UPDATE 6/1/2017 – The bill passed the Senate 22-15. Senator Fuller voted against this bill. It will now be considered by the Assembly. Details to follow. Thanks to all who called their Senators in support of this bill. We will keep you posted as this bill moves forward. You can also sign up for COW’s occasional email updates.
Residents of rural desert communities suffer from the noise, dust, trespass, and destruction from illegal motorized off-highway recreation. The OHMVR Program sunsets on December 31, 2017. The need for reauthorization of this program is critical with important revisions now being proposed. Today, damage from OHVs is outpacing California’s ability to repair and monitor the impacts on our natural resources. California State Senator Ben Allen is sponsoring SB 249, a bill created to address the problem in three ways:
- Greater Environmental Protection – SB 249 creates improved transparency and implementation of commonsense measures to protect our sensitive cultural and natural resources.
- Fuel Tax Revisions – Did you know that every time you pump gas a portion of that goes to fund off-road recreation whether you participate or not? SBÂ 249 addresses this by ensuring that a portion of our fuel taxes go to support all forms of outdoor recreation, both motorized and unmotorized activities like hiking, kayaking, and camping.
- Balanced, Accountable Management – SB 249 ensures a greater balance of viewpoints in California State Park OHV administration and clarifies the relationship between OHMVR decision-makers and the State Parks Director as part of a cohesive Department of Parks & Recreation.
Illegal riders flagrantly disregard restoration and protected wilderness areas. (Juniper Flats in San Bernardino County).
This flyer provides a good summary of SB 249.
The Morongo Basin Conservation Association (MBCA), the Association for Responsible Recreation (ARR) and Community ORV Watch have signed on to this letter to the Senate Appropriation Committee in support of this legislation.
The legislation is currently being considered in the State Senate and if it passes there then it will move to the State Assembly. COW will post updates as this process continues. At this time we urge you to contact your State Senator, early in the week of May 28th (best would be on Tuesday, May 30th after Memorial Day) and support this needed legislation. Here is a list of Senate contacts that we urge you to call to support passage of SB 249 there. In particular if you are resident of the East Mojave area represented by Sen. Jean Fuller – (R) 16th District contact her at (916) 651-4016 – email: link. If you are calling a Senator outside of your district here is a sample script you can use when making such calls.
Send messages of support of the bill’s author to State Senator Ben Allen .