BLM Meeting tongiht in Long Beach

Paige

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I crossed posted with the Save the Desert Section on this one -

There is a BLM meeting in Long Beach from 7-10pm regarding the RAMP for the Imperial Sand Dunes.

Thursday, April 11
The Grand
4101 East Willow Street
Long Beach, California

<font color=yellow>Paige<font color=yellow>
 

klaus

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What happend at the meeting ?
 

Paige

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Well Klaus - you asked for it - I just went over my notes from the meeting and it is quite long - but none-the-less here is my recap from the BLM meeting:


The BLM meeting for the Sand Dunes was attended by over 500 people, most were off-roaders. Of the 30 or so people that spoke during the public comment phase 2 were environmentalists. The meeting was long – started at 7 and they wouldn’t give us a break to stand. The room was packed with people standing in the back. The show of force from police was interesting, apparently there was a bomb threat called into the EL Centro meeting, so all bags were searched going in and police were on hand the entire time.

The crowd was well behaved and listened to what the BLM had to say, pretty much stuck to the rules of speaking and said their piece. Verbal comments at the meeting were part of the public record as they had a court reporter on hand. All other comments submitted in writing will be a part of the public record for the final version of this plan.

I took copious notes during the meeting – though, somewhat jumbled this is what I got.

The BLM went over their proposed plan; here are some of the items they covered.

Goals for the RAMP (Recreation Area Management Plan)
1. Provide sustainable OHV activities
2. Provided sustainable species protection for all listed, threatened and native species
3. Provide law enforcement and safety to all visitors

All comments are due on June 28, 2002 – They gave some guidelines for providing comments – comments are accepted via e-mail or snail mail only. Comments on the Environmental Impact Statement will become official comments and entered into the public record – they said

• Comment on the alternative you prefer ( there are 4 alternatives they provide)
• Rather than stating what you don’t like, offer suggestion
• Identify errors and omissions
• Provide data and information to support your views (otherwise it is harder for the BLM to truly use them as a basis for a decision - they say)
• Consider all of the alternatives in your comments rather than just the preferred one, this allows to you comment on everything and then your views will be taken into consideration on the alternative that is adopted, which may not be the one you prefer

The Alternatives:
1 – No-Action (pre-Closure 1987 RAMP)
2 – Recreation and Resource Protection (BLM preferred Alternative)
3 – Resource Protection
4 – Motorized Recreation Opportunities

There are 4 classes of areas
Rural – which is campgrounds, and whatnot like Buttercup
Natural Roaded – Like Glamis, Washes and flats, disturbed camping takes up approx 64,000 acres
Semi-Primitive Motorized – OHV use allowed, way out in the dunes – like Mammoth Wash area – there are buffer zones for OHV use in these areas, these are the Deep dunes – they will provide DAY USE PERMITS ONLY in these areas
Semi-Primitive non-motorized – encompasses 28,000 acres – no OHV, camping is permitted.

Here are the break downs I could catch – they were going through this lightening fast

Rural – Gecko
Buttercup – Rural
Mammoth – Semi-Primitive Motorized
Glamis Roaded Natural
Ogliby – roaded Natural
Dunebuggy – Roaded Natural
Mammoth Wash – Semi-Primitive Motorized
- The semi-primitive non –motorized I couldn’t catch at all.

OKAY a big bone of contention last night was the Buffer Zones or Adaptive Management Areas – this encompasses 34,000 acres and only allows 525 vehicles at a time. They will issue 75, 7 day permits each permit allows 7 people to get in. In order to get the permit you must go though an enviro education course and pass a test of some sort.

In the Adaptive Management Areas you are only allowed in sunrise – sunset. The number, once set is subject to change based on monitoring of the north and south dunes.

There will be a sundown to sunup closure of Comp Hill north and south, Olds, Test hill and Patton Valley.

Then it was time for public comment – here are some points that people brought to light in their official public comments – though some were considered more emotional pleas – some of the comments do provide some insight to the plan.

- Chapter 1 states that OHV users have gone into wilderness with illegal intrusions, yet in the law enforcement section this in not stated at all.

- There is no money allocated to fix the North Anologes Dunes area.

- Thank you for excluding temporary closures in the baseline.

- The number of visitors needs to be calculated better, this method you are using is not accurate. A casual visitor that stops by is not the same as someone camping.

- You need to look at OHV industry impacts

- The establishment of the sundown – sunup closures in 5 major points is a draconian form of management.

- The BLM failed at Thanksgiving with ineffective level of management to allow for levels of concern. They allowed the rowdy element to take over and disturb the families that were camping there.

