OAKLAND, CA (September 10, 2012)–The BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC), a national trail-based recreation group, is concerned about various public disclosure-related deficiencies in the East Bay Regional Park District’s (EBRPD) current planning process. BRC filed a comment letter on September 8, 2012 with EBRPD highlighting the agency’s overreaching with respect to its jurisdiction into the Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area’s plan to expand OHV recreation into the Tesla property near Tracy, California.
BRC also objected to behind-closed-door collaboration between anti-OHV groups such as Save Tesla Park and EBRPD directors and staff to craft a scheme to block legitimate OHV use of the Tesla property for its designated use.
EBRPD currently manages 65 regional parks, over 112,000 acres of open space, and 1,200 miles of trails in Contra Costa and Alameda Counties. Even though county residents own over 28,000 non-street legal OHVs, the agency does not provide a single acre of OHV recreational opportunity. The Tesla property purchased in the late 1990s using OHV Trust Fund monies was approved by the legislature for future OHV use.
Don Amador, Western Representative for the BlueRibbon Coalition, states, “There appears to be inappropriate contact and undue influence between a selected public and EBRPD during creation of the 2007 Master Plan Map and the current planning process. Information obtained from our public records act request shows a number of secret tours conducted in 2007 and 2012 by environmental groups and EBRPD staff to devise a plan to ban OHV recreation on the Tesla property.”
“The 2007 Survey on Public Opinions and Attitudes on Outdoor Recreation in California (SPOA) stated OHV recreation is a popular activity on park lands. SPOA found that 48.1% of respondents in the Central Valley participated in OHV recreation within the last year compared with 45.9% for beach activities, 39.3% for swimming in lakes and streams, and 12.5% for day hiking on trails,” Amador continues.
“As EBRPD launches its public meetings this week throughout the East Bay Area, they should be asked why they are working with a select stakeholder group behind-closed-doors to ban what studies have shown to be one of the most popular forms of recreation on public lands? They should also be asked why they have not provided a single acre for OHV recreation on their lands in the last 20-30 years?” Amador concludes.
View BRC’s September 8 Comment Letter HERE.