Discussion in 'Land Use' started by blazen91, Mar 26, 2001.

  1. blazen91

    blazen91 1/2 ton status

    Sep 10, 2000
    Likes Received:
    Hesperia, Ca 92345
    If you are confused about what on earth is going on with the closure of 49,000 acres of Glamis - you are not alone.

    I was asked to try and sum up what is going on regarding the Dunes, to try and lend some clarity to this issues. It's so complex it's hard to sum up, so I did the best thing I could think of - along with doing a lot of research , I called the President of American Sand Association and fellow OHV leader, Vincent Bussano.

    Here is an official statement from the ASA web-site: 'The closure that occurred right before Thanksgiving weekend was a result of a settlement, filed with the U.S. District Court … is part of ongoing overall settlement discussions resulting from a lawsuit filed against BLM by the Center for Biological Diversity, the Sierra Club, and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. The basis of the suit is that BLM has not yet consulted with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) on the effects of California Desert Plan, covering more than nine million acres of public lands, on a number of threatened and endangered.' (Source ASA;

    Now, according to Vincent Brunasso from the American Sand Association and resident foe of Daniel Patterson and the Center for Biological Diversity, "this entire mess in a nutshell is the following - the CBD filed a lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management at the Federal Level. This friendly lawsuit claimed that the BLM was in 'non-compliance with the ESA.' Section 7 requires the BLM to consult with Fish and Game regarding use and management of public lands. The Federal BLM filed no-contest. However the BLM is currently working on a Desert Management Plan and is within the parameters of the plans they set up with the Fish and Game Service years ago."

    What does the ESA say?

    'various species of fish, wildlife, and plants in the United States have been rendered extinct as a consequence of economic growth and development untempered by adequate concern and conservation; (2) other species of fish, wildlife, and plants have been so depleted in numbers that they are in danger of or threatened with extinction; (3) these species of fish, wildlife, and plants are of aesthetic, ecological, educational, historical, recreational, and scientific value to the Nation and its people…

    PURPOSES -The purposes of this Act are to provide a means whereby the ecosystems upon which endangered species and threatened species depend may be conserved, to provide a program for the conservation of such endangered species and threatened species, and to take such steps as may be appropriate to achieve the purposes of the treaties and conventions set forth in subsection (a) of this section'. (source

    Basically ….

    'An endangered or threatened listing means that federal agencies may take no action or approve any project that harms the species. In critical habitat areas, those restrictions on federal agencies also extend to areas where the listed species do not live but are needed for their recovery.' ( source: LA Times article, November 22, 2000 Agency: Lawsuits Stymie Conservation )

    Thus a federal agency could not approve the use of the land for anything if it is considered to have an impact on a habitat or species. For example a dam could not be constructed in a critical habitat area for an endangered fish if the dam would destroy that habitat, even if the fish were not actually present there.

    This was all brought on for one reason- the plaintiff's in the suit don't like OHV'ers of any kind and want the sport to stop completely. They don't make this a secret; you can go to their web sites and read what they write about OHV users and the perceptions they purvey to their followers. Regarding the Dunes issue this was received via e-mail

    'The ancient dunes are threatened by uncontrolled and intense off-road vehicle use. Algodones is ground zero for motorized recreation, annually drawing up to one million dune buggies, motorcycles, jeeps, ATVs and monster trucks. They regularly run over plants and animals and tear up the dune ecosystem.

    '….On March 16, 2000, [the BLM was sued] challenging the impacts of livestock grazing, off road vehicles, mining and other activities within the California Desert Conservation Area. … the BLM agreed to temporarily ban off road vehicles from an additional 49,310 acres of the Algodones Dunes…The ban will remain in effect until a permanent solution is developed to save the Peirson's Milk-vetch from extinction at the hands of rubber tires and flying sand. While the off road lobby cries foul, it still has 70,000 acres on which to play.' (source: e-mail received from sierra club list serv)

    Vincent rebuts with : "If they are REALLY concerned that there be multiple use, then why are other dunes sets 100% closed? (Panamint, Kelso, Eureka and the dunes in Texas)." Also the opposition claims that there is still 70,000 acres open to ride in. That is true, but it is not all dunes - what "duners" like the best. It is about 80% hard pack and not what people go there for. So, in essence, actual open area is only about 25% of the total area.

    What is the plant we are referring to in this lawsuit? 'Peirson's milk-vetch, one of several species of rare … plants that inhabit the Imperial Sand Dunes. Its range in the United States is confined wholly to this sand dune system where it occurs in scattered colonies on windblown hollows and slopes… and is listed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as threatened…' (Source ASA;

    Why did we get stuck with this lawsuit? Simple - OHV'ers are unorganized. Some groups have been fighting the good fight for years, but they were ignored by most of the OHV'ers until it was too late. Our disenfranchised, unorganized community comprised of thousands of off-roaders got caught sleeping. Our hobby is wholly different from our opponents. Their hobby is to protect the environment and their newest campaign is to get OHV's off public lands. Our hobby ~ to go off-roading. What was born out of this suit however was many off-road groups banding together to fight and bring unity to the community as a whole.

    During the recent migration of 80,000 people to Glamis for Thanksgiving weekend there were also press, over 100 BLM rangers and there were the watchers from the environmental groups. The opposition were there in force, they had - Planes equipped with GPS systems, a air to ground communications center, videographers and sharp shooters with cameras, and a solid media relations campaign. ASA stepped up with volunteers, signs and the web-site, but it's difficult for a volunteer run organization to fight a professional one, that has its own in-house law firm, millions of dollars and political power.

    What is the bottom line here? The ESA.

    That is the loophole. 49,000 acres of Glamis were closed for a reported noxious weed. 95% of the closure area is not PMV habitat. Never was! Study after study show the species are thriving more in the open areas than the closed areas. This is due to the way the dunes are ridden - duners stay out of the plants and low lying areas. But, it was listed with the Fish and Game Dept as endangered, so they were able to take all that land. (This is adding to the 32,400 acres on the other side of Hwy 78 already closed.)

    Do areas of our environment need to be protected - Oh yes! Definitely! But there are areas that are designated for public use that need to remain open. These areas encompass far less land acreage than the natural preserves. Yet, our opponents are now researching every inch of the desert to determine what plants, insects, or animals can be classified as Endangered under the ESA. As a matter of fact they are classifying so many plants that, 'Endangered species lawsuits from environmentalists are keeping the Fish and Wildlife Service from adding any more wildlife to the endangered species list…' (source LA Times article, November 22, 2000 Agency: Lawsuits Stymie Conservation)

    Are there problems in Glamis - YES, do they have anything to do with a "spiny little…noxious weed? " No.

    Is the issue with Glamis over? No, Does this article cover all that is going on? No.

    The Glamis lawsuit is the first of 21 lawsuits to shut down 10.2 million acres of land in California alone as part of California Desert Plan.

    So I hope that lends a little help is what is actually going on in the dunes, for more information go to the sources sited in this article.

    Other sources:

    Fish and Wildlife Service endangered species program:

    Center for Biological Diversity:

    <A target="_blank" HREF=></A>
    Protect the land FOR the people
    Not FROM the people

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