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BLM - Ridgecrest 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 or that certain washes are closed due to toxic conditions, but correspondingly,
there are almost no open route signs! Almost no reclamation of designated closed routes has occurred to date.  Areas where barriers have been installed are being driven around. These closure efforts which have been completed using OHVMR grant monies and taxpayer funds, have failed and/or 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. Routes situated behind a closed route barrier need to be reclaimed using revegetation or "vertical mulching" techniques to erase the appearance of a vehicle route. Following reclamation, closed routes and erected barriers need to be closely monitored.  Where non-compliance is documented, a temporary closure needs to be implemented to correct the problem. Its time to stop the cynical cycle of not doing anything real on the ground. BLM has an obligation to the American public which it simply is not meeting. Something must be done.
 
While there is a plethora of info at the few bulletin boards installed in the Ridgecrest Field Office jurisdiction, they do not depict the designated open route network, nor do they detail the penalties for non-compliance with the designated route network, such as temporary closure mandated by the BLM Manual, Code of Federal Regulations and California Desert Conservation Area Plan. The outreach program called an action item in the 2003-05 West Mojave Plan has never materialized. One almost never encounters a Bureau staff person or law enforcement ranger on the ground. Law enforcement should not be limited to designated open areas. Our Limited use public lands and particularly our 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 Ridgecrest 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 Red Mountain, El Paso and Ridgecrest Subregions to halt irreparable harm to our natural resources currently occurring.  [Tom Egan - 4/5/10]


 The California Wilderness Coalition strongly supports the Ridgecrest 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 believe that the proposals reflect the Ridgecrest Field Office’s ongoing commitment to maintain an OHV program that balances recreational opportunities with ecological safeguards.
 
We are particularly pleased by the grant request to continue restoration activities in the Northern Jawbone-Butterbredt Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) and Rand Mountains Management Area (RMMA) and to plan restoration efforts in the Red Mountain Sub-region (SR). Illegal OHV use in these areas causes significant damage to natural and cultural resources and diminishes the opportunities for primitive recreation that the region was intended to provide. The proposed restoration activities, including erosion control, disguising unauthorized routes, revegetation, and installation of informational signs are needed to discourage continued OHV incursions, restore habitat viability, and enhance the scenic values of the area. Where needed, barriers should be constructed to ensure that OHV users stay on designated routes. In addition, on-going monitoring is needed to evaluate the success of these restoration activities and to identify areas where additional measures need to be taken to protect resources.

We also support Ridgecrest Field Office’s law enforcement and ground operations grant requests. We hope that an increased law enforcement presence, proper signage, barrier installation where needed, and public education efforts 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]



 My name is Brendan Hughes and I would like to write in support of the Ridgecrest BLM Resource Area's grant application for Restoration, Law Enforcement, and Ground Operations.  This money is essential for upholding and maintaining the designated route system and helping to heal some of the damage OHVs have caused to the landscape.  It also goes to support the special operations and activities of law enforcement, which send a message that vehicle trespass will not be tolerated. [Brendan Hughes - 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 field office is in my back yard and as such I have a good working relationship with all their staff.   However this grant has some deficiencies in the following manner.
 
Ground operations.  $76,000  for an area that has 3040 miles of trails, 79,378 acres open areas, 841,342 visitors there is something terribly wrong here.   Even with the cooperation and assistants of the Friends of Jawbone in the Jawbone/Dove Springs , and Rand's area, there are so many areas outside of these that need attention that $76,000 does not even cover the El Paso, Red Mountain, Spanglers, Radamaker and so on.  They need just as much attention as the Jawbone/Dove Springs and Rand's get from Friends of Jawbone in corporation with BLM.  
 
Contracts:  They are pretty much explained except  "Trail Maintenance Crew "  $107,000  Exactly who is this and what area do they cover and what do they do?   What makes up the $107.000 expense.
 
This grant has the burden of a visitor center so it is expected to have expenses that do not go directly on the ground but support the over all operation of the recreational public     So having said that I feel that there just is not enough fund in this grant to do what has to be done   on east side of Hwy  395 and north of Garlock, Randsburg Road  
 
This grant also does not emphasize "Stay on Designated Trails"  as a focus of every single person in this field office.  We need to make that the focus of every contact we have with the public, so that our recreation can be sustainable.  
 
Law Enforcement:  $250,500 is justifiable and it should be more.   This field office has a "Designated Trail System" that is signed from one end to another and maps to match in the Jawbone/Dove Springs and Rand's area.  It now is getting the attention it needed since 1986 in closing Illigal trails with peeler post, signs and wing fences , thus the "Wilfully Ignorant"  are no longer Ignorant.   Law Enforcement needs to make this a priority in enforcing the Illigal activities, just as they do with wilderness, we need the same attention to our riding areas.   The coordination with other agencies are key and that includes air support to catch the "Wilfully Ignorant"  right now they think they can do anything they want.  BLM Law Enforcement needs to focus, I mean focus on this ASAP.  We cannot accept this Illigal behavior, Period.
 
 
Law enforcement also needs to focus on safety of our children. To many times you see children riding totally unprotected with gear, and probably not even have an ATV certificate. Once a month ATV training should be available from the jawbone visitor center so that the Law Enforcement can send those without certificate to get a class.
 
 
Restoration:  Because of the years of lack of restoration and management of our public OHV areas, there is catch up to be done here. Just as Friends of Jawbone is doing in the portions of the Rand's, and Jawbone/Dove Springs , areas assigned to them by BLM, there are plenty more areas that need restored after the designation of trails in  since 1986.   My only complaint about this grant is the contract of $595,200 dollar to the SCA crew, I know that those kids do not get that money, So what exactly is the breakdown of this contract. Wages, Supplies,  Equipment and yes profit.  Exactly what are we getting for that kind of money. It seems very clear to me that we are not getting 95% on the ground as I feel should be .  We need a better brake down on those expenses. [Ed Waldheim  "OHV activist for access to the public lands for all" - 3/28/10]



 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]