View Full Version : BRC to testify on our behalf THIS THURSDAY
06-03-2008, 12:45 PM
BLUERIBBON COALITION, INC.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Greg Mumm, Executive Director
Phone: (208) 237-1008 ext 101, (208) 241-2112
Email: email@example.com (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: May 21, 2008
BRC TO TESTIFY BEFORE SENATE COMMITTEE ON ENERGY & NATURAL RESOURCES
POCATELLO, ID (June 2) -- Greg Mumm, Executive Director for the BlueRibbon Coalition, was recently invited to testify in front of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
The BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC), a leading advocate for responsible management of recreation on public lands, was invited in a formal letter by Senator Jeff Bingaman--Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy--to testify at the committee hearing. "The purpose of the hearing is to receive testimony regarding off-highway vehicle management on public lands," stated Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) in his letter.
"I am honored to have received the invitation to speak before the Senate Committee," said Mumm. "This is an important time for access interests, and this is a tremendous opportunity for the BlueRibbon Coalition to ensure that the enthusiast voice is heard in Washington, D.C."
The Committee's hearing is scheduled for Thursday, June 5, 2008, at 9:30 a.m. in room SD-366 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building.
The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible use of public and private lands, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. It represents over 10,000 individual members and 1,200 organization and business members, for a combined total of over 600,000 recreationists nationwide. 1-800-258-3742. www.sharetrails.org (http://www.sharetrails.org/alertlist/redirect.cfm?ID=3292&MID=1027&LID=41)
06-03-2008, 12:49 PM
And I am glad of it. Below is an email string I had with a guy in Ken Salazar's office, I must say I have had more correspondence from Ken Salazar or his proxy than any senator previously. :thumb:
But Mr. Salazar does not 'get it'. Not yet anyway. Still chipping away.
Sent: Jun 3, 2008 7:12 AM
To: "Amodeo,Michael (Salazar)"
Subject: RE: A message from Senator Ken Salazar
Thanks, Michael. I sure hope Mr. Salazar gets a chance to review my comments below regarding the inappropriate designation of Wilderness to protect public land, when less draconian and more effective options are available.
From: "Amodeo, Michael (Salazar)"
Sent: Jun 2, 2008 3:10 PM
Cc: Rising Sun Land Use
Subject: RE: A message from Senator Ken Salazar
Senator Salazar will be participating in an energy and natural resources committee hearing this Thursday to discuss issues related to off-highway vehicle management on public lands. I will forward you Senator Salazarís Committee Statement once it becomes available.
Thank you for your continued interest.
Deputy Press Secretary
U.S. Senator Ken Salazar (D-CO)
Click Here (http://salazar.senate.gov/contact/newsletter.cfm)To Sign Up for Senator Salazar's E-Newsletter
Sent: Monday, June 02, 2008 5:07 PM
To: Amodeo, Michael (Salazar)
Cc: Rising Sun Land Use
Subject: Re: A message from Senator Ken Salazar
Please forward this to Senator Salazar.
Thank you, Senator Salazar.
I am writing to you primarily because I believe you are the most responsive of our current representatives for Colorado, and I also believe you understand coalitions, reasonable compromise, and the importance of recreation to rural Colorado communities.
Actually, I think ALL of our public lands should be protected - but this is usually a euphemism for 'closure', which concentrates remaining use on a smaller footprint. This is not environmentally responsible. This is what clubs like ours are fighting, even though we regard ourselves as environmentalists, because we have seen the results of it. Are you aware of how many thousands of miles of off-highway routes have been lost to recreation in the last twenty years? This cannot be allowed to continue. It is FAR from 'Balanced'.
Many of our 'Roadless' areas are in fact roaded, and have been for over a hundred years. For many groups, 'Roadless' is an incremental designation for eventual closure to OHV use due to being designated 'Wilderness'. These areas do not qualify as Wilderness, yet should be protected. Incremental designations are important for that reason, not as stepping stones toward closure, but as stratified classifications facilitating land management. Please do not collapse Roadless areas into Wilderness - they are appropriate for many uses. 'Wilderness' designation is NOT the only means for protecting public lands, and it is not appropriate in many of the most recent proposals for Wilderness.
Regards protection of OHV areas, this is best accomplished by partnerships between private user groups and the public lands managers. To really make this work, funding for trail and road maintenance must be restored. Our club, however, is making a difference in the local National Forests and BLM lands, and we are not exceptional examples of this - it is quite common in fact. Closing areas to OHV use actually closes off users who are quite motivated to protect the land they enjoy - land they could not visit, in many cases, any other way. I am an example of this; my knees preclude long hikes to see wild backcountry, and I rely on my 4x4 truck as I practice TreadLightly! principles.
Thank you for your time, and for representing all of your constituents,
Rising Sun Land Use Coordinator
Sent: Jun 2, 2008 3:13 PM
Subject: A message from Senator Ken Salazar
Thank you for contacting me regarding off-highway vehicles (OHV) and public lands. I appreciate hearing from you.
As a fifth generation Coloradan, I have a deep appreciation for the multiple uses of our public lands. Each weekend, thousands of Coloradans head to the mountains with their OHVs to enjoy the beautiful vistas and rugged trails of our National Forests. Together with hunters and fishermen, cyclists and hikers, wilderness lovers and National Park visitors, OHV users are among the best champions for our public lands.
