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Off-highway vehicle rollover a reminder to practice OHV safety

4x4 Wire - Wed, 04/27/2016 - 16:25

April 27, 2016 – The Arizona Game and Fish Department reminds all off-highway vehicle (OHV) drivers and passengers to ensure they are riding safely by carrying only the number of passengers for which their vehicle is designed.

The reminder comes after a Mohave County couple was injured when their single-rider all-terrain vehicle (ATV) flipped recently while on a difficult roadway in the Hualapai Mountains, according to the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office. Most ATVs are only designed to carry a single rider.

Categories: Legislation

10 Qualities of a Great Trail Leader

4x4 Wire - Sat, 04/16/2016 - 15:14

You’ve driven the trails numerous times. Have hundreds of hours of 4WD experience under your belt (some of which, of course, is spent outside of the vehicle). You’re good with people, and feel your managerial skills are top notch. You’d like to be Trail Leader for an upcoming excursion. What’s next? 

First, I commend you for wanting to take on a leadership role. As a certified professional 4WD Trainer with more than 40 years of off-road experience, I know the value of a good Trail Leader. Our hobby could use more people willing to step forward and fulfill this role. 

Categories: Legislation

US Forest Service to begin annual aerial surveys in early summer

MuirNet - Fri, 04/15/2016 - 11:57

Tree mortality expected to climb from 2015

VALLEJO, California – With tree mortality rising to an estimated record-high 27.6 million trees in California in 2015, the U.S. Forest Service Aerial Survey team’s role in generating data for the agency and state and local partners is more critical than ever.

The U.S. Forest Service began doing aerial survey detection in the Pacific Northwest Region in the 1950s, with a small program in the Pacific Southwest Region (California) established in the 1990s. A dedicated team was assigned to the regional office in the early 2000s when Sudden Oak Death became more prevalent. In addition to detecting the Sudden Oak Death and conifer mortality, aerial survey flights first detected the Gold Spotted Oak Borer infestation in 2004. 

Read More ...

Categories: Legislation

Moss is useful bioindicator of cadmium air pollution, new study finds

MuirNet - Thu, 04/14/2016 - 16:15

April 6, 2016. Moss growing on urban trees is a useful bio-indicator of cadmium air pollution in Portland, Oregon, a U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station-led study has found. The work - the first to use moss to generate a rigorous and detailed map of air pollution in a U.S. city - is published online in the journal Science of the Total Environment.

"What's unique about this study is that we used moss to track down previously unknown pollution sources in a complex urban environment with many possible sources," said Sarah Jovan, a research lichenologist at the station based in Portland and one of the study's co-leads.

Moss have been used as bioindicators - living organisms that can help monitor environmental health - by the Forest Service and other agencies for decades. Because moss lack roots, they absorb all of their water and nutrients from the atmosphere, inadvertently taking up and storing whatever compounds happen to be in the air.

Read More ...

Categories: Legislation

Methane from Some Wetlands May Lower Benefits of Carbon Sequestration

MuirNet - Thu, 04/14/2016 - 15:02

Sacramento, Calif. – Methane emissions from restored wetlands may offset the benefits of carbon sequestration a new study from the U.S. Geological Survey suggests. Wetlands are known to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide through plant photosynthesis and also provide habitat and food sources for wildlife, act as biological filters for improving water quality and improve coastal protection in the face of sea level rise. What is not well understood is how wetland production of other more potent greenhouses gases like methane offset these benefits. Results from the new study show that restored wetlands can release enough methane to reduce or even negate the benefits the same wetlands offer of carbon sequestration.

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Categories: Legislation

BLM Extends Comment Period on Proposed Land-Use Planning Rule

4x4 Wire - Thu, 04/14/2016 - 14:48

Apr 15, 2016 - In response to requests from the public, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will extend the comment period on a proposed land-use planning rule by 30 days. The proposed rule aims to improve the planning process by making it more collaborative, transparent, and effective. 

Categories: Legislation

We Are OHV: the California OHMVR Program 

4x4 Wire - Thu, 04/14/2016 - 10:14

In 1971, the Chappie-Z’berg Act established the California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Program that has successfully provided for a self-funded, high-quality OHV recreation program. The OHV community has supported directing funds to law enforcement, education programs emphasizing safe and responsible vehicle operation, conservation efforts, and closure and restoration of OHV areas. 

Categories: Legislation

New Maps Illuminate Monterey Bay Area Seafloor

MuirNet - Thu, 04/07/2016 - 10:39

Six new sets of maps from USGS reveal the diverse and complex range of seafloor habitats along 130 kilometers (80 miles) of the central California coast from the Monterey Peninsula north to Pigeon Point. The publicly available maps can be used by a large stakeholder community to understand and manage California’s vast and valuable marine resources. 

