More public comment on Adventure Trails System

ohvWith a legislative bill in place for an Off Highway Vehicle pilot project, Inyo officials and citizens have gone public with information and opinions. Tuesday night the Bishop City Council hosted public comment on what’s called the Adventure Trails System.

Assembly Bill 628 establishes a pilot project for Inyo County roads in all of the towns to be used for regular vehicles and Off Highway Vehicles. Local government is now in the process of environmental reviews of the proposed dual-use roads. Bishop Public Works Director Dave Grah said local roads from near the White Mountains would come into town and arrive at Golden State Cycle, the Fairgrounds, Bishop Chamber of Commerce and Pizza Factory.

Maps will be available showing routes around Inyo towns as part of the environmental review. All motor vehicle codes apply to the OHV use on local roads. Tuesday night, most members of the public who spoke up favored the project, but some expressed concerns.

Darla Hile lives on Hanby St., which is an included route. She said while she is not against the OHV project, she is opposed to channeling of OHVs on to Hanby which is already a very busy street with lots of residents. Nils Davis and Lani Lahigh said yes to the project and pointed to economic gain. So did Greg Smith, who said Bishop Police could get grant money for extra patrolling of the OHVs.

Sam Blum called the pilot project an opportunity that could be huge. He said he would like to see more city streets opened to OHVs. Andrew Sherrit called the project important economically but said grants for police could dry up. He said the project could be 100% feasible without directing more traffic through heavily populated areas. Sherritt said routes should be more heavily scrutinized to end up at actual services.

Alan Pietrasanta, a frequently vocal supporter of economic development, said this aspect of the OHV project is important, but he asked the City to do some research and find out the pluses and minuses of similar projects in other states.

Inyo County is the lead agency for environmental review of this pilot project. The County issued a Notice of Preparation of an Environmental Impact Report. The County’s initial study indicates the potential for significant adverse environmental impacts or requirement of mitigation.

The Inyo Planning Department will accept comments on the Notice of Preparation through November 12th. The Initial Study is available at all Inyo libraries or on the Planning Department website

Scoping meetings are set for Thursday, October 24th at the Board of Supervisors Room in Independence at 6pm and Wednesday, October 30th at the Bishop City Council Chambers at 6pm. The purpose of the meetings is for presentation of views on what environmental information should be addressed in the EIR.



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16 Responses to More public comment on Adventure Trails System

  1. hot ditch21 December 21, 2014 at 6:29 pm #

    Looks like the exagerated apocoliptic views of atv riders is running full speed ahead. To start with i know tabbose cr. And from the campground theres a dirt road that takes you to the foothills of the siearras, from there its hiking trail and some real tough trail at that. What i would call goat trail. I find it hard to believe anyone could make it even a 1/4 mile upthe hiking trail, and impossible to make to the sierra crest. Also the crossing of 395 at lubkin can has been a crossing spot to get from west of 395 to east of 395 for many decades, i have crossed there 100s of times since i started riding back in the 70s. Its one of the few places you can cross 395, but i always turn north on a dirt road towards diaz lk never rode up lubkin can to alabama community. Theres just not that many dirt roads to access aroundthere. When i go out riding once away from town i rarely come accross another rider, this idea that there are or will be huge numbers of atv riders hasseling people out having a quite walk is just fantacy made up by naturalists who want public lands all to themselfs. I learned to share very early in life, some of the opposition to atv riders havnt learned that lesson yet. From a locol rider who just wants to keep keep on riding.r

  2. Mark October 21, 2013 at 2:34 pm #

    I don’t think there is a bright side. I’d watch for what we wish for on this one; We can’t be everything to everyone. But we do have more recreation oppertunities then most.

    Eastern Sierra is dual sport territory, and not so much green sticker friendly.