- The Adaptive Management Area – in order to obtain a permit, the driver must pass a resource area exam, this testing procedure is designed to fail

- Why come up with a closure plan of an area with out a study plan first? Why not only close areas at night during heavy use weekends?

- Why not support the primary users of the Dunes- OHVers?

- The California Native Plant Society (who also supplied comments) is only an advisory group and their plant lists should not be used in this RAMP as they currently are.

- You should reuse the newest study of the area over older studies on the PMV.

- Vendors in Glamis (They have a provision in the plan limiting the number of vendors and the days they can be there) Vendors other than the Glamis store should be allowed and are necessary and must be allowed in there 7 days a week.

- Thank you for not considering the interim closures in the plan (which the enviros scorned them for taking out the interim closures in the plan) 90% of the visitors to Glamis are OHVs and 10% are hikers and non-motorized visitors. Why not have the non-motorized visitors go the north dunes?

- Closing Osborne Overlook to spend $3 million on a ranger station in not necessary.

- Alternative 4 is preferred Alternative.

- Does not support limit of vendors and having them only on weekends

- Does not support limiting the number of visitors allowed to camp ( they have new
stipulations of the size of the camp site and the number of people allowed to camp)

- There should be no restriction on the Adaptive areas, opposition to sundown-sunup closures and training classes

- Wind moves sand 50 feet or more a year – the plants and animals in this area that this plan is attempting to protect have successfully adapted themselves to this type of lifestyle, they have adapted to being buried under 30 feet of sand and as the sand moves they still survive.

- Do not crowd people into smaller areas

- The 525 # was not based on any specific studies

- ROS designations that work for the Forest Service do not work or seem appropriate for the Sand Dunes

- Make sure that the permits are actually being used and not being monopolized by certain groups

- The Science needs to be based on years of studies and not short term studies ( this from a man who has been going to Glamis for over 35 years – he mentioned that he has seen a proliferation of plants and animals in wet years and scarce plants and animals in dry years, but always it works in a cycle and after the dry years the plants and animals are always back)

- Expand Gecko Road

- Trash clean up – how about the BLM pick up trash or hire people to grade the sand and keep it clean?

- Address the law breakers

- Never seen anyone enjoying the dunes by walking through them – use of the dunes is primarily OHV at 90%

- How are you going to count the vehicles?

- How are you going to handle the Rave type parties?

- If you close Comp Hill then where are all the rowdies going to go? They will go farther into the area where law enforcement can’t catch them, and harass other people camping.

- The Dunes were called by one BLM official – A world class dunes resort area – would they close aspen?

- Alan Cranston start all this with his desert closure bill

- Ilene Anderson from the California Native Plant Society – she wants the temporary closures to stay in place and also add additional plants not currently listed in the EIS.

- The limits ( they have these limits of just over 54,000 people that they are not to exceed by like more than 15 or 22 days a year) if the crowd ever hits the trigger set by the BLM, the limit of 54K people will then be in place on regular and holiday weekends.

- The RAMP does not address business owners outside of the El Centro Area and the economic impact on them

- We have lost over ½ of our open area since 1980.

- BLM has spent 75% of their allocated green sticker funds on fighting these lawsuits – this could be from the way they manage the land. Our green sticker money should not be used for handling law enforcement or raves – OHVs are not causing this problem and the green sticker funds should be used for OHV use and not these law enforcement issues or funding lawsuits.

- There is a lack of consideration for trash and litter in the EIS

- Permitting a OHVs for access to certain areas is a violation of our constitutional rights – we are then being targeted as an OHVer – if you are going to permit us – then you have to permit each and every person.

- One person read a quote from congressman Pombo – I got it faxed to me this morning – ‘As Americans, we should have been astounded by the recent findings that federal officials intentionally planted hair from the threatened Canadian Lynx in our national forests in order to impose sweeping land management regulations. We should have been shocked at the audacity of government employees to falsify evidence in order to advance their environmental agenda, and even more perplexed at the lackluster response from their respective agencies when the transgressions were brought to light.’

That was it for the public comments – they were finished about 9:15pm…they would not allow anyone to make additional comments – you got 2 minutes, you couldn’t give your minutes to anyone else and you couldn’t speak twice. Had I know – I would have taken the rest of someone’s remarks and spoken for them – this is something to keep in mind if you go to the meetings – some people have 5 minutes worth of stuff – offer to go up and speak for them if they need extra time.

Good luck to Tony and Tim and all others who will be attending subsequent meetings.



<font color=yellow>Paige<font color=yellow>
 

Vtr_Racing

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Paige, thanks for posting these comments for those of us who were unable to attend

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