View Full Version : Reason We're Losing Our Access

Sandee McCullen
03-29-2005, 01:17 PM
Fellow 4-Wheelers.........
Below is direct copy recently received from the State Land Dept. (less pictures of outright distruction of our lands......... mud bogs mostly......

The OHV Task Force Team is trying very hard to implement a fair OHV Sticker (equiv. to the Calif. Green Sticker) to help defray some of the costs of our sport. This kind of misuse is killing us all. If I can find a way to inset the pictures I will do that but the bottom line is OUR MISUSE must stop. If the State Land Dept. closes the State Trust lands to OHV recreation use we lose almost all our access for motorized recreation since most of the BLM public lands are lost behind Az Trust Lands......... All we'll be left with is FS and the new regs are going to be very tight. State Trust lands are 9.5 million acres of land in Ariz.

Your "OHV Teams" are trying very hard to help save our access........ we NEED HELP. Any ideas of how we can reach the yahoos out there please join the fight!! We're LOSING................ FAST!


Recreation is causing damage to State Trust Lands (STL). As the population increases, so does the severity of the damage. As a fiduciary, the Arizona State Land Department (ASLD) cannot continue to let that damage go on without a response. That response is partially in the hands of the OHV group contemplating the division of the Copper Sticker funds. Give ASLD the money to manage the problem, or face a real possibility of closure of urban lands to motorized activity.

1 Taken from an OHV enthusiast website.

A Statement of Facts
The total land covered by the proposed Copper Sticker program (BLM, USFS, and STL) is 32,564,847 acres. Of that amount, 23,503,200 acres are PUBLIC Lands (BLM &USFS). They are mandated by their mission to manage this land as public land. The remaining 9,061,647 acres are STL. This land is NOT public land but treated more like private lands. Trust land is not mandated or funded to provide recreation opportunities.

Arizona State Land Department has a fiduciary responsibility to the State Trust. This fiduciary responsibility is special in that the laws governing Trust Lands include Federal legislation, which the State has no authority to tamper with, the State Constitution which is difficult to tamper with unless the citizens decide to act, and by State legislation.

Furthermore, ASLD does not have the means to properly manage recreation of its land.

State Trust Land Urban Holdings.
Current urban holdings of large tracks of land are largely held by only one entity in this State. That entity is the State Trust, managed by the Arizona State Land Department (ASLD)

Figure 2Valley of the Sun, ASLD PALMS Public Lands Theme

Figure 3 High OHV impact areas in Valley. Red is STL Purple is BLM, and Blue is USFS

As one can see, the closer the land to the urban center, the more likely the land belongs to the State Trust. A conclusion that might be drawn is the Trust gets a higher impact from short turn around OHV visitation than public lands are.

This coupled with the majority of the number of Department’s OHV-citizen driven complaints are concerning urban areas. This supports the contention that a real concern is OHV operation in the urban areas.

According to the Arizona State Parks’ Economic Importance of Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation to Arizona, report, Maricopa County has the highest number of OHV recreation days of 2,086,893. The next closest county is Coconino with 1,974,295 days.

Complaints from Citizens
Currently ASLD fields many Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) complaints. These range from noise, environmental damage, to dust complaints. Each complainant feels that their concern is a legitimate grievance and should be taken as such by ASLD. It is difficult, under present circumstances, to address these complaints without adequate tools to ameliorate the roots of the complaints.

Currently, ASLD has no mandate to provide recreation opportunities on Trust Land. Many officials within that Department feel that ASLD shouldn’t even be in the recreation business. In other words, the ASLD should stop selling recreation permits, and anyone on STL without a legitimate written permission is trespassing. This would be easier for law enforcement officers because if there is an OHV on STL then more than likely it is a trespass situation.

Complaints from Federal Agencies and County Departments
Through the Federal Clear Air Act, the urban counties have been charged with limitation of certain air pollutants, including dust particulates. Violations of this act can be very expensive. Fines can run more than $25,000 per occurrence, per day. The recipients of these fines are always the land owner. In the case of State Trust land, that would be the State Land Department. Therefore, the State Land Department must react in a responsible manner when it comes to controlling fugitive dust from the lands owned by the Trust.

