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Old 04-09-2020, 04:24 AM   #1
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California "Green Sticker" OHV Program History

Some folks have worked long and hard to preserve access to play in the dirt.
CORVA especially, and Bob Ham shared some in the latest ORIA, Off Roaders in Action.
Kind've a wall of text, but fascinating.

https://www.corva.org/resources/Docu...g-2020-Web.pdf

The California Off Road Vehicle Association was formally incorporated with the California Secretary of State 50 years ago in 1970. As part of our 50th year celebration, one of our original founders who is still active on CORVA’s Board, Bob Ham, put together a brief story on the first 20 years of CORVA.
Since Bob was always more involved in the land use and legislative aspects of CORVA, his story about the early years chronicles our involvement with several key pieces of legislation. These bills shaped the future of CORVA as well as the off road recreation sport in California during those first 20 years. What follows is Bob’s recollection of CORVA from its’ beginning through 1991.

It was 1969 or so, when a bunch of off road vehicle clubs got together to form CORVA, the California Off-Road Vehicle Association.
We could see that things were changing, and we knew that ORV people were going to have to organize, and stand together, to protect our right to participate in our favorite activity.

The BLM was being phased out because their old mission as the “Land Office”, tasked with disposing of public land, was winding down. Those desperate bureaucrats recognized that the emerging ecology movement would provide them with a critically needed relevancy, and they immediately began proposing new rules, regulations and fees upon us, where none had previously existed.

At the same time the State Park System had already closed several popular recreation areas to off road use and was setting its sights on closing the very popular Pismo Dunes (now Oceano Dunes, SVRA) Recreation Area to off-roading. Concurrently, housing developers expanded urban limits by converting what had previously been popular local riding areas into new subdivisions to keep up with the emerging housing demand of the baby boomer generation.

With all this going on, we became aware of legislation that was already most of the way through the state legislature. These laws would require non-street legal vehicles to obtain an identification sticker from the DMV to legally operate on public land. The objective seemed to be primarily for the state to raise money and so people could have a way of reporting juveniles and others who were riding their mini-bikes or other ORVs illegally near those new neighborhoods. That particular bill failed passage only because the legislator who carried it had a fatal heart attack. The bill died when he did.

AB 2342 CHAPPIE/Z’BERG OHV ACT OF 1971
The next year, a few Off Road organization leaders were summoned to meet with California State Assemblyman Gene Chappie. As a Jeeper and snowmobiler, Chappie saw the issue from our point of view and wanted to help us. He explained that people from both parties wanted to severely restrict off-roading or shut it down completely, but he wanted to work out a plan to stop the unthinkable from happening. He knew he was talking to a bunch of people who had been enjoying the outdoors on dirt-bikes, 4WDs and buggies with virtually no rules or restrictions for years, and that was part of what drew us to this activity. He didn’t pull any punches when his first words to use were: “ITS ALL OVER NOW, things will never be the same”.

His suggestion was to go along with the idea to make us register our vehicles since we were going to lose that battle anyway, BUT we needed to get something in return. And, that is where we began to lay out a game plan. Our strategy was to use the opportunity we’d been given, to transform the State of California from an entity trying to shut us down, to a partner in off road recreation. Under our version of a registration program, the registration would include a fee that would go to the Department of Parks and Recreation to acquire land and construct trails where we could legally operate our off-road vehicles. Chappie had already convinced a fairly environmental leaning legislator to become a co-author of this milestone legislation. Before we left his office, most of us agreed to help him and the crusade began. Later that same year, AB 2342, the Chappie-Z’berg Off Highway Vehicle Act of 1971, was approved by both houses of the legislature. Governor Reagan signed it into law in December of 1971 at a ceremony on the North Lawn of the State Capitol that was attended by a few off-road enthusiasts and state officials. This effort by CORVA and others was the spark that created the nation’s very first state run off road vehicle program. Today dozens of states have followed suit and most were patterned after the success California has enjoyed with the program.

