Author Topic: Land Use Meeting March 23, 2011  (Read 3138 times)

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Land Use Meeting March 23, 2011
« on: March 27, 2011, 11:30:58 am »

This is the report that Preston sent out on the Land Use Meeting he attended on Wendesday, March 23.  We will post more info as it becomes availible.  It's a bit lengthy, but reads pretty fast.



Let me give you a brief run down of last night's meeting.

 

The meeting was to start at 7:00pm. I got there about one minute before in the middle of a storm. It was in a round table type layout, like a U shape.

Three reps, from 3 different prescriptions spoke.

Forestry

Fisheries

Wildlife

 Fisheries targeted Poplar Lick. I would say that 4.5 mile trail has about a 1% chance of survival. He really painted a nasty picture for motorized recreation. Unfortunately, there has been enough renegade activity there to give him enough aimo. They took stats from an 8 year period and are using that as their justification for closure. It is technically closed right now. While it has not been of much interest to us, it is the principal.

 Wildlife really had little focus on wildife impacts. He showed a series of photos of renegade, mostly ATV use, but in all fairness, did show some horse, bike and 4x4 damage. This guy is actually an ATV guy. Still, he painted a very gloomy picture. Surprisingly,  as much stuff that he clould have dug up from Green Ridge, he spread it out.
 
Now, Forestry. This is the most complicated situation. The Maryland State Forest Service has a directive from the Governor to get all of the State Forests dual certification. While it does not say motorized recreation has to go, it is a story of compatibility with specific areas that have unique features. Oh, Rattlesnakes may get the south end (the good end) of Stafford Road closed. East Valley is in danger because part of it runs right along the Wildlands (Md's version of WIlderness). Mind you, the road was there long before the Wildlands designation.

While there are ways to work through this, such as road bed relocation, relocating ATVs off of the Forest(s), alternating road./trail openging, this certification drive is not going to fair well for us, as it is now. With that being said, if cooler heads prevail, we may still come out of this okay. Well, unless we sit on our hands.
 
The DNR did admit they should have hooked up with us long before this recommendation came out public. Well, that is a keen sense of the obvious.

They recognize the need to supply trail systems for motorized recreation. A snowmobile rep and I also made it clear that we all have different needs  and for what it is worth. The Snowmobilers feel they are getting the short end of the stick. I wish I had more time. But, that was not the proper forum to get into a discussion as to how much work we have put into their trail system.
 
Each presenter ran over somewhat. Still, we were each given time to speak and not cut off, either. Everone's comments were recorded. While I was given Kudos from the DNR and some other for what I had to say, I wish I could have had my thoughts better organized. There was more than enough comments making cases for us to have access. I targeted most of my comments to the other users in the room. Again, I wish I know it would have been in this forum, so I could have better collected my thoughts. Still, a lot were whining there is no money. That is not entirely true. Terry Maxwell, from Maryland's Federal Recreational Trails Program was there and I told folks that we are always short of Motorized rec. grant requests and that the program is being managed very well now. Then I informed them that they have excellent forest managers to work with. Lastly, I told them that the Managers need our support, such as going to the state legislature and that we usually hear they they do not hear from us.

Still, I did let the DNR know of how much volunteer work we put into the system.

 The Baltimore Four Wheelers, Mid Atlantic Early Broncos, KGB Four Wheelers a Land Cruiser (Bruiser) club  and Big Dogs was represented. One Preservationist, that called himself a "conservationist" was there. He, of course did not support us, at all, but was smart enough to avoid a bitter attack. He was, at least, polite. A rep from Bill's Marine in Deep Creek was there and spoke up.

Every comment was recorded in meeting minutes. Everyone's comments, good and bad.

One major mistake many of the ATV folks made there was to attack the timber industry. We need the timber folks on our side. Little did these folks realize that most of the routes that everyone enjoys either came from the CCC's, Timber skid/tram trails and county roads. Again, I did not go there with the intention of picking a fight with those folks, but I may have should have spoken up about that.

 
They are going to set up a multi-trail user panel. I will see if I can get a seat there. Certainly, not guaranteed. This is going to be a difficult battle. We had probably a better chance of an acceptable outcome, but not at all a given. Everyone needs to step up. They will take comments until the end of April. I think he said the 20th.