4 Take from an OHV enthusiast’s website

In the past, options were available to keep the land open to OHV, but most at a great expense. Due to of lack to funding to control, mitigate, and ameliorate OHV soil damage, the only reasonable response ASLD can economically is to close the land to motorized use. To prevent action against the Trust and ASLD, the Department began to close lands that were subject to violation of the counties’ rules for fugitive dust.

If ASLD is asked to shoulder the majority of the burden to allow use of STL urban land, and expose the State to a risk of high penalties for fugitive dust, then ASLD and the Trust should be compensated with more then $1.00 from the Copper Sticker fund.

Since 1999, over 51,000 acres of STL have been closed in the Phoenix-Metropolitan area alone. These areas include metropolitan Maricopa and Pinal counties (Apache Junction area). A quick examination of closures below should enlighten one about the size of land involved.

5 If you don't want to see more of this on STL ...

Since January of 1999, 51,392 acres of Trust land have been closed due to dust violations, or threatened dust violations. The numbers of closures are currently at 18. Over the six years of dust related closures, the closures averages 8,565 acres a year.

With the growing OHV population, the ever sprawling valley and its surrounding areas, and increased vigilance for air quality by the federal and county governments, the increase in annual acreage closed will promise to climb. Using the current data, by the year 2010, there may be as much as 102,000 urban acres closed to motorized travel.

To head off this trend of closures, ASLD needs a variety of tools to combat this trend. Those tools are an increase of law enforcement, better education, and a variety of legitimate alternatives to recreation opportunities on STL and commercial recreation ventures on private lands. The Department also has the need to hire additional land maintenance individuals to build and mend fences, execute dust control projects, and clean up litter left by recreating public.

In an Arizona Republic article, the author reports in a two year period there has been a six fold increase of OHV units sold in Maricopa County alone . This should also be a consideration that complaints will continue to mount against OHV activity on Trust land.

Liability Issue
In the early nineties, the recreationist on STL was more likely to be a trespasser than not. The Trust and ASLD had little responsibility for the safety of the trespasser, should they injure themselves while playing on STL.

With the introduction of the recreation permit, ASLD established a new category for users. They became an invitee. With that, there came an increase of responsibility for their protection. Again the Trust is asked to bear the burden of liability without any real benefit.

Subsequent to Early March 2005 Meeting
After the March 4, 2005 OHV laws committee meeting the group making the recommendations on how the fund should be divided up. I put forth that the $1.00 per permit, going to ASLD, was and is inadequate. The group asked that I take the proposal to the State Land Commissioner to see if he would agree to it.

Discussions Within ASLD
I began that process by going to the Natural Resource Division Director, Bill Dowdle. Mr. Dowdle said that he will not take the idea of $1.00 from a permit to the Commissioner. The discussion was that the trust owns close to a 1/3 the land in discussion here, and if we can't afford to mitigate the damage from recreation impact, maybe we should eliminate that threat to the land.

We also discussed the lack of dollars going to the Trust. If the Trust gets nothing, then why should the Trust risk the land and liability damage?

Quick and Simple Survey
At an OHV event on Sunday March 20, 2005, I took it upon myself to question the OHVers about what they thought would be a fair amount to charge for a “Copper Sticker” Program. The answers were totally unexpected by myself. Several responses were over $75.00. One person moaned and said we didn’t want to pay anything.

After running the answer through a statistical analysis spread sheet, I examined the central tendencies. I found that the average was $45.00, per OHV unit. The respondents were made aware that the charge would be for each of their OHVs. They stood by the $45.00 amount.

I also asked some mountain bikers if they would participate in a sticker program and if so how much would they be willing to pay for each bike. The mean was $50.00

• STL is not Public Land
• Urban areas are more heavily used than non urban areas
• Large portion of urban land to be used is managed by ASLD
o ASLD is burdened with larger possibility for environmental fines without adequate compensation from the user.
o Urban land, because of a concentration of users, is subject to more physical damage than non urban land is.
o As a recreationist’s right to be on STL increases, so do the ASLD responsibility for their protection increases.
• Urban Closures will continue to climb without some form of direct contribution for hiring land maintenance workers.
• The committee’s request to take this to the Commissioner will not be made until a serious amount of compensation been extended to the Trust and ASLD.
• All but one of the OHV event attendees interviewed are for a “Copper Sticker” program, and are willing to foot the bill to increase recreation opportunities.

