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Sedona Jeep School
05-05-2006, 06:37 AM
ARIZONA OFF HIGHWAY VEHICLE COALITION (AZOHVC) NEWSLETTER
SECOND QUARTER OF 2006


This Quarterly Newsletter will highlight what the AZOHVC has been doing the past four months in support of your organization and for Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) Access in Arizona. We will review the good, bad and ugly on things that we have been involved with. as well as update you on the upcoming elections and transition to the first set of Representatives, New Officers and Chairpersons.

This is an exciting time for our AZOHVC in that we are starting to see some real progress in working together with both public and private land managers regarding attitude and perception adjustments in regards to OHV users. Our efforts have been directed toward the two goals of keeping existing areas, roads and trails open for you to recreate in and keeping you abreast of the many OHV issues going on throughout the state. In addition, we will give you an overview on many of the projects that we initiated over the last two years and their progress. The majority of the activity now is in the center part of our state but as we grow and add members from other areas we will be more involved in those areas as well.

First, lets start with the good things that the AZOHVC has been doing for you.

GRANTS

The main purpose of putting together the AZOHVC as a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization was to have the ability to go after grants from anyone who has the money to give to us Federal, State, Local and Business Grants were applied for by the AZOHVC.

Over the past 12 months the AZOHVC has written, submitted and obtained over $500,000 in materials from Arizona State Parks and Arizona Game and Fish Grants for partnerships and projects highlighted below. In addition, we have also recently obtained grants from the American Motorcycle Association (AMA), Honda, and Polaris for equipment that added up to almost $30,000. The grants obtained were used to purchase materials for OHV projects to build trails, sign trails, install information kiosks, rehab OHV areas, build restrooms and in some cases, close some trails, while working together with the Public Land Managers in keeping other OHV areas open. In addition, some grants allowed us to form partnerships with various Public Land and Government Agencies to work, plan and resolve OHV issues in specific areas. Examples of partnerships that the AZOHVC is part of and helped form are the Prescott National Forest Central Arizona Trail Partnership, Tonto Sycamore Partnership, Tonto Cave Creek Desert Vista Partnership, Middle Gila Partnership, Bradshaw Foothills Partnership and some others that are still in the planning stage. Note that having established partnerships will make it easier to get some kinds of funding in that the Arizona State Parks and OHV Advisory Group that oversees the grants from OHV Gas Tax dollars, as well as the Recreational Trails Programs (RTP) dollars from Federal Highways, have taken an aggressive step in allowing OHV Tax dollars to be disbursed through "agreements" in lieu of some grants, to enable dollars to get on the ground faster.

To highlight and see one specific project that the AZOHVC has been instrumental in and has used grant money on is the procurement of 80 OHV Information Kiosks. The installation of the 800 pound steel kiosks and adoption of the first three kiosks by Club Members of the AZOHVC, went in on the west side of the Lake Pleasant Park in the Bradshaw Mountains on the way to Crown King in April 2006. They were greatly appreciated and received by OHV users, private landowners, the Bureau of Land Management and Lake Pleasant County Regional Park, in that we supplied them with a tool to get information out to the OHV community that they could not provide (pictures e-mailed separately). See Bradshaw Foothills Partnership for additional information below.

Plans have already been established for the next kiosk installations to be in the Tonto and Prescott Forest Areas. These information kiosks are OHV bought, supplied, and some are maintained by AZOHVC Member Clubs, and are shared with Public Land Agencies to get information out to OHV users about everything from existing OHV roads and trails to safety information. In addition we are also researching to see if we can come up with a way to pay member clubs a fee to install these Information Kiosks and signage as a fund raiser for AZOHVC Member Clubs. If you have suggestions in areas that you ride in that need something like an Information kiosk let us know via e-mail and we will see what we can do.

In regards to equipment, Polaris recently has approved a donation of a new ATV Quad to the AZOHVC as part of one grant in addition to some funds for a trailer. This will be used in sign installation in remote locations and information distribution and there is a possibility of loaning future ATV's to Law Enforcement for specific enforcement activities. We have been asked by both the Maricopa County Sheriffs Office and Arizona Game and Fish Department to assist them in obtaining ATV's to be used for information distribution and enforcement activities We will be approaching other manufacturers asking them to donate ATV's for that purpose and will work with law enforcement agencies that work fairly with the AZOHVC on OHV issues.

In addition, there are other grants that we have targeted but are in the preliminary stages and we will update you on their progress in the next newsletter.

