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Mendocino Coast Recreation and Parks District

  As residents who live ¾ mile from Summer's Lane, we have questions about statements made in a March 19 letter by Ethan Newton, Mendocino Coast Recreation and Park District Director. It says that the current grant application from the California State Parks Grant OHV Division that the district has applied for is a restoration grant that is designed to repair environmental damage caused by illegal OHV use and to fence the property to make it more secure. The letter goes on to state that the grant is not for the development of an OHV park. However, MCPRD has partnered with California Recreation Alliance to apply for this grant. And although CRA supports a wide variety of other recreational opportunities, it champions education and opportunities for OHV riding for youth, and MCPRD has agreed to allow CRA to pursue OHV activities on the property. The letter goes on to state that there has been discussion about developing a section of the property as an OHV park at some later date. Given the statements of Sarah Huff of CRA at the board's November 19 meeting about her group's goal - to provide off road training for youth - we are concerned that OHV activities in the park would evolve into something far more extensive than is being acknowledged. The discussion about the property being a multi-use park is very vague. As residents who live so close to the property, we are very concerned that this grant and partnership with CRA will evolve into far greater OHV activities than those outlined, given the information we have been told so far. And we are strongly opposed to any development that results in a significant portion of the park being devoted to OHV activities. It is critical to us that safeguards are written into any agreements to prevent that from happening. Larry and Gayle Heiss - 3/25/15


  As residents who live 3/4 mile from Summers Lane, we have questions about information reported in the March 26 issue of the Mendocino Beacon regarding the MCPRD property on Summers Lane. According to Andrew Kendl, president of the California Recreation Alliance (CRA), the sources of funding for the proposed restoration grant will come from "people paying for green stickers for off-highway vehicle registration through DMV." And according to Sarah Huff, CRA representative, the MCPRD portion of matching funds would come from in-kind donations from CRA and other unidentified "community organization and volunteers." This financial arrangement raises red flags for us regarding the potential undue influence of OHV enthusiasts over how much of the property will be designated for OHV activities. As we said in our previous email of March 25, we are concerned that OHV activities in the park would evolve into something far more extensive than is being acknowledged. The discussion about the property being a multi-use park is very vague. We understand the impact that illegal OHV use has had in degrading the NCPRD property and support the grant to mitigate that damage and restore the property. But we remain concerned about what portion of the property could be designated for legal OHV activities. Residents in the area need more information about plans that will have such a significant impact on the neighborhood. Larry and Gayle Heiss - 3/29/15


  Who is the legal owner of the property? Does the applicant have a legal right to fence it off? The grant request states a local need for legal OHV recreation so this property may have a better use than to be fenced off. Thank you Bruce Brazil CORVA - 3/30/15


  As a member of the Board of Directors at Friends of Lake Cleone, I support the Mendocino Coast Recreation and Parks District in their grant request to restore their property on Hwy 20 outside of Fort Bragg. The abundant natural beauty of Mendocino County is a California treasure that must be protected. The illegal use of this property has caused damage to plants, soil, and the water. In addition to the environmental damage the illegal use of this land is very disruptive to the people who live adjacent to it. Noise pollution and neighborhood safety are also a concern. Irene Miller - 4/1/15


  These comments and recommendations are in response to the Mendocino Coast Recreation and Parks District (MCRPD) grant proposal for restoration at the MCRPD’s 586-acre property at Highway 20 and Summers Lane. The project proposes restoration of damage caused by trespass use of off-highway vehicles (OHVs) and fencing of the entire property, with future plans to allow OHV use after fencing and restoration. As the grant proposal states, the property contains Mendocino Pygmy Cypress Woodland (MPCW), wetlands, and a sphagnum bog, which are natural communities of special concern to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). CDFW has jurisdiction over the conservation, protection, and management of fish, wildlife, native plants and their habitat. I would like to take this opportunity to provide general recommendations on the proposed project, as well as offer CDFW’s assistance in designing a project that avoids impacts to public trust resources. Recommendations: 1. A full biological assessment should be prepared for the property, with a particular focus on areas proposed for future development. 2. An appropriate CEQA document should be prepared, which analyzes the restoration project as well as plans for future development. 3. Areas designated for future OHV use should be selected to avoid MPCW, wetlands, and other sensitive natural communities. 4. Fencing location, design and installation should take the following into consideration: a. Fencing should preferably not be installed within sensitive natural communities. b. Fencing should be designed to avoid impacts to wildlife. Potential impacts include, but are not limited to, restriction of movement, entanglement, and collisions due to lack of visibility. I commend your efforts to restore degraded habitat and provide recreational opportunities in appropriate areas. CDFW may have additional recommendations as project details are developed. Again, I would like to offer CDFW’s assistance in designing a project that avoids or minimizes potential environmental impacts. Thank you, Angela Liebenberg - 4/2/15


  I make these comments in regard to the Mendocino Coast Recreation and Parks District Funding Proposal G14-07-12-R01 in behalf of the Sierra Club Mendocino Group. It is stated in the proposal that "The project is designed to off close this area, fence the property to prevent further damage and to do planning and other needed studies to then begin the work of restoring this land to a functioning ecosystem." This is a worthy goal. It is interesting that another proposal (G14-04-54-S01) seeking funding from the same source, for education and safety training, using part of this property for these education and safety trainings. The California Recreational Alliance as part of its safety and educational program has used trails on this same property to illustrate the environmental degradation that has occurred from illegal use. We are in agreement that safety and educational trainings are necessary and worthwhile especially as regards such dangerous and potentially destructive vehicles as ATVs and other OHVs. The proposal for restoration ought to 'daylight' the other grant for OHV use. These two grants should be cross-referenced by more than just a phrase. We note that in this (Restoration) proposal there is only a brief reference to the OHV-use grant. (P.7, under "HMP and Soil Conservation"). Any CEQA document should include present use of OHVs and plans for future development. Is it a good use of restoration money if restoration is only partly the goal? We feel the highest and best use of this land is to protect and recharge the Fort Bragg water supply. It should be brought back to as near a natural forested (pygmy and other) state as possible so that infiltration and other hydrological processes clean and recharge groundwater. We wish to see the Sensitive Natural Communities acknowledged and respected. We are glad that MCRPD is taking steps to restore this land and wish them every success with the project. Thank you, Mary Walsh, Chair, Sierra Club Mendocino Group - 4/6/15