public and be available to post on organization websites.
7) Then, our current plan, is to have as many OHV Leaders as possible go to Sacramento (probably the week after next) to do a formal press release and press conference with Senator Morrow.
8)While in Sacramento, we would knock on doors of as many legislators as possible asking for support.
This is subject to change as the effort continues but we feel it is imperative that we keep any specific actions we might have discussed to ourselves until we are all in agreement. For the first time that we know of in history, the entire CA OHV community will be coalesced around a major issue! This should have a major impact with our Legislators in CA.
ISDRA RAMP and Associated Lawsuits
CBD's request for summary judgment that calls for the judge to rule in favor of keeping the present temporary closures, voiding the biological opinion, and increasing critical habitat designation for the Peirson's milk vetch has been filed. Two weeks later ASA filed our opposition to it as did the Department of the Interior. The 2 latter briefs were very strong and for all practical purposes, make the argument of the CBD sound ridiculous.
A hearing is scheduled in San Francisco on 9/15 where both sides make final verbal arguments in this 3 in 1 case. The final ruling is slated for 9/30 also in San Francisco.
PMV Delisting Efforts
Art Phillip's studies are finalized for this season and are used extensively in our newest delisting petition and the addendum to it.
FWS has accepted our new PMV delisting for review. That means FWS recognizes it as a legitimate petition - not that they will grant a delisting. This also means we can drop our suit challenging the denial of the first delisting petition.
They have 90 days from receipt of the petition to issue a preliminary finding as to whether or not the petition warrants further investigation and review. If so warranted, they have another 9 months to complete the review and are required to give us a final decision on the delisting. Since the Petition was logged in on 7/13/05, the preliminary finding is due 10/13/05 and final ruling is due on 7/13/06.
Our attorney is doubtful that these deadlines will be met due to the workload of FWS caused by all the litigation FWS currently faces. They know that we won't stand for any long delays so things may move along well enough to keep us at bay.
Listing Another 17 Species
Our legal staff is composing arguments against the listing of 17 other species at the ISDRA. The petition to list these species is weak providing nothing more than conjecture and no conclusive science.
Camping Closure Opened
The 25,000-acre "no camping" closure east of the railroad tracks at the ISDRA are now Open. Travel in this area is restricted to existing trails. ASA spent $7000 toward this effort with CORVA taking the lead with ORBA assisting in DC. Implementation of BLM's Northern Eastern Colorado Desert (NECO) plan reopened these lands.
The Temporary Closed dune areas at the ISDRA are still closed until the RAMP is implemented.
Arizona Sand Expo
The ASA will participate in the AZ Sand Expo that will be held at the Arizona State Fair Grounds on Dec. 9 - 11. Volunteers will be needed to man our booth. Watch the Nov. newsletter for more info.
Checkered Flag Program
Conrad Nelson and Don Johnson have joined the Checkered Flag leadership team as co chairman of AZ CF activities. ASA CF Chairman, Scott Swenka is looking for someone to take join the CF team to coordinate California activities. Someone from the San Diego Area and another volunteer for the LA area would be ideal. You can start by helping out at the ASA SSSS CF booth. Contact Scott
or by calling 480-390-3114. If he does not answer please leave a voice mail.
Canal Construction Projects
The ASA Board has asked Mike Gertsen to act as liaison with the Imperial Irrigation District, BLM and the US Bureau of Reclamation re the proposed canal modifications in the south dunes. Please contact Mike at 928 344 5203 or mailto:email@example.com?subject=Canal
Visitor Use Fees
The Imperial County Sheriff's Office (ICSO) will be collecting fees for the 2005, 06 season. You will be required to have a permit before setting up camp. The BLM is finalizing details with the ICSO to collect fees. Soon, more detailed information where to get season and weekly passes will be available. As of this writing, permits will be available at the same locations as always: retail outlets and seven vending machines in the dunes. According to Sheriff Harold Carter, "To make the permit system less intrusive and easier to monitor, ICSO will employ state-of-the-art technology. The new machines will dispense a new kind of permit employing a radio frequency identifier that allow patrol officers to use handheld devices that scan vehicles for valid permits."
ASA MISSION STATEMENT:
Dedicated duners united together to protect and insure the pristine beauty of Glamis.
Dedicated lovers of Mother Glamis, let us join together to protect and insure her pristine beauty for future generations. Our duty as a member requires us to carry bags in our backpacks for trash we see in the dunes; we go out of our way to grab a cigarette butt and place it in our pocket; we pick up cans and bottles and place them in our coolers until no more can be filled; we notice and take action of caution tape tied to a bush; We work hard to clean abandoned fire pits filled with metals and glass. We walk our wash, pad, or flat before we leave with bag in hand. We are the keepers of Mother Glamis, and she is counting on us.
