THE CARNEGIE PREFERRED CONCEPT

You can skip reading all this and just tell the planning committee to support OHV recreation at Carnegie, and in the Alameda/Tesla expansion. Tell them that you support the preferred concept. You can use the comment form in their preferred concept website. See:  http://carnegie.engage-sites.com/preferred_concept

We have to all do this now because our enemies are hard at work generating comments opposed to OHV recreation at Carnegie and asking for a no OHV proposal (which doesn’t exist yet). They have the political muscle to make this happen unless we encourage everybody who rides to submit a comment in favor of OHV recreation at Carnegie and especially the new property.

The preferred concept includes OHV recreation. Please support it in your comments and add your own thoughts and suggestions to make it even better.

Here are some of my thoughts…

When a lot of us saw the new preferred concept we let out our collective breath in a sigh of relief. The proposed general plan did not totally ban off-highway vehicles in the Alameda/Tesla addition as advocated by our enemies. The planning committee also adopted ideas that were suggested by the off road community for some to the Visitor Experience Areas.

We were comforted by signs that the planning committee was taking our concerns into account and providing for a broad array of off highway motor vehicle opportunities in the original 1500 acres as well as the Alameda/Tesla expansion.

This is true because we are accustomed to having our favorite trails closed and accepting compromises to get the little we still have at Carnegie. However if you take a closer look at the preferred concept you will see that vast areas called restricted zones do not allow off highway vehicle recreation but do potentially provide access for other types of recreation. Restricted areas might be a good idea where there is sensitive native habitat for endangered species, but why allow other types of non-OHV recreational opportunities in these “limited recreation areas”?

My question is what is it the difference between trails used by motor vehicles and trails used for other recreational opportunities? None! Why are we banned in so called sensitive areas whereas their trails are allowed?

This is all part of the big lie promoted by our enemies. The mantra is that we have a deleterious impact on the environment, including all natural and cultural resources located in our park. These resources supposedly need special protection from OHV recreation. This is all humbug and is routinely used by our opponents to prevent us from making full use of our park.

Protected cultural resources include bare hills strewn with torn lumber, slag piles and a hole in the ground which was once a mine. This is all that is left of an abandoned coal mining town whose workers were essentially indentured servants. Our opponents supposedly want to preserve this “vulnerable site” from the adverse effect of off road recreation? Who makes this stuff up?

There is going to be a museum celebrating the enormous cultural and historical resources at Carnegie using OHV Trust Fund money. The museum would include the Tesla mining town and would also celebrate American Indian history and culture. Indian artifacts were allegedly found on our property which indicated that they made use of it at some time or another.

They were a nomadic tribe and they also used land in the hills in and around Livermore and Tracy to do their hunting and gathering. Shouldn’t the museum be located in one of those towns?

But according to our opponents, the Indians felt a special spiritual affinity for our three thousand acres. Of course modern men and women who claim tribal membership claim this special relationship. Maybe they want to build a casino on our land.

These are the same people who felt that they owned land in the East Bay Regional Parks District. East Bay Regional Parks purchased land to prevent it from being developed and it was given to the public as open space. The public was free to use it including the American Indians. The East Bay Parks Board said that the American Indians did not have exclusive rights to it and their demands were turned down.

Can you say opportunists? Everybody wants a piece of the action and now they want to use our money to build a museum on our land. The museum will celebrate a history that nobody is interested in except those who want to get a hold on our purse strings.

The other really preposterous lie our opponents are spreading is that unique native fauna and wildlife, including endangered species, must be protected on our three thousand acres. They contend that OHV use on trails in the area will hurt these rare natural resources. They have made exclusive inventories of native plant and animal life on our three thousand acres but not in the surrounding open space. It is unique, they say, and must be protected.

There is only one problem with their logic. I do not see any physical barriers separating our property from our neighbor’s property, or any of the surrounding landscape for that matter; but they are claiming that the presence of unique natural resources is why OHV recreation should be banned on our property.

Cattle ranching and wineries are fine, but a few trails running through undeveloped natural resources must be stopped. This argument is getting a little old and a lot of us think that saving the environment is just a way to convince the public that OHV enthusiasts are irresponsible when nothing could be further from the truth. It is an excuse to stop us from using our property. The word green has a soothing effect on the modern urban psych.

The history of Carnegie SLVA  goes back to 1971 when the state  legislature established the Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Program in Chapter 1.25 of Division 5 of the Public Resources Code (commencing with Section 5090.01) to manage off-highway recreation in a manner that also protects California’s natural and cultural resources.

In the enabling legislation our advocates allowed them to insert this discriminatory phrase:  “The indiscriminate and uncontrolled use of those vehicles may have a deleterious impact on the environment, wildlife habitats, native wildlife, and native flora.” And we have been tarnished ever since with these kinds of malevolent innuendos and false stereotypes.