  3. Wayne Deja October 21, 2013 at 12:41 pm #

    Mark…..That’s one of the things I’ve been saying….great !!…..just what we all need up here….easy access for the So Cal’ers and out of towners to get from bar to bar on the trails,neighborhood roads and the pavement….and then after a day or two of drinking,hop in their vehicles and drive HWY 395 back to Los Angeles….sounds great to me….but I’m sure if and when this does happen,many of these riders will open up their “own” trails…on private property,areas not designated for off-road use,on roads they aren’t supposed to be on…into the now quiet neighborhoods,along the quiet,prestine creeks,rivers and lakes….up,into,and around the family-friendly campgrounds where kids are playing and riding their bicycles….but at least we can look at the bright side…..The Owens Valley taverns and bars will be seeing an increase in their revenue……

    • Rick O'Brien December 22, 2014 at 12:36 am #

      As usual Wayne, you paint with a VERY wide brush. MOST dirt bikers (ALL the ones that I associate with) stick to the trails, wanting to go where they lead to. Sure, there are the “outlaw” riders, but as you already know, there are bad apples in EVERY barrel. Another reason to ride legally is that the Owens Valley is boulder-strewn and after being introduced to one, helmet-first, while going 20,30 mph, you don’t ever want to meet one again. Now…as far as the wet t-shirt contest in a local bar…DO TELL, Wayne!

      • Charles O. Jones December 22, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

        I would agree that “most” off roaders behave responsibly. And yes, there are bad apples in every barrel. It’s just like everything else in life, it’s a matter of numbers. In any given activity I would say that roughly 10% of the participants will act irresponsibly. If we have 100 people riding OHV’s throughout the valley then we will likely have 10 of them behaving like jackasses. Now if we increase that number to 1000 people riding throughout the valley…do the math. (The added impacts from the responsible 90% shouldn’t be overlooked either.)

        I’m not opposed off roading in general. I just don’t support this push to bring more users to the area merely for the sake of profiting a few when there will undoubtedly be negative impacts that come with those profits. And those negative impacts will reach far more people than the few who stand to profit from this.

  4. Mark October 21, 2013 at 8:58 am #

    After riding all weekend I still do not see enough open trails for this to draw many people. Still might be a good way to bar hop from town to town,,

  5. Wayne Deja October 18, 2013 at 5:35 pm #

    Douglas….Let’s face it….saying “nix to this project”, it seems we are definitely in the minority to this view…..and ya know why ?…..some are seeing this “trail project” as bringing more $$$$ into the Owens Valley(which it won’t),and that’s about it…not looking at anything else.,and looking past all the pitfalls it will bring.Out of town dirt-bikers don’t plan visits to towns,or to be able to access towns with their sport of choice.Coming from So Cal,they already have places to go Cal City,Jaw-Bone Canyon,the Antelope Valley,etc….at least that’s the way it was back when I rode..couldn’t have cared less if I could drive on the pavement to access the local pizza parlor or McDonalds. Like one poster stated on another story related to this issue,the Owens Valley,Bishop,Lone Pine,Big Pine etc.,these towns are visited by campers,hikers,fishermen,hunters,mountain bikers and such….and not intended for rowdy dirt bikers and ATV’s to be destroying the hiking trails,as you mentioned,upsetting the peace and tranquility people come up here for,riding their motorcycles in the creeks,chasing off the game animals…but you can’t tell people that now….because of their thinking of the all-mighty dollar…and the money it will bring into the area,which it won’t…if people want to fish and hike and walk through the quiet little towns in the evening ,they choose to come to the Owens Valley….if they want to ride their dirt-bikes on the city streets,tailgate party all day long with a bunch of rowdy loud-mouth guys,and then if they are lucky,attend some drunken wet t-shirt contest at a local bar that these “trails” connect to,my bet is they will probably stay south to do it…less of a drive home with a hangover.

    • Benett Kessler October 18, 2013 at 6:40 pm #

      Wayne, I don’t know if your image of things will really come true. Just want to say that while it’s not helpful to make money the exclusive, motivating factor in things (look what’s happened to our society today), it’s necessary for our small businesses to stay afloat.


