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Inyo County Sheriff's Department

Preliminary Application Comments

 The Inyo County Sheriff's Department is requesting OHV grant funding to provide law enforcement to meet the present and projected increase in OHV recreation in Inyo County.

We believe law enforcement has to be prepared, in advance, to meet the increased demand on manpower and equipment needed to insure their ability to respond to the public needs. The presence of law enforcement in the field to monitor OHV activities, insures a safe and responsible OHV experience for the public, offers education to protect the environment and keeps Inyo County government informed of conditions in remote and isolated areas in Inyo County.

Advocates for Access to Public Lands is developing an Eastern Sierra OHV Adventure Trails System designed to utilize combined use roads to bring OHV recreation into the communities of Lone Pine, Independence, Big Pine and Bishop.

The authority for establishing combined use highways is in the Vehicle Code, Section 38016. the purpose is to provide user friendly OHV recreation that has an economic value to the communities and provides access to food, fuel and lodging, presently not available to OHV travelers.

We believe the presence of law enforcement on the proposed adventure trails is an additional reason to support the Inyo County Sheriff's Department's request for OHV grant funding. [Dick Noles - 4/6/09]

 The grant does not list a contact at the Sheriff so I am not sure who to include on this email. Could you forward these comments to the grant contact, please? Thanks.

The Inyo County Sheriff's Department Grant is a strong and holsitic proposal to build Inyo County's capacity to effectively provide OHV enforcement and emergency response. The County has recognized and acted upon the glaring need for more law enforcement presence in the remote southeastern portion of the County around Shoshone & Tecopa, as well as the need for more presensce around the population centers in the northwestern end of the County.

One of the greatest needs for the Sheriff's Department is to increase response and enforcement of trespass and resource damage on private lands in the Owens Valley, namely the lands owned by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

The only comment for improvement on this grant would be for the Sheriff to better describe plans to more closely coordinate operations with Forest Service, BLM (both Ridgecrest and Bishop Field Offices), and the National Park Service. This could be through quarterly meetings to identify increased patrol needs, emerging problems or room for increased cooperations. Ideally, this would lead to the creation of a written MOU describing the mutual aid and enforcement responsibilities of each agency individually, as well as collectively, with regard to public land recreation and enforcement.

Given the remote, rural nature of Inyo County coupled with the increasing recreational use, this grant deserves full funding to enable the creation of a much needed and well defined program. [Paul McFarland - 4/6/09]

 Link to comments from Friends of the Inyo, Paul McFarland - 4/6/09

Additional Comments:

Below, please find public comments on the Inyo National Forest's OHV grant applications for 2009 by grant. These comments were discussed at an "OHV Leadership Meeting" organized by Ed Waldheim of the California Trail Users Coalition at a meeting in Bishop, California on 30 March 2009.

Ground Operations - Signage
This well-written and solid grant paints an realistic portrait of the current state of route finding signage on the Inyo National Forest.

The main comment on this grant is for the Forest to consider public input in the development of a signage program "refered to in the grant as the "sign atlas." In particular, it was expressed at the meeting that the Forest should consider differing types of signage across the Forest.

For example, high use areas near communities may require a high density of carsonite-style trail number and directional signs, while for areas of lighter use a lighter density of signage, as well as alternate types of material, such as wood, could be used to preserve an atmosphere of self discovery and a traditional "Forest" feel. Wood signage is particularly useful for marking dispersed destintations, such as Sawmill Campground or Bald Mountain Springs in the Glass Mountains.
The Forest should also consider greatly improving the current protal sign kiosks at places such as Deadman Creek, Obsidian Dome, Sagehen Flat road, Westgard Pass and the Bristlecone Road. Currently, the majority of these classic wood kiosks are either empty or contain stapled fliers displaying regulatory information only. To improve visitor's experiences, as well as provide more interpretative massages to the wide variety of users, these kiosks where publics leave paved highways and enter the Forest should convey site-specific natural and cultural history information, display a quality map showing popular destinations (trailheads & campgrounds, published loop routes), and include regulatory information in a positive, rather than negative manner - i.e. "Drive on existing roads" rather than " DO not drive off existing roads." This type of portal signage is easily developed from existing data and through cooperation with interested Forest partners.

The Forest proposed signing program must also take into account sign needs for the implementation of route designation, as well as the creation of new Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers.
Sign placement presents a wonderful opportunity for public volunteerism. This was acknowledged in the grant.  See the attached comment on the Recreational Facilities Analysis for more input on Forest sign needs.

Ground Operations - 
For this, as well as all other Inyo National Forest Grants, the group discussed abandoning the Forest's traditional use of focus areas.

These areas do not adequately reflect motorized recreation, which occurs across the Forest and not in a few finite areas. Recognizing the limited time the Forest had in preparing this year's grants, it it understandable why these areas were used given the preexisting wildlife and habitat protection plans required for CEQA compliance. Hopefully, future grants can take a more Forest-wide approach.

The Forest should consider moving printing costs for recreation maps from the Education & Safety Grant to this grant, as long as these costs do not displace needed on the ground grant funded actions.

Education & Safety -
The Forest should consider shifting publication costs for the new Inyo National Forest recreation map from this grant to ground operations as long as this cost shift does not displace on the ground actions funded through the existing Ground Operations grant.

With regard to the creation of a Forest OHV education program, we discussed having the Forest work with local stakeholders to develop messages and programs appropriate to our local area and user base rather than rely on pre-existing Tread Lightly, more generalized materials.

One of the most important components of an education program would be the improvement of exiting portal kiosk signage across the Forest.

These often empty, traditional kiosks should be filled with site-specific natural and historical information, as well as positive regulatory messages and a map.

In Friends of the Inyo's comments on the Recreational Facilities Analysis, we put forward a vision for these portal signs, including a count of sign locations and more specific description as to potential content. This portion of the comments is included in this comment letter (see p2 of comment letter).

Restoration -
The Inyo has put forward a sound and solid grant to fund restoration activities across the Forest. Given the two year time table for this grant - planning in 2010 and implementation in 2011, the Forest should anticipate these funds being used for projects related to the recently created Wilderness areas, as well as on the ground implementation of the Travel Management Decision and MVUM.

Thank you for this opportunity to comment on these important grants. [Paul McFarland - 4/6/09]