Warning for all: Rumor of New BLM Rules
Posted December 10, 2002 - 05:24 PM
Several friends were riding here in sunny SoCal desert last weekend and were harrassed BIG TIME in two locations by BLM Rangers.
First: at Cal City where a Ranger from the Ridgecrest office wrote citations even though they were riding on a legal, marked trail. The BLM Ranger's comment was that although he did not see them ride on illegal trails, the only way they could have gotten to that trail was via illegal closed ones. They protested that they had not been on ANY trails with red "closed" markers. He said there is a NEW RULE that designates ALL UNMARKED TRAILS AS ILLEGAL. THE ONLY ONES THAT ARE LEGAL ARE MARKED WITH BROWN BLM STAKES. In other words, all trails are now closed unless the BLM specifically designates them as open. If this is true it means they just closed roughly 90% of the EXISTING desert trails on BLM land WITHOUT PUBLIC COMMENT!
Second: at El Mirage Dry Lake where a club member of Desert Vipers was riding with his kids. He picked up the front wheel and rode a wheelie for some distance. A nearby BLM Ranger pulled him over and wrote him a FELONY RECKLESS DRIVING CITATION! This on a lakebed where land speed events are regularly run where some contestants legally top 300 MPH!
All of these riders will have to spend big bucks defending themselves in Federal Court. That is, if it's possible to do that. Especially the guy with the Felony charge.
I don't know about you, but in my opinion, this is the most egregious abuse of power I have heard of from the law enforcement folk of the BLM or any other agency in California. I can't imagine this standing up in court, but they will spend thousands to defend themselves and clear their records. This is nothing shy of outright citizen harassment by our public service agency.
Write your U.S. Representative and politely ask that they address this before it becomes the end of recreation in California.
Posted December 10, 2002 - 05:55 PM
I too have had issues, but I learned from others and I carry a map with me and if there is a question I pull it out. One problem here that I have seen is where enviromentists will even remove approved markers that the BLM has placed to just get an officer to write the citation or they will remove the stickers. Look at the posts next time you ride, if you see gaps between the stickers something has been removed. One trail that I enjoy to ride is the Great Western Trail and there are markers all along the trail. Funny thing is, at the beginning of the trail just about anyone can use it except for four wheel vehicles (trucks). Two mile into the trail only hikers, then only horses, then everybody.
A big problem is having an officer come in to help out from another area and has no clue of the area.
Just last year the BLM closed an approved road to everybody. We went to the BLM office and showed them where they were wrong and they had to reopen the road.
Folks...Know your area and know it well most importantly do your part!!!
The BLM could not tell us why they closed the road, it may be because someone removed the marker so the BLM assumed it should be closed. The bad part is that they did not look on the map.
I hope it works out for your friends and Thanks for bringing this up, something that I needed to be reminded of.
Posted December 10, 2002 - 07:17 PM
Posted December 11, 2002 - 03:28 AM
Posted December 11, 2002 - 06:06 AM
I don't know about Utah, but here in California there are two types of BLM Ranger. Those that do their jobs, and those that push the envelope on what they can legally do. We have some of each here. The Ridgecrest office, for example, has unilaterally redefined the "Limited" designation as "Closed" and the "Open" designation as "Limited". A ranger told our club in exactly those words. This comes down from the head person in that office.
Here in California they definitely check for spark arresters, and they are now checking for sound even though it is not law until Jan 1, 2003. Recently, they have also been walking around our club camp and checking for open sewer caps on RV's. If the cap is off, or if any fluid has leaked out, it's citation time. Doesn't matter if it's grey water or black water. Doesn't matter if ANY water has leaked out. If the cap's off, you get a ticket. Period.
There is a definite militant, take-no-prisoners attitude lately. At least in the Ridgecrest, Ca office of BLM.
Please write letters. Mine was to US Representative Dana Rohrabacher. Yours should be to your US Rep.
Posted December 11, 2002 - 08:37 AM
Man, we really need to stand up against crap like this.....
Posted December 11, 2002 - 08:47 AM
Well if your out at Five Mile watchout for nice new yellow Honda's. If your up at Strawberry by the Great Western Trail there are two groups to watch for BLM officers and the other, what we call Fish Cops (Fish & Game Officers).
Just a couple of months ago they ticketed my friends son out at Five Mile, I believe the cost was around $180.00 and they did give him a break, since he had not gone through the States OHV program, they warned him on that.
