POCATELLO, ID (August 13, 2012) — The BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC), a national OHV recreation advocacy group, announced its support for the Clear Creek National Recreation Area Act of 2012 (H.R. 6286) introduced by Congressman Sam Farr on August 3, 2012. BRC filed a support letter with Congressman Farr’s Office on August 10, 2012.
The legislation would give the popular Clear Creek OHV area the national recognition it deserves. The legislation would also bring long overdue management to the area, which has been mired in a bureaucratic morass by the Bureau of Land Management. This legislation will help resolve the ongoing conflict between access interests and the BLM regarding the future of motorized and human powered recreation at the BLM’s Clear Creek Management Area.
Years of controversy culminated in 2008, when BLM imposed a blanket closure of 70,000 acres to all users, even hikers, citing concerns about a public health risk due to naturally occurring asbestos. Although the BLM has been considering a highly restrictive management plan based on the alleged health concerns, the area remains in management limbo. California State Parks Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Commission, San Benito County, IERF scientists, OHV groups and at least one conservation group have questioned the science and BLM’s analysis. There has never been a documented case of injury despite decades of inhalation of the soils in question by humans in every conceivable activity.
Don Amador, Western Representative for the BRC, stated, “This is a timely and effective solution to public land access challenges that have plagued this unit for a number of years. This bill will protect the important destination and environmentally sound OHV riding opportunities at the area. In addition, there are also historic non-motorized and human powered recreational opportunities rightfully acknowledged and protected in the legislation.”
“This proposal sufficiently recognizes the diverse and historical motorized uses in the area so as to allow us to support the legislation in the historic OHV areas as outlined in the BLM’s 2005 Travel Management Plan. Congressman Farr should be commended for his efforts to reestablish motorized and non-motorized access at Clear Creek. BRC looks forward to working with his office this bill moves through the process,” Amador added.
|Link to Hollister Free Lane Article about H.R. 6286
http://www.sanbenitocountytoday.com/news/environment_science/legislation-opens-door-for-motorized-use-at-clear-creek/article_b9cab1ba-e0af-11e1-8683-001a4bcf6878.html“Congressman Farr should be commended for this proactive legislation that emphasizes education and informed choice over heavy-handed closure regarding the purely theoretical public health risk that might occur through excessive use of the area.
The bill would allow recreational access to resume under the 2005 travel plan generated through formal agency study and public input. The bill would also designate an adjacent portion of qualifying land with full protection as Wilderness.
“This legislation could go a long way in helping restore good relations between the BLM, the County and recreationists. This is a carefully crafted win-win and we hope it gains the support of affected interests and politicians on all sides of the aisle,” Amador concluded.
Support Letter From BRC, August 10, 2012