Colorado OHV Grant Fund Update

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May 8, 2008
Date: 05/07/2010


Dear BRC Members and Supporters in Colorado,

We wanted to blast an update on the attack on the Colorado OHV Grant Program. But first, if you haven't already, you need to send an email to the Parks Board TODAY. Instructions are below. Look for “WHAT YOU NEED TO DO”. We've tried to make it as easy as possible. I promise it won't take you more than a couple of minutes.

Corey Corbett, COHVCO Manager of Operations and OHV Workshop Coordinator, sent us word that extra law enforcement has been scheduled for the Parks Board Woodland Park meeting. Its likely that the anti-OHV forces had requested such as a PR move. You know the script, we OHV riders are renegade riders with no respect for the law. Corey knows that OHV users will be polite and present a professional and well reasoned case against re-writing the OHV Grant Program.

That's not the case for the anti-OHV forces, however, as they have ginned up their membership with misinformation.
See: Action Needed for Responsible OHV Management in Colorado

Again, if you have not already done so, please send your email NOW!

We'll keep you updated on the results of today's meeting.

Thanks again for taking action,
Brian Hawthorne
Public Lands Policy Director
BlueRibbon Coalition
208-237-1008 ext 102

The Colorado OHV Grant Program Has Been Ambushed!!

Outdoing Department of Natural Resources (DNR) director Jim Martin has directed staff to ignore moderate changes supported by OHV users, department staff and most other key stakeholders that were presented at the March 2010 Parks Board meeting and instead is attempting to force through changes designed to wrest control of the program from the OHV subcommittee.

The changes the outgoing Director is proposing mirrors those being pushed by extreme anti-OHV and snowmobile groups. Their plan is to change the make up of the OHV subcommittee to make OHV users a permanent minority. Changes include adding 3 non-motorized members to the 9 member committee and changing the rules so that any project can be stopped by a minority 3 votes. Changes would also drastically reduce the ability for the Program Manager (in this case Tom Metsa) and the Trail Coordinators to influence projects funded by the OHV program. Changes also would mandate certain percentages of grants to go to enforcement, education and restoration.

There are two options for Colorado's OHV community. The State Parks Board will be reviewing the new proposal at their upcoming Board Meeting on May 7 at 8:50am in Woodland Park. One option is to attend the meeting and make your views known directly at that meeting. The meeting is at the City Council Chambers, 220 W. South Ave. in Woodland Park, CO. The OHV issue will be addressed at 8:50 am. (Please arrive by 8:30am.)

The other option is to send your comments to the Parks Board via email. Members of the Parks Board are receiving comments on the proposal via email sent to the office of the Executive Director. The email address is

Send your comments to:
Dean Winstanley, Colorado State Parks Executive Director
Colorado State Parks Board

Dear Mr. Winstanley and Members of the Colorado Parks Board

As an off highway vehicle (OHV) and snowmobile enthusiast, I am directly affected by any changes to the Colorado State Parks' Off-Highway Vehicle Program.

I urge you not to support changes to the OHV program being proposed by the outgoing DNR Director and others. I support the moderate changes proposed to the Parks Board that were presented at the March 2010 Parks Board meeting. Those changes are supported by the Federal Agencies, members of the General Assembly, and the State Trails Committee.

Changes being proposed by the outgoing Director seem to be based on numerous assumptions that are erroneous or are out of context. Suggesting that the current make up of the subcommittee is out of balance presents the unfounded conclusion that the subcommittee has not been making well balanced decisions on past OHV grants. I simply do not accept this. The subcommittee has made excellent recommendations to the board in the past.

Indeed, consider that the Legislative Audit Committee found no problems whatsoever with the OHV program. The US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management have repeatedly cited our program as model for the rest of the country, fair and environmentally balanced. Of the nearly 700 OHV grants processed over the past 19 years, only 3 have been controversial and the existing recommendations now address that by asking the simple question about potential controversy.

Proponents of the changes being presented by the outgoing Director assert that OHV use is undergoing “rapid expansion” and claim such use “causes a growing amount of resource damage and conflict with other users.” I believe these claims lack the proper perspective and are out of context. The assertion proponents are making about increasing resource damage and conflicts is similarly flawed. It is important to note that all human activities involve some potential for environmental impacts, but the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) are in the process of implementing regulations specifically designed to address the impacts of increased motorized use. The regulations require limiting all vehicle use to designated roads, trails and areas. The designation process mandates public involvement, thorough environmental analysis, as well as ongoing monitoring and maintenance of the OHV infrastructure. Many BLM offices in Colorado are in the process of implementing recently completed travel plans. The Forest Service is expected to complete the travel planning process by the end of this year.

I believe the changes being presented by the outgoing Director are inconsistent with the OHV program's legislative charter. It is important for the Board to consider that the OHV subcommittee was formed to provide active user group participation in the grant process. The subcommittee is not supposed to be “well balanced” in the manner the outgoing Director is proposing. The OHV subcommittee is designed to provide OHV user group (those paying the fee) input into the Parks' OHV grant process (how the funds are to be spent).

I appreciate the Parks Board's role in active and effective management of OHV recreation in Colorado. Ie respectfully ask that you reject the outdoing Director's recently proposed changes in favor of those presented to the Board at the March 2010 Parks Board meetings.


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