Off-road groups praise move
Last week House of Representatives Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Congressman Paul Cook, and House Natural Resources Committee Federal Lands Subcommittee Chairman Tom McClintock authored and signed onto a letter to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (Acting Director Brian Steed requesting new policy and guidelines for BLM state and field offices to implement Independent Monitoring Programs at competitive off-highway vehicle events on Federal land to avoid triggering Cost Recovery).
McCarthy released the following statement:
“In California, we are blessed to have access to some of the most awe-inspiring public lands on the planet and many communities, such as those in eastern Kern County, rely on access to public lands for OHV tourism and recreation.
“Americans should be free to utilize our public lands freely and fairly, while abiding with all regulations. Unfortunately, BLM’s current Cost Recovery policy denies many small and medium-sized OHV groups from being able to fully enjoy or to hold competitive events on BLM land because of exorbitant fees.
An IMP would allow outside groups to partner with state and local BLM offices to provide trained volunteers who would be responsible for certain BLM staff monitoring activities at OHV events, all with the goal of preventing Cost Recovery from triggering. Such a change would be a win-win for our community – it would expand access for OHV users while bringing more tourists to stimulate our local economy. It would also ensure that BLM regulations are met, all without increasing costs for OHV event sponsors or the BLM. I remain committed to ensuring access to our public lands, and it is my every hope that the Trump Administration and Acting Director Steed will heed the call to promote OHV recreation through innovative public-private partnerships by developing an IMP.”
Leaders of OHV groups supported the action.
“I am grateful to see Congress address the need for an Independent Monitoring Program," Fred Wiley, President/CEO of the Off Road Business Association said. "Such policy would work to ensure that small, non-profit clubs such as the Off Road Business Association can continue to recreate on our public lands without being hindered by burdensome permitting costs. I am hopeful that the BLM will understand the importance of making this necessary change.”
Jerry Grabow, American Motorcycle Association District 37 legislation officer agreed
“For groups like the American Motorcycle Association to continue to thrive, it is absolutely critical that the BLM reduce the cost burden on non-profit clubs to host events on public lands," he said. "I am heartened to Congress take action on an issue that impacts so many of us in the OHV community, and will be looking forward to hearing the BLM’s response.”