When I was younger there were no state off-highway motor vehicular recreation areas so we rode in private parks, county parks and on trails running through undeveloped areas. We did not have a deleterious impact on the environment because most of our trails were located in abandoned fields. To the extent that some of our trails were not completely flat; like all trails (whether hiking trails or whatever) they developed ruts when rain water ran down them in the wintertime.

The only difference between our trails and their trails at that time was that, unlike locally maintained trails for hikers; most of our trails were not graded.

Nature is that way. Even steep animal trails develop ruts when it rains. It is called erosion and erosion is the force that creates lush farm lands and rich river deltas.

However, modern man cannot accept nature. It has to be paved over and native grasses must be replaced with nonnative turf in parks, playing fields and golf courses. The upper classes, or those who aspire to be members of the wealthy elite, prefer games that are played in European type settings with non native grasses.

We played on trails running through native grasses. The fields we played on with our dirt bikes were more natural than the politically correct but totally artificial parks and playing fields used by other members of the public. OHV enthusiasts have been making compromises and accepting malicious lies ever since the Off Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Chapter was added to the Public Resources Code.

To implement all aspects of the OHV program, the Division of Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (Division) was created within the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR). Then the Off Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) Commission (Commission) was created to allow public input and provide policy guidelines for the OHMVR Program.

The Division is responsible for the planning, acquisition, development, and management of the eight State Vehicle Recreation Areas (SVRAs), and a statewide financial assistance program. OHV revenues support law enforcement, operations and management, education and safety, environmental protection, and repair and restoration. The Division is also responsible for completing and periodically updating a strategic plan for the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) Program.

Unlike other the users of other California State Parks, the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle (OHMV) community agreed not to use general fund dollars to operate and maintain their system of recreational areas. The Off Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) Division of California State Parks is funded exclusively by a use tax paid on gasoline used recreating off-highway, red and green sticker registration fees and entrance fees to the State Vehicular Recreation Areas (SVRA’s).

Financially the Division of OHMVR is completely supported by the OHMV community. The thought was that the Division would be insulated from money woes caused by historically unsustainable state deficits. That assumption proved to be nothing more than wishful thinking. Today almost $200 million of OHV Trust Fund monies have been taken in the form of loans to the General Fund and have not been repaid.

And almost ten million dollars is transferred from the OHV Trust Fund to the General Fund annually through a little noticed slight of hand amendment to the Revenue and Taxation Code that was passed in the in the 2010-2011 state budget.

BUT NOW THEY ARE STEALING LARGE PARTS OF OUR PARK. How would you feel if you saved up to purchase a house for your family and wealthy interlopers moved in and started using your bathroom, eating the food in your kitchen and using your electronic devises to communicate with their friends? Their activities create wear and tear on your house and you to have to pay replace broken fixtures and maintain your home.

Guess what; that is exactly what they are doing to our State Vehicular Recreation Areas (SVRAs).  Is this Democracy? Our government is Robin Hood in reverse taking from the 20% of the public which engages in Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation and giving a large part of our park to those who already have the vast majority of outdoor resources. Last year the Supreme Court in Citizens United said that money is speech.

Allowing money to control elections does not ensure Democracy. In California money is represented by such groups as the Sierra Club and other assorted do gooders who adamantly object to off highway vehicular recreation in any form. By controlling elections they also manipulate state politics and agencies like the Division of Off Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation which is responsible for the new general plan. Dare I say that this represents class warfare?

For years the legislature has been stealing money in the OHV Trust Fund. This Fund completely supports State Vehicular Recreation Areas such as Carnegie. It pays the salaries and benefits of employees who manage and run our park. But in an attempt to mollify our enemies, the state is using our money to build and run a public museum and it is opening up our park for non-OHV recreational activities. The beneficiaries of these actions are members of the public who do not contribute one iota to the financial sustenance of Carnegie.

How do they do that you ask? First let’s take a look at the Draft Purpose and Vision Statements and the Draft Declaration of Purpose which make no mention of providing enhanced off-highway motor vehicle recreation. This does not conform to state law. The primary purpose enunciated in the enabling statute for the Off Highway Recreation in section 5090.01 of the Public Resources code says that facilities for off-highway recreation (Carnegie SVRA) must be managed to maintain sustained long term (OHV) use.

To wit:

“The Legislature hereby declares that effectively managed areas and adequate facilities for the use of off-highway vehicles and conservation and enforcement are essential for ecologically balanced recreation.

Accordingly, it is the intent of the Legislature that:

(1)   Existing off-highway motor vehicle recreational areas, facilities, and opportunities should be expanded and managed in a manner consistent with this chapter, in particular to maintain sustained long-term use.”  

When you are interpreting a statute you have to interpret it as a whole and it is obvious that the meaning of this provision is to provide sustained long term off highway vehicular recreation in existing recreational areas like Carnegie SVRA.

