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BLM - Bishop Field Office

Preliminary Application Comments

 Please find below comments on the Bishop BLM's grant applications to the California OHV Division for 2009. These grants and associated comments were discussed at an OHV Leadership Meeting in Bishop, California on 30 March 2009.

Planning - This grant to identify abandon mine hazards across the field office has merit and deserves support. The grant includes a line item of 360 volunteer hours but lacks a discussion or plan for how these volunteers would be utilized. Before final award, a plan for recruitment, training and use of volunteers for this and any other BLM grants should be developed in concert with organizations or individuals to be relied on for volunteering or volunteer coordination.

The largest Planning need in the Bishop BLM Field Office is the creation of a legally designated system of roads, trail and areas (i.e. Travel management or route designation). A designated system forms the foundation for any and all management of motorized recreation on public lands. While BLM has completed designations on a limited area around Bishop, the remainder of the field office lacks a coherent, legally designated system.

Many of the pieces of the designation puzzle do exist - a near complete 1990-era inventory and proposed designations, as well as a subsequent 2001-2003 GPS-based Inventory.

A grant priority for BLM Bishop should be a planning grant to compare the High Desert Route Inventory (limited designations completed around Bishop) with the 2001 Inventory and the nearly completed 1990 joint Forest-BLM NEPA alternatives. From this GIS comparison, the Field office would get a headstart on the Travel Management planning that will be required to be completed as part of the Field Office's upcoming Resource Management Plan revision.

It is impossible to provide clear messages to the interested public about recreation on public lands without a legally designated system of roads, trails and areas available for motorized use.

Restoration - Chidago and Long Valley - These are both sound and needed restoration grants. However, they are limited to two small sites only.

Rather than continue a piecemeal approach to OHV management in general, and restoration specifically, the BLM Field Office should apply for a restoration grant to compare existing routes inventoried in 2001-2003 with their High Desert Designations and the 1990 joint BLM-FS inventory and proposed designations to design and implement a larger scope, multi-year restoration, improvement and mitigation program across the Field Office.

The lack of a coherent, legally-designated system of roads, trails and areas available for motorized use across the Field Office makes sustaining and managing OHV opportunity impossible.

Restoration - Alabama Hills - This grant to fund a comprehensive cultural survey of the Alabama Hills is a step in the right direction for the Bishop BLM. Rather than limited to the Alabama Hills, this grant should be expanded to inform the Travel Management process across the entire field office in preparation for the upcoming Resource Management Plan revision.

While not discussed at the OHV Leadership Meeting, I am concerned that the Field Office did not apply for any Ground Operations funding to maintain existing opportunities and mitigate resource concerns on open routes. This grant could have provided the BLM with needed staff presence on the ground monitoring, making visitor contacts and conducting needed management activities across the field office.

Thanks for this opportunity to comment. [Paul McFarland - 4/6/09]

 I have read the grant applications for BLM - Bishop Field Office for Law Enforcement, Planning and Education & Safety and feel they should be funded to the fullest extent possible. [Ed Stovin, CORVA - 4/3/09]