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BLM - El Centro Field Office

 The California Wilderness Coalition strongly supports the El Centro Field Office’s 2009-2010 grant application proposals for Cooperative Agreements with the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Division of the California Department of Parks and Recreation.
We are particularly pleased by the grant request to continue restoration activities in the Yuha Area of Critical Environmental Concern and the East Mesa areas. Activities such as installing signs and distributing recreational trail maps will help to ensure that OHV users stay on designated trails, thereby protecting sensitive habitats and cultural resources and preserving a more primitive recreational experience in areas closed to OHV use. Restoration activities will help to improve the condition of sites suffering from illegal OHV use, while on-going monitoring will allow the agency to identify areas where damage is occurring and address it appropriately.
We also support El Centro Field Office’s request for $418,000 in law enforcement funds. We hope that an increased law enforcement presence, in addition to proper signage, barrier installation where needed, and public education, will largely eliminate the problem of illegal OHV use in wilderness areas and other sensitive areas.
If you need volunteers to help implement these or other projects, please do not hesitate to contact us.  [Sean Baumgarten - 4/2/10]

 Everyone asking for Grant money does it with honorable intentions to manage our public lands , provide sustainable recreation and protect resources.  I agree with all of that and am not one to say "do not fund"  but there are exceptions from my point of view. 
In reviewing these grants for 2009/2010  It it is alarming how the % of actual work on the ground changes from one agency to another.  From experience I would like to see no more than 5% of the grant request for staff under Ground Operation go to management.   The key to sustainable recreation on our public lands are for our grant money to be spent on the ground.  
Every single grantee should be preaching "Stay on Designated Trail"   regardless what your job is, it is the responsibility of every person involved with OHV that this message has to pushed.
Every single grantee should encourage those that are law abiding citizens to put pressure on the "Willfully Ignorant" to change their way so that we can have a "Sustainable OHV recreation"  for future generations. 
Lastly I want to thank every single person involved in working on  OHV recreation for your time and dedication. [Ed Waldheim "OHV activist for access to public lands for all" - 3/28/10]

 Every single Law Enforcement grant should have a commitment and focus to catch the "Willfully Ignorant" visitor.  We see every day folks doing what ever they want and they feel immune  because it is their feeling "there is no one around to catch me"    That has to change.  Yes, we have Green Sticker Violations, sound violations, and other normal day to day violations that by now should be all in compliance.  It is the "Willfully Ignorant " that does not abide by the rules of the areas they ride in, i.e. "Stay on Designated Trails " "Respect Private Property"   "Know the rules of area you are riding in "  be it Forest Service, BLM, City and County.  All of us can put pressure on the "Willfully Ignorant" but it is Law Enforcement that needs to focus their talent to those that want to ruin it for everyone.  We can not let them rule our destiny or how we are being portrait in the eyes of the public and government elected officials.   
The other area of grave concern is our children, we need to make sure that all children 16 and under on Quads have the proper certification. We need to make sure that they are properly dressed to ride, no tank tops, tennis shoes and short pants.   Parents need to be told of their responsibility in the strongest possible manner, ticket. 

Thank you all for working this very difficult issue.  [Ed Waldheim "OHV activist for access to  public lands for all" - 3/28/10]

 I would like to comment on the El Centro BLM grant applications for Gound Operations, Law enforcement and Safety in the ISDRA.  These are important grants to fund to keep the dunes safe and clean.  I noticed the law enforcement grant did not include Lark Canyon in the areas patrolled.  Is that part of the grant?  The ground operations only asks for money for trash removal.  Are there no needs for other work, such as improving existing camping pads or creating new ones?  Please fund these grants completely. [Ed Stovin, CORVA - 3/27/10]

 Attached please find a support letter from the American Sand Association. [Nicole Nicholas Gilles, Executive Director  - 3/25/10]

 Attached are my comments on the proposed 2009/2010 OHMVR grant requests from the BLM El Centro Field office. [Richard Holliday - 3/24/10]

 Please do not give any state money to a federal agency to close our public land to us.  I whole heartedly reject what the federal government is doing to our lands.  They are tying to kill local economies and discourage people from living free.  It appears as if they all want us to sit and a desk and enjoy the forest on a screensaver. [Casey Crandall - 3/11/10]

 Comments from me - as a "member of the interested public".

Ground Operations: I have noticed a tremendous increase in cleanliness since the new dumpsters have been used. I have seen many day-use people, especially at Buttercup (I can't comment on the North Dunes) use the pit toilets and that has definitely reduced the 'gross factor' of coming up on a location used for "other than duning" purposes.

I recommend "full support" for Ground Operations.

Law Enforcement: I have been taking my family to the dunes over 10 years now. In some ways it's much better than before, not nearly as many "all night parties" and craziness. I'd rather ride and the LE presence there helps me do that safely. Because there is a large swing in attendance and the use of out-of-area personnel I feel it's vital that those officers get appropriate training. Not all of us are "hoodlums" and are there to ride. Having in-car cameras would be a huge benefit in documenting some cases that are currently driving the 'rumor mill' and I look forward to more effective coverage and cooperation with the dune visitors.

I recommend "full support" for Law Enforcement

Restoration - WECO: as an avid recreationist, Eagle Scout and outdoorsman, I understand the importance of wild lands preservation. While I would rather see OHV recreation funds spent for recreational purposes, it is also important to use some of those funds to restore areas that were damaged by either illegal or accidental actions. As long as funds for other grant application topics are not impacted, I would support funding this grant.

I recommend "guarded support" for Restoration - WECO

Education and Safety - ISDRA: I have seen first hand the quality and professionalism of the medical response team at the dunes, thankfully not for me! There have been several times where we have either come upon an accident scene before anyone else or arrived at just about the same time as the EMTs. In every case they provide a vital, critical service to the community. They can be directly credited with saving many lives. If they were not there I shudder to think what would happen to me if I were injured...

I recommend "full support" for Education and Safety - ISDRA. [Greg Gorman - 3/5/10]