View Full Version : Tahoe National Forest and Johnson Valley Anti OHV actions

November 4th, 2008, 09:26 PM
Not great lakes area related, but saw it on another forum and thought to post it here....

Hi All,

There is quite a struggle brewing in California in a couple of areas. The Tahoe National Forest and the Johnson Valley OHV area.

The Tahoe National Forest Of Road Management plan proposes to shut down all but 30-40 miles of trails (out of 2500) and close all of the trails in the winter. This is the site of the infamous Fordyce Creek Trail, which as of now will only be closed in the winter, however there are a huge amount of trails that are being eliminated completely.

The Johnson Valley OHV area is the home of the Hammers and numerous OHV trails which is being threatened by a need by the Marine Corps to expand Twenty Nine Palms Marine Corp Base. We appreciate the need of the Marine to expand their area, but we have been suggesting that instead of displacing the Highly used Johnson Valley OHV area that they expand to the East.

While these areas may not be highly used Hummer areas, they are however important areas to the OHV community and we need all of the help we can get to stop these closures before we lose all access to public lands.

Please go to
http://www.pirate4x4.com/letters/ (http://www.pirate4x4.com/letters/)

and send letters out. Any personalized letter is better than none, there is some suggested text there, and HummBebe has said she will add some more suggestions this afternoon.


Here is what we have on the generator for the Tahoe National Forest:

Forms letters do not have the same effect that individual, personal letters have. We are asking you to take 5 minutes to write a personal note to the Forest Service detailing something personal, a dispersed camp site, how you use certain trails and with whom.

To get you started, here is a suggestion on what to write:

1st Paragraph:
Introduce yourself, list any OHV organizations that you belong to and tell them that you are writing because you are concerned about the extensive closures to the user created routes and the winter closure.

2nd Paragraph:
Tell them how you use these routes. You travel Fordyce for the extreme action?for the camping under Old Man Mountain's shadow, for the creek fishing, to discover old mining sites, etc.

Give as many reasons as possible as to why your trail needs to stay open year round. Tell them how you prepare your vehicle for summer time travel and for winter travel (they don't really know what we put into this!)

Ask them to please leave your trail open year round, mention how it will affect local economies, your family, your history.

3rd Paragraph:
Thank them for their time, and once again ask them to keep your trail open (year round).

A SALUTATION AND A CLOSING ARE NOT NEEDED! The letter generator will do that for you. Just write the body of the letter!

While you may use this sample letter, I encourage you to WRITE YOUR OWN LETTER, as form letters do not have the impact that personal letters have!

Sample Paragraphs ? Greater Fordyce Area Specific (GFA):

GFA - Keep Fordyce open Year- Round:

Many 4 wheel drive vehicles traverse the trail during the summer months, however, year round access is very important to me. There are many people that use the trail year round.

Most only travel as far as we can get in half a day, leaving the remainder of the day for the return trip. Sometimes we organize weekend trips, in which we prepare for an overnight stay camping in the snow. This requires a fair amount of preparation and expenditure, which many of the local businesses in Nevada and Placer Counties depend on.

GFA - Dispersed Camping on Fordyce: describe as many of your favorite ROUTES to your favorite camping spot (off the trail)

This route to dispersed camping is my favorite. It is mostly hard surface until you reach the camp. What makes it special is the views of the river bend below. The clearing offers 360 degree panorama. It is a great place to get off the trail for quiet time and family time. Below is a fabulous swimming and fishing hole. There are a few trees and shade making it a perfect base camp for other forest activities.

GFA - Rattlesnake Road:

Currently the Highway Legal Vehicle only designation is not and has not been enforced. Therefore traffic use and knowledge have governed the use of this road for many years.

The property owner at Cisco Grove Campground will be adversely impacted financially, over 3500 OHV users will be adversely impacted by the enforcement of the current designation of Highway Legal Vehicles only.

