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Thursday December 16, 2004
Group demands end to OHV use on public land

By Mark Wheeler / Hi-Desert Star
TWENTYNINE PALMS - At a meeting in Twentynine Palms recently, members of Community ORV Watch met with a number of county and federal officials to address grievances raised on account of off-road vehicle use and abuse in the Basin, and to specify terms of a solution.

Although the meeting took place at City Hall in Twentynine Palms, the organization now has Basin-wide reach and residents from Desert Heights, Landers and Joshua Tree were present.

They all had one thing to say: This destruction of the natural environment and the assault on our private properties and our quality of life has to stop.

The litany of complaints enumerated violations committed against landscape, private property and land laws, and against the laws of courtesy and consideration.

Talking about his Thanksgiving weekend, Mac Dube, representative for County Supervisor Bill Postmus, said the noise, dust and rider aggression against his attempts to drive off trespassers made his holiday "a four-day nightmare."

BLM under pressure

The center of attention at the meeting was the Bureau of Land Management, represented by Barstow office supervisor Roxy Trost and Yucca Valley field representative Russell Scofield. It is this agency which oversees the public lands scattered throughout the Basin. It is improved management of these lands which Community ORV Watch has been trying to pressure for more than a year.

At issue is the fact that public lands are a natural magnet for off-road enthusiasts. Some public lands are permitted for this use, and some are not.

Trouble is, in places like the Morongo Basin, public lands and private lands have become a literal checkerboard of mutually exclusive land uses.

According to Community ORV Watch's complaint, the BLM's vehicle travel routes, especially those permitting OHV use, are vague and, in some cases, wholly inaccurate.

The group complains, even if the maps were clear and correct, owing to the checkerboard configuration of land-use activities in places like Wonder Valley, public routes are continually interrupted by private properties.

Even the most law-abiding rider would find it difficult to operate in these areas, say virtually all the property owners who have studied and spoken to the problem.

They are echoed by county sheriff Capt. Jim Williams, whose officers have found it difficult to enforce trespassing laws under such circumstances.

"Without geopositional units and exact boundary coordinates, it is almost impossible for an officer to know where public and private lands begin and end," Williams observed.

Watch group: Eliminate all routes

Community ORV Watch members are unanimous in their appeal to the BLM to eliminate all off-roader routes in unincorporated areas.

This measure would require some policy changes in the Barstow BLM office, and at the meeting's end, Trost could not say what her office might do to satisfy such a demand.

She called the matter "a challenge," and averred to the popular remedy almost universally used in cases like this: "It's an education issue."

For its part, Community ORV Watch promised it would not let up the pressure. Organizer Phil Klasky spoke for all members when he stated: "We're under siege, and we're going to fight this all the way. We live here, and the BLM isn't going to turn our community into an ORV park."
 

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I understand and appreciate both sides of this arguement.

The solution has to be effective management and route designation.
 

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ShowStop said:
Thursday December 16, 2004
Group demands end to OHV use on public land

By Mark Wheeler / Hi-Desert Star
TWENTYNINE PALMS - At a meeting in Twentynine Palms recently, members of Community ORV Watch met with a number of county and federal officials to address grievances raised on account of off-road vehicle use and abuse in the Basin, and to specify terms of a solution.

Although the meeting took place at City Hall in Twentynine Palms, the organization now has Basin-wide reach and residents from Desert Heights, Landers and Joshua Tree were present.

They all had one thing to say: This destruction of the natural environment and the assault on our private properties and our quality of life has to stop.

The litany of complaints enumerated violations committed against landscape, private property and land laws, and against the laws of courtesy and consideration.

Talking about his Thanksgiving weekend, Mac Dube, representative for County Supervisor Bill Postmus, said the noise, dust and rider aggression against his attempts to drive off trespassers made his holiday "a four-day nightmare."

BLM under pressure

The center of attention at the meeting was the Bureau of Land Management, represented by Barstow office supervisor Roxy Trost and Yucca Valley field representative Russell Scofield. It is this agency which oversees the public lands scattered throughout the Basin. It is improved management of these lands which Community ORV Watch has been trying to pressure for more than a year.

At issue is the fact that public lands are a natural magnet for off-road enthusiasts. Some public lands are permitted for this use, and some are not.

Trouble is, in places like the Morongo Basin, public lands and private lands have become a literal checkerboard of mutually exclusive land uses.

According to Community ORV Watch's complaint, the BLM's vehicle travel routes, especially those permitting OHV use, are vague and, in some cases, wholly inaccurate.

The group complains, even if the maps were clear and correct, owing to the checkerboard configuration of land-use activities in places like Wonder Valley, public routes are continually interrupted by private properties.

Even the most law-abiding rider would find it difficult to operate in these areas, say virtually all the property owners who have studied and spoken to the problem.

They are echoed by county sheriff Capt. Jim Williams, whose officers have found it difficult to enforce trespassing laws under such circumstances.

"Without geopositional units and exact boundary coordinates, it is almost impossible for an officer to know where public and private lands begin and end," Williams observed.

Watch group: Eliminate all routes

Community ORV Watch members are unanimous in their appeal to the BLM to eliminate all off-roader routes in unincorporated areas.

This measure would require some policy changes in the Barstow BLM office, and at the meeting's end, Trost could not say what her office might do to satisfy such a demand.

She called the matter "a challenge," and averred to the popular remedy almost universally used in cases like this: "It's an education issue."

For its part, Community ORV Watch promised it would not let up the pressure. Organizer Phil Klasky spoke for all members when he stated: "We're under siege, and we're going to fight this all the way. We live here, and the BLM isn't going to turn our community into an ORV park."
As you know I have been going out there for years! Since I was 13 or 14. What they are saying is true the distinction from private property and public is hard to know!

I don't know if you saw but along some of the roads out there, you will see cement slabs where small cabins once stood! these are private property area's but you wouldn't know it! Some are right in the middle or next to the road?

I understand the residents complaints! but at the same time, allot of the land out there was orignally weekend warrior cabins, allot of the older cabins were built for minors when they use to mine those mountains (at least in the copper mesa mountain area) As that town grows I'm sure this will be more and more of a problem.

In certain area's out there they should IMO just list property as Vacation property or? Somehting like that. I mean if you buy a house on a lake are you going to complain cause peopls loud speed boats run out in front of your house?

I see both arguments in this, but I also think the residents don't know what they are asking for! Allot of people who live there off road too! If you ever drive down a street even in down most of those guys have trucks or some sort of toy! They (residents) are problaly for the most part ignorant to what has been going on with the war on off-roading.

I guess only time will tell what happens!
 

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Jason, you make a good point about how difficult it is to determine if you are on public or private property. Sometimes the private property is not marked.

Tons of private property owners have become turned off to recreational users of all types because we don't stay on established trails, leave trash everywhere, destroy private property, etc.

People just need to treat the land with respect and if you stray onto someones land, apoligize to them and don't be an asshole about it.
 
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