Help Arizona Racers keep the Vulture Mine race!

Oldtime_racer

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A little History-
It took years of working with the BLM to get the Travel Management Plan to include racing in the vulture mine area. I'm sure many of you have raced it. It's the best desert race in Az.
AZOP stepped up and got a permit and has put on one race per year the last three years. It's a success story, or so we thought.
The BLM charges a lot for cost recovery, maybe as a deterrent, but AZOP and the Arizona racers have pushed through that.
We have a new adversary and this will be a tough fight.

In a nut shell- The BLM is planning to lease some land to Maricopa County in the vulture area. These lands include the staging area (the old airstrip). The county plans to build a campground with a host and facilities. It is said that they plan to charge more for camping during race weekend. The county's policy on motorized recreation is "not allowed", so we really need to stop this lease. We need you to take a few minutes to send a comment to help stop this lease from interfering with the race. We played by their rules, did everything they said, and now they are changing it up on us.

Some info for your comments :
The northern area that is planned for development would not interfere with the racing. That area is used by campers all the time, where the area we use for the racing is only used during race weekend. The access is blocked by private property and the owner allows access for the race each year, then it's locked again.

This is an example of Maricopa County finding a spot in the desert that people like to primitive camp and develop it. This will push the people who want to camp primitively further out.
I'm also going to write to the Secretary of the Interior and the White House, though I'm not sure it will help.

What would help a lot is all of you taking a few minutes to send in a comment. You can use anything I mentioned above, but mostly that we (OHV and Racers) played by their rules and did our due diligence and we want the race to continue.

Below is what I received from the BLM. If you follow the link you can see the maps.


BLM seeks public comment on Vulture Mountains proposed land lease in Maricopa County



PHOENIX – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Hassayampa Field Office invites the public’s comments on a proposed Recreation & Public Purposes Act (R&PP) lease of a 1,046-acre parcel in the Vulture Mountains area to the Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department (MCPRD), for potential recreation development.


“The BLM manages public lands for the benefit of current and future generations as we pursue our multiple-use mission. This potential R&PP lease is an example of how partners can come together along with the community to formulate ideas that may potentially enhance the landscape,” said BLM Phoenix District Manager Leon Thomas.


A public open house-style meeting will be held July 13, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Wickenburg Community Center located at 160 N. Valentine St., in Wickenburg.


During this open house-style meeting, staff from the BLM, MCPRD, and MCDOT will be available, along with maps of the proposed facilities for review. The BLM will “kick-off” the open house with a presentation at 6:15 p.m.


The 30-day public scoping period is from June 30 until July 29, 2017.


Stakeholders are encouraged to submit their comments for the record through the BLM online land use planning tool, ePlanning, at the following Internet address: Arizona - Hassayampa FO - DOI-BLM-AZ-P010-2017-0016-EA. Written comments may be mailed to Realty Specialist Tyler Lindsey at the Hassayampa Field Office, 21605 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix, Arizona 85027, faxed to (623) 580-5580, or emailed to vulturemtns@blm.gov.


In order for the BLM to process the lease request, the BLM will need to complete an environmental assessment (EA). The upcoming EA will consider public comments received during this scoping period in the analysis of the direct, indirect and cumulative effects from the lease of approximately 1,046 acres of public lands to MCPRD.


Under the proposal, MCPRD would develop a variety of recreational facilities at the site, including a visitor’s center, picnic tables and shelters, archery range, equestrian facilities, nature playground, restrooms with showers, camp grounds and interpretive kiosks. The R&PP Act allows for State, local governments and nonprofit organizations to apply for the leasing of public lands for the construction and maintenance of facilities such as schools, fire stations, and for parks.


The BLM will analyze this plan and its considerations in accordance with the agency’s approved land use plan, Wickenburg Travel Management Plan, and BLM’s multiple-use mission which supports conservation while managing working landscapes and connects the American people to their natural and cultural heritage through experiences on their public lands.


If you have questions, please contact Tyler Lindsey at (623) 580-5500 or vulturemtns@blm.gov.


End Paste-

We really need a lot of people commenting on this one. We need to send the message that the county should not allowed to control what has been approved on federal lands. I raced this race in the 70's and would really like help keeping it going!

