Mammoth M/C Meeting Minutes


6/21/2011

Members in Attendance:  John, Adam, James, Kim , Russ, Joe, Abe

Guests: Chris, Alicia, Johnston, Terry, Stacy (Executive Director of Friends of the Inyo)


Here’s a quick re-cap of our last meeting.  We started out with an introduction from Stacy Corless (Executive Director of Friends of the Inyo).   This was no accident… Stacy actually wanted to be there – and by her own free will. 

Why you ask?   

Stacy claimed that some of the content in our last edition of the meeting minutes were a bit blurred (factually incorrect).   Stacy contacted myself and John with concerns regarding some of the statements made by our very own Joe Parrino.  She claimed that Joe’s recollection (regarding her conversation with Joe Parrino about alleged ecoterrorism, and the April OHV access meeting with Ed Waldheim) were incorrect, and that our readers might develop the wrong idea about her/Friends of the Inyo.

So, Stacy contacted me via e-mail and expressed a desire to show up and tell the club her version of what happened.

 I agreed!  After all, we’re not about misinformation, and everyone is entitled to argue their version the truth.   It should be noted that prior to our meeting, I sent Stacy some OHV related questions that I thought were important to discuss     Please refer to last meeting minutes for the entire story…

In response to Joe, Stacy had this to say: 

“Say it ain’t so, Joe! I have a much different recollection of what was said, not surprisingly. I don’t recall a tirade of insults—just a dogged yet charming and cheerful insistence that I don’t believe someone’s purposely dropping trees on trails; if he finds evidence to the contrary, that’s important information to give to law enforcement; and that groups like ours need to work together toward better public lands management. We also agreed that neither of us likes the sometimes creepy woods-dwelling people at Shady Rest!”

Re: Ed Waldheim meeting/FOI grant funding:

 “I have a much different recollection of this, too, and I could get Ed W. to back me up on this one. Your notes say:

“However, after 2 cycles, the Friends Of the Inyo still have very little to show for all the money they have received – and the California OHMVR Division of State Parks is as concerned about this as we are. Joe feels that Friends of the Inyo will be facing the real possibility of having their (endless supply of OHV cash) funding pulled. Joe also noted that this new development would explain the verbal attack he received by Stacy Corless regarding “eco-terrorism.””

See the questions below for a complete explanation—we haven’t yet seen a dime from the CA OHVMRP. We’re just starting the work, as planned, this year. I’ll be happy to keep y’all updated on how the money is spent.”

 

The Following  are the official questions (in red),  and the official answers ( in blue) that were supplied by Stacy. I’ve also added commentary and additions to what we discussed at the meeting (in white):

 

 

 

 

What is the FOI stance (or opinion) on OHV vehicles being operated in the Inyo?   

No official stance pro or con—we do promote sustainable recreation and that is all-inclusive. I drive a car on forest roads all the time!

During the meeting, Stacy told our club that “…the Friends of the Inyo are NOT “anti-ohv.”    

 

What is the FOI stance on the "Travel Management / Route designation process (Locally)?  Do you have any criticisms or complaints?  

We have supported this process and urged the INF to complete it and implement it—much to the consternation of national environmental groups that have sued other forests over their plans.  I wasn’t involved in the Collaborative Alternative Team (many FOI board members and our previous Exec. Director, Paul McFarland was). The process wasn’t/isn’t perfect, but it was a fair compromise. We do believe that the INF (like all National Forests) has to have a legal, manageable system of motorized roads and trails for public use. I personally hope that by working together, community groups like ours can help the forest create a truly world-class road and trail system.

We were involved, and we have plenty of criticisms and complaints.

 

How much green sticker monies has the FOI received?  How much has been used? And for what? Etc...
In the 2009/2010 funding cycle (last year’s), we were awarded $603,000 as a restoration grant specifically to help the INF implement travel management, according to the TM decision, as guided by the INF.  This grant’s start date was 11/1/2010 and the grant cycle is three years. To date, we have not actually gotten a dime from the OHVMR—we have requested $191,000 for this year to cover vehicle purchases, equipment purchases, and seasonal staff costs. Beyond that, we must invoice the OHVMR to receive money (they don’t just send a check for $603,00). We must contribute a 25% match to the grant in salaries, overhead, equipment, etc. We’ve spent about $40,000 so far this year, and work has just begun (planning started in January).

We have one crew of 5 working with INF staff. We must contribute a 25% match to the grant in salaries, overhead, equipment, etc. In August, we will have a Student Conservation Association crew of 6 joining us. We will also have volunteers involved in our work.

I think it’s important to understand the whole program, so here is some info copied and pasted from the CA State Parks OHVMRwebsite:

“The Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Program was created in 1971 out of the critical need to better manage growing demands for off-highway recreation, while at the same time foster respect for private property rights and protect California's natural and cultural resources. Today, this program, a division of the California Department of Parks and Recreation, is the largest and most successful program of its type in the U.S. The program continues its commitment to provide safe, enjoyable recreation while balancing the need to protect the state's resources.

In addition to providing accessibility to off-highway recreation for everyone from hikers to bikers to bird watchers, the program provides a variety of services and benefits to California's residents and visitors, including resource management of state lands, wildlife habitat protection, youth development and law enforcement.