The Draft Purpose and Vision Statement states that “The OHMVR Division works to ensure quality recreational opportunities remain available for future generations by providing for education, conservation and enforcement efforts that balance OHV recreation impacts with programs that conserve and protect cultural and natural resources”.

Did they inadvertently forget the purpose of Carnegie SVRA is to provide quality off-highway motor vehicle recreation not just generic recreational opportunities? I hope the error was inadvertent.

The only mention of OHV recreation in this short description of purpose and vision for our State Vehicular Recreation Area is that OHV recreation needs to be managed to protect cultural and natural resources. What do they think we do – kill wildlife (we leave that to our neighbor) and trash cultural resources? Baloney!

I wonder if every wealthy lobbyist who has pushed legislation through Sacramento to limit off highway vehicle recreation have more influence than the actual people who pay the salaries of those responsible for the content of the Preferred Concept. Reading this statement gives the impression that the planning committee is trying very hard to appease our enemies.

The Draft Declaration of Purpose states the following:

The purpose of Carnegie SVRA is to provide effectively managed, responsible off-highway vehicle (OHV) related recreational opportunities while protecting and interpreting Carnegie’s valued cultural and natural resources.

“Off Highway Vehicle related recreational opportunities”? What does that mean? It totally ignores sections of the Public Resources Code which created State Vehicular Recreation Areas in California. The Code says nothing about promoting related recreational opportunities. Related recreational opportunities could mean anything. It isn’t spelled out. Maybe they are just building picnic areas where we can relax and and hang out with friends and family between rides.

Or maybe they don’t want us to know what these “related recreational opportunities” are all about.

Related OHV recreational opportunities should mean racing, trials competition or obstacle courses for off highway motor vehicles. It certainly should not involve any activity that does not include motor vehicles. They don’t tell us specifically what related activities are being planned for our OHV park, but we can guess that they do not involve our sport.

.The new Preferred Concept  infers the inclusion of non-OHV activities. Under the heading Recreation: it says that access to nonmotorized recreation opportunities would be accommodated.

Motorized off highway access to nonmotorized recreation opportunities would be accomodated”.

Does this statement imply that nonmotorized recreation would be included in Carnegie SVRA? There does not seem to be any other interpretation. It ignores Chapter 1.25 Off Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation in the Public Resources Code. This chapter created State Vehicular Recreation Areas in California to promote off highway vehicle recreation and it says nothing about promoting other recreational opportunities.

The wording adopted by the legislature when they amended parts of Section 9050.01 of the Public Resources Code in 2008 to add (2) Off-highway recreation includes both motorized recreation and motorized off-highway access to nonmotorized recreation activities.

This was done because it was recognized in the 2006 gas tax study that mostly fishermen and hunters used off highway access for their sports and paid gasoline use tax for off highway access. The idea was that they could apply for grants and cooperative agreements money out of the OHV Trust Fund for maintenance of these roads. There is no provision in the code for allowing non-OHV recreational activities in State Vehicular Recreation Areas. The planning committee got this idea from reading the ignorant interpretation of this provision propagated by our opponents and probably included in their letters and comments.

Maybe our neighbors are providing non-motorized recreational opportunities (hunting) and we are providing access for those opportunities but I doubt it. Off highway motorized access for fishing on our property is just a figment of their imaginations born of their failed lawsuit.

If the Planning Committee is proposing to allow hikers, bird watchers and/or mountain bikers. etc. to use our park; these people already have hundreds of thousands of acres that we all support with our general tax dollars. We only have 8 self supported state OHV parks whereas they have 272 state parks as well as 113,000 acres of land in the East Bay Regional Parks District (EBRPD) system which has over 1200 miles of trails.

We can’t ride in the 272 state (non-OHV) parks and EBRPD provides us with nowhere to ride on their extensive system of trails As a homeowner in the East Bay, we support the EBRPD parks financially with property taxes. At a public meeting this year the board of directors of EBRPD vowed that they will do everything possible to prevent us from ever riding our off-highway vehicles in the Alameda/Tesla expansion (which was admittedly purchased for OHV recreation with OHV Trust Fund money).

There has also been talk of giving bicycles access to our land. They don’t pay registration fees or entrance fees and do not contribute one cent to our parks. They already have thousands of miles of trials where they can ride but they want our park.

It appears that although there is no legal justification for giving them access to Carnegie SVRA , other off highway motor vehicle facilities have given mountain bikes access and this creates a de facto precedent. These parks include Hollister, Hungry Valley and Auburn. I have been informed that Prairie City is closed to off highway vehicle recreation one day a week on Wednesdays and the park is given over to mountain bikes.