Today, this program now collects and spends just south of $100 million per year in support of 8 ORV Recreation Areas from the Feather River region in Northern California to Imperial County in the Southeast corner of the state. Since 1972, the program has collected and spent an astounding one billion dollars from registrations; fuel taxes; and park admission fees. They manage 125,000 acres in 8 ORV areas and are host to 5 million visitors annually. A staff of 250 state employees operates these facilities, and administers a grant program that provides assistance to the Forest Service and BLM, cities and counties, that provide ORV opportunities, and special districts and non-profits to deliver services that promote off road motorized recreation. Without the availability of this money flowing to help manage federal ORV areas, millions more acres would have been closed and permits for races and large events would have ceased to exist years ago.

CORVA, however, wasn’t finished. A year after we passed this first off-road legislation, we helped Assemblyman Chappie go after another source of money to fund the program. Again he teamed up with an environmentalist legislator and went after the portion of gasoline taxes that were being paid by the newly registered off road vehicles. Since these vehicles were not allowed on highways with just their green sticker registration, we argued that their portion of fuel taxes should go to the OFF HIGHWAY Vehicle Fund and not the HIGHWAY fund. This was accomplished with the Chappie/Gregorio Off Highway Vehicle Act of 1972 that required all of the fuel taxes that were estimated to be used by green stickered vehicles would go into the Off Highway Vehicle Fund instead of the highway fund. The money from this source immediately increased the size of the program to a level where the Department of Parks could actually start acquiring land.

But still, CORVA was not done. In 1973 we set out to win our biggest prize. After having carefully laid out the arguments in previous years against putting the fuel taxes paid by off road vehicles into the highway account when the fuel was not used on a highway, we simply carried this logic forward in our next bill that would declare that all fuel taxes that street-registered vehicles consumed when they were recreating off of the highways should also go to the Off Highway Vehicle Fund. This bill required the Department of Motor Vehicles along with the Department of Transportation and the Department of Parks and Recreation to conduct a study to determine how much fuel was consumed by jeeps, dual sport bikes, and other street registered vehicles while engaged in recreational off road travel. By the time this bill was enacted, the small fee to register ORVs from the original bill, which amounted to $15 every two years, or $7.50 per year, was a miniscule part of the total revenue that was now supporting the program.

Now that off-road had a secure source of money to buy and operate off-highway parks, CORVA continued to put pressure on the Department of Parks and Recreation to move forward with the program, and even though a very supportive Governor Reagan had now turned over the reins of power to a far less supportive Jerry Brown, California went on to create State Vehicular Recreation Areas at the former Pismo State Beach, and at Clay Pit near Lake Oroville. The department also acquired brand new ORV areas at Gorman on the top of the Grapevine, and at Carnegie Motorcycle Park in the SF East Bay.

The privately-owned Hollister Hills Motorcycle Park, a place in danger of being sold to developers, joined the SVRA family shortly after. The largest acquisition followed with BLM and private lands near Ocotillo Wells. All these areas were dedicated to ORV recreation, and some are among the largest units of the entire State Park System.

AB 2397 THE OFF-HIGHWAY MOTOR VEHICLE RECREATION ACT OF 1982

CORVA and other allied groups continued to push a reluctant Department of Parks and Recreation to move faster to acquire and develop more areas and trails. This was particularly true for areas closer to the larger population areas, so OHV enthusiasts would not have to travel many hours to reach a legal riding area. After a half dozen years of trying to get some kind of coordinated response from the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), it became apparent to CORVA’s leaders that the problem was not so much an unwillingness by the DPR staff or management to deliver a quality OHV program as much as it was an organizational infrastructure problem within the DPR. By the time the program was 10 years old, there were only a handful of employees at headquarters who had a significant role with OHV program. From time to time the director of DPR would name one person as the program leader but even that function would move around from the Planning Division, or the Grants Division, or some other cubby hole on the 11th or 14th floor of the Resources Building in Sacramento.

We began to hear rumors from Parks employees at the SVRAs that headquarters people who worked on various OHV projects were told to keep their time sheets in a way that on any day where they spent over an hour working on OHV to simply report it as a full day spent on OHV, and of course when the State Controller reimbursed the Department from the various funds under its control, the OHV Fund was being way overcharged for the work that was actually performed on behalf of the program.