Here is just some of the news regarding the Americans for Responsible Recreational Access. See if the Anti Access crowd is at work in your area...
Visit the ARRA Website
The Congress is busy trying to wrap up as many legislative items as it can prior to its annual 4th of July recess. The Senate just completed action on the Interior Appropriations for FY 2006, a measure that provides funding for the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management. On a less encouraging note, the Transportation Authorization legislation remains stuck in a conference committee so we are unable to report any final news on Recreational Trails Program funding. We are hoping that our August newsletter will have more encouraging news on the RTP front, but we aren’t making any promises.
It seems like the snowmobile access issue relating to Yellowstone National Park never goes away, but a permanent resolution maybe in sight. At present, an interim rule is governing how many and what types of snowmobiles have access to the park. In anticipation of promulgating a final rule by the winter of 2007-08, the National Park Service has begun a process of seeking ideas on possible alternatives to the current winter use plan for the park. The 60-day comment period ends September 1, 2005.
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
Good news for folks visiting the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area. Personal watercraft access is now permitted after having been banned since 2002. A final rule by the National Park Service will now permit personal watercraft use on the 70,000 acre reservoir along the Montana and Wyoming border.
An environmental assessment of the Bighorn Canyon Area determined that personal watercraft would have “no significant impact” on the reservoir thus leading to the decision to allow access once again. The final rule became effective on June 1st.
Upper Mississippi National Wildlife and Fish Refuge
The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service has succeeded in upsetting a whole range of recreation enthusiasts due to a proposed plan that would govern future use of the 240,000 acre Upper Mississippi National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, a refuge that spans Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa. Hunters, boaters, campers and many others are concerned that the proposed plan will severely change the way they access this important wildlife and fish refuge.
The refuge runs more than 261 miles along the upper Mississippi River meaning that historically there has been great diversity in the use of this popular recreation area. Some residents are concerned that a “one-size-fits-all plan” was diminish a full range of recreational activities permitted throughout the refuge.
The fact that the refuge runs through more that 70 municipalities and borders private property and state parks only complicates the task of reaching a consensus on the plan. According to reports in the news media, hundreds of people have turned out at the public hearings held on the plan.
The public comment period ends August 31, 2005. While access has generally been more of an issue in western states that is no longer the case. Just ask those people who live along and recreate on the Upper Mississippi River.
The 109th Congress convened on January 4, 2005. ARRA will keep you posted as legislation of interest is introduced in the 109th Congress.
Wilderness Bill Update
Congress established the wilderness designation for public lands in the Wilderness Act of 1964. To be designated as wilderness, the proposed area must be "an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain....an area of undeveloped federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation." Within designated wilderness areas, "there shall be no temporary (or permanent) road, no use of motor vehicles, motorized equipment or motorboats, no landing of aircraft, no other form of mechanized transport, and no structure or installation within any such area."
Colorado’s North Fruita Desert Supplementary Rules Available for Comment
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Grand Junction Field Office, is publishing proposed supplementary rules regulating the conduct of certain activities on all public lands within Colorado’s North Fruita Desert Special Recreation Management Area (SRMA).
Forest Service Wants to Close Some Roads on Reno’s Peavine Peak
The U.S. Forest Service is pushing to close some roads on Reno’s Peavine Peak, stating that the current "free-for-all situation" is damaging the resource. However, please note that the Forest Service is also seeking to keep more than 100 miles of existing roads and trails open for motorized and non-motorized travel on the 8,260-foot peak.
Fishlake OHV Project Available for Comment
The Fishlake National Forest has released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) which outlines the currently proposed motorized travel plan for the forest.
BLM Imposes OHV Travel Restrictions in Utah
The Bureau of Land Management announced on August 10th that effective immediately, OHV travel restrictions were being imposed in the Hog Canyon and the Trail Canyon areas in the vicinity of Kanab, Utah.
Forest Service Releases Final Roadless Rule
The Forest Service has announced the release of the final rule for Roadless Area management. The new rule allows governors to submit proposals for how to manage roadless areas in their states. ARRA feels that this new rule will provide for better local participation and input in land management decisions.
West Mojave Plan Final EIS Available
The Bureau of Land Management has released the final Environmental Impact Statement for the West Mojave area in southern California’s Desert District.
Are Noise Levels the Next Battlefront?
