California - Riverside and San Bernardino OHV Area Closures

The Lyin King

Public Lands Advocate
I contacted a BlueRibbon Ambassador I know regarding the Riverside and San Bernardino area closures going into effect.

Here is the response I received; I hope this help to clarify what's going on in the area.

"Hi Bob,

I did some research with my contact in southern CA for CA4WDC, John Stewart. It's unfortunate, but neither CA4WDC nor BlueRibbon have any organized clubs/groups in this area (to keep an eye on things for us and to help orchestrate attack plans locally). John gave me a lot of background here that you can share with your contacts.

I also cc'd this to John, and my BlueRibbon partner Don Amador so we're all on the same page.

BLM is starting to implement old decisions on routes from as far back as 2002. Of course with this change in Administration, these kinds of things are cropping up more often, every day.

As John Stewart mentioned to me, there are some terminology issues to work through as well. John Kalish is correct in that there are no designated "OPEN" areas within the Palm Springs FO area. There is a Riverside County OHV Task Force looking at identifying places suitable for "open" areas.

The "Bono" fill is out there and about to be finalized. One good area is expected to be lost to wilderness when this happens. And, as John also points out, another area nearby is at risk due to proximity to wilderness - critical habitat (tortoise and big horn sheep), and housing. Both of those areas are in the Bradshaw Trail/Red Cloud Canyon/Amy's Wash area.

Another area around Blythe is contentious as it borders "intaglios" (sp?).
They are Native American "rock art" formations laid out on the desert floor for ceremony purposes. Most are not visible except from the air or a high vantage point.

There are a lot of existing routes that are open to street-legal vehicles.
There are few signed routes in the region. BLM did receive a grant for signing work that has yet to be moved forward as the gal pushing it moved to Needles FO.

Riverside County is under the political influence of rather liberal (Anti-ORV) groups (Palm Springs/Yucca Valley). Interested folks should do a Google search for COW - Community ORV Watch. Its main focus is San Bernardino County; however, it is based out of Yucca Valley/Joshua Tree area just north of Palm Springs. The Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan for the Cochlea Valley have shut down all OHV activity from Desert Center west (through Palm Springs into the Riverside/San Bernardino area).

Bob, this is not an easy answer situation. The answer still lies partially in folks getting involved with and joining state, regional and national groups (so we can all track these kinds of things and help orchestrate local involvement).

Here's the Latest Info from Don Amador on the Issue

"Hey guys,

I talked with Stewart as well. Again, it seems that the BLM's new signing program stems from a 2002/2003 planning process that designated a lot of those routes for street legal OHVs.

If there is an interest by folks in that area... they should consider forming a local club and get ready to get involved in future BLM planning projects. Since side by sides were not very popular in 2002/2003 the BLM may have overlooked them in an effort to cut down on cross country travel by dirt-bikes, and ATVs.

It seems that folks could petition the BLM to review certain routes for designation for non-street legal vehicles now that the agency has money for signing, etc.

I could be a long process over the next 10-20 years to do that.. but there are no short-cuts that I am aware of in land use advocacy.

A strong and active local club that is willing to make the time commitment to get routes designated, the strongest ammo.

Will be glad to help with ideas and so will John Stewart/Cal 4.

Don Amador, BRC"

When you have all the biggest hitters in Access Advocacy on the West Coast with their decades of collective expertise in this arena weighing in on an issue, it’s something that should get your attention!

Anyone who may previously have doubted the intentions and credibility of the BlueRibbon Coalition or CA4WDC should take pause and consider the fact that these organizations are real, their people really believe in what it is that they do and they ARE working to help us succeed!

The folks from both organizations who took the time to dissect this issue for us have so much on their plates nationally that I can’t even believe they would take the time to rally around this!

Thank you Del, Don and John!!!
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