Some Concerns

and Some Reassurances

Most people who enjoy Johnson Valley on dirt bikes, quads, buggies
and 4WD know the Friends of Giant Rock. Family vacations exploring on
two and four wheels gave them a love for the desert in all its moods. It
also gave them a dislike for those visitors
who do not understand this country and treat it badly.

For years FOGR families have picked up visitors’ trash, and debris and
tires dumped illegally. Their efforts to educate newcomers how to ride
(and how to ride responsibly) grew into protecting our rights to access
to public lands on motorized vehicles. Supporting
off-highway vehicle use took them to the halls of government more than

A meeting in Ontario was held in August by the State Parks Commission,
for public comment on restructuring the California State Parks.
Called a transformation, I worried about their pooling the money
collected in green sticker fees and using it for other purposes.
Problems in the past with this money supposedly dedicated for improving
off-roader access and opportunities has led some in Johnson
Valley to be suspicious of anything called a “transformation.”

Mike Hawkins and Ray Pessa of FOGR attended this meeting of course. They
reported to the Homestead Valley Community Council that hundreds were
there, and everyone they heard speak was against merging the green
sticker fees and other OHV funding into other programs.

Their report was mentioned in the JV NEWS by Betty Munson. She received
an e-mail from Amy Granat, managing director of the California Off-Road
Vehicle Association.

CORVA is always on top of land use and public access issues. Some of
Amy’s comments gave some reassurance to Betty. I quote them here:

“We still have to be vigilant, but our
reality is that the program,  and most of the OHV Trust Fund (only 15%
is greensticker), sunsets in a year and a half. After that time we would
lose the authorization to collect the funds
and have a grant program.

“So we need Parks to work with us if we want to continue having a
program. Most people don't realize this fact. Being cautious is wise,
but seeing areas we can improve the program is also wise. And protecting
the funds into the future would be smart – the statutes
we had before obviously didn't accomplish that feat. We have rural
counties on our side, and law enforcement. So we have more going for us
than people know. No one wants to annoy Sheriff Departments around the
entire state. Funny thing about giving money to
law enforcement is that they don't forget!

“...tell people to determine what they want the program to do if they
were thinking proactively. Define how we can have a better program, how
we can better maintain opportunities whether it's management, or
maintenance, or both.

”For right now the words are 'cautiously optimistic'. We're working with people who have done their
homework and understand the importance of the program, especially to families and rural communities.”

Betty Munson