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Dear WWATS members,

What you will read below has in most part, little to do with our hobby, but has a great deal of importance to us. Here we have another hobby organization that has finally fought for so long that now land managers across the country have "DESIGNATED" (remember I told you how important that word is to land managers and us) areas for them to enjoy their hobby on managed lands.
There is no time better than now to strike while the iron-is-hot and start another dialog with land managers to open "Designated Areas" in Public Use Areas for our hobby. Since my last trip to Washington DC a number of Forest Service managers have had interest in supporting our efforts for such areas on lands that they control. Their greatest worry is that we will come as an unorganized few or group and make it hard for them to retain control and uphold their duties to protect the land and it's resources. If we are to be successful, we must start by showing ourselves as responsible groups and only request searching areas under their control in a group for the time being. At this point I'm contacting again those I spoke to in Washington and hope that with this news of the group below receiving designated areas that in the near future we can do the same. My suggestion is, that if any of you have a relationship with any land managers, you also carry what you read below to them and suggest that our hobby deserves the same. Thank you  much, Keith Wills, president

Dear BlueRibbon Coalition Media List Subscriber

Don Amador, BRC's Western Representative, has written an excellent opinion piece for publication. Please feel free to print Don's latest in your Magazine or Newsletter.  Accompanying photos can be downloaded at Managed Rec Photos.

If you have any questions you can contact Don via email at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

BRC Media Department

By Don Amador
Western Representative
BlueRibbon Coalition, Inc.
March 13, 2006
Word count: 601
*Note to Editor: Photos avail. by request

On a national basis, federal land managers are formally designating roads, trails, and areas for motorized vehicle use as they transition from "unmanaged" to managed recreation.  To make that effort successful, the agencies are asking that off-highway vehicle (OHV) clubs partner with them in various fashions.  Those activities include volunteer trail work, helping with route inventory, and riding in a responsible manner.  

Many OHV organizations are already donating thousands of hours of volunteer labor to fix trails, improve campgrounds, or help with public outreach.  OHV groups are functionally engaged in numerous route inventory and designation processes.  Operating an OHV with a sound-compliant exhaust system and following trail etiquette are good examples of responsible use.

In addition, OHV recreationists years ago imposed a mandatory registration and fuel tax program upon themselves. These "user fees" are required for anyone who operates motorized vehicles off-road in the State of California. Other states have similar programs. The fees are generally available to land managers for trail maintenance and law enforcement as well as the development of OHV opportunities.

In the new era of managed recreation and partnerships the term "responsible use" now requires OHV organizations to incorporate resource or trail conservation into their events.

In January of 2006, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) signed the Record of Decision that designated OHV routes and areas in the Clear Creek Management Area (CCMA), near Coalinga, California.  That document allows OHV clubs including the TimeKeepers Motorcycle Club (TMC) to hold their popular AMA and District 36 Sanctioned Wild Piglet and Wild Boar Enduros.  Those events were scheduled for March 11 and 12, 2006.

However, a powerful winter snow storm hit the evening before the events started and forced the club to make some hard decisions.  The BLM had just lifted their wet-weather closure on Friday, the day before the event weekend.  I had toured many of the course routes with BLM ranger, William Schwarz, and the area had dried out enough before the storm hit to hold the events.  Ranger Schwarz also pointed out the agency's new signing program to identify open routes and restricted areas.

Since not enough measurable precipitation had fallen to technically trigger an emergency closure the organization had a decision to make.  Hold the events to make the riders happy or cancel/postpone them to protect resources.  Many of the participants had driven hundreds of miles to attend.  Also, club members had worked hard marking the course.  Event specific t-shirts had been purchased.

Post-storm, running hundreds of motorcycles on a number of the course's snow covered single-track trails would have caused a significant impact to the routes.  TMC trail crews had gone out and surveyed the course and came back and said that holding the events would be an irresponsible decision.

I believe the BLM would have called the events.  However, TMC chose to make the correct call themselves.  Historically, many clubs would select to make the agency look like the "bad guy" by having them cancel the event.  In this new era of managed recreation and partnerships, I believe that OHV clubs and riders will have to shoulder more of the burden for making responsible land-use decisions.  

The 2005 National Survey on Recreation and Environment showed the proportion of people age 16 and older who said they participated in OHV recreation increased from 16.8 percent in 1999-2000 to 23.8 percent in 2003-2004.  With that growth in OHV activity comes responsibility.  I witnessed that in action at CCMA.  

# # #

Don Amador writes on recreation issues from his office in Oakley, California.  He is a consultant for the BlueRibbon Coalition and former chairman of the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Commission at California State Parks.

Don Amador
Western Representative
BlueRibbon Coalition, Inc.
555 Honey Lane
Oakley, CA 94561
Office: 925.625.6287
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Crackdown launched on rogue treasure hunters


Tue May 2, 2006 1:28 PM BST - Reuters UK

By Jeremy Lovell

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain launched a crackdown on rogue treasure-hunters on Tuesday in an effort to protect the country's ancient heritage.

Faced with a growing number of priceless artefacts appearing for sale on Internet, museums, metal detectorists and archaeologists in England and Wales have agreed a new code of conduct.

The voluntary code comes after massive looting of a Roman-Celtic temple at Wanborough in Surrey in the mid-1980s and as customs officers seize ever more antiquities being smuggled out of the country.

"This code represents a major step forward," said Mike Heyworth of the Council for British Archaeology.

"Most detectorists are only interested in finding and preserving local antiquity ... and to make a positive contribution to our historical knowledge," he told reporters at the British Museum.

"There are just a few illicit detectorists motivated solely by profit."

In recent years, amateur metal detectorists have unearthed invaluable artefacts like the Bronze Age Ringlemere Gold Cup, the Winchester Hoard of Iron Age jewellery and the bronze Roman Staffordshire Moorlands Pan.

But Roger Bland, head of the portable antiquities scheme at the museum, said unscrupulous detectorists were arriving from the Netherlands and the United States to search illegally for buried treasure which was then offered for sale on the Internet.

"Most detectorists are highly responsible, getting permission from the landowner to search and reporting the fact and exact location of their finds," he said.

"But just a few aren't, and they are the ones doing the damage," he added, stressing that ignorance of correct procedure was as much to blame as the deliberate flouting of it.

Under the code, detectorists must get permission to search, join a recognised detectorists' club, log the precise location of any find and report it to the landowner -- who has a share in any valuation -- and to the portable antiquities scheme.

Steve Critchley, head of the National Council for Metal Detecting, estimated there could be between 20,000 and 30,000 detectorists in the country.

"While the archaeologists go for the big cherries, we detectorists tend to operate in the periphery and what we find adds significantly to the sum of knowledge -- which is why it is so important to log it precisely," Critchley said.

"Every find adds to the picture. The danger is the lack of recording," he added.

Bland estimated that currently as many as half of the artefacts found -- ranging from belt buckles to plates -- might not be being declared.