Bakersfield OHV area in works

Jun 6, 2003
Cuyamaca, CA and Las Vegas, NV
Default CA - Bakersfield OHV Park
CA: Home for off-roaders in works-Bakersfield

Home for off-roaders in works
City, state make deal to buy 11,000 acres northeast of town
By JAMES BURGER, Californian staff writer

Wednesday May 25th, 2005, 11:33 PM

Bakersfield and the state of California have inked a deal to buy 11,000
acres of cattle pasture northeast of the city and turn it into an off-road
It's a long-held dream of off-road riders who are watching Bakersfield's
booming growth eat away their recreation areas.

The California State Parks department announced Wednesday it had teamed up
with the city to buy land 30 minutes north of downtown Bakersfield.

City maps show the property sits just north of Round Mountain Road to the
east of Granite Road near Poso Creek.

City officials signed a deal, earlier this month, to "option" the land from
Eugene and Marian Gabrych for between $8.8 million and $11 million.

The money would come from state Off-Highway Vehicle Trust funds -- money
raised from taxes and fees on motorcycles and quad-runners.

There are still some issues to iron out before the land is officially

The biggest is the need to secure ground for a road connecting the property
to Round Mountain Road within the next year. The city has a year to get the
access or the deal will fall through.

Still, local leaders are excited about the new development.

"It's a giant step forward," said Vice Mayor Mike Maggard. "I think the site
could be beyond our wildest dreams. We've looked at a number of sites. This
clearly was the best of them. This is the dream spot. If we make this work
it will make the most people happy."

Local off-road leader Dick Taylor -- who championed the deal -- has been
hoping for a permanent home for motorbikers and quad-riders since 2001.

Over the past few years, riding land in northeast Bakersfield has been
gobbled up by homes. Motorcyclists have seen their habitat shrink steadily.

They were shoved off the Kern River bluffs south of Hart Park. And that
started them thinking about finding their own land.

"We came away with a quest for a replacement riding area for the (bluffs)
area we've ridden in since the 1920s," Taylor said.

Now that quest is a big step closer to being achieved.

"This new (State Vehicular Recreation Area) will provide OHV enthusiasts a
place to enjoy their sport in a well-managed, family-friendly atmosphere
with a variety of amenities," said Daphne Greene, deputy director of the
state's off-highway recreation division.

Many attribute the success of the effort to Taylor's ability to draw support
from groups that traditionally fight tooth-and-nail to stop off-roading.

Harry Love, of the local chapter of Sierra Club, worked on the committee
Taylor pulled together.

"Dick Taylor has done a great job of getting a variety of people involved,"
he said.

Love said a comprehensive environmental report will ensure that the project
doesn't harm the environment.

And he cheered the part of the plan that will reserve much of the 11,000
acres for buffer property -- property that would be open to public use.

"There's so many off-road people in Bakersfield and I'm sure they will be
happy to have a place to go," said trails advocate Michelle Beck.

Maggard said the site will be great for off-roaders -- close to town, but
not too close to anger homeowners -- and with a wide variety of terrain from
flat areas for training children to steep climbs for the experts.


Nov 16, 2004
Queensland and California
Thanks for posting this. Good for them. My mom is from Taft, and I consider the Taft/Bakersfield area an almost hometown. Always liked driving the old oil roads, looking for snakes and lizards. I'll try to get out east next time I'm in California.
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