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BLM - Ridgecrest Field Office

See attached comment letter. [Mesonika Piecuch, ORV Watch Kern County - 3/11/13]

I would like to comment on two aspects of the BLM RFO current grant application 76-0384540. Those are the Ground Operations (GO) and Planning.

I strongly support funding for those aspects of the ground operations that have to do with the continuing operation of the Jawbone Station. The station has bounced from one funding source to another for many years now, and it's continued operation jeopardized by shifts in funding priorities by several different sources. With the construction of the new maintainance building and interpretive center, the BLM has a heightened sense of the station's value as an interface with the public. I hope this funding request will become a permanent funding priority for the BLM.

As far as planning goes, I applaud the Bureau's commitment to moving forward on returning to the public one of the premier recreational opportunities in the Panamint Mountains, the South Park loop. The loop is dependent on the use of the South Park bridge, which the National Park has currently declared unsafe. I have been following the Bureau's efforts in this matter, and know that they have 'done their homework' on following the appropriate procedures to SAFELY resolve this problem, both at a structural and legal level. Thank you for your time. [Mark Algazy, Esq. - 3/20/13]

My issues with all BLM grant requests are around the tax payer (including CA OHV recreationists) funded branch of the Federal government using our funds to pay for limiting our OHV opportunities. They are not shy in the amounts they request.

G12-01-15-R01 Restoration: "the emphasis would be placed on preserving and enhancing recreational opportunities by curbing problems before they becomeunmanageable and subject possibly, to new restrictions or closures."  I am unable to determine by this request if any of the areas closed for restoration would be returned to OHV opportunities. Without this reassurance and written intention, I cannot support this request.

G12-01-15-G01, Ground Operations, I can't fathom why CA OHV funds should be buying a laptop for a branch of the Federal Government. There are many other aspects of the operations request that seem likewise presumptuous.

G12-01-15-L01, Law Enforcement, Same issues, different dollar amount. No mention is made of Ridgecrest PD who also offers support of this area.

G12-01-15-P01, Planning, The only portion of this grant request that I have minimal issue with. At least this money is allocated for a firm that will meet CA state requirement. [Diana Mead, CORVA N. Director - 3/30/13]

I would like to comment on the following grant on behalf of the California Off-Road Vehicle association. Ridgecrest Field Office Application: Ground Operations is a hefty grant, but is much needed to support so much OHV recreation with open and limited uses areas.

Law Enforcement is also a hefty grant that is needed to support so much OHV recreation. Planning wants to plan the construction of a replacement bridge in Panamint Valley.  Looks like a good use of OHV money.  I might suggest you contact a university civil engineering dept to offer the planning as a class project? [Ed Stovin - 3/30/13]