PROJECTS AND PARTNERSHIPS

Granite Mountain - This area is mostly single track trails with a 4x4 road to the Tonto Forest Entrance. The AZOHVC has supplied additional signage for most of trails and they was installed by the Arizona Trail Riders (ATR). Steel gates have been procured and are ready for installation and a call for volunteers will be needed for those shortly. Some new trails have been closed due to misuse. In February 2006 a Welcome Weekend was held with the AZ Game and Fish and Scottsdale Police to educate the public on OHV activity and usage in the area. The AZOHVC is working with the Arizona State Land Department (ASLD) in keeping this a multi-use area open. This is a high usage area do to its close proximity to the North Valley residents


Boulders Lake Pleasant Area - Bathrooms have been installed and road grading competed with an anti dust agent applied in the staging area. Trail signs have been procured with an AZOHVC grant and will need to be installed. Access guides are in process of being completed and printed. A three panel Information Kiosk to be installed at the Staging Area with trail access, OHV guidelines and safety information. The AZOHVC is working with Bureau of Land Management on this multi-use area and Clubs that use this area will be asked to help in trial signage and installation of the Information Kiosks.


Bradshaw Foothills - Over the last two months we have completed signage for the West side of the Lake Pleasant County Regional Park, specific individual land owners and signs directing OHV to the staging location at the old airstrip on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. Three kiosks were supplied by the AZOHVC (two on Lake Pleasant Park Property, one on BLM property) were installed with area maps and OHV information. BLM is currently working with the Bradshaw Foothills team to create a detailed map that will identify multiuse trails and roads, OHV areas and staging areas. Special thanks to Dirty SOBS ATV Club, AZ ATV Riders, AZ Horsemanship Association, AZ Trail Riders, BLM, Bureau of Reclamation, AZ Game and Fish and Private Land Owners in supplying the volunteers. The Dirty SOBS ATV Club have committed to maintaining these kiosks and with working with the Public Land Agencies on getting and keeping important information in them. In addition we are working on a side project to develop a back way to Crown King from Castle Hot Springs with key Public Land Managers and few Private Land Owners.

Desert Wells ASLD OHV Area - Apache Junction - This area is just east of Apache Junction (Mile Post 204 East to Hwy 79) and was due to be closed a couple of years ago to OHV usage due to abuse of ranchers water tanks and destruction along the CAP Canal. As a result of a collaborative partnership with the City of Apache Junction, Pinal County Sheriff, AZ Game and Fish, AZ State Land Department and the OHV Community an agreement was reached to keep 86,000 acres open by fencing, inventorying and designating trails (over 200 miles) while installing over 300 signs and three wood information kiosks. Currently, all the old wood Kiosks have been destroyed and the AZOHVC has procured Steel Kiosks for replacement along with a priority project to destroy and rehab the trails that have been made parallel to State Hwy 60. AZOHVC will be asking Member Clubs in that area to help install and adopt these new Steel Kiosks and maintain them. Riders are still causing major dust problems by not staying 1/4 mile inside the gates and driving the restricted fence lines. The Pinal County Sheriff is patrolling the area and issuing citations due to complaints. This is a high usage area due to its close location to the East Valley urban area and if these these issues are not resolved there is a good possibility that we lose this area to OHV usage. Members that use this area will be contacted for assistance.


Tonto Forest Cave Creek Forest Service Desert Vista Project - A new Staging Area has been completed and is located less than one mile South down the Bartlett Dam Road from where OHV users used to use a wildcat staging area on private property at the intersection of Bartlett Dam Road and Cave Creek Highway. A wood kiosk has been installed at the old wildcat staging area directing OHV users to the new staging area and off of private property. The Tonto Ranger District is patrolling the area and issuing citations to violators who park in the old area. The AZOHVC has procured new Steel Kiosks to be installed in various locations of the burned areas along with fencing and gates for reopening that area to OHV usage when ready. Currently the whole burned area is posted no OHV usage. The AZOHVC is working closely with the Tonto Forest District on this project and by doing so insures OHV access in the future.


Prescott Forest Alto Pit and Sheridan Mountain Trail Projects - Signage and Information Kiosks have been procured by the AZOHVC for these and other areas in the Prescott Forest. Over 40 miles of trails have been added or repaired with assistance from the AZOHVC by supplying transportation to get the equipment to the areas needed. In addition, the AZOHVC has identified and is applying for grants to help build another 30 miles of OHV trails next year in the Prescott Forest. We are working closely with Prescott Forest officials to help them identify, plan and implement fixes to help OHV access in that area.


Butterfield Stage Historical Trail (near the Sonoran National Monument) - The Bureau of Land Management has asked for assistance to rehab the area around the Butterfield Trail. The AZOHVC has procured Information Kiosks for that area but volunteers are needed for this project. There is a strong environmentalist push to close this area off to OHV traffic and they have showed up to the BLM meetings in strong numbers to impress that fact. This area is on the Arizona OHV list of endangered trails that could be lost to OHV usage. We need feedback from our members on if you are willing to challenge the BLM and make sure we keep this area open. This will require volunteer commitments. Let us know ASAP.