They are blood suckers sucking the blood of off-highway motor vehicle enthusiasts. They don’t support our parks financially but want to use our parks and preferably get rid of off-highway motor vehicles so they can ride in peace and quiet. I have ridden mountain bikes since 1984 and still ride about three times a week but I feel very strongly that they don’t belong in our parks.

Within a  of sixty mile radius of our home in the East Bay, which is the distance we have to drive to get to Carnegie (the closest place to ride our dirt bikes), there are over 95,000 acres of parkland and golf courses where we can’t ride. I can ride my mountain bicycle from Richmond to Castro Valley on off road trails with a few short excursions on the road to bypass the few trails that don’t allow bicycles (yes I have to share the road with cars).

With the lovely views of redwood trees and ocean vistas in the East Bay, I can’t imagine why anyone would want drive sixty miles to Carnegie to ride mountain bikes on steep, hot, dusty, and sun burnt trails in the 90 plus degree temperatures during the summer months or slog through sticky clay in the rainy season.

Every special interest wants a piece of the action and it doesn’t really matter if they actually use our park or not so long as they have the right to use it. Nobody thinks that mountain biking or bird watching is compatible with OHV use and so they would have to be segregated in some way. The long term plan is to get rid of off highway vehicle recreation in California. It won’t happen in one fell swoop but they are doggedly working towards that goal.

The Division admits that Carnegie SVRA was purchased for OHV recreation but our enemies are using the public comment forum to take our park away from us one piece at a time. These are essentially the same group  of people who went to court to get a court order to close our park. They will not rest until their goal is accomplished and off road motor vehicle recreation is banned in Carnegie and the Alameda/Tesla expansion is opened solely for non-OHV recreation.

The preferred concept includes cattle grazing. Maybe the planning committee got that idea from our neighbors. Are these the same neighbors who filed suit to close down Carnegie and who have been organizing opposition to opening the Alameda/Tesla expansion for OHV recreation (since at least 2004) because, they say, we harm the environment? It seems rather ironic that they want to save the environment from OHV recreation and yet they raise cattle.

Maybe the Division thinks that the scene of grazing cattle is a pastoral image and will give visitors the impression that we are saving the environment. Nothing could be further from the truth.

When our neighbors and their allies were taken for a tour of the new property, they pointed to degradation caused by cattle grazing. The ranger pointed to the same degradation across the property line where our neighbors graze their cattle. Due to the drought there was only one spring still running at that time and the grass around it was brown and torn up by the cattle on both sides of the fence.

Unlike off highway motor vehicles, cattle do not stay on trails.

“Livestock are one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems,” senior UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) official Henning Steinfeld said. “Urgent action is required to remedy the situation.”

Cattle-rearing is also a major source of land and water degradation, according to the FAO report, Livestock’s Long Shadow–Environmental Issues and Options. At the same time herds cause wide-scale land degradation, with about 20 per cent of pastures considered degraded through overgrazing, compaction and erosion. This figure is even higher in the dry lands where inappropriate policies and inadequate livestock management contribute to advancing desertification.

And don’t forget that our neighbors falsely claimed in their lawsuit that OHV recreation was causing water pollution  in the Corral Hollow Creek killing fish (from industrial chemicals no less), and ignoring the fact that the creek only trickles through Carnegie for a few days a year, if that, except during exceptionally wet years and certainly does not support any fish.

However, the livestock business is among the most damaging sectors to the earth’s increasingly scarce water resources, contributing among other things to water pollution from animal wastes, antibiotics and hormones, chemicals from tanneries, fertilizers and the pesticides used to spray feed crops. We have photographs of our neighbor’s cattle doing their business in Corral Hollow Creek. Can you say pathogens?

In addition, the FAO estimated that livestock are responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, a bigger share than that of transport. And our opponents complain about high off-highway vehicle emissions which in reality account for a minuscule amount of the total recreation related greenhouse gas emissions.

Now the Division wants to graze cattle on the Alameda/Tesla expansion in this semi-arid region. What are they thinking? Who is profiting from this misuse of our property? Will they let us ride on trails through areas where the cattle graze?

Overall there is a lot to like about the preferred concept outlined in Information Package. We support the Advanced, Intermediate and Beginner trails in Visitor Experience Areas. There are also the Distributed Riding Areas and Practice Areas as well as Areas for Special Events identified in the package.

These are all good ideas and we should read the Information package and encourage them to adopt these ideas in the new General Plan.

But where is the current motocross track, the TT track and kids’ tracks in the Visitor Experience Areas? The motocross track should be included in the preferred concept. Organized events use the motocross track for MX and it is a great area to practice when it is not being used for racing. The mini-bike tracks are very popular and should also be included in the preferred concept.

The Planning Committee also neglected to include MotoMart which should be included as a permanent fixture . We have to insist that these things not be omitted.

Don’t forget to read the Preferred Concept Public Workshop Package which you can access online and post your comments at http://carnegie.engage-sites.com/preferred_concept

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