Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Close All OHV Routes In The Eldorado?



The center for Sierra Nevada conservation, and center for biological diversity, plaintiffs, are asking the court to order the Eldorado National Forest Service (FS) closed to all OHV use until each route has gone through site specific analysis with public comment to determine its environmental acceptability before designation.

It has taken the FS 15 years to get this far without site specific analysis and it took the FS 15 years to complete the Rock Creek EA & EIS. The forest service doesn’t have the funds to undertake site specific analysis. There are provisions in the travel management plan stating that if adequate funds are not available to manage OHV routes they shall be closed.

California Enduro Riders Association (CERA) and myself along with California assoc. of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs are applying to the court for defendant-intervener status. We cannot let the FS be the sole defendants of our interests. Our legal interests in the action are not identical, and on many issues are contrary to the FS defendants’ interests, and we anticipate a need to present different information and legal arguments that might be presented by some or all defendants. We are particularly concerned about the prospect of settlement negotiation and wish to have a role in any possible settlement discussions. In settlement or formal litigation CERA and the OHV community typically presents different issues, arguments, and evidence than that presented by governmental agencies’ legal counsel. This reflects the fact that the Forest Service does not share the same ultimate objective in this, or any case, with CERA and the OHV Community. A ”loss” for the Forest Service simply changes the manner in which they conduct their never-ending yet ever-changing management duties.

These plaintiffs claim they are for the greater good and focus on adverse environmental impacts, claiming to be friends of nature. But their real agenda is to make sure OHV recreation gets eliminated. They use the kitchen sink approach, throwing every conceivable objection and obstacle at the proposed action to see what sticks. The Forest Service procedure always has weaknesses and if a judge agrees, as he has in the past, the FS will have to do it over again. The issue here is will the judge award the plaintiffs their requested relief, as you have seen at Carnegie, they often do.

The major issue here is all existing trails will be closed, and will remain closed until each trail goes through extensive environmental review before it’s designated open for use. We have always contended that all trails are open unless environmental review determined they should be closed either through public process or limited time emergency closure. This is a case of guilty unless proven innocent, verses innocent until proven guilty.

If the plaintiffs prevail this will be a precedent setting case and they will sue the Forest Service to make this the new nationwide policy and then go after BLM. Their friends in congress are now cutting off funds for trail related actives. NO FUNDS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW AND NO OPEN TRAILS IN ANY NATIONAL FOREST.

We need your help to pay for legal fees, please send much as you can. Blue Ribbon Coalition has taken this on as a project and is providing their attorney Paul A. Turcke. He is the best and has represented us in the past. Sent your tax deductible donation to Blue Ribbon Coalition 4555 Burley Dr, Suite A , Pocatello, Idaho 83202 and make your check to Blue Ribbon Coalition, indicating that it is for the Eldorado legal action.

Thank You, any questions call

Rick Guidice


Thumper Talk & BlueRibbon Coalition

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Magnificent Slot Canyons Of Page Arizona

Page AZ is the place to be to see the magnificent slot canyons.  These incredible formations are located just a few minutes outside of town at a place called Antelope Canyon.  Guided tours are available in several locations in town or you can venture out on your own to the smaller side of the canyon that is on Navajo Nation land so there are fees to pay directly to the attendant in the parking lot; it is worth the cost!

We were pleasantly surprised that we had the place all to ourselves.  The minute I slipped down into a small fissure that I discovered on top of the sandstone wash I was immediately drawn into the cavernous beauty and found myself practically running through the crevices to see more of what was around every corner. 

I call this formation the Sphinx

The changing light overhead made for breathtaking colors and hues that illuminated off what appeared to be red sandstone.  It's a photographers paradise and I highly recommend visiting this fantastic area.