It will eliminate the only secure entrance to the Fordyce Trail for Green-sticker vehicles. It is also the only secure parking area available. The Eagle Lakes OHV staging area has vehicle break in and vandalism EVERY weekend. This road is used everyday by OHV's. There is just no substitute for this road. It must be designated as multi-use.

GFA - Red Mountain Switchback

Keeping this trail would be crucial for OHV users and the Cisco Grove Campground. It provides a way in and out of the trail system without having to take the freeway. CGC calls this the ?Breakfast run? and is and has been a part of the successful operation of their business. This is a great trail, provides an intermediate challenge for all OHV users, and great vistas.

Sample Paragraphs ? Greenhorn Specific (GHOHV):

GHOHV - Who uses the area:

Greenhorn area has been used by all types of vehicles for nearly as long as vehicles have been around. Many families ride in the Greenhorn area. It provides a safe, contained, multi use day area for ATV's, 4 wheel drives, and the new utility vehicles.

GHOHV - Why do you use the area:

This makes an ideal setting for OHV use. Traditionally local residents have used it for teaching young or new enthusiasts how to ride, drive, and have fun. It is the ONLY open OHV area that includes 4 Wheel Drive use. The majority of creek bed users are 4 Wheel Drive enthusiasts. It has many different levels of challenging terrain, and obstacles. Real Estate Agents sell Greenhorn properties touting recreational OHV use.

GHOHV - Tell them about the area:

Because of the history of Greenhorn Creek and a Hydraulic mining area, much of the soils have been washed downstream leaving a very large wide open creek bed consisting mostly of river rock. Very little vegetation exists, and very little wildlife traverses the area.

GHOHV - Winter use:

We want Greenhorn to stay open year round. It is generally below the snow line. When most of the forest will be closed during the snow and wet season, when the deep snow makes many forest roads impassable, Greenhorn offers a safe, fun place to recreate on rainy weekends. It would be a great place to continue to offer use where little damage to trails and roadbeds can occur. It's all rock!

GHOHV - Part of the area is missing from the map:

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement only includes a portion of the traditional/original Greenhorn OHV use area, and again only a portion of the Tahoe National Forests portion of Greenhorn OHV.

The Greenhorn OHV area as described in the Draft, highlights the creek bed from Buckeye Road and South. Users also travel from the Buckeye Road entrance North, and continue until the canyon becomes too narrow to travel. This also should also be included in the Greenhorn OHV area, as another 40+ acres of exactly the same terrain, and rock creek bed exist there as well.

This area is completely owned by the Public and managed by the Tahoe National Forest. It would not produce any private ownership conflicts. This area needs to be designated in THIS process.

GHOHV - Winter Closure to protect Deer:

Closing Buckeye Road for the Winter Deer herd is not prudent. It is one of many roads available to the public in a condensed area, and has never been closed for this purpose before. There are several studies that prove the Deer are not affected by OHV's, and in fact their numbers are increasing and show no evidence of their habitat being degraded.

General Comments:

Closing too many Routes:

Tahoe National Forest is closing nearly ALL ?user created routes?, giving us back only 30-70 miles out of 2500. Many of these routes were built by the Forest Service, and have been being used by OHV's for as as many as 30 years. Some of these routes are old mining roads that OHV'ers have adopted and prescriptively used as destination trails. These mining routes, in many cases, predate the existence of the Forest Service, and we contend that the Forest Service has no right to close the original mining trails that have been used by the public, uninterrupted for 130 years (in some cases).

They lead to vistas, scenic byways, secluded lakes, creeks and primitive camping. We contend that all of these routes are valuable, as they are being used to access some type of needed or wanted resource. These trails have not been proven to affect water quality, habitats, or plants. What they are is a road that the forest service cannot afford to manage. Management is not closure. These roads all need to be analyzed individually for their value, and included into the Forest System until this has been accomplished.