Thanks
Doug Martin

P.S. Please copy and Paste this to any other websites you belong to. They are having one open house meeting in the area. It's impossible to get a lot of people to show up to the meeting. It's in Wickenburg and it's during the week. But since you are racers, you are all considered Stakeholders in this. Please take the time to send in a comment. Only those that comment now will be allowed to comment/protest on the final.

I'll post more on this as I get it.
 

jowoog

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great place , hate to lose it .
 

Oldtime_racer

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I'm attending a meeting tonight and Wickenburg. I strongly believe there's going to be another meeting added on somewhere in the west Phoenix area. It's just not right them having a meeting in Yavapai County concerning Maricopa County Parks and Recreation. I will post on this thread what I learned tonight and hopefully people can take from that and send in comments.

Doug Martin
 

Oldtime_racer

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WoW! It's not just the race. They are going to charge fees up the ass for everything. 12.00 per night for primitive camping. Goes up from there.
 
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When is this expected to be implemented? Thanks.
 

Oldtime_racer

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It'll be a few years, if it happens at all. The lease is scheduled to be signed in approximately 7 months.
I'm planning to form a coalition to help stop this lease all together. I've already contacted one of our congressmen. I intend to contact them all.

But, I'm also going to commenting on it as if it's going to happen because they need help in order to do this right. The County has ZERO experience managing OHV .
 

Oldtime_racer

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Okay racers- What follows is my comments on the Vulture Mountain Regional Park Proposal. I know it's a long read, but it's important.

Send your Comments to vulturemtns@blm.gov But, do not simply cut and paste mine to use as yours. They consider that a form letter and it doesn't do much. I suggest you read each comment of mine, if my comments help you express your thoughts, then type it in your own words and send it in. You can send them individually or all at once. This is huge. The Fees could possibly bring about the end of racing and possibly all OHV in the area of the Vulture Mine. PLEASE do this. We need numbers.

TMP= Travel Management Plan
RMP= Resource Management Plan
R&PP= Recreation and Public Purpose Act

My Comments on the proposed lease of land near the vulture mine to Maricopa County to be used as the Vulture Mountains Regional Park. Apologies if the format is incorrect. Please contact me with any questions pertaining to my comments.

At first glance, I’m against this lease. I think the BLM should take a hard look at past park projects the county has been involved with. Some of my concerns are:

1. Finishing projects in a timely manner. The White Tanks regional park entered their park system in 1961, and just recently had the electricity supplied to the camp sites. If this park is not going to be completed before opening to the public, then a time line should be created and should have been presented at the public scoping meeting. There are facilities and projects at other parks that seem to be unfinished as well. In some areas, studies were supposed to be done, and were not. If I’m correct, the San Tan regional park was established in 1988. Has the County met their expectations on that agreement? If not, why should we believe they will on this one? The BCC Trailhead area was supposed to be maintained by the county. The area was vandalized and not taken care of. The emphasis, it seems, was placed on double permits for events and trying to help manage the trail system. Double permitting should not be required or allowed. Its borderline illegal, in my opinion, since the county would be charging people to use the public lands. Double Permitting has caused a lot of organizations that used to hold events in those areas to move elsewhere. Also, “not for profit” fundraising events are now subject to fees and permits causing them to move. Schools are charged fees for the buses, etc. All of this leads to lack of participation.

2. The Public scoping meeting on July 13th in Wickenburg left a lot to be desired. There was insufficient notification to the public stakeholders. Stakeholders include all people that use the lands. In order to get “Good Out” you need to put “Good In”. Step one of having Good In is having all the right people in the seats. The AZOHVC, and numerous other groups that should be considered Stakeholders were not notified and/or not present. Other things missing from the public scoping meeting include the county’s fee schedule and their written policy for OHV. As well as a time line for the construction of the facilities. I strongly suggest having another meeting, this time keeping in mind that there are a lot of stakeholders in the Phoenix area, and most are employed and have trouble getting to Wickenburg on a Wednesday evening.

3. Maricopa County Parks and Recreation has no experience managing OHV. In the other parks they have leased, they have not adhered to the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA). The affected area for this project contains trails designated for OHV and Competitive OHV events. In the past, the County changes the rules to match their existing rules. I believe it was in 2009 I commented that the County needed to change their policy on Motorized Recreation if they were going to create this park. It has not happened yet.

