May 19, 2006
Contact: John Stewart
Natural Resources Consultant
California Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs
619-390-8747 or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
TRUCKHAVEN TO BE ACQUIRED FOR OHV RECREATION
Sacramento, CA (May 19, 2006): Today the California State Parks Off Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) Commission voted to approve the acquisition of the popular recreation area known as Truckhaven. OHMVR Trust Funds, along with funding from the federal highway funds will be used to purchase 4,300 acres of lands used by off-road recreation for over 50 years.
The acquisition is expected to be final in August-September, 2006. For the near term, few immediate changes are expected. The area will come under management control of the adjacent Ocotillo Wells State Vehicle Recreation area. Over the course of the next 2-3 years, a comprehensive management plan will be developed for the area. There is an expectation that some area will be set aside as "buffer" for the housing and there are a number of archeology sites that will be protected.
During the State Parks presentation to the OHMVR Commission in support of the acquisition project, officials noted that in spite of the signs of heavy recreation use, the area was in better condition that other developed recreation areas. One of the OHMVR Commission members toured the area earlier in the week and commented that the area was surprisingly free of trash that is normal in other heavy use recreation areas. The Native American Tribes in the region are in full support of the keeping Truckhaven open for recreation.
Truckhaven is the site of Tierra del Sol Desert Safari drawing thousands of visitors to the area the first weekend of every March. Desert Safari is one of three major OHV events held in the area. An estimated 90,000 recreationists per year visit the area.
Over the past few months, there has been a lot of behind the scenes political maneuvering. On two occasions, members of the Tierra del Sol Four Wheel Drive Club of San Diego provided area tours for State Park officials and Tribal Leaders. One Tribal representative remarked about her familiarity with Tierra del Sol as her father was a friend of Tierra del Sol founding member Bozzy Willis.
Numerous individual and organization letters were written to southern California Assemblymen and Senators urging their support for the acquisition 26 of them signed a letter to the Commission urging a "yes" vote on the acquisition.
In the end, an expected close vote was a surprising 7-0 vote in favor of acquisition.