Program funding comes from fuel taxes which are attributable to the recreational use of vehicles off highway, off-highway vehicle registration fees and fees collected at State Vehicular Recreation Areas.”

 

 

Does the FOI feel that the "Route Designation Process" was done in professional manner?  Do you feel that the NEPA process was observed (correctly)?  Were factual corrections made? Etc..  And what are your (or FOI) thoughts on all the money (aka: green sticker funds) being spent on the "implementation process" of the route designation process?  Should the OHV fund bear the burden of "rehabbing" old logging roads (99% of what is out there)?

Not perfect, but professional and better than many other forests that are now mired in expensive lawsuits with even less money going to caring for the lands. It is not a true statement that “all the money” is being spent on implementation—see below for an overview of the OHVMRP grant making process. I personally would like to see more money spent on maintenance.

We disagree. 

This is the face of “unprofessionalism.”


 

“I decide what gets closed, and I answer to President Bush!”  Said the now GONE Jim Upchurch.  His non-cooperating attitude was there every step of the way during the Route Designation Process.   

 

A professional job would mean that it was done accurately and completely – to the best of their ability.   It wasn’t.

A professional organization would correct their obvious mistakes.  They didn’t.

 

 We were involved with the “process,” so we reminded Stacy that it was done in a sloppy and rushed manner.  Our sport had very little to no representation in the ROD (record of decision) our many miles of singletrack were ignored and not considered to be of “legal” status.  The USFS already had their mind made up, and “public scoping” was more of a dog and pony show.

 

Thanks Jim, another fine job!  

 

 Does FOI feel that this is a logical/effective use of money in this day and age?  

Yes—we think there needs to be a manageable road/trail system. Great example—Jawbone Canyon/Friends of Jawbone spend money, time, energy on restoration—their philosophy being “if we don’t take care of it, it’ll be taken away from us.” I believe the creation of a great motorized (and non-motorized, for that matter) road/trail system is a logical/effective use of money—and it’s neverending work (just like repairing switchback cuts on the Duck Pass Trail!).

 

Yes, but “creating a great road and trail system” isn’t what’s being done.

 


 

This is what’s being done …

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE

 

This way of “managing” our forest trails is illogical and inefficient – typical government B.S.


   

 

 Our club would like to see 603,000 dollars being spent to establish a  ”real” network of ohv trails… not spent on closing jeep trails.  We’d like to see a manageable system, that’s well thought out and well signed.  Offering (OHV) users an exciting trail system to experience.  Doing this will close roads naturally – nobody will bother using them.  A well signed trail system will also prevent more user created roads from being made – no need for it. 

“Mammoth Lakes is a first class resort area, and it needs a first class trail system.”  



 

How does throwing a bunch of tree limbs on jeep roads fix the ohv trail system?

 

 We don’t believe it does.  In fact, we believe it’ll only add to the problem of more user created roads. 

We need to fix the problem by concentrating on a real life cure. 


What is the FOI stance on "sign pollution" projects (carbonate signs, driven into the ground) in the Inyo?

Not a huge fan of the carsonite forest. Our restoration work focuses on disguising roads with natural materials and barriers. I am concerned that the signs with new road numbers are going to not be user friendly (loooong numbers).

We dislike all the brown plastic signs too, but unfortunately they are popping up more and more.  With 900 miles of closures come sign pollution.  We’ve personally witnessed a number of areas that have an increase in plastic signs…   

 

What are your thoughts on the fact the the USFS is now "broke" (admittedly) and is canceling nearly all back country expenditures to pursue OHV interests?
It’s bad for all of us, as local residents/public lands users/Americans when a land management agency doesn’t have the resources to manage our public lands. FOI is dedicated to bridging the gap/finding resources to care for the land and to connect people to their public lands. We’ve hired one wilderness ranger ourselves and are working with the INF to grow our wilderness stewardship program. I personally feel that FOI and other groups are going to be pressed further into helping with wilderness stewardship in the future.

And we’re concerned as well.  If the land managers cannot afford to manage the land then who does?  Private Corporations? The United Stated Forest Service is a government entity –  and they’re not entirely driven by profits.  Do you expect us to believe that these new advocacy groups, that assuming the role of “manager,” are going to be held accountable for the things they do?

 

 Special interest groups are interested in their bottom line, and not always interested in what’s good for the public.  Groups like California Land Management are interested in making money (at out public campgrounds), they’re not here to do charity work.


  

Privatizing our public lands might be the way of the future, but the idea of protecting our natural resources while at the same time making a profit is fundamentally flawed.  You cannot have both. 

 

What are your thoughts on....  Joe Parrino, and his mission to re-open the motocross track for year round public use?   

No official FOI stance on this—if/when there is a proposal we’ll take a look at it and comment—but no categorical opposition or support.

During the meeting, Stacy said she liked the idea of a year round motocross track that is open to the public.

 

Mammoth M/C would like to thank Stacy for showing up and talking with us on these many sensitive issues.  Although we can agree to disagree on some of the subjects involving land management, it was nice to know that we both agree on one important point:

 

“These are our public lands. We all have the right to use them, but not to abuse them.”

 

 

 

 

Our next Club meeting will be held on Thursday, July 21st @ 5:00pm

We’re Meeting at the Z-Ranch Bar/Restaurant in Mammoth Lakes!

See you there!