4. The contribution of MCDOT to the project raises some concerns as well. They plan to straighten the road near the North Area, which will increase speeds of vehicles, then create turning lanes. I think the turning lanes are very necessary, but I question removing the curve. The safety aspect, or lack thereof, of increasing speeds before the turn concerns me. I realize it’s out of scope for this project, but I’d really like to see the MCDOT maintain that road so the cattle guards do not injure backs and damage suspensions to vehicles and motorcycles.

5. Target shooting? In regional parks it is not allowed. The County hopes to manage, or “help manage”, as it was said at the meeting, nearly 70,000 acres in this proposal. Since they have shown they do not adhere to the FLPMA of 1976, what happens to target shooting and hunting? The Policies of the County and those of Federal lands (Public lands) do not match.

6. This R&PP should not try to preclude the BLM from creating other areas that can accommodate club use, such as defined in the Wickenburg TMP. One area that is identified as such an area is on Buckshot mine road. The BLM should be able to build new areas on BLM managed (Public) lands in this area. The Cooperative Management Agreement for this project should allow for the building of new areas.

7. Because of the County’s limited experience in managing OHV’s and OHV activities, It should be left to the BLM and not R&PP at all.


It’s for all these reasons that I strongly oppose this lease. The reasons listed above are substantial and should not be taken lightly. I and many others feel the County simply cannot be trusted with maintaining and building the area for OHV use.

In addition to the above concerns, here are my additional concerns for the “Areas”:

North Area:
1. The “Day Use” area east of Vulture Mine Road needs to have adequate parking with access to the trails. This “Day Use” area could/should be used as dispersed camping, since the trail heads are on that side of the road. If campers are required to camp on the west side of the road, they need to have unpaved roads/trails used to access the trailheads on the east side. Motorized and non-motorized users should not be funneled onto the same trails. This will cause issues with Equestrian and Motorized users. The BLM has made some great strides in keeping the peace between those two groups, and so have the groups themselves.

2. There are some trails going to the west of the North Area. Because the RMP and TMP allow for competitive events on the west side of Vulture Mine Road, these access points should allow for signage and/or closure to minimize/prevent interaction between the racers and the public.

3. I’ll mention again that straightening the road will increase speeds of vehicles pulling trailers. If there is a turning lane installed, it should be long enough to accommodate several “rigs”.

South Area:
1. This area is bordered by private land to the west. I suggest pipe fencing like used at other OHV areas to prevent the area from encroaching on the undisturbed areas and the private lands. Not much else is needed, in my opinion, other than access. It should be an alternative to omit this area from the plan altogether. The Vulture Mountains are on the east side of the road. The park doesn’t need to stretch to the west side of the road in any location.

2. Competitive events are held in this area. These events have taken place since the 70’s. I raced this course myself back then. These events are permit required events and we should not have to obtain a permit from both BLM and the County. Also, if the County builds facilities (restrooms), then that should no longer be a requirement for the permit. I recommend no facilities at the South area. Dispersed camping only. It’s important to understand the amount of people and vehicles that attend these events. It can easily be in excess of 500 vehicles. There will undoubtedly be fees for these vehicles under the County’s management, so these fees need to be disclosed prior to the lease being issued. We cannot accept “we haven’t gotten that far” as an answer. As it stands now, and under the FLPMA, the BLM charges fees for policing the staging area. It needs to be disclosed if the BLM will continue this activity or if the county will assume it. A lot of time and money went into the EIS, RMP and TMP to ensure the continuation of this competitive event. The County should not be allowed to interfere with it. They should try to enhance it.

3. There has been talk for many years about overflow parking areas across the Vulture Mine road. These overflow parking areas can also be used to access trails on that side of the road.

4. This area also needs turning lanes and ingress lanes that are long enough to allow multiple vehicles to use the when turning left, and to allow vehicles pulling trailers room to get up to speed when leaving the area.

5. This South area is currently used as dispersed camping. It is not widely used throughout the year, but is heavily used during the events. One of the reasons I suggest little, or no, improvements to this area is the lack of fees collected in an area that is not used often. It’s important to note that once fees are being charged, many people that use these areas will move to other places.

Thank you for taking the time to read my comments. The biggest concern is the FLPMA not being adhered to. Lands leased from the BLM are supposed to be managed under those guidelines.
Thank You,
Doug Martin
 
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