CORVA called a meeting in 1981 that was attended by representatives from CORVA; Cal 4WD Assn.; the AMA Sports Districts and national office; MIC; CMDA; the San Diego Off-Road Coalition and others. At that meeting we concluded that the only way to end our frustration with the lack of transparency and the need to create a coherent program within DPR, was to get the legislature to order these changes. We took our ideas to Assemblyman Bruce Young, who chaired the Assembly Transportation Committee, and he agreed to carry a bill for us with our language that would hopefully solve some of these problems. After numerous hearings and negotiations as the bill worked its way through the legislative process, an initially hostile DPR finally agreed to negotiate some changes to the bill in exchange for them removing their opposition after it became clear to them that we probably had the votes necessary to get the bill out of the Senate and on to the Governor’s Desk. Later that fall, without a great deal of fanfare, AB 2397 The Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Act of 1982 was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. This bill created the OHV Division as an entity within the DPR where the OHV Program would be housed and virtually all of the full time DPR headquarter employees who worked on the OHV program would comprise this single entity. Policy development and management oversight for the SVRAs would also be developed by the employees who worked in the OHMVR Division that was created by the bill. At the same time transparency and the ability for off roaders to have some input into the management and direction of program was assured with the creation of an Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Commission comprised of stakeholders from the OHV community and others with an interest in OHV recreation, safety, and environmental sustainability. It was a 7 member commission with 3 members appointed by the Governor, and 2 each by the Speaker of the Assembly and the Senate Rules Committee.

The downside of this bill was that since it established a new commission and Division in a state agency, the legislature added a sunset clause which meant that the program would have to be reviewed again after 5 years.

S. 400 THE NATIONAL RECREATIONAL TRAILS FUND ACT OF 1991 (INCORPORATED INTO THE INTERMODAL SURFACE TRANSPORTATION EFFICIENCY ACT OF 1991)

By the time California’s OHV program was nearly 20 years old and numerous other states had followed suit with OHV programs of their own, CORVA and allied off road groups from around the country began talking about the notion of doing the same thing with federal taxes on motor fuels that are consumed in OHV recreation that had worked so well in California. At the national level the idea caught on with the AMA and the American Recreation Coalition. Together they secured the support of New York Senator Patrick Moynihan and the Blue Ribbon Coalition which brought on board Idaho Senator Steve Symms who introduced the original bill. After failing passage in 1990, the coalition of state and national off-road groups regrouped their efforts and this time the National Recreational Trails Fund Act of 1991 was passed as Symms’ S.400, and was incorporated into the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991.

During this period CORVA was in constant contact with our California representatives, and both Senators Pete Wilson, and his successor Senator John Seymour, attended two successive CORVA annual conventions to demonstrate their support for our efforts. The legislation secured passage of this significant addition and finally enacted a comprehensive state and federal funding program to support off road areas and trails in California. Since that time, the federal act has been reauthorized as part of the federal transportation renewals several times over the years, thus ensuring that the Federal Recreational Trails Program (RTP) has been kept intact.

CORVA’s second 20 years will be highlighted in a future issue of our newsletter “Off Roaders in Action; the ORIA. Stay tuned.
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Old 04-09-2020, 04:26 AM   #2
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Hodaka Ace 90. I've been riding these things too long. What can I say? How about that Combat Wombat?

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Old 04-09-2020, 06:29 PM   #3
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Thanks Butch!!!!
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Old 04-09-2020, 07:11 PM   #4
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Will read this weekend.
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Old 04-10-2020, 05:42 AM   #5
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Great info Butch.

Reminds me of just how much I dislike the inevitable growth of bureaucracy inherent in our (any?) government.
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Old 04-10-2020, 08:40 AM   #6
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It's gonna take you that long to get through it but well worth it.
Thanks for the history lesson, Butch.
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Old 04-10-2020, 10:58 PM   #7
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Thanks Butch, I did not know many of these details. Look forward to Part II and the green sticker era.

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Old 04-11-2020, 04:58 AM   #8
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OK, ya went and did it Butch!

I've known of CORBA and their tireless work to keep trails open for a long time. I've met some of the members in the past on OHV lobby days in Sacramento.
I know they do good/great work on our behalf.
Obvious by your post here.

So, what is it you've gone and done?
Your constant work to combat OHV closures, as well as the info you've supplied here have inspired me to join CORVA. Did it yesterday. Anybody else?

THANKS!
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Old 04-12-2020, 05:42 PM   #9
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CORVA is so worthwhile. We also need to work on having Ted Cabral replace Marc Levine in MArin.
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Old 04-13-2020, 08:02 AM   #10
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