I have been checked this past year more times than all of the years prior combined. I never been check for a spark arrestor, but funny you mentioned it, I did get chased off of the military grounds by an Apache (not an Indian).
My biggest problem is up by Strawberry where you definately need a map with you at all times. Show them a map and they usually back off quickly, because they just realized that they are not in their element.
Posted December 11, 2002 - 09:19 AM
Dear (BLM OR/And Your US Representative) http://www.house.gov.../MemberWWW.html
I'm writing to request an explanation of the Bureau of Land Management policy concerning ATV use in the California desert. I am particularly interested in the changes that have been implemented in the Randsburg/California City area of the Mojave Desert.
I understand that some of the ATV trails have been deemed illegal and as such people who are riding on these trails are receiving tickets. I would also appreciate information about where I can acquire an updated and complete map of the legal trails in this area.
Without this map I'm concerned that the enforcement of these new rules and the trail closures, that they appear to dictate, would be inconsistent and arbitrary.
Posted December 11, 2002 - 10:08 AM
Funny that you mention the two guys in yellow out at five mile. I was riding there this past summer (with my drz ridin' brother) and were stopped by them in Manning canyon. They asked to see stickers and registrations and noticed that mine was registered for Idaho. They went straight for my bro (he had his sticker) and were very cool to us. We weren't doing anything wrong...they were just checking.
Posted December 11, 2002 - 10:30 AM
But it reminds me of another story with different officers. I was taking my boy out to ride to first see if he would enjoy it and second to look at this used bike for him. Well it was not registered of course and he did like the bike. We had it loaded in the back of the truck and were eatting lunch, when a rider came in and told us the horrible word, a biker had gone down. I was a medic for ten years and had my jump kit with me and went to help. When the BLM folks showed up they were getting the details for the report and off went the rider in the ambulance.(No helmet goof off ) I worked my way back to my vehicle and a blm officer followed me and saw this bike in the back with no registration.
Understanding that I knew it was not registered, I explained what we were doing and then he just rips in me for breaking the law and he treatened to impound the bike and ticket me, etc. etc.
I then removed my jump kit with my medical patches all over the pack and said, 'I just helped you and this is what you want to do right now?' He then got in his truck and drove off.
Posted December 11, 2002 - 01:01 PM
Thanks for the offer. I'll forward your message to them tonight.
Thanks to everyone who is writing, etc. If they know we are watching them, this kind of unilateral overzealous enforcement will likely subside.
We also have to get some things reversed as well. The lawsuits challenging the closing of these areas in the first place need support. If you haven't already, join BRC, ARRA, Corva, ORBA, etc. They are funding the lawsuit. We also need to get the Endangered Species Act modified. Right now, the enviros have all the chips. We can't win the way that thing is drafted right now. It gives them all the power to do what they want......and get paid to do it. Write your elected officials. The Federal ones especially.
Posted December 11, 2002 - 10:15 PM
We need a forum devoted to these issues. It needs to be kept current and provide addresses for officials (state and federal) AND concise statements and letters that TT members can "sign and send" quickly. I think we could get a lot more support if we (sadly) simply made it "easier".
This is how the enemy does it. Face it, the politicians and their aides care less about individual content than in the general gist and outright numbers of letters/emails received. The latter is what MIGHT get their attention. Sheer NUMBERS. It works for the wackos.
If there is no room on this site for such a forum, perhaps a dedicated website is in order. But it MUST be quick and easy with good organization. Keep 'em coming back! Right now, too many organizations are fighting local battles alone. The AMA has failed miserably at its "national leadership role". They actually haven't even tried. Lets replace them.
I know it would be a lot easier for me to call/email/contact my friends, family, and fellow riders and land-use advocates and convince them to help if all they had to do was point and click. Be far easier to convince them to visit such a site regularly. I am astounded that 90% of my fellow club members here have no idea what is going on nationally! Many believe it won't affect them. I get disbelieving looks when I get to sharing news I learned here. That is NOT what we need. We need "voting" numbers, if you will.
Telling them to go to this website, that forum, and look-up this thread, etc. tends to discourage many people. Sad but true.
We need to BOMBARD officials, both elected and appointed. RELENTLESSLY. Perhaps
these BLM Barney Fifes in this matter had their butts chewed for something else?
Keep after them!!! Hold their feet to the fire!!