The new sets of maps reveal the diverse and complex range of seafloor habitats along 130 kilometers (80 miles) of the central California coast from the Monterey Peninsula north to Pigeon Point. The publicly available maps can be used by a large stakeholder community to understand and manage California’s vast and valuable marine resources. 

Read More ...

Categories: Legislation

New Maps Illuminate Monterey Bay Area Seafloor

MuirNet - Thu, 04/07/2016 - 10:39

Six new sets of maps from USGS reveal the diverse and complex range of seafloor habitats along 130 kilometers (80 miles) of the central California coast from the Monterey Peninsula north to Pigeon Point. The publicly available maps can be used by a large stakeholder community to understand and manage California’s vast and valuable marine resources. 

The new sets of maps reveal the diverse and complex range of seafloor habitats along 130 kilometers (80 miles) of the central California coast from the Monterey Peninsula north to Pigeon Point. The publicly available maps can be used by a large stakeholder community to understand and manage California’s vast and valuable marine resources. 

Read More ...

Categories: Legislation

Two New Klamath Basin Agreements Carve out Path for Dam Removal and Provide Key Benefits to Irrigators

MuirNet - Thu, 04/07/2016 - 10:09

The U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Department of Commerce, PacificCorp, and the states of Oregon and California today State and federal officials also signed a new, separate agreement with irrigation interests and other parties known as the 2016 Klamath Power and Facilities Agreement (KPFA). This agreement will help Klamath Basin irrigators avoid potentially adverse financial and regulatory impacts associated with the return of fish runs to the Upper Klamath Basin, which are anticipated after dams are removed.

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Categories: Legislation

Forest Service research grasslands, shrublands 2015 Annual Report issued

MuirNet - Thu, 03/31/2016 - 10:07

Attached is the 2015 Annual Report for one of the USDA Forest Service (FS) research programs that places an emphasis on western native plants.  

This issue takes a look at a few of the 2015 research and application studies conducted by scientists and their partners with the Forest Service’s Grassland, Shrubland and Desert Ecosystems Science Program (GSD). Significant results of recent research and science delivery by program scientists are highlighted. We feature program research that lines up with the strategic research priorities of the USDA Forest Service, as well as those of our stakeholders. In particular, we spotlight accomplishments in research and technology that address:

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Categories: Legislation

Volume and value of West coast log, lumber exports down in 2015

MuirNet - Thu, 03/31/2016 - 09:46

Volume and value of West coast log, lumber exports down in 2015

PORTLAND, Ore. March 22, 2016. The latest data summarizing West coast log and lumber exports in the fourth quarter of 2015 were released today by the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station. The data—covering exports during October, November, and December 2015—were compiled and analyzed by Xiaoping Zhou, a research economist with the station.

Read More ...

Categories: Legislation

The Western Governors’ ESA Initiative

MuirNet - Wed, 03/09/2016 - 09:24

March 8, 2016: The U.S. Congress has not reauthorized the Endangered Species Act since 1992. Despite many attempts to both amend and reauthorize the Act, a 1997 bi-partisan bill introduced by Idaho’s then-Senator Dirk Kempthorne came the closest.[1]

This year the center of gravity for examining the Endangered Species Act (“ESA” or “Act”) has shifted to western governors – those who have the day-to-day experience managing difficult species issues. The Western Governors’ Association (“WGA”) is undertaking a review of the ESA, and is currently in the process of exploring ways and best practices to “elevate the role of states in species conservation efforts.”[2]

Past efforts to reform the ESA typically have not moved past the aspirations. In the midst of the Governors’ effort, however, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service (collectively, “the Services”)[3] recently updated their policy for cooperating with states under the ESA.[4]This updated policy presents WGA and other involved stakeholders an opportunity to move the ESA toward a more cooperative partnership between federal and state actors. Realizing that opportunity will largely depend on the Services’ willingness to facilitate cooperative agreements with the States. Greater involvement by States could facilitate a more cooperative and innovative approach to ESA implementation.

The ESA Initiative

WGA represents the Governors of 19 Western states and 3 U.S.-flag islands. The WGA encourages “bipartisan policy development, information exchange and collective action on issues of critical importance to the Western United States.”[5] Each year the incoming Chairman of WGA may select a Chairman’s Initiative that analyzes a particular issue of western significance.[6] Following the multi-stakeholder effort to prevent the ESA listing of the Greater sage-grouse, Wyoming Governor Matt Mead selected the ESA as his topic of focus.

