The Issue: On Friday, February 18th, the Assembly Budget Committee voted to take $27 million out of the OHV operating budget. This would NOT be a loan, and would continue unstopped year after year. It would result in closures and cut-backs to the California OHV Parks – Carnegie, Clay Pit, Heber Dunes, Hollister Hills, Hungry Valley, Mammoth Bar, Oceano Dunes, Ocotillo Wells and Prairie City. The Snow Grooming program and State Sno-Parks will also be greatly affected or closed. In addition, the Governor is proposing to take $21 million more from the OHV program. This could be the end of the OHV program as we have enjoyed it for the last 40 years.
This Wednesday, February 23rd, the Conference Committee will meet in the State Capitol to iron out difference between the State Assembly and Senate Budget Committees. We have to influence the following Conference Committee members through our elected legislative representatives: Senator Leno, Vice Chair; Senator Lowenthal, Senator Negrete McLeod , Senator Huff, and Senator Emmerson, and Assemblyman Blumenfield.
What can you do: ACT NOW! and contact your legislative members ASAP. Find your representatives here, and use the speaking points below, or add some of your own: http://www.legislature.ca.gov/legislators_and_districts/legislators/your_legislator.html
The budget proposes only an $11 million cut for 270 State Parks, yet a cut of $27 million is proposed from the OHV division which has only 8 State OHV Parks. This represents less than a 10% cut to State Park operations, but over a 40% reduction to the operating budget of the OHV parks. The OHV Division is a user funded program, taking NO money from the General Fund.
The State OHV Parks are all about children, offering them opportunities to recreate outdoors. The OHV parks encourage families to go camping, and offer urban residents the chance to enjoy the outdoors in a safe environment. The OHV parks enjoyed a 150% increase in attendance over the last 10 years, which State Parks cannot equal.
The Law says the OHV division of State Parks should have equal priority among the other State Parks. Budget impacts should be equally shared....yet the State OHV Parks have had $112 million dollars taken over the last 3 years. Now the Assembly proposes to gut the program, favoring less popular State Parks. This is certainly discriminatory, and counter to the law. The OHV community has given more than it's fair share of the OHV Trust Fund. These are dedicated user fees.
The OHV community has taken legal action for two other attempts of this kind...and the State has lost! We sued you and won $21.5 million. We are willing and able to do this again, and the State will lose even more money before all this is over. We will pursue all legal remedies to stop this action, and stop the discrimination against the State OHV Program and affiliated activities.
Please send this to all your friends, networks, clubs and forums. This is a serious issue, and only we can make a difference.