The California State Water Board has proposed a plan which could easily cause the closure of almost all roads and trails in your National Forests. It is called a " Non Point Source Pollution Negative Declaration" and was clearly flying under the radar until uncovered in 2009 by Stewards of the Sequoia.
The State Water Board proposal would require the US Forest Service to get approval from the State Water Board on numerous National Forest Service land uses and projects. Such as:
- Approval from the State Water Board prior to allowing use on existing Forest Roads and Trails
- Approval from the State Water Board prior to performing any Road or Trail maintenance on National Forest Lands
Clearly the State Water Board lacks the ability to review all Forest Service roads and trails and projects. They would have not only added a huge layer of bureaucracy, but also been a huge new cost to taxpayers at a time when we can ill afford it . It would harm the environment by stalling and increasing costs on much needed maintenance and fuel reduction projects. It would create huge legal issues and more wasted money on needless court cases.
- The State Water Board also wanted to make Forest Service volunteers legally liable for anything the State Water Board determined after the fact was a concern to the State Water Board
This would discourage or eliminate volunteerism at a time when we need it most due to shrinking federal budgets.
LEGAL ACTION TAKEN
Stewards submitted a number of written comments to the Water Board and we contacted other grass roots groups. A coalition was formed headed by CORVA and the legal firm of Gallery & Barton were retained which Stewards helped to pay for.
HUGE VICTORY FOR COMMON SENSE, RECREATION AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Two weeks ago the State Water Board voted on the proposal and due to the information and pressure that our coalition brought to bear the proposal did not pass.
There were numerous groups and individuals that supported the efforts to stop the State Water Board from implementing this poorly conceived proposal:
California Off Road Vehicle Association CORVA
Rubicon Trail Foundation
Stewards of the Sequoia
Stewards of the Sierra
San Diego Adventure Riders
California Outdoor Heritage Alliance
Inland Empire 4Wheel Drive Club
San Diego Adventure Riders
Cal Sierra ATV Club
Recreation Outdoor Coalition
4X4 in Motion
Sierra Access Coalition
Central Coast Motorcycle Club
Melba Leal, Equestrian Advocate
Snowbusters of Sacramento
Byron Baker, Snowbusters of Sierra County
Friends of Independence Lake
This is how Stewards of the Sequoia and other grass roots organizations are working together to protect your access to your public lands.