ORBA's Director Of Land Use Testifies On Capital Hill Opposing Riverside County Wilderness Bill - Bill Dart - Dirt Rider Magazine

BAKERSFIELD, CA (November 15, 2007) On November 13, 2007 Bill Dart, ORBA's Director of Land Use, testified in front of the House Natural Resources Committee, Subcommittee on Forests, Parks and Public Lands opposing HR 3682, the California Desert and Mountain Heritage Act, introduced by U.S. Representative Mary Bono. This bill would designate almost 200,000 acres in Riverside County as wilderness.In his testimony, Dart stated, "A wilderness designation places the most extreme limitation on the use of public lands. It prohibits mechanized and motorized uses including OHVs, bicycles and wheelchairs. As a result, these areas are no longer accessible to a large portion of American society, namely the very young, the elderly and the handicapped, who are not able to hike long distances. ORBA believes that these areas deserve protection from future development but should not be off limits to such a large segment of the population."In a time when the amount of land available for OHV recreation is decreasing we urge congress to consider a different designation for the areas in this bill where recreation is currently occurring. The recreation community would like to see a "Backcountry" designation created that allows for recreation while at the same time prohibiting future development."Dart also stated, "We are also concerned because, to our knowledge, Congresswoman Bono has not attempted to seek input from the OHV community with regard to how this bill will affect our recreation opportunities. We are in the process of trying to work with Congresswoman Bono's staff to ensure that she understands the concerns the OHV community has with this bill."