BLM - Barstow Field Office
While it would be nice to think that this requested money is being used to truly implement the Bureau's mandated mission of multiple use management on our public lands, it is not.
Fully 90-95% of the routes designated open in the Bureau's West Mojave Plan have not been signed with numbered open route signs as this agency promised to do in 2003-05. A few signs stating that vehicle use is limited to signed open routes have been installed, but correspondingly, there are no open route signs! Almost no reclamation of designated closed routes has occurred to date, the only exception being a few closed routes in notoriously non-compliant vehicle use areas like Limited Use lands north of the El Mirage Open Area, the Ord Mountains between the Stoddard Valley and Johnson Valley Open Areas, the Juniper Flats region and along a few select wilderness boundaries. These rehabilitation efforts which have been completed using OHVMR grant monies and taxpayer funds, have been destroyed at considerable expense to U.S. citizens because the BLM failed to monitor vehicle use compliance or enforce county, state and federal laws. Its time to stop the cynical cycle of not doing anything real on he ground. BLM has an obligation to the American public which it simply is not meeting. Something must be done.
Few kiosks depicting designated open route networks have been erected anywhere in the western Mojave Desert. The outreach program called an action item in the 2003-05 West Mojave Plan never materialized. Out of 150 hours spent in the western Mojave Desert in February, March and April 2010, I have yet to encounter a single Bureau staff person or law enforcement ranger, even though I hear tell that these personnel do staff designated open areas on high use occasions. Law enforcement should not be limited to designated open areas. Our Limited use public lands and particularly are urban interface areas are being thrashed. Vehicle use is out of control on our public lands in the western Mojave Desert.
No monies should go the BLM's Barstow Field Office until some tangible effort at promised vehicle use management becomes realized on the ground, including development of an effective use compliance monitoring program with a defined threshold of non-compliance that triggers temporary closure until the non-compliance can be remedied with an appropriate level of open route signing, closed route rehabilitation, and use direction kiosk installation at major trailheads. Temporary vehicle use closures to "greensticker" vehicle use need to be implemented immediately in the Bighorn, Kramer, Granite, Fremont, Red Mountain, and Superior Subregions, to halt irreparable harm to our natural resources currently occurring. [Tom Egan - 4/5/10]
I would like to comment on the Barstow BLM grants for Ground Operations, Development and Law Enforcement. The work to train riders at El Mirage must be applauded. This is going above and beyond and is very much needed. For the general Ground Operations grant, lots of good stuff in there. A couple items I wonder about. You ask for $16,000 for two duel sport motorcycles. I wonder what bikes cost $8000 each. Other grants ask for $6700 for Suzuki DRZ400’s. The big one is $120,000 for a tractor. That is an awful lot of money. Then there is storage and maintenance. It might be better to rent the equipment periodically when needed than own it. Owning is so much trouble! How would this equipment be moved? Is there a trailer and heavy truck to pull it? Is there safe storage? How many miles of dirt road would be groomed and how often to justify this expense?
The Dumont Dunes and Law Enforcement grants look good. All these grants will work to better the off-road experience in the district. I hope they can be fully funded. [Ed Stovin, CORVA - 3/30/10]
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]
This grant with over 760,769 visitors and 8686 OHV miles of routes, and 310.350 acres of open area is probably one of the most expansive areas BLM has and thus management is very important.
Education and Safety I applaud the Barstow BLM office to work on getting ATV training on a regular basis out of the El Mirage visitor center so that our 16 and under can come and get the required training, that is state law. At this point you have to hunt for a needle in the hay stack to find a training facility and we hope that Barstow BLM will be the first to have regular training classes every weekend, (exception is SVRA's they have been doing this for years )
Ground operations for $365,360 is a tall dollar, when it does not include Dumont or El Mirage. so if you look at actually what is on the ground from the $200,160, we have Heavy Equipment operator $14,800 Park Rangers $63,800, Maintenance workers $57,000 for total on ground $134,800 That leaves $65,360 for administrative work or 32% This seem rather high. Especially since there is $38,400 in indirect cost. Perhaps some of the expenses shown in breakdown should be born by the indirect cost.
Contract Trail maintenance $120,000 is a tall number. Exactly where is this contract work going to take place . What are the wages, what is the equipment cost,
D-37 has a dire need for work on trails that are dangerous to their racers, and I do not see any place that their needs are being addressed in the Johnson Valley and Stoddard Valley Open area.
Designated trail system through the limited use area, how will this be implemented. 400 fiberglass signs does not even begging to cover that work that the Barstow BLM office is faced with to sign trails. We need to at least do the "EPA" Trails System, "Encourage, Prohibit, Allow" , with emphasis on Encourage so that the public know where they are going. Right now it is anyone guess that is "Designated" and what is not. Maps are not help either. This needs to be resolved.
Law Enforcement for $278,500 seems very low for the amount of visitors that this BLM office has. What measure are law enforcement taking to address the "willfully Ignorant" person. What measure is BLM law enforcement taking to address sound and 16 and under education requirement.
Development - El Mirage I fully support . It is key to our ability to provide training with these facilities. Friends of El Mirage is not eligible under the OHV grants to apply for development Grants.
Dumont Dunes Ground operation: I support this grant however we need to address the trash and waist water issue. Having attended Inyo Forest and BLM Bishop grants meeting, Inyo Sheriff made it very clear he is not happy camper with the customers leaving Dumont dues and leaving their trash and sewer along the road as they go to Las Vegas. I would suggest that one of the SST be turned into a dump, with charges made to those dumping, or that a Sewer company be brought at the Dunes, so that folks can pay for dumping as they leave. In either case, this issue has to be addressed.
In general I support this grant and appreciate all the cooperation and work that the Barstow BLM staff put in to manage OHV recreation. [Ed Waldheim "OHV activist for access to public lands for all" - 3/27/10]
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]