As you know, when President Teddy Roosevelt fought to create our National Forests and National Parks a century ago, he did so with the goal of protecting these areas for the use of future generations. I believe we must uphold this legacy, so that our children and grandchildren may enjoy the same opportunities afforded to us. For this reason, I support a balanced approach to land management which recognizes that some of our public lands are appropriate for a broad range of uses while others, where the impact of human activity has been minimal, should be protected.
Congress oversees the agencies, like the United States Forest Service, that draft and implement many of the land use policies that affect OHV users. Please be assured that I will keep your thoughts in mind as I help ensure that federal agencies cooperate with local communities and pursue a balanced approach to land management.
Again, thank you for contacting me.
United States Senator
Please do not respond to this email. To send another message please visit my website at http://salazar.senate.gov/contact/email.cfm and fill out the webform for a prompt response. Thank you.
06-06-2008, 10:33 AM
Subject: Off-roaders, environmentalists to square off in Congress
Off-roaders, environmentalists to square off in Congress
By JOHN MILLER - Associated Press Writer
Edition Date: 06/03/08
BOISE, Idaho - Environmental groups and off-road vehicle advocates plan
to square off Thursday in the U.S. Senate on the three-year-old U.S.
Forest Service effort to restrict where motorcycles, four-wheelers and
other backcountry vehicles can drive on public land.
The Wilderness Society says the Senate Energy and Natural Resources
Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., will help underscore how an
increasing number of powerful machines encroach ever farther into
The Blue Ribbon Coalition, an Idaho Falls-based group for motorized
public land access, fears the committee chairman, Sen. Jeff Bingaman,
D-N.M., will use the occasion as a springboard for more restrictions
following th e 2008 congressional elections.
Scott Miller, the committee staffer who organized the oversight hearing,
said the event will help inform senators about the debate and will be
similar to a March 13 House Committee on Natural Resources hearing on
the subject. There's no pending new legislation, he said.
"The popularity of ORVs on public lands has grown dramatically," Miller
told The Associated Press. "As a result, the management challenges have
grown dramatically as well. We're trying to get our members to better
understand our issues."
National forests across America have been updating travel plans on 193
million acres of public lands since 2005, when the Forest Service
changed its policy requiring all forests be closed unless posted open to
That's after ORVs rose to an estimated 43 million, according to the Blue
Ribbon Coalition, from only about five million in the 1970s.
So far, 36 n ational forests in 24 states have published new travel
plans, according to the Forest Service, leaving the bulk still to be
completed in 2008 and 2009. There are 155 national forests and 22
national grasslands. The hearing will also include discussion of travel
planning on the Bureau of Land Management's 264 million acres.
Brad Brooks, a Wilderness Society advocate in Boise, said conflicts in
states including Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Arizona and Nevada point up the
need to rein in off-road vehicle riders who stray from trails for the
challenge of riding up steep slopes, exposing those slopes to erosion,
weeds and other problems.
In the Mount Hood National Forest in Oregon, for instance, dirt-choked
runoff from illegal trails threatens native trout. And "mudders" in
Washington state's Kittitas County every spring blaze through
snowmelt-softened Forest Service meadows, damaging wetlands and costing
taxpayers thousands for restoration.
"It's taken awhile to convince Congress of the magnitude of the
problem," Brooks said. "These are problems that have started to
escalate. We're at a point when we need to get a handle on this issue."
Nada Culver, the Wilderness Society's top lawyer, plans to testify
Thursday that travel planning by the Forest Service and the federal BLM
so far has designated thousands of miles of open trails that crisscross
the West - sometimes without regard to whether they were created
illegally or could do irreparable harm to other resources.
Other groups on the agenda are the Nevada Sheriffs and Chiefs
Association, the American Motorcyclist Association, Trout Unlimited and
the Blue Ribbon Coalition.
Brian Hawthorne, the coalition's public lands policy director, said its
members favor responsible management of public lands, including
commonsense riding restrictions. Still, they're leery that possible
Democr atic advances in Congress in the 2008 elections will signal more
restrictive policies, trail losses and costlier penalties for those who
stray off the beaten path.
Thursday's hearing, he said, may just be a precursor.
"The agencies have understood they needed to manage motorized recreation
since the 1980s," Hawthorne said. "For some reason, they didn't grapple
with it. Finally, we get the agencies to bite the bullet. And so you'd
think the environmental community would be more supportive. But what we
have is, hearings that are basically designed to bash the off-highway
One flashpoint has been planning efforts in the Sawtooth National
Forest's Minidoka Ranger District, a 950-square-mile swath of remote
hill country south of the Snake River in southern Idaho. After
weathering three appeals, including from the Wilderness Society, new
off-road vehicle travel maps there are due out by July 4.
That's despite a sharply worded April 14 Idaho Fish and Game Department
letter that criticized the Forest Service for not incorporating the
state agency's suggestions for trail restrictions to improve conditions
for fish and wildlife and expand non-motorized hunting.
"It is regrettable the district chose to develop a proposed action
alternative based primarily on several years of exclusive input from
motorized-user groups," wrote Dave Parrish, supervisor of Fish and
Game's region that borders the Minidoka district.
Scott Nannenga, the Minidoka ranger, said the maps grew from a sincere
attempt to balance competing interests.
"I'm hoping we can work through some of these issues together," Nannenga told the AP, noting that "the travel plan allows us to update our maps
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