If I might be so bold to ask that this division be considered.
$30.00 permit

Amount To Whom Purpose
Counties For Law Enforcement, Search & Rescue, Land Restoration, &
Facilities Construction
$8.00 Grants Land Maintenance & New Opportunities
$4.00 Admin Copper Sticker Program
$5.00 ASLD Land Maintenance & Extra Urban Law Enforcement
$3.00 Trust Beneficiaries Compensation

$30.00 Total All

Other Issues That We Should Considered.
• Most citations/Complaints issued by Law Enforcement officer when adjudicated the individual receive a fine. In addition to the fine, they are accessed additional surcharges. These include monies for training law enforcement, for emergency medical response, for training judges. If we write a surcharge for search and rescue, and damage mitigation, the only people who would pay are the ones that need to pay, the violators.

• Put in a yield law “Who yields to whom?” e.g.…motorcycle yields to Bikes and horses and hikers, Bikes to horses etc….
• Using the ATV manufacturers recommendations, a law should be written to establish engine size and minimum ages:
• Under 70cc - 6 and older
• 70-90cc - 12 and older
• Over 90cc - 16 and older

03-29-2005, 01:43 PM
I personally have no problem paying a reasonable OHV license fee as long as it is GUARANTEED to be used for the things stated, e.g. law enforcement in OHV areas. Otherwise it's just another tax. $30 annually seems reasonable to me. There is no way to get around some cost for OHV use with the current legal environment. A few morons are ruining it for everyone and I support them being fined and ticketed. The alternative is surely closing all the land, which of course won't solve the problem either.

Sandee McCullen
03-29-2005, 02:11 PM
I personally have no problem paying a reasonable OHV license fee as long as it is GUARANTEED to be used for the things stated, e.g. law enforcement in OHV areas. Otherwise it's just another tax. $30 annually seems reasonable to me. There is no way to get around some cost for OHV use with the current legal environment. A few morons are ruining it for everyone and I support them being fined and ticketed. The alternative is surely closing all the land, which of course won't solve the problem either.

I agree we need an OHV Sticker to help support our sport but the issues facing us with this proposal are:
ASLD want $8.00 of $30.00.......... this will amount to in excess of $10 MILLION dollars. Why should they receive more money than the "on the ground improvements/grants" for OHV?

They now receive approximately $125,000.00 from the State Trust Rec Permits that WE purchase (non-motorized purchase none). ALL of this money now goes to the state budget black hole........... not to the beneficiaries as state constitution states. Now they not only want MILLIONS to go to the 13 beneficiaries they also want 3 times that for "on the ground management". We'll still have to apply for grants (IF there's any money there after law enforcement, Game & Fish and ASLD get their share) to build maintain trails or facilities.

Their "proposal" also excludes passengers unless only crossing State Trust Lands. If you "stop" for any reason, EACH passenger must still have a state rec permit at the cost of $15.00 each.

Another issue is the "Task Team" is trying for $20.00 to keep us in line with surrounding states. These states range from $12.50 - $20.00. If our permit is $30.00 or higher, I'll continue going to California and purchase an out of state permit for $20.00............. Arizona will recognize other states permits. You can bet all the Sand Buggies will do just that. What good does this do us? $20.00 to Calif............. or $20.00 to Arizona?

ASLD want $8.00 of $30.00 but Forest Service nor BLM receive a penny? Is something wrong with this? They are claiming that PUBLIC lands will receive from the dollars directed to the counties only. This is WRONG. The counties will receive dollars according to the % of motorized recreation in their county.

Our biggest issue is EDUCATION................. You can believe ASLD won't put a penny towards education. They simply want to close lands they believe are being abused. If they would give us parks for the mud boggers or hill climbers to utilize many of the problems would be gone........... motorized recreationists LOVE MUD.......... Arizona managers DO NOT!!!

It's going to be ugly before it gets better but I'll keep everyone up to date as best I can. Next meeting on this is next week.

The more comments I can take in to this meeting......... the better for us.

Please send your comments............... pro or con.

03-29-2005, 02:19 PM
If you will send the pics to me I will post them on my website.


03-29-2005, 04:34 PM
I AGREE with the previous poster. I have no problem paying if there is something we have in writing telling us that the money they collect is going back into the program(s), but to have it run the way it is now, is BS.

As far as the dust goes; they need to get over it. This is a dusty dry desert. If they don't want any dust, they either need to go where it rains every day or pave the entire state (in which case, if anyone is still here, they will get their brains baked well done).
Someone from the state needs to stand up to the feds and explain to them what a friggin desert is. Seriously, what a load of cr@p.

03-29-2005, 11:26 PM
I second James comments.. Sandee as you know I spoke up at the recent blm meeting about a sticker program, as well as designated areas like the Buckeye Hills for OHV use, that are far enough from urban sprawl that the dust factor won't be an issue for at least 10 years or so. As the sprawl is moving farther west I'm affraid we are going to loose more and more areas due to the dust issues.. But the EPA is the one to nail not the ASLD, ASLD isn't making the rules about air quality.. I'm all for a permit/sticker/offroad liscense program. Why you may ask.?? You learned how to drive on the roads in class right ?? Well... some folks need to learn how to drive offroad as well... How about this for a punishment as well as a fine for the violators.
They must attend an 8 hr course on how to properly use our lands...

Might I suggest that we come up with a petition platform to email, snail mail and telephone our local and federal governments to tell them the way we want our lands used and managed...

ps... Don't forget the ASA meeting Sat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


03-30-2005, 03:39 AM

They have, or did have, an education program like what you are describing for "boaters/personal water crafters" they have gotten tickets. I don't see any reason why they could not have one for "off roaders".

Back to the feds, there is no reason why South-Eastern California, Arizona, New Mexico, Southern Neveda & Southern Utah should be held to the same standards for particulates as Washington, Oregon, Florida, Louisiana. I know the feds are the "parents" in this relationship but, "parents" can be wrong. All it takes is a strong willed child to point out the flaws in their logic. I do support the "Minute Men" mind set.

03-30-2005, 07:24 AM
The problem with "free lunches" is that they can stop serving anytime.

I have posted Sandee's complete doc w/pics for download on my website, www.savagesun4x4.com .

03-30-2005, 10:39 AM
Would this 'have' saved the Whitetanks OHV area?


03-30-2005, 11:39 AM
Most likely not. The White Tanks are getting it from Development, the houses are being built right up to the edge of our OHV area. The new home owners and greenies that don't live there will complain of the dust and use the EPA stuff to get the area closed. On any given week day you won't get more than 10-15 vehicles out there, and on weekends you are lucky to see 50+ (unless we put together a Jeep run). Make no mistake the greenies will exagerate those numbers to fit their needs.

03-30-2005, 07:26 PM
Here is the most current map of ASL Dust Abatement ( http://www.land.state.az.us/maps/dust/dust.pdf) closures. If you look at it closely, all of it except for parcel 17 is inside Maricopa County's PM10 Non-Attainment Area. Parcel 17 is in Pinal County, but that area is quickly being surrounded by housing developments and it's just a matter of time when parts of it will be sold off, if that hasn't happened already.

The Maricopa County PM10 Non-Attainment Area is urban land and well within the boundaries of the Phoenix metro area. All the closed areas shown on the map are within city boundaries and are surrounded or are in the process of being surrounded by new development. According to the map, those closures account for 51,908 acres with the latest closure being May 19, 2004. The report Sandee posted states 51,392 acres, but that was a few years ago.

When trails or riding areas are no longer remote, but in someone's backyard, chances of those trails or riding areas of being closed are pretty darn good. I know we wish that wouldn't happen, but that's progress.

We live in one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the U.S. and I have no doubt that the estimate that 102,000 urban acres will be closed to motorized travel by 2010. There are reports of large scale developments being planned west of the White Tanks as well as in the Florence Junction area. I personally would love to keep more people from moving here, but people moving here is what keeps our economy alive.

One question: Who is the author of the report? It is not ASLD. A government report always has some sort of identification.