Posted December 12, 2002 - 03:03 AM
This is a joke...you folks would need to see this old mining area to appreciate it. Last I here it was closed due to arsenci contamination.
Posted December 12, 2002 - 03:16 AM
I have always tried to avoid the "public " riding areas for this reason.
I know this is not a solution, but about 50 miles out of town there is a exit called "delle". I have never seen an offical anywhere near this place (other than the day I accidentally rode my GT 80, 1975, through a Ted Bundy Crime scene). I was only 10 years old.
This area is a great place to ride. It is close enough to the military area to be almost a no mans land. It is too distant to have a hourly guy patrol it.
Still, check with any boater. They can talk about being rousted by the feds...
Posted December 13, 2002 - 05:58 AM
I hope this gets to you. Please let me know when it does, since that is
the only way I will know that it did. I would be glad to discuss this
situation with you if you would call my office. My phone number is
760-252-6070. I am the officer who wrote the person the ticket on El
Mirage dry lake.
The situation as it was written in the D37 publication is a gross
misrepresentation of the truth, as you might expect, and as is so often the
situation when people accused of misconduct plead their case. We
frequently find out that people conveniently leave out facts about
situations where they might be perceived to be in the wrong. Their
motivation is to blame someone else for their inappropriate conduct, rather
than to accept the responsibility. Meanwhile, unknowing others form
opinions and biases and attitudes are affected.
The person was not charged with a felony at any time, but a misdemeanor.
He was issued a simple citation written for a moving violation of 43 CFR.
In court, the individual was provided with a public defender at taxpayer
expense. The individual plead guilty at his second appearance and paid a
$200 fine, much less than if he would have been given a state citation
instead of a federal citation. I witnessed the offense which took place in
the pit area of the Souther California Timing Association , which is marked
in numerous places as 5 MPH. The rider popped two or three wheel stands
and was well within the pit area as he hit third gear at a very high,
dangerous, and inappriate rate of speed.
The president of SCTA drove at his own expense to court the day the case
was to be heard to testify against the violator and to convince the judge
that this enforcement effort is insisted upon by the organizers and
participants of the SCTA events. The pit area is extremely congested with
expensive racing machines moving from tech inspection to the staging line.
There are teams working on their engines causing alot of noise. It also
typically has several people riding bicycles, walkiing, and has campers,
trailers, trucks and other high profile vehicles that limit visibility.
Safety and caution cannot be overemphasized, therefore SCTA has found a
need to post the area at 5 MPH.
It is very important to SCTA that they maintain the integrity of their race
course, includingt the pit area and keep it clear of interference, safe,
and free from accidents. SCTA pays for the privilege of running their
events and asks very little in return, except that people behave in a
reasonable and prudent manner. El Mirage is a lakebed with lots of room to
roam, but SCTA weekends are easily the most crowded, at least in and around
the race course and everyone's behavior should adjust accordingly so that
we can continue to have these events conducted safely. Anyone who is
responsible for conducting an OHV event would insist that they be given the
opportunity to do so safely and would appreciate people not performing
unsafe acts that would interfere with their ability to do so.
I do not make it a practice to try my cases in the press or over the
interent with uninterested parties, but it seems that this article has
gotten some peoples' hackles up. That is unfortunate, since by the tone of
your e-mail, some of us are the brunt of some very uncalled for disdain.
It may be appropriate for someone within the organization to contact those
responsible for this article and ask if they might want to print a
retraction. My statement can be easily substantiated.
Barstow Field Office
Unfortunately I too have been hastled by cops/rangers for unnecessary reasons, and can be quick to judge others actions, especially when it involves something I'm very passionate about. But can we please make sure we get all the facts before we go posting out here, the internet and it's users are no doubt a huge voice. But we must use it correctly or were just doing ourselves more harm
Posted December 13, 2002 - 12:35 PM
This is the only time, however, that I have personally been treated decent by the officials. How about anyone else?
Posted December 13, 2002 - 06:26 PM
Posted December 14, 2002 - 06:18 AM
I've never had a problem at Gorman, Glamis, or Pismo.
How about the fact that it's all getting closed down.
Thanksgiving at Cal City was embarrassing.. Helicopters and rangers everywhere, in the middle of nowhere just waiting to give you a fine for something. Our tax dollars hard at work. We pay for a green sticker so they can come get us.... simply embarrassing..
Posted December 14, 2002 - 06:54 AM