In announcing the initiative, Governor Mead outlined his aim to “change the conversation” and “take a hard look at the ESA” to see where it has been successful and where changes are needed.[7] Through a series of four workshops across the West,[8]participants have and will continue to “share best practices and engage in a robust conversation regarding species conservation efforts, and explore ways to improve the efficacy of the Endangered Species Act.”[9]WGA has also hosted three webinars covering similar ESA topics.[10] At a minimum, WGA has already provided a great repository of information for those interested in the ESA.[11]

The ESA workshops to this point have been held in in Cody, Wyo. and Boise, Idaho. In a Boise Roundtable discussion, one panelist stated the ESA should be viewed as a “motivator,” and not a panacea for resolving these difficult issues.[12] Despite noting examples where the Act has been and is deficient, both Governors Mead and Otter urged attendees to continue on the difficult path of collaboration and “come up with an innovative process through which we can resolve this issue.”[13]While some participants may not agree that the ESA is in need of reform, the workshops prove to be a good place to have conversations regarding the impact of the ESA.

Possible Template

On February 22, 2016, the Services updated a 1994 policy clarifying the role of State agencies in implementing the ESA.[14] The reason for this update is two-fold: (1) to establish a “renewed commitment by the Services and State fish and wildlife agencies to work together” in conserving wildlife; and (2) to recognize the States’ role in implementing ESA tools that have emerged or are now more common since 1994, such as Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances (“CCAAs”) and Habitat Conservation Agreements (“HCPs”).[15]

The ESA Cooperative Policy recognizes that States “possess broad trustee and police powers over fish, wildlife, and plans and their habitat within their borders.”[16] With this recognition, the policy invites States to have greater participation in five key ESA areas: Pre- and Post-listing under section 4; Section 7 consultations; HCP Planning; and Recovery efforts. The Services stress the need to utilize State expertise, authority and scientific information in all of these areas.

Specifically, in the Pre-listing context the Services encourage collaborative facilitation of “voluntary conservation actions”[17] on behalf of species before they reach the point at which they need Federal protection under the Act.[18] And if a species is listed under the ESA, a landowner may seek the regulatory assurances provided in a HCP. The updated policy could heighten interest in this conservation tool as it contemplates “work[ing] with State agencies to the maximum extent practicable,” especially when the State and Federal government both have “similar authority for permitting activities related to threatened and endangered species.”[19] The ESA Cooperative Policy provides the underlying rationale for this approach: “State agencies, because of their authorities and their close working relationships with local governments and landowners, are in aunique positionto assist the Services in implementing all aspects of the Act.”[20]

Implications for States and WGA

States will likely welcome the Federal invitation for greater Federal-State cooperation. In fact, most States seek greater state influence in statutes that foster a “cooperative Federalism” structure, such as the Clean Air Act or Clean Water Act.[21] But full partnership with the states under the ESA has always been elusive.[22] With the Services’ updated policy, the WGA, through its ESA Initiative, may now influence ESA enforcement.

From a State’s perspective, two immediate issues need to be addressed. First, there is a question of whether State fish and game agencies have the capacity (staffing and budgetary) to timely provide to decision-makers, the expertise and scientific information within the strict timeframes of required by the ESA. This is especially true for those agencies whose budgets heavily rely on licensing fees.

Second, is the potential for the States to use Section 6 of the ESA to influence Services’ decisionmaking. Although most States do not have a State-level ESA or similar permitting authority, the states might seek to utilize ESA Section 6 Agreements to foster innovation in ESA implementation.

Section 6 of the ESA states, “[i]n carrying out the program authorized by this Act, the Secretary shall cooperate to the maximum extent practicable with the State.” 16 U.S.C. § 1535(a). The Secretary is authorized to memorialize this cooperation by an agreement “in accordance with this section with any State which establishes and maintains an adequate and active program for the conservation of endangered and threatened species.” 16 U.S.C. § 1535(c).

Up to now, Agreements under Section 6 of the ESA have been primarily used as a tool to provide funding to States to implement projects for conserving listed species.[23] However, Section 6 need not be limited to this purpose. These cooperative agreements have been an underutilized tool due to the Act’s ambiguous statutory language. For example what is an “adequate and active” State program? This ambiguity is compounded by the fact that implementing regulations for Section 6 do not exist.[24] The WGA could seek to increase the influence of the states by urging adoption of Section 6 regulations that would recognize these HCPs as vehicles for states to participate in ESA enforcement.[25]


WGA’s ESA Initiative has the potential to move the ESA Cooperative Policy from a needed policy statement to something meaningful for stakeholders involved with ESA issues. Section 6 Agreements and the development of implementing regulations provide one avenue to accomplish this objective. The ESA Initiative has made remarkable progress in a short period of time. It remains to be seen whether the leadership of western governors can move the conversation from instructive anecdotes and best practices to identifying achievable changes in the cooperative operation of the ESA.

For more information, please contact Tom Perry of the firm’s Boise office or any other member of Marten Law’s Natural Resourcespractice.