Tonto Friends of Sycamore Partnership - The AZOHVC has procured over 300 trail signs and will be working with our Member Clubs and the Tonto Forest District to get them installed this fall when the weather cools. See the Friends of Sycamore for the many other details that are going on in this area. The AZOHVC will be supporting recommendations that will keep this high density OHV area open and we will be pushing to make this a permanent OHV area by working with all the user groups. We are working with the U.S. Forest Service to make it a better and safer place to ride in.


In a short, the AZOHVC is becoming the go to organization for finding funding for OHV projects and in helping the Public Land Agencies plan and solve OHV problems in their areas. By doing so, the AZOHVC has helped in keeping areas open to OHV access that would have been closed.

REVIEW OF PUBLIC LAND AGENCY RECOMMENDATIONS AND PLANS

Jeff Gursh (AZOHVC Executive Vice President) has done an excellent job in reviewing and commenting on Federal Land Agencies Travel Planning Documents. The effort involved on the BLM Bradshaw/Agua Fria Travel Plan, required Jeff to review over 1600 pages of documentation and over 30 pages of comments were submitted regarding OHV issues in this area. The AZOHVC has also commented on five Forest Service and National Forest Areas along with the BLM San Pedro Plan. Currently we have begun reviewing the preliminary Sonoran Monument Plan. These efforts take considerable time and in the future the Chairperson of Land Usage will work with the many Clubs to get input.

In addition, Sandee McCullen (AZOHVC Secretary) is a member of the Bureau of Land Management Recreational Advisory Council (RAC) which has enabled her to review and impact plans before they are distributed to the public. She represents the AZOHVC and OHV community and speaks in our defense and is open to any issue you would like her to present. The BLM RAC will now also oversee the Resource Enhancement Act (renewal of the fee demo program) where both BLM and National Forest Service regulate "fee areas" such as campgrounds, docks, or special recreation sites so she will have a voice for "US" with both Arizona BLM and Region 3 National Forest Service which includes Arizona and New Mexico.


OFF HIGHWAY VEHICLE LEGISLATION

Arizona - Two years ago a team of Public Land Agencies, Law Enforcement, Land User Organizations along with the AZOHVC joined together in a work group to begin the effort of coming up with a plan to manage the growing OHV recreation population and develop a system that would insure consistent laws, funding and regulations be enacted to keep your trails open in our state. After hundreds of hours of meetings the work group came up with a draft that all thought would benefit OHV recreation and its management. The Copper Sticker proposal was one of many suggestions in this draft. This draft was taken to the Arizona Legislature to find a Bill sponsor.

Before a sponsor could be found for the ideas from the above noted work group, the AMA notified the AZOHVC that a House Bill 2622 was being being sponsored by Representative Konopicki which was driven by another user group, that had totally different ideas on OHV management. The AZOHVC worked with many legislators for over a two weeks to have the House Bill 2622 stopped. We were successful because of your faxes, letters and calls to your Representatives and in meetings with these Representatives.

Senate Bill 1508 was then sponsored was by Senators Flake and Bennett and before it went into Committee, reflected most of what the draft work group agreed upon. This very rapidly became high profile legislation due to the possibility of generating addition revenues for various state agencies and everyone all of a sudden wanted to have input into these Bills. In the Senate Review Committee, very important changes were made to SB1508 that the AZOHVC, after review, extremely opposed. To our observation it seemed that Senator Flake wanted the revised SB1508 Bill to pass with the changes made, to appease some user groups in his area, no matter how hard the OHV community fought it. To make a long story short, the AZOHVC did not, or does not support the revised SB1508 and after a second round on letters, faxes and meetings, defeated it. Senator Flake has now asked another sponsor of another House Bill HB2686, to insert OHV regulations into this bill. By doing this, due to legislative rules, this allows resurrection of the defeated SB1508 any time during this legislative session, which runs until July.

So where are we now? First, because of your letters, faxes and calls and pressure from the AZOHVC Officers, we have had success in derailing bad legislation from becoming law. It seems that certain government officials are trying to out last us to get this Bill enacted into law by waiting for us to give up the fight. So far we have used incredible amounts of time and effort to stop legislation that is not good for OHV management and activities in our state. Our approach on this type of OHV legislation is to do it right the first time. We can tweak good legislation into great laws by listening to those groups that are involved in the process This case has been a classic example of back scratching in our state legislature and Jeff Gursh (AZOHVC Executive Vice President), Sandee McCullen (AZOHVC Secretary) and Sanford Cohen (AZOHVC Vice President) worked diligently with many legislators around the clock to prevent these bills from becoming law and effecting you without your input. Make sure the next time you see them to thank them for their efforts. We have to stay on guard this legislative session to prevent this Bill for coming back on the floor and be prepared to respond to our calls for pressure on both the House and Senate members, if we need your help. In addition, we will next session look at writing our own OHV Bill and get buy in from the many Public Land Agencies working with us before we approach the legislature. That buy in to our plan will give us a good jump on getting it passed.