      • Wayne Deja October 19, 2013 at 8:36 am #

        Benett…..I hope your right….Maybe I see it the way I do because of growing up in Lancaster and the Antelope Valley in the late 70’s and 80’s when dirt-biking became popular…and the negative effects it had on a lot of things…turning pristine areas into race-tracks and dust-bowls going well beyond the boundries that were set up for the bikers and their sport…and seeing the type of crowds that seemed to follow.I can say that because I was included in some of that.Surely,with this proposed trail,it will bring in more business to the communities,but don’t think quite what they are hoping for or expect….not with so many existing places farther south already there for the dirt-bikers to choose from.And think the negative effects up here will out-weigh the positive ones for most.Law Enforcement will have a heck of a time keeping it under control….and from getting out of hand IF it did turn into a biker-mecca for those coming up from down South…hard to tell the difference between a licensed 23 year old helmeted rider from a 14 year old unlicensed helmeted rider with no insurance and limited experience sharing the highway with vehicles…..among other things.And will be very difficult keeping these riders on the proposed trails and off the already existing hiking and mountain-bike trails…..and out of the creeks and areas closed to motorized traffic…..and off the paved roads not designated as part of this “trail”….We’ll see what it brings……I don’t know how far this “trail” is supposed to extend through the Owens Valley,but hope it stays north of where I live…if Bishop is wanting this to take place,hopefully that will be the area it starts…..and stops….and stays away from, and off of HWY 395, and the smaller communities up here that don’t really want the hassle I think it’s going to bring….. I can see it now….a group of dirt-bikers from L.A. chasing the elk around (and off) those alfalfa and viewing fields between Independence and Big Pine…

        • Benett Kessler October 19, 2013 at 9:27 am #

          I believe there are dual-use roads proposed for each community. Will check on that. Thanks, Wayne.

  6. Douglas Parham October 18, 2013 at 2:25 pm #

    Wayne is right. cops in cars or trucks can’t catch dirt bike riders and they can’t be identified because they are not required to display visible license plates. Riders are already making a mess of hiking trails. I camped next to a dirt biker at Taboose creek last yer. He revved up his bike for 15 minutes and then took off for the sierra summit via hiking trails and was back in an hour. Nix to this project!

    • Wayne December 20, 2014 at 6:23 pm #

      A dirt biker took off for the Sierra summit from Taboose creek? Maybe so. However the public road “Combined Use Routes” are where the serious safety and liability issues reside. With the new delay, till Jan 22, there is time to go explore all these combined use routes and have a serious discussion before and at the public meeting. There seems to be a perception that they are just city streets, however for some of the mountain roads, Tuttle Creek and Lubkin Canyon for example, it is hard to believe CHP certified as safe for such combined use. Go drive, ride if you have a street legal machine, and check them out for yourself. Visualize quads and dirt bikes crossing Hwy395 @ Lubkin Canyon Road and CHP certifying it is safe to advertise for increased two way traffic through Tuttle Creek Canyon. Then see you at the public meeting on Jan 22 to hear what you think.

      • Russ Monroe December 21, 2014 at 11:22 am #

        Your statement: “it is hard to believe CHP certified as safe for such combined use” points up a fundamental misunderstanding of what this vote is about.
        The combined use on these roads already exists. If one follows through with your request to ride the roads, they will not have to “visualize” anything; as quads, motorcycles and almost all types of OHVs(street licensed ones) use these roads every day and have for decades. This is a first hand account, as I have driven these roads almost daily for the last four decades.
        This vote is about correcting a problem, for tourist and locals alike, and the reason that law enforcement has participated in this process is that this change in law will make enforcement easier for them and the rules clearer for the visitors
        Thank you for encouraging people to check this out for themselves. That will help move the process forward.
        Reading the proposal will help increase that level of understanding also.

  7. Wayne Deja October 17, 2013 at 1:38 pm #

    If this does go through….IF…….will be intresting to see if the area gets some of those little groups of “guy-guy’s” riding around and looking for trouble like they had in NYC a few weeks ago,surrounding a vehicle,forcing them to stop, breaking their windows,and then attempting to pull the driver,passenger,and child out of the car to beat them up…probably not,but can’t wait to see how the people supporting this “trail” are gonna feel when these “riders” are buzzing up and down their quiet little street …speeding… all hours of the day and night….and then when Law Enforcement is called,watching the OHV’ers go off onto the dirt roads with the Bishop Police and CHP in hot pursuit….and probably getting away….and PLEASE don’t tell me that won’t happen…..a couple weeks ago in my town,at 7 A.M. on a Sunday morning, there were cyclists speeding down my street and the next.After making my complaint to ICSO,turned on my scanner,and sure enough,they had gotten more than just my call for doing what they were doing.

  8. Mark October 17, 2013 at 8:44 am #

    I support this project 100% however with the forest service and FOI’s attack on dirt trails once off the pavement there are very few actual loops to ride.

  9. Trouble October 17, 2013 at 7:07 am #

    I live on part of the route and I am really happy it is going to happen. We will be one of a few people in this country that can hop on our toys and just go. Anybody want to buy a trailer?


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