EARTH WATCH

4 Wheel & Off Road - - DRIVELINES -

• SEMA RE­PORTS GOOD AND

bad news about land use. Among the good news is that leg­is­la­tion has been in­tro­duced in both the Min­nesota House and Sen­ate to help cre­ate and pro­tect well-man­aged ORV trails. The leg­is­la­tion would di­rect the com­mis­sioner of nat­u­ral re­sources to es­tab­lish a master ORV plan that iden­ti­fies ways to de­velop a com­pre­hen­sive trail sys­tem to serve re­gional and tourist des­ti­na­tions, and to bet­ter foster eco­nomic ben­e­fits for lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties. The bills have been as­signed to House and Sen­ate com­mit­tees for con­sid­er­a­tion.

• MORE GOOD: LEG­IS­LA­TION

al­low­ing three or more con­tigu­ous coun­ties to form re­gional re­cre­ation au­thor­i­ties to es­tab­lish new recre­ational trail sys­tems was ap­proved by the West Vir­ginia Sen­ate and sent to the House. The re­gional re­cre­ation au­thor­i­ties would be re­quired to work with pri­vate landown­ers, county of­fi­cials, com­mu­nity lead­ers, gov­ern­ment agen­cies, recre­ational user groups, and recre­ational en­trepreneurs to cre­ate pro­grams to man­age the trail sys­tems. The bill has been as­signed to the House Com­mit­tee on Agri­cul­ture and Nat­u­ral Re­sources.

• NOT GOOD: THE AMOUNT OF

off-road rid­ing ar­eas at Oceano Dunes will be re­duced un­der a set­tle­ment agree­ment reached be­tween the Cal­i­for­nia State Parks De­part­ment and the San Luis Obispo County Air Pol­lu­tion Con­trol Dis­trict. The agree­ment is in­tended to de­crease fine par­tic­u­late mat­ter (PM10) emis­sions by about 30 per­cent by 2023. Un­der the agree­ment, about 100 acres of rid­ing area would be im­me­di­ately fenced off, in­clud­ing some within the pop­u­lar La Grande Tract. State Parks will seek to achieve ad­di­tional 5 per­cent PM10 re­duc­tions each year for the next four years. The pro­gram in­cludes rein­tro­duc­tion of na­tive veg­e­ta­tion within fenced-off ar­eas, de­ploy­ment of wind fences, and in­stall­ment of grooved con­crete to help re­move sand from ve­hi­cles as they exit the park.

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