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John Stewart

Cooling, warming, or just changing - natually

Climate change, AKA "global cooling" and later "global warming", is happening.  The " deniers" are unwilling to accept that the earth has been warmer in the past than today.  And, conversely, the earth has been colder in the past than today. The climate does change over time.

In the 1970's, global cooling was the cause du jour; as a result of man's intervention.  Fast forward 30 years and global warming was the cause du jour; as a result of man's intervention.

Today, the cooling/warming mantra is combined under "change".  Interestingly, the "cause" remains the same; a result of man's intervention.  And the proposed solutions are the same: more government control of the economy, higher taxes, and loss of freedoms.

And, there is the ever constant flow of dollars into "proving" that man is responsible or global cooling, or global warming, or climate change.  Yes, the climate has changed, does change, and continues to change.  Natural variation moves on.....

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John Stewart

Issues and budgets...

The 2010 federal budget is now open for review.  Yes, it calls for increased federal spending.  So, what does that mean for recreation; especially off-road recreation?

For starters, wilderness, wildlife, water quality, air quality, and energy have an impact on daily life.  The proposed budget provides increased funding for federal agencies overseeing those issues.  

EPA is the early leader with a 34% budget increase over last year.  Countering successive years of reduction, Dept of Interior (BLM, NPS, FWS) will see a modest increase as will Dept of Agriculture (Forest Service).

All increases appear targeted for improving the plight of endangered species and conserving the landscape.

This is the first round of the 2010 budget.  The President has established his priorities.  Now, Congress will change it to meet their priorities.

Follow along at http://www.muirnet.net/4x4voice/index.php/access-issues to learn more about how wilderness, wildlife, water quality, air quality, and energy impact your recreation opportunities,

You can review the President’s proposed 2010 budget at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/

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John Stewart

Rules? Who needs rules?

The federal agency will allow public comment for an additional month, until Dec. 3, Forest Service spokesman Larry Chambers said, and set up meetings to answer questions from journalists, wilderness groups and the public.

"The Forest Service proposed directive on commercial filming in wilderness has been in place for more than four years and is a good faith effort to ensure the fullest protection of America's wild places," Chambers said in a statement.

Fox News did a report about this proposal that was little missing leading.  The Fox News segment talked about Forest Service and wilderness while showing pictures of National Parks.  

But then, the general public can relate to iconic views of Yosemite NP Half Dome and Yellowstone Geysers.  It much harder for the public to relate to wilderness areas under Forest Service management.  Seems few people care about or even know about those "special" areas as they are managed to exclude all but the most adventurous of the public that can endure to physical exertion to visit.

And, the backlash that ensued....  
 
Seems the elite does not grasp the concept that what they want for others also applies to them.
 
After all, the same law Forest Service is citing to charge for film/photo permits in wilderness is also the same law that is used to charge outfitters and guides for horseback trips into wilderness.  And, it is the same law that allows Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to charge special recreation event fees for the general public to use public lands.  And, it is the same law used to require expensive permits for motion pictures, television shows and commercials to film on public lands.
 
The media and wilderness advocates are elite.  Rules, what rules? 
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John Stewart

CA OHMVR Trust Fund At Risk - Update

An update....  California OHV Alert - User funded Trust Fund under attack!

On Monday (June 15), the CA budget conference committee decided NOT to redirect OHV money to offset State Park costs. Instead, it voted to approve the concept of a Vehicle License Fee surcharge to support State Parks and to use the revenues from that surcharge to replace their general fund support. There were few details discussed other than that the Vehicle Parks Pass would cost $15 annually as part of a vehicle’s registration fees and would allow free day-use parking to anyone with a California license plate on their vehicle.

What this means is:  The committee proposed a $15 increase to the Motor Vehicle Account (MVA), which, unlike the Vehicle License fee - a personal property tax - is an actual fee.

So, when is a "fee" a "tax"? Even though is smells like a tax, according to political jargon, it is not.

This is not final and sure to draw a lot of attention in the coming days as details leak out.

It appears that the Legislature hopes to put the amended budget up for a vote sometime next week. If it passes both houses, it will go to the Governor for signature. If it fails to pass, legislative leaders will probably enter into direct negotiations with the Governor to resolve outstanding issues.

As always, there are many details yet to be clarified. No indication was made that any State Park would be treated differently than any other. We all drive street legal vehicles through the gates of the SVRAs and so it would be logical that the SVRAs would benefit from free day use the same as all the other State Parks. As the details are written out, it will be important to remain engaged to ensure that SVRAs and the OHV Trust Fund are treated equally and receive their fair share of this program.

Thank you very much to those of you who, with very short notice, took the time to write, email, phone and fax members of the legislature asking them not to redirect the OHV Trust Fund revenue. The outcome today could not have been possible without all of you. While we continue to face many challenges, victories such as we accomplished today can be achieved when the OHV community pulls together for a common cause. Please take a moment to look around and be proud of what was accomplished.

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John Stewart

GPS to GIS - Map it or lose it

Recreation management is moving forward by determining impact on resources.  In other words, the agencies are basing their recreation decisions on interactions with other resources.  And, they are using GIS data to accomplish that analysis.

We (recreation groups) are at a major disadvantage as we do not have the capability to interact with the agencies using the common discussion medium: GIS map layers.

Hence, my effort to collect GPS data is an effort to begin identifying what is important to our members in order to begin to assign a priority to the routes/areas they use and consider important for their recreation opportunity.

For a rundown on how the agencies are using GIS:

Read more from the California Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs

 

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