WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Interior Appropriations Bill that passed the House in July includes provisions that would prevent the listing of the sage-grouse as an endangered species and prohibit changes to federal resource management plans that are inconsistent with state management plans. The bill also includes a $78.5 million funding increase for the National Park Service targeted at park operations and maintenance to help reduce a maintenance backlog. And the bill includes language that prohibits the U.S. Bureau of Land Management from implementing its proposed “Planning 2.0” regulation until the agency provides additional time for public comment.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The bi-partisan bill to reopen the Clear Creek Management Area in California for recreational use passed the U.S. House in July. If enacted, the Clear Creek National Recreation Area and Conservation Act (H.R. 1838) would direct the BLM to reopen the 75,000 acre Clear Creak Management Area in San Benito and Fresno counties for public recreational use, including access for off-road vehicles. It would also protect an additional 21,000 acres of BLM land adjacent to Clear Creek as the Joaquin Rocks Wilderness. Clear Creek was temporarily closed in 2008 to the public after an Environmental Protection Agency analysis laid out the perceived risk created by naturally occurring asbestos. H.R. 1838 instructs the BLM to develop a rigorous plan to minimize the risk from asbestos exposure and educate visitors about the naturally occurring asbestos. The BLM would also be required to develop ways to reduce the impact of off-road vehicles to protect the area’s habitat.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A pilot program will bill drivers for each mile traveled, rather than charge a tax at the gas pump. Called “California Road Charge,” the program was authorized in 2015 under (SB) 1077 as a way to study the effectiveness of charging per mile travelled, instead of per gallon of fuel. About 5,000 volunteers will spend nine months reporting their driving mileage to the state or allowing the state to monitor their travels. The price per mile is 1.8 cents, which is the state’s estimate of the average revenue raised by the excise tax during the past five years. As cars become more fuel efficient, and as more electric vehicles enter the marketplace, fuel tax revenue declines, while needed road repairs continue apace. The pilot program is intended to determine whether charging per mile recaptures some of the revenue. More information about the program is available at www.californiaroadchargepilot.com/about.
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. – The Johnson Valley Shared Use Area will close Aug. 14-21 for a week of training by the U.S. Marine Corps. The training exercises originally were to close the area from Aug. 1 through Aug. 30. The closure period includes the time required to ensure the Shared Use Area is clear of recreation activity before training begins and to confirm the land is clear of hazards before reopening the land for public access. The adjacent Johnson Valley OHV Recreation Area will remain open to the public during the training. At the same time, the Marine Corps announced the next planned use of the Shared Use Area for military training for Aug. 1-30, 2017.
BALTIMORE – State and local law enforcement agencies are taking action on the drastic rise in dirt-bike thefts in Baltimore and its immediate vicinity this year. Spurred by complaints from members of AMA District 7 and supported by AMA staff members, the Baltimore Police Department launched a Dirt Bike Task Force to address the issue of people illegally riding dirt bikes and ATVs on city streets. The task force also will tackle other crimes the scofflaws may be involved in, including gun crimes and vehicle thefts. Meanwhile, representatives of the AMA and AMA District 7 met with state law enforcement officials in July to discuss the ways thieves are finding dirt bikes to steal. Some District 7 members believe a well-organized crime ring is behind many of the thefts.
CARSON CITY, Nev. – Nearly $900,000 in grant money is being awarded by the state Commission on Tourism to promote tourism in rural areas. Included is a $13,625 grant to Backcountry Discovery Routes, whose mission is to establish off-highway routes for dual-sport and adventure motorcycle travel and promote the Nevada Backcountry Discovery Route. Funding will help pay for a feature-length documentary, website development and maintenance, advertising and more.
SANTA FE, N.M. – The Santa Fe National Forest is seeking public input on revising its management plan, which will guide forest strategies for the next 10 to 15 years. In conjunction with the plan, the U.S. Forest Service is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement. The revised forest plan will reflect changes in economic, social and ecological conditions, new policies and priorities and new information based on monitoring and scientific research since the current forest plan was approved in 1987. The Santa Fe National Forest is soliciting public comment on the preliminary needs for change. Comments received by Aug. 17 will be analyzed and used to develop the revised Forest Plan and draft EIS. Comments may be emailed to email@example.com or mailed to Santa Fe National Forest, Attn: Forest Plan, 11 Forest Lane, Santa Fe, NM, 87508. Public input will become part of the project record. Forest personnel expect to complete the draft EIS and revised forest plan by the summer of 2017 and the final EIS and revised forest plan by the fall of 2018. For additional information on the Forest Plan Revision contact the Forest Plan Revision Team at (505) 438-5442, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Forest Plan Revision website.