Routes Crossing Private Property

The Tahoe National Forest has decided not to designate routes leading to private property, traversing private property, or exiting private property. Tahoe National Forest has also stated that the burden of permitted access to these types of trails will be on the user. We as users will not have the ability to gain permission to cross private property if there are no trails designated to private property. These trails need to be designated until access or easement has been denied by private property owners.

Description of Snow Wheeling:

There are 4 wheel drive enthusiasts that spend a great deal of time and money preparing their rigs for the winter. Bead-lock wheels are the most expensive equipment used. The wheels lock the bead of the tire to the wheel, so when the tire is aired down and left with 2-3 lbs of air, the tire will stay on the wheel. The purpose of this is to create a wide footprint which greatly enhances traction in the snow by allowing the vehicle to ?float? on top of the snow. It prevents the tires from ?digging? into the snow, and also helps prevent tread damage to roads that may have 24-36? of snow pack. The trick to staying on top of the snow is slow steady throttle, which much like the nature of rock crawling reduces the risk of resource damage. Many purchase wider tires as well to aid in deep snow travel.

Sample statements for dispersed camping: (discuss the route to the site)

This route to dispersed camping is my favorite spot on the trail.
I take my Dad camping there every Fathers Day.
It leaves the trail on the left side of the creek.
The trail to this site is well established. It is 300 feet from the trail.
What makes it special is the views of the river bend below.
There is no damage to resources.
The clearing offers 360 degree panorama.
It is a great place to get off the trail for quiet time and family time.
There is lots of trees for shade.
Below is a fabulous swimming and fishing hole.
It is a perfect base camp for other forest activities including OHV use.

1. Fill out your personal information.
2. Add a bit of personal information in the letter text box. A bit about how much you enjoy OHV recreation is always a good idea. Be polite.
3. Fill in the security code and click Preview & Send.

Our biggest loss will be the ability to wheel on the snow. FOREVER, and I can guarantee you Big Bear, Bald Mountain, Dusy and others will be next! Unless we can convince Region 5 (California Main office for all Forests) to put an end to this draconian idea now.

This is the second forest that is attempting to close access for until the trails are dry. UP TO 6 MONTHS!!! This is the most important subject we need to apply MASSIVE amounts of Public Pressure.

Please do what you can and write a letter today.

It's so easy. And know that these comments are accurate, as I spent more than 6 weeks studying and digesting a 1200 page Draft Environmental Impact Statement in order to bring you these sample paragraphs.

I'll appreciate anything you can do for us.

November 10th, 2008, 05:14 PM

So far the Sierra Club, Wilderness Society have submitted over 2000 letters, we have submitted (OHV users) 350.

Please help us! Write a letter today!

Thank you,

January 22nd, 2009, 11:47 AM
Here is an update I received:

As many of you know, Johnson Valley OHV is being seriously considered by the US Marine Corps as their new training area. The public scoping meetings and studies have been completed. The Public Comment period ends on January 31st, 2009.
Five of the options that were offered took all or a portion of Johnson Valley, the sixth was to do nothing at all (which is unlikely) Based upon Brad Mitzelfelts letter to Dianne Feinsteins office, we have drafted a new more specific petition that outlines an option that would de-designate a portion of wilderness area that is acceptable to the Marines. The wilderness area in question is not considered quality wilderness area, AND has already been used for military training in the past.
We need the public's support for the Marines to even CONSIDER this option.
It is imperative that you read and sign, including your email and mailing addresses. Upon the end of the comment period, this petition will be submitted initially to the Marines, and then we will forward the signatures and addresses to each local legislator.
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/SaveJohnsonValley-SpecificPlan (http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/SaveJohnsonValley-SpecificPlan)
Thank you for your time and support. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions.
Tamera Field
Chris Field

January 27th, 2009, 03:21 PM
The Public Comment period ends on January 31st, 2009... We encourage you to take action.

Just a few moments of your time can become priceless.