AMA Position on Excessive Motorcycle Noise
I know I ran this article before, but there have been some new action on this subject, so here is that article again, followed by the new info. As OHVers, if we don't police ourselves, they will be happy to do it for us and to us. Take note of this issue, it may be the next big battle.
The American Motorcyclist Association, established in 1924, has maintained a position of strong opposition to excessive motorcycle noise throughout its history. It has funded information and public relations campaigns in support of quiet motorcycle use and was the first motorsports sanctioning body in the world to regulate and reduce the sound level of racing vehicles.
The Association believes that few other factors contribute more to misunderstanding and prejudice against the motorcycling community than excessively noisy motorcycles. A minority, riding loud motorcycles, may leave the impression that all motorcycles are loud. In fact, a significant percentage of the public does not realize that motorcycles are built to federally mandated noise control standards.
Each segment of the motorcycling community -- including the riders, event organizers, retailers and distributors, original equipment and aftermarket manufacturers, law enforcement and the safety community -- must realize that it cannot single- handedly solve this problem. However, each has a role and a responsibility in achieving a solution.
Shifting blame and failing to adopt responsible policies on a voluntary basis can only result in greater prejudice and discrimination against motorcycling. The consequences of continuing to ignore this issue will likely result in excessively rigorous state and federal standards, more expensive and less attractive motorcycles, the reduction of choices in aftermarket products, abusive enforcement of current laws and other solutions undesirable to riders and the motorcycle industry. (Hey, this can easily apply to the ATV sector of OHVers, so pay attention!)
Based on its opposition to excessive motorcycle noise, the American Motorcyclist Association recommends the following:
All motorcyclists should be sensitive to community standards and respect the rights of fellow citizens to enjoy a peaceful environment.
Motorcyclists should not modify exhaust systems in a way that will increase sound to an offensive level. Organizers of motorcycle events should take steps through advertising, peer pressure and enforcement to make excessively loud motorcycles unwelcome.
Motorcycle retailers should discourage the installation and use of excessively loud replacement exhaust systems.
The motorcycle industry, including aftermarket suppliers of replacement exhaust systems, should adopt responsible product design and marketing policies aimed at limiting the cumulative impact of excessive motorcycle noise.
Manufacturers producing motorcycles to appropriate federal standards should continue to educate their dealers and customers that louder exhaust systems do not necessarily improve the performance of a motorcycle.
Law enforcement agencies should fairly and consistently enforce appropriate laws and ordinances against excessive vehicle noise.
The motorcycle industry and the safety community should educate customers that excessive noise may be fatiguing to riders, making them less able to enjoy riding and less able to exercise good riding skills.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
Q: What is "excessive noise?"
A: No one likes excessive or unreasonable noise. Confusion arises because everyone has a different definition of "excessive." Noise considered excessive in one environment may be acceptable in another. It's up to you to determine what is excessive. This determination shouldn't always be based on the rider, but rather the conditions around the rider. Some factors to consider include surroundings, time of day, traffic mix, people present, etc.
Q: Why did the AMA suddenly issue this position statement?
A: The AMA has fought motorcycle bans in St. Louis, Detroit, Brockton, Massachusetts, and Springfield, Illinois. The foundation for each was tied to excessive noise. More recently we have confronted proposed motorcycle prohibitions in Chicago and New York City. Motorcycle noise, again, was the justification for these proposals.
In the past several years, the AMA has spent well over $100,000 defending lawsuits and confronting legislative prohibitions initiated by zealous legislators responding to their belief that motorcycles are too loud. In Europe, where road closures to stifle excessive noise are becoming almost commonplace, anti-tampering legislation and restrictive sound emission requirements are under serious consideration.
The position results from the Board's desire to avoid further restrictions on motorcycling. If the excessive noise problem is not addressed voluntarily, and in a timely fashion, these restrictions are inevitable. The Board agrees that failing to raise this warning, despite the potential negative reception by some, would be shirking their responsibility to AMA members and the motorcycling community.
Q: If my exhaust is modified or capable of producing "excessive noise," will I be denied access to AMA or other motorcycle events?
A: There are no plans to do so. However, all motorcyclists need to become more sensitive to how they affect others. The AMA has encouraged event organizers to use advertising, peer pressure and enforcement of event rules to discourage excessively loud motorcycles.
Q: Why should appropriate laws and ordinances against excessive vehicle noise be fairly and consistently enforced?
A: The AMA believes that if existing laws and ordinances governing excessive noise from vehicles of all types were fairly and consistently enforced, the problem of noisy vehicles would be effectively eliminated.