National - Sandee McCullen (Secretary of the AZOHVC) spend 10 days in Washington D.C. this spring. She meet with the Department of Interior and its sub-agency, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Recreation Officials reviewing OHV issues that impact Arizona BLM lands. During discussions some of the concerns that surfaced related to "cost recovery abuse" for sponsored events and problems with Special Recreation Permit application process. She also met for two days with U.S. Forest Service officials reviewing the new Transportation Rule and how it affects OHV. One of the major points discussed at length was the lack of consistency within the Forest Ranger Districts on "where do they start from on a base map of trails". Although leaders in D.C. support districts "doing their own thing", it was strongly noted we MUST BE INVOLVED. It was noted that the OHV community MUST identify our trails and build a working relationship with ranger districts to make sure that they are inventoried and stay open.
Details of the meetings will be inputted into the AZOHVC website soon.


Now, lets talk about some of the things that we have been doing bad.

INFORMATION FLOW

Newsletters and Communication - First, as noted above we have been pretty busy. We have done a poor job in keeping you informed these past four months of everything that is going on. Shame on us. The addition of new Officers and Representatives along with additional Chairpersons should go a long way in taking care of that issue. We will do a better job on keeping you informed. This is a big state and has a ton of OHV issues that no one has addressed in years, so we all got baptized pretty quick. Our goal was to put the organization together (which we did well) and to try to address many of the current OHV issues on the table (which we have done pretty good at), while trying to keep you informed (which we crashed and burned at). In our defense, I need to remind all the members that we are still in the learning curve and have had only four Officers (who are volunteers) attacking every issue that has come up statewide. We have had to prioritize and if I had to do it over again I would change a bunch of things that we did. These are lessons learned. The plus part of this is that we have learned from our mistakes and know how to avoid them now. In addition, we are starting to see progress in having Member Clubs take ownership for the areas that they ride in.

Last but not least, and part of not keeping you informed, this is the ugly part of what we have been doing wrong,

AZOHVC Website - The AZOHVC Website has been totally ignored over the past four months. We changed it over into a new server and ever since then piecemealed information into it. Many of the areas are still under construction. A very big sorry from the President in that personally I promised many of you to get information into it quickly and failed to do so. We are trying to rectify that problem now and I am not only groveling for your forgiveness but also our webmasters too. We apologize for putting this at the bottom of the pile and we will be meeting this week to see what we need to get us back on track fast. I know that "Information is Power" and by keeping us on our toes this will be made into the very useful tool to keep everyone informed. You will see improvements shortly.

Now lets talk transition. We are ready for some new blood.

ELECTIONS

Ballots for New Officers and Candidates Representatives are complete and are being currently being reviewed by the AZOHVC Officers. The Officer's Ballot and list of individuals that want to be Representatives will be e-mailed to your attention for the officers on the first week in May. The AZOHVC Secretary is currently looking for a location and time in May to have our General Meeting and you will be notified. As noted by our By-Laws and SOPS if additional candidates wish to be added to the ballot they can be submitted at the meeting prior to voting. This will be the first official set of Officers and Representatives that will be seated for the AZOHVC and they will be briefed by the existing officers to what their official duties are. In addition, because this will be the first official set of officers, the position of Executive Vice President will no longer be an office. Officers include President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer and Past President to make a quorum. Hopefully you or a representative can attend the elections, if not make sure you get your ballot back to us as soon as possible.


Last but never least, your next Newsletter will be submitted by the new President and Secretary in the next quarter. Thank you all for your continued support in being a member of the AZOHVC. Your membership is an active membership where we will ask you to become an Officer, Rep or Chairperson or by volunteering for one of many projects that we are involved with. We need to share the workload to be successful and the cross pollination of the different OHV groups and clubs has helped everyone understand specific issues and concerning each group.

As you can see, your Membership has great benefits in that we are becoming the spear tip on OHV issues in Arizona, and by working together we can make a major impact on keeping areas open for all of us to enjoy. The next time you think on what the AZOHVC is doing for me, you will know the answer.

The pleasure has been mine to have helped in creating the AZOHVC and in being the first President. I have been fortunate to work with the best group of Officers and Chairpersons anyone could ask for and you should thank them for their tireless efforts and dedication to getting us where we are. I'm looking forward to being on the Board of Directors and in seeing you on the trails in the future.

Best Regards,

Steve Carmickle
President
AZOHVC

Linda
05-07-2006, 11:24 AM
Never mind.

FrenchChili
05-09-2006, 03:10 PM
thanks for posting this!