[1]SeeS. 1180, “Endangered Species Recovery Act of 1997”; available at:http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d105:s.01180: (last visited Mar. 1, 2016).

[2]Western Governors’ Association, “Chairman’s Initiative – The Western Governors’ Endangered Species Act Initiative”; available at:http://westgov.org/initiatives/esa-initiative(last visited Mar. 1, 2016).

[3]The Secretaries of the Interior and Commerce have the responsibility for administering the ESA. Those duties have been delegated to the Services.

[4]SeeRevised Interagency Cooperative Policy Regarding the Role of State Agencies in Endangered Species Act Activities, 81 Fed. Reg. 8663 (Feb. 22, 2016) (hereinafter “ESA Cooperative Policy”).

[5]WGA Chairman’s Initiative; available at:http://westgov.org/initiatives(last visited Mar. 1, 2016).

[6]Past Chairmen’s Initiatives have included such issues: energy, sage-grouse, water and drought, wildfire, outdoor recreation, and forest health.Seehttp://westgov.org/reportsto view the reports generated from these initiatives. The outcome of the initiative this year will also likely result in a report detailing the final recommendations and a resolution by the Governors endorsing those policy recommendations.

[7]Streater, Scott, “Western governors to take ‘hard look’ at ESA reform,” E&E News, Aug. 26, 2015; available at:http://www.eenews.net/eenewspm/stories/1060023985/search?keyword=WGA(last visited Mar. 2, 2016); Morton, Tom, “Governor Calls for Endangered Species Act Reform,” Aug. 26, 2015; available at:http://k2radio.com/governor-calls-for-endangered-species-act-reform/(last visited Mar. 2, 2016) (Governor Mead commenting that “roughly 1 percent of all species that have been listed have been delisted. That is not a story of success.”).

[8]WGA Chairman’s Initiative, “Workshops Page,” available at:http://westgov.org/initiatives/esa-initiative/workshops(last visited Mar. 2, 2016). WGA has made each panel, including the remarks of Governors Mead and Otter, available by YouTube video.

[9]SeeWGA Chairman’s Initiative; available at http://westgov.org/initiatives/esa-initiative(last visited Mar. 2, 2016);see alsoRemarks of Matthew H. Mead, Governor of Wyoming, “Improving the Endangered Species Act: Perspectives from the Fish and Wildlife Service and State Governors,” U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Fisheries, Water, and Wildlife (Sept. 29, 2015); available at: http://www.epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/hearings?ID=2C35FDB9-07B0-46D7-B7EF-EB5F4E07AC17 (last visited Mar. 2, 2016).

[10]WGA Chairman’s Initiative, “Webinars Page,” available at:http://westgov.org/initiatives/esa-initiative/webinars (last visited Mar. 2, 2016). These webinars are also available for public viewing.

[11]See generallyWGA Chairman’s Initiative; available at: http://westgov.org/initiatives/esa-initiative(last visited Mar. 6, 2016).

[12]WGA Chairman’s Initiative, “Workshops Page: Boise Roundtable – Recognition of Voluntary Conservation Efforts,” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPXCgBmwLfQ(at 18:50) (last visited Mar. 2, 2016).

[13]WGA Chairman’s Initiative, “Workshops Page.”

[14]ESA Cooperative Policy at 8663.

[15]Id.For example, a CCAA provides assurances for enrolled and participating landowners that if the species is listed no additional conservation measures will be required. HCPs provide a similar type of regulatory assurance in the post-ESA listing context.

[16]ESA Cooperative Policy at 8663.

[17]Whether those pre-listing efforts are sufficient to preclude listing under the ESA, will likely require evaluation under the Services’ PECE Policy.See Policy for Evaluation of Conservation Efforts when Making Listing Decisions, 68 Fed. Reg. 15,100 (Mar. 28, 2003). The PECE Policy assists the Services in making ESA listing determinations where there are “formalized conservation efforts that have not yet been implemented or have been implemented, but have not yet demonstrated whether they are effective at the time of a listing decision.” The PECE Policy accomplishes this by identifying 15 individual criteria for assessing whether such efforts provide “a high level of certainty that the effort will be implemented and/or effective and results in the elimination or adequate reduction of the threats” posed to any species being considered for ESA listing.Id.at 15,114-15.

[18]ESA Cooperative Policy at 8664. WGA and States would be wise to press for a clearer understanding of the Services’ application of the PECE Policy before entering into these pre-listing agreements. Recently, the policy has been under the judicial microscope in two recent ESA decisions involving the lesser prairie chicken and the dunes sagebrush lizard.See Permian Basin Petroleum Cons. P’ship v. Salazar, 2015 WL 5192526 (W.D. Tex. 2015) (vacating FWS’s decision to list the species as threatened based on an improper application of the PECE Policy)cf. Defenders of Wildlife, et al. v. Jewell, et