Q: What good is it to regulate myself if others continue to make excessive noise?
A: Excessive noise is not the fault of any one brand, any particular style of bike, or any single segment of the motorcycle industry. It is a community-wide problem and we all need to be part of the solution.
Q: Is the AMA telling me to replace my aftermarket exhaust with an original-equipment exhaust?
A: No. However, modified exhaust systems should not increase sound to an offensive level.
VOLUNTARY SOUND MANAGEMENT
Rick Gray, AMA Trustee
With many rights come responsibilities. We enjoy the right to free speech in America, but that right does not entitle us to yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater. So too, the right to ride a motorcycle does not permit us to infringe on the peaceful enjoyment of life by others. Indeed, many others, including the courts, view motorcycling not as a right but a privilege. This is an important distinction because under our legal system, the government can regulate or eliminate a privilege much easier than it can restrict or cancel a right.
When we examine lessons from history, it's predictable that when a minority abuses a right or privilege the majority will react. The reaction usually takes the form of some repressive measure. Often the phrase, "I hate motorcycles" is immediately followed with "they're too loud." Reactions of this nature regularly result in bike bans and proposals to limit the modifications we can make to our motorcycles.
Activist motorcyclists throughout the world have defended themselves against such reactions, and here in the United States the AMA has spent more than $100,000 fighting bike ban lawsuits in recent years. All too often, the measures being fought by the AMA originated in part or total because a minority of motorcyclists have not acted responsibly when it comes to noise.
Much of this predicament is not an equipment or engineering problem, but rather a behavioral problem. Some motorcycles, when operated under certain conditions, are virtually guaranteed to offend others by interfering with their right to a peaceful environment. Irresponsibly making excessive noise with motorcycle exhaust systems is tantamount to yelling "Fire," yet some do it daily.
Rather than abuse our right to ride, shouldn't we view that right as a resource to be conserved, nurtured and developed? Can we realize that "noise" has become a political problem? Shouldn't we engage in voluntary sound management through reasonable self-regulation in order to avoid the imposition of repressive regulations?
With responsible voluntary sound management, we can "soundly manage" our precious resource of motorcycling. Without it, we invite further government regulation or worse. The choice is ours.
With those thoughts in mind, fellow ATVers, here is a story that appeared in the Press-Enterprise, which is the local paper for the Riverside, and Inland Empire areas of SoCal. I do not think the timing is coincidental, the Noise Level Issue will be the next battle for not only motorcyclists, but a large majority of the whole OHV family. This will also include the boating and PWC groups as well. The article was in the June 30, 2005 paper.
NOISE CONTROL: Using an up-close approach, officials listen to the sound of motorbikes.
12:59 AM PDT on Thursday, June 30, 2005
By KIMBERLY TRONE / The Press-Enterprise
Riverside County planning commissioners took a hearing test Wednesday.
Responding to complaints that dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles are too noisy, commissioners visited two privately owned motocross tracks in Aguanga to listen to the buzz of motorbikes.
Opponents called the tests a "farce," saying the bikes used in the demonstrations met environmental standards and did not represent many of the modified machines that scream across their landscapes.
Enthusiasts said Wednesday's test was evidence that law-abiding off-roaders could enjoy their sport without disrupting the lives of their neighbors.
The Planning Commission is scheduled to consider a proposal Wednesday that would restrict the use of off-road vehicles to only daylight hours on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays on public and private land. The proposal also would limit to four the number of off-road vehicles allowed to operate at one time on 20 acres.
No off-road riding would be allowed on parcels smaller than 2? acres. A $1,000 fine could be imposed for violations, under the proposal.
Wednesday was the second time the commissioners have gone out for a listen. The first was in April.
"Riverside County is the epicenter of motocross in this country," said Edward Moreland, vice president of government relations for the American Motorcyclist Association, a motorcycle-rider advocacy group based in Washington, D.C.
Moreland, who attended Wednesday's demonstration, said the county's effort to muffle noise by targeting a specific segment of society is misguided.
He said the new law would be unenforceable because there is not enough manpower to do so, saying the county instead should clamp down on trespassers and focus on a noise ordinance that applies to everyone.
Moreland also said that the county's proposal would violate the rights of private property owners if put into law; residents have purchased large parcels of land, up to 30 acres or more, to use for their own personal off-road recreation.
Jason Freid, an organizer for California Wilderness, said the properties where owners have cleared trails for motocross activity pose a problem for others.
"Maybe the bikes are quieter, but it's still an issue for the neighbors. The bikes don't always fit the standards," Freid said.
