Don Amador: OHVers Chart Their Own Destiny

| December 29, 2017

Don Amador: OHVers Chart Their Own Destiny – Reflecting back on the hard fought “SB249” victory including tough negotiations which – at the 11th hour of the legislative session – produced an amended bill to basically reauthorize the current CA OHV program and give it permanent status by removing the sunset clause, I am reminded that our success was actually the result of a two-year process where State Park leadership started to substantively engage with the OHV community in November, 2015.

Don Amador: OHVers Chart Their Own Destiny

Don Amador: OHVers Chart Their Own Destiny

The genesis of that early engagement was the Park Transformation Process. Agency leadership actively sought input from OHV enthusiasts, club leaders, professional consultants, and partners such as the Forest Service and BLM. Often that input was gleaned from large turnouts by OHV enthusiasts at various transformation public meetings.

That information and feedback helped State Park leadership better understand how the California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) Division and its team of knowledgeable, professional and dedicated scientists, administrators, engineers, trail specialists, law enforcement, and planners manage a holistic and sustainable motorized recreation program that is often cited as a national model.

During the SB249 effort, OHV enthusiasts responded en masse to various legislative alerts to send letters, emails, or make phone calls to their elected representatives in Sacramento. OHV user engagement was largely responsible for making “Save the OHV Program” the number one political issue in the Capitol Building.

Based on my 28 years of OHV advocacy working on legislation, land-use campaigns, commissions, resource advisory councils, etc., I have listed the key tenets in the order of the role they had in turning SB249 around and ensuring that the OHMVR Division and its skillsets were not lost in the transformation process.

Don Amador: OHVers Chart Their Own Destiny

Don Amador: OHVers Chart Their Own Destiny
Don Amador: 2017 shows that active participation by local OHV clubs and individuals is a critical element in the land-use equation. 

One – Having an engaged State Park leadership team (with support from the Governor) over the last 2 years that networked with OHV enthusiasts, partners, consultants, and lobbyists.

Two – Having grassroots activists, clubs, and individual OHVers send in comments and make phone calls when asked – may be the most important key as they made “OHV Recreation” the number issue noted by legislators and their staff in Sacramento over the last 12 months.

Three – Having a professional OHV team of consultants, OHV commissioners, lobbyists, and grassroots leaders that embraced the challenge and utilized user engagement to champion our OHV program before legislators, conservation leaders, media, and the administration.

2017 shows that active participation by local OHV clubs and individuals is a critical element in the land-use equation. 2018 will require similar dedication by the OHV community to ensure the park transformation process honors its commitment to keeping the OHMVR Division intact and to address a myriad of other local, state, and federal recreation planning processes, legislation, and legal challenges.

2017 proves that now more than ever, you are in charge of your own OHV destiny.

BY DON AMADOR

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Don Amador: OHVers Chart Their Own Destiny

 

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