ST. PAUL, Minn. – More than 400 miles of new off-road-vehicle trails are planned between the shores of Lake Superior and the North Dakota border. Called the Border-to-Border Off-Road Vehicle Trail (B2B), the route will link existing state and national forest roads—as well as township roads, minimum-maintenance roads and connecting spurs—that any vehicle with an off-road vehicle sticker will be able to use. The state Department of Natural Resources joined with the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council and the Minnesota Four Wheel Drive Association on the project. Discussion will begin soon on goals and timelines. More information is available at www.dnr.state.mn.us/input/mgmtplans/ohv/plans/border_to_border_trail.html or from Mary Straka, DNR Parks and Trails Division, (651) 259-5644, email@example.com.
HARRISBURG, Pa. – A new law removes vehicle registration money paid by all-terrain-vehicle owners from the revenue generated by snowmobile registrations and designates the ATV money solely for ATV projects. The Pennsylvania Off-Highway Vehicle Association supported the bill, which the governor signed in July. In addition, the bill redefines the composition of the snowmobile/ATV advisory committee, adding a representative each from the state Department of Community and Economic Development and the Pennsylvania Economic Development Association. The two seats allotted to conservation and non-motorized recreation organizations were eliminated. The law, which also establishes a second grant cycle each year, becomes effective Sept. 1.
IRVINE, Calif. – Andria Yu, former front page editor for USA Today, has joined the Motorcycle Industry Council as its director of communications. A motorcyclist for 15 years, Yu worked with USA Today for 10 years. Yu plans to work on the East Coast for easier access to New York media, according to an MIC press release.
SAN FRANCISCO – Scoot, an electric-scooter sharing network founded in 2011, is adding 300 scooters to its 400-scooter fleet this year. The company allows people to find nearby scooters, use their smartphones to unlock one and ride anywhere for $4 each half hour. The company claims 10,000 enrolled users.
CANBERRA, Australia – A yearlong trial program will allow motorcyclists to park three bikes in a single parking space. The program is part of the local government’s vehicle emissions reduction plan. The motorcycles must be parked in a way that allows others to enter and exit the space. The trial began July 1.
BERLIN – The German government wants black boxes in self-driving cars and would require that a “driver” would have to remain seated at the controls at all times, according to a Reuters report. The black boxes, which record data about the speed and operation of a vehicle, would be an aid in determining responsibility when a crash occurs. The proposal from the transport ministry came in response to the fatal crash of a Tesla Motors Inc. Model S car while it operated in autopilot mode.
PICKERINGTON, Ohio – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should stop increasing the amount of required ethanol in the nation's fuel supply and, instead, should lower the Renewable Volume Obligations for 2017. That was the message the AMA and 18,162 motorcyclists, all-terrain-vehicle owners and others sent on July 11, the deadline for commenting on the proposed 2017 RVOs. The EPA proposal, part of the federal Renewable Fuel Standard, call for 18.8 billion gallons of biofuel for 2017, up from 18.11 billion gallons this year. The obligations for 2015 were 16.93 billion gallons. All concerned individuals are urged to visit the AMA Action Center to find and contact their representatives about this issue.
PICKERINGTON, Ohio – AMA member Mike Easley of Louisville, Ky., is the winner of a fully restored 1947 Indian Chief motorcycle raffled by the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame. Easley's name was drawn on July 10 at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. All proceeds from the raffle help fund the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Currently, the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame is raffling a 1975 BMW R75/6 customized by creative master Tony Prust of Analog Motorcycles in Chicago. Raffle ticket purchasers can receive one chance to win the AMA BMW R75GS for a $5 donation, or receive five chances for a $20 donation. Donations may be made at www.americanmotorcyclist.com/hof/Raffle-Bike. Entrants must be 18 years or older and a resident of the United States to win. The winning ticket will be drawn at the Mama Tried Motorcycle Show, scheduled for Milwaukee in February.
PICKERINGTON, Ohio – A new licensing agreement between the AMA and AMI Graphics allows motorcyclists to display the pride they have for their bikes. Called “Pride in Your Ride,” the product is a wood print of a photograph uploaded from a computer, tablet or smartphone and edited online. Adding an AMA logo is optional. Photos are printed on Baltic birch plywood and can be single-panel, double-panel or triple-panel. Introductory prices range from $65 to $195. “Pride in Your Ride” is a great supplement to the official AMA photo gallery, which provides tens of thousands of free photos to AMA members. Samples of the prints can be viewed at www.ama-pride.com.
PICKERINGTON, Ohio – The AMA has added Evans Waterless Coolant as a member benefits partner. AMA members can receive a 20 percent rebate on as many as eight half-gallon bottles of Evans Waterless Powersports Coolant bought at motorcycle shops and Evans dealers. An AMA discount code is required. More information is available from Evans Waterless Coolant or on the AMA Member Benefits page.
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