Attorneys for Riverside County have not had an opportunity to review the language of the proposed ordinance to determine what adjustments need to be made, said Mark Balys, county deputy director of planning, Wednesday.
After Wednesday's test, Supervisor Jeff Stone said he was impressed by the new technology that made the motorcycles quieter.
But he said he still has questions about why so many complaints have rolled in from Aguanga homeowners if the bikes are as quiet as they were during Wednesday's test runs.
"I am going to pay some surprise visits out there and see for myself," Stone said.
Now on that note, here is a website that deals with that issue, it is run by a volunteer of the SBNF, they are doing free soundchecks, in the San Bernardino National Forest area of SoCal, using the same equipment that the Anti-OHVers are equipped with, as well as law enforcement officials. There is a way to make sure that our noise levels are within the accepted ranges, and this is a start. Tom has links to other sites, regarding the noise level issue. Let's start policing ourselves on this issue before the other guys do it for us. Here is a good way for your ATV club to help get the word out, and get some good PR work done on the local level. Hint Hint.
Other ATV News and ATV Events
Special Riding Tip
Here is a condition that you may find yourself dealing with on long or extended rides.
Hyponatremia – Excess water intake (water intoxication) can lead to a disturbance in fluid-electrolyte balance and an abnormally low level of plasma sodium (under 135 mmoles/liter). The risk is more pronounced during long-duration exertion in the heat, in events like a long forest project in the heat or a marathon, Ironman triathlon, and prolonged work (Working in hot dry conditions with heavy lifting, extended motorcycle or ATV rides).
When excess water intake is combined with loss of sodium in sweat the risk grows (sodium loss for a participant in the Ironman triathlon could approach 1 gram per hour of a 12 hour event). A moderate decline in plasma sodium may cause gastrointestinal symptoms or nausea. A more pronounced drop may cause unusual fatigue, confusion, disorientation, throbbing headache, vomiting, wheezy breathing, swollen hands and feet. Seizures, coma, and death are possible at very low levels (below 120 mmoles/liter).
Those at greatest risk are small, slower athletes, those who sweat a lot and those who lose lots of salt, drink lots of water before and during the projects or rides, and fail to replace electrolytes, especially sodium.
A small body means it takes less water to dilute body fluids, and a slow athlete or volunteer spends more time exerting themselves. Twenty-six cases were found during several San Diego marathons, and average finishing time was 5 hours and 38 minutes. Nine US Marine recruits experienced hyponatremia on the same day, drinking 10 to 22 quarts of water over a few hours of exertion. All survived after emergency medical treatment.
(Military Medicine, 2002).
Here is the annual National Survey on Recreation and the Environment, simply click on the link and enjoy the Survey, make sure you have a few moments to spare, it does take awhile.
Upcoming ATV Events
Orangewood RV "Pound Sand 2005"
Scott Swenka is the coordinator for this two day event on OCT. 1 & 2 in Surprise, AZ at Orangewood RV at 11449 West Bell Road (114th Ave. and Bell) This will be a fairly large affair with many OHV displays, live music, free food and drink, several door prizes and an opportunity to see the new ASA give a way car. FREE VENDOR BOOTH SPACE. Contact Scott Swenka at 480-390-3114. If he does not answer leave a voice mail.
Sign Up Now For The 2005 Jamboree!
We just wanted to remind everyone that the 2005 Jamboree is coming up this September. We encourage all those who are planning to participate to sign up or call us toll free at 1-866-409-9378. We hope to see you there!
There are 19 incredible trails to choose from for all levels of riders with beautiful scenery and amazing wildlife. Outlaw Trail Rides.
"Dirt Wheels Magazine names The Arizona ATV Outlaw Trail as one of the 15 best places to ride"
People in Springerville and Eagar, Arizona have rallied to keep OHV trails open in the Round Valley and White Mountains of eastern Arizona. You can help them in their efforts by attending this festival that has a “Truly Western” theme. From trails ridden by the outlaws and lawmen of Tombstone to the retirement ranch of Actor, John Wayne, you will surely have the time of your life!
Well, folks, that about wraps it up for now...I would like to thank our visitors for their support and understanding, while I was out taking care of some personal business, over the summer. Now that I have caught up a bit, stay tuned for new additions to the site. One of which is already in place, at the bottom of every page is a footer box that you can click on to send us an Email. How convenient is that? There will also be a lot of new articles coming down the pike, as well.
Ride Safe. Ride Legal. Ride Again...Curtis
|Back to Back Issues Page|