 The DNR has this on the fast track. Thus, we have to move very quickly. Our challenge is, it seems that there is a luke warm interest in Green Ridge by the general membership. Folks need to look beyond that and get on the stick, now.
 

I am not sure what kind of standing we would have for Carla to work with, unless her focus remains purely license 4x4's That may not be viewed in a positive light from the ATV users. On the other hand, I did not see them reaching their hands out to us to help them and visa-versa.

 

The Maryland DNR has set up a section on their Website just for this. Remember, go to the Maryland State Forests web site, not State Parks.

I will try to pull up a link for Mike.

 

Here is my initial take on this.

1.) We must flood the DNR with comments. I mean over load. Remember, this impacts much more than just Green Ridge.

a.) Be careful what you put into your comments, as these will be available to the public. Such as, you know we have a sweat deal on Potomac. Do not get into specifics, short of stating that we have developed a good solid working relationship with the Forest Manager. With that being said, lets be careful of how we craft the release to the membership. Again, lets not do well meaning destruction.

b.) Each member should write as an individual/family. If you care to mention being a member of a club, leave it at that. Let a representative(s) from each club make specific references to their club. Remember, each club represents family members. (Membership times 3.5 or 4)

c.) References to specific access requests are good, but I recommend some generalized requests, as well. Lets not limit ourselves.

d.) Ask family, friends and co-workers if they can help. You can help them with some content. Still, let it be their words.

e.) Keep the comments polite and avoid attacks on the DNR or other user groups. That will get us nothing.

f.) Offer some of your own suggestions. I feel these need to come from you, not from me. We do not want our comments pigeon holed.

g.) We need to remain focuses with our comments and not get off the beaten path.

h.) In my opinion, we need to make it clear as to how we are different from the ATV/Motorcycle user in what we like and how we recreate. Still, avoid outright attacks.

I.) support more law enforcement. It is our best friend, with this.

 
2.) If you can, contact your state delegate(s). Tell them what you want. Explain who and what we are. As they say, we are so misunderstood.

 

3.) In both cases, highlight the financial benefits of our presence.

4.) I do not want to talk you into spending you money on Carla. Likely, well spent. Since I am not a lawyer, I not sure what she can do.

a.) With that being said, as far as four wheel drive access, these routes were designated for ORV use in 1976.

b.) Originally, it was directed at the four wheel drive owner that was going there for driving pleasure, rather than hunting or fishing.

c.) Four wheel drive impacts have been extremely low on Maryland State Forests, and that is a fact.

 

5.) Lets discuss the merrits of a press release and what the content should be. Remember,  folks that do not like us will see this, as well.

 

6.) We need to demonstrate demand. Now, take that how you feel you need to, as to accomplish this.

 

7.) We need to look at an education program, as to where we educate our membership, friends and the public. Remember, we need to demonstrate that we are well informed and know what we are talking about.

 

8.) Contacting Jim Mazzola may be a good idea. More than that, get a hold of the current United Director of Environmental Affairs. He will only act, if asked.

 

9.) If you are friends with any local business folks to these areas, speak to them. They have a stake in this.

 

10.) Once we have our act together, now is when we need to pull in those other 4x4 clubs. Even if they do not join, they need to see how this works.

 

11.) Think about how much effort and resources that you would be willing to put into mitagating the current cited issues,  especially on Green Ridge.

If we make a commitment, and I feel we should, we need to follow through on it. Or, at least show that we would.

 

12.) Understand, please, this will have long term impacts to our future on Maryland State Lands.

 

Some side notes. I spoke with Lou Levy and Dana from B4W. It was very congenial. All of the DNR folks I spoke with, were very warm and glad to see us there. One DNR rep from Central Maryland has a state owned built up Jeep, complete with a Warn 9000i. THus, we have some inside support. One of the folks that sits on the Green Ridge Panel with me was there and he was carefully, supportive and was supportive of us.

 

One alternative discussed was finding new sites for ATV use, like old strip mines, sand and gravel pits, etc. The loop may only be closed to ATV's and Unlicensed motorcycles.

 

Wolve Den, that site I mentioned in Kitzmiller was discussed. Right now, there is an issue of land titlement and bankruptacy.

 
I know it does not look like it. I just touched to tip of the ice berg with this.

 Now I need your take on this, so we can develop a consistant direction. We all must be on the same page.

Thanks!

 Preston Stevens / President Middle Atlantic 4WDA

 

Wayne Fish