Attention Maryland Area Members. Breaking news.
Thanks to Mr. Ken Kyler for forwarding this information. Ken is a dirt bike rider in Maryland.
It is critical that we have a solid presence at these meetings. Please, make every attempt to attend at least one of them. This is a rare opportunity in Maryland.Preston Stevens
Please redistribute to your constituents.
Last night I attended the first public meeting to solicit feedback from citizens for the 5-Year review of the Maryland Land Preservation and Recreation Plan. From the State's web page, "The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is asking citizens for their input on State outdoor recreation facilities and services in Southern Maryland. This recreation evaluation is the first step in a comprehensive statewide effort to enhance existing recreation areas in Maryland, these include; State parks, forests, wildlife areas and trails. DNR will ask participants to assess the extent to which outdoor recreation facilities, programs and services meet the needs of the community and identify future demand and need. This is the first of four regional stakeholder sessions DNR will hold across the State in February and March 2013. The public input will help guide the update of the Maryland Land Preservation and Recreation Plan, which will serve as a roadmap for future State outdoor recreation facilities and services."
We had very little time to rally the troops but it was a success! Of the roughly 30 people at the meeting, over 1/2 were OHV enthusiasts. A representative from the State ABATE chapter even attended! Only 3 of us were from outside of the southern MD counties targeted for input at this particular meeting. The OHV people did very well and the State is definitely getting our message.I have attached a PDF
of the agenda and questions asked by the meeting facilitators. These will be used at the follow-on meetings. At the end of the meeting, they broke the attendees into focus groups to discuss the "In Depth Focus on Key Issues" questions listed at the bottom of the attached file. This weekend I will draft suggested talking points to these questions and send them out for your consideration and distribution.
Other than bringing up the need for the State to establish public/private partnerships and to establish a Hatfield/McCoy like system in WMD, I tried to stay out of the discussion and allow those from the targeted counties to speak. To summarize, the vast majority spoke in favor of OHVs stating a need for riding areas, for the need for their kids to have an opportunity to ride, mentioned the economic benefit to the State, and stated they had to take their money and bikes out of State to ride.
The equestrians stated a need for more trails and skid-proof bridge planks and the watercraft group asked for access to State land/shores. The truth is we all asked for nearly the same thing for our user groups.
Towards the end of the meeting, I discussed with John Wilson that the format of the meetings and questions were oriented towards a "conventional" parks/forest recreation planning process; to use the DNR's words, "resource-based" user experiences. I discussed with him that OHV people should be considered differently. In DNR terms, we are looking for "user-oriented" recreation--we need land not pristine forests. We had an excellent dialog and I intend to keep hammering on that. His concern is if they deviate from the last planning session that they won't be able to make comparisons and their data will be skewed. My concern that is they continue in this direction, our needs will be minimized and under-represented. John and I have established a good working relationship and I feel confident that he will continue discussing this with me. More to come on that.
The schedule for the remaining meetings is below. PLEASE GET THE WORD OUT TO YOUR PEOPLE!
I complained to John Wilson that it was unfair to hold the meeting for the western counties in Frederick - it should be in Cumberland and it should be in the evening. I leave it to you to decide if you and those in western MD wish to comment to John Wilson and to your elected State representatives. John Wilson's email is email@example.com
and his phone is (410) 260-8412.Western Region: Tuesday, March 5, 2013
from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Greenbrier State Park, 21843 National Pike, Boonsboro 21713Eastern Region: Wednesday, March 6, 2013
from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Talbot County Community Recreation Center, 10028 Ocean Gateway (Rt. 50), Easton 21601Central Region: Wednesday, March 6, 2013
from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Howard County Robinson Nature Center, 6692 Cedar Lane, Columbia 21044
Friends, the OHV Tsunami has begun! More to come.