California OHV areas under eco-freak fire!
If you all think that this is only a California problem and does not affect me. You'd be way wrong. These are just opening shots in the eco-freak war to close OHV areas nation wide. Story below...
An Alameda County judge has ruled that a local park must close trails to off-roaders until it comes up with a plan to limit pollution that ends up in Corral Hollow Creek.
Two environmental groups have 150 days from the ruling Dec. 8 to turn the ruling over to state parks officials, who must then bar riders from using the Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area.
In September, the California Sportfishing Alliance and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility sued the state, saying Carnegie had no permit from a state water board to allow pollution to flow into the creek, which is completely dry during vast stretches of the year.
The judge’s ruling has baffled state parks officials, who will fight to overturn or postpone the ruling “in order to keep this park open,” said parks spokesman Roy Stearns.
State parks officials say they’ve done everything they can to limit sediment that pours into the creek while balancing park use at the same time.
But that’s not how the environmental groups see it.
They argue motorcyclists have carved a snaking web of trails into hillsides that, during rainstorms, turn into gushing rivulets of mud that cascade into the already-polluted creek.
“The department of recreation thinks they are above the law,” said Bill Jennings, head of the Sportfishing Alliance. “Nothing is being asked of them that isn’t asked of anyone else.”
The park was created in the 1970s and has become phenomenally popular with dirt bike riders seeking adventure. More than 140,000 riders used the park last year, said park Superintendent Joe Ramos.
Parks officials admit riders contribute to sediment in Corral Hollow Creek, and they restrict crossing the creek during storms to cut what flows downstream. Today, riders were seen riding through the muddy creek bottom, which was already drying out from the weekend’s storm.
Where the heavy metals come from is a bit of a mystery, though neighbors in the watershed who surround the park undoubtedly add to the creek’s pollution problems.
There are two nearby research laboratories that test outdoor explosives, and ranchers in the area have cattle. San Francisco water officials have bored tunnels into hillsides for the pipeline that delivers water from Hetch Hetchy reservoir. Tailings from abandoned mines have been identified. Runoff from a county road is believed to add to the creek’s woes as well. And a massive brick factory once sat in the middle of the creek bed where Carnegie now is.
“What it speaks to is how complicated this issue is, and this watershed is” said Daphne Green, a spokeswoman for the state parks off-highway division.
If the judge’s ruling sticks, the park will have to come up with a plan to further limit pollution and sediment and get a permit from the State Water Quality Control Board.
Those who use and work at the park have heard rumors of a possible off-road ban, and they hate to think they could be shut out, even temporarily.
“This is my home, and it’s frustrating,” said Kevin Porter, who been riding at Carnegie since the 1970s. “Now when I ride, it’s like my last day here.”
Tony Shipman owns Motor-Mart, a business inside the park’s gates. He and his employees would be devastated by a ban on riding.
“We rely on this business,” he said. “We’re really in the dark about what’s going on here, and we’re waiting to find out.”
A little background on this particular area... The state was able to buy the area because it was polluted from it's prior use and it would not be suitable for other uses. Don't get me wrong here, I'm all for the environment, but this isn't about the environment. It's about getting rid of off roaders and the environment is just the tool that they are using. Thing is that getting rid of the off roaders here won't make any difference. The creek will still get run off from the already polluted land... just that the off roaders will be gone, which is what they want.
OHV areas are just the start. These eco organizations also want to close off lakes and rivers to recreational boating because of pollution concerns. Example: Lake Berryessa and Tahoe. Is your favorite off road area next? Think that an area is OK because it's a private area not public land? Think again! Think desert areas are safe because there's no water pollution concerns because no water? Then they use another tool... endangered species act. Think I'm really out there and all of this is far fetched. Think again. They're already doing it and have been doing it for some time. But, don't believe me, check it out for yourself.
"You lock the door and throw away the key. There's someone in my head, but it's not me."
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Last edited by roadkill; 12-18-2009 at 12:23 PM.