N4WDA Update 1/11/16
N4WDA continues to gain new members. However, there were a number of our membership that have not renewed their membership and are therefore no longer active members of N4WDA. We currently have about 100 members, spread through several states, including Business, Life and Individual Members. We have six member clubs, the southernmost in Pahrump, and one out-of-state club. Please tell your four wheeling buddies about N4WDA and ask them to join. There is only strength in numbers when dealing with land access issues.
* 2nd Annual N4WDA Family Fun Day – This event was held on Saturday, September 19th at 4 Wheel Parts in Sparks, NV. We had a great time, but not a very good membership turnout. The event consisted of a Show ‘n Shine, use of the RTI ramp, use of the Rock Crawl and lots of good food and drink.
The first Family Fun Day was held in 2014 and because it rained all day, we had poor attendance. The N4WDA Board of Directors is taking a long look at whether there will be a 3rd annual FFD. We realize that getting the word out to the public is a problem, but we thought that we would get better participation from our membership living in the Reno/Carson City/Gardnerville areas.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us what you think about our Family Fun Day (should we keep it or drop it).
* N4WDA 4×4 Swap Meet – We held a free 4×4 Swap Meet at 4 Wheel Parts in Sparks, NV on Saturday, April 25th, 2015. Once again it rained all day and this kept some folks from participating, but overall, the N4WDA Board of Directors felt that the turnout was poor. Most that brought stuff to sell were the member volunteers that put on the event.
Once again, I ask you, the members, to advise us as to whether you feel that you would like us to hold another swap meet this spring and if you would participate in it, either as a seller/buyer or a volunteer.
* New Off Road Event – The N4WDA Board is going to take a hard look at putting on a 4×4 off road event, open to the public, probably at the end of this summer. We are looking at two possibilities:
– Poker Run: A poker run, located somewhere in the Northern Nevada area is the easier of the two events. If we stay on county or private roads we eliminate the need for a permit from BLM or Forest Service.
The poker run can accommodate both of our vehicle types, Jeeps/trucks and ATV/UTVs. It can be a simple or more complex (rally type) run with an ending point at a park where we could serve hamburgers & hot dogs and even have a raffle.
– Trail Ride: A trail ride is more difficult and expensive. Most trails that we know of that would be interesting for a well-constructed Jeep/truck type vehicle would probably be unsuitable for ATV/UTVs. If we selected a suitable trail, it would probably be on BLM or USFS land and a permit, requiring a fee and insurance, would have to be obtained from the affected agency.
Would this be only a day run or would we have overnight camping involved? We could include a dinner with an overnight event, or end a day run at a park as we would with a poker run.
Please email us with your wishes and suggestions as we need all of the advice that you can provide us.
* 8th Annual Off Road and Motorsports Expo: N4WDA will again have its membership booth at the Expo, March 18th through 20th at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center in Reno. We will have vehicles on display and will be looking to sign up new members. As always, we need volunteers to talk to folks about 4 wheeling and N4WDA. It is a fun event to attend.
Also, on Saturday, we plan to have an OPEN MEMBERSHIP MEETING at the Convention Center where we would like to have you attend and interact with the N4WDA Board members. You will not have to pay admission to the Expo to attend this membership meeting as the meeting room will be located outside the main Expo floor area.
Corporate Membership Program: On December 34, 2015, our committee finalized the Red, White and Blue sponsorship program and we sent it out to ten manufacturers and retailers. This program creates an advertising opportunity for the sponsor and income for N4WDA. There are three levels of support for the sponsor to choose from.
Land Use Issues that we have been working on:
o Greater Sage-Grouse: N4WDA has been involved for several years (actually before N4WDA was created) and we have worked with the Blue Ribbon Coalition, the Pine Nuts Mountains Trails Association and the Nevada Trails Stewards in working for the best solution to provide protection for the grouse and to have the least impact on our sport.
In late September, 2015, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFS) issued its decision that it is not necessary to list the Greater Sage-Grouse as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. This was a great win for everyone in that there will be a lesser impact on OHV recreation than would be if the bird were listed.
However, the Bureau of Land Management and the US Forest Service, who are charged with managing the Critical Habitat (18 million acres) are still changing their land use plans. We remain on top of these issues and will continue to attend meetings and write responses for these changes.
o ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT: The Endangered Species Act, as it currently is enacted is being used as a tool by the environmentalists to restrict habitat areas. The welfare of the affected species seems to be a concern secondary to the wishes of the environmental community whose agenda in regard to affected habitat area is to restrict access for the public.
N4WDA will continue to review ESA candidate species whose habitat is in the areas that our membership recreates in and will press for legislative changes to make the ESA serve the public, not just the environmental community.
o Eldorado NF 42 Trails: As I’ve explained in previous writings, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) sued the Eldorado National Forest (ENF) alleging that the ENF failed to take into consideration its own Standard & Guideline #100 (S&G 100) when evaluating these trails for inclusion in the ENF Travel Plan. S&G 100 deals with “connectivity of water flows across wet meadows” (an example would be if a trail cause the meadow’s soil to become compacted, therefore restricting normal water flow in the meadow). The court agreed and ordered ENF to close these 42 trails and evaluate and mitigate S&G 100 problems before these trails would reopen. Shortly after the court’s ruling, 18 of these trails were released from inclusion for several reasons (such as the affected meadow being on private land instead of ENF land).
The remaining 12 trails are still closed pending ENF’s mitigation of the problem meadows. However, one trail remains a problem for N4WDA members, the Deer Valley Trail.
– Deer Valley Trail: The Deer Valley Trail is, next to the Rubicon, the most-travelled trail in the Eldorado NF. Because of its location, in California, it is used frequently by our membership, so we have been involved for several years with this closure.
We had hopes that the ENF would man up to the fact that they had mistakenly closed the trail, but, alas, that was too much to expect. Apparently they had started an Environmental Analysis and a plan to correct deficiencies on the trail (things that we had been asking for) and to assure that the Yosemite Toad’s critical habitat would not be significantly affected by reopening the trail.
The ENF Forest Supervisor, according to the Schedule of Planned Actions (SOPA) is expected to sign the record of decision in May of this year and the planned actions to commence in July, also this year. This means that, since the EA stated that the trail will not be closed while the rerouting, etc. takes place, we should expect that the Trail will open in July, dependent upon the snow melt, as measured at the Blue Lakes SnowTell station. The fact that the trail will probably open this year is a win for us, although very belated.
– Mormon Emigrant Trail: This trail, another closed trail, is made up of several forest routes, but is located from Tragedy Springs, west of Silver Lake off highway 88 and it continues past the original Plasses Trading Post sight down to Lower Bear River Reservoir. This trail has highly scenic value but is a relatively easy drive. It is also scheduled for mitigation of its S&G 100 problems this summer and it should probably reopen toward the end of the summer.
– Strawberry Pass Trail: This trail, located between the Caples Lake Highway Maintenance Station off Highway 88 and the 42 Mile Home Tract, just west of Strawberry on Highway 50 is very important to us as it is a north/south trail linking these two highways. The ENF SOPA has it scheduled for mitigation of its S&G 100 problems in 2017.
o NEVADA COMMISSION ON OFF HIGHWAY VEHICLES: At long last, the NCOHV will meet on this coming Thursday, January 14th, and review of the grant applications and possible granting of the $700,000 pot is on the agenda. It is possible that another grant cycle will start later this spring or summer as there is an accumulation of another $500,00+ available.
N4WDA is very satisfied with the NCOHV’s actions and we have been present and contributing to the discussions on the grant program – A big win for N4WDA!
We continue to ask to have a representative of the Jeep/truck community on the NCOHV panel.
o H.R. 1497: This bill, titled “Honor the Nevada Enabling Act of 1864 Act”, introduced by Representative Mark Amodei on March 19, 2015, and was referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources, directs the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of the Interior to convey certain Federal lands to the State of Nevada. This bill is the first attempt to cause the Federal government to cede most of the Federal lands, other than military bases, to Nevada.
N4WDA has taken the position that we do not support the transfer of federal lands to Nevada as there is no plan as to how the state can manage these lands. We’re constantly told that the state has no money, and this will be very costly to hire professional management. Also, there is no apparatus for appeal of decisions by the State Lands Commission (who most likely will be in charge of these lands) as there is under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). We will monitor Congress and, if a suitable plan is presented, may change our position on support.
Although it may seem that we don’t communicate well with the membership, we are very busy working on your behalf. We are always discussing ways to be more informative and communicate with you more frequently, but alas, just like you, we, as volunteers, have families and responsibilities too.
We ask also that you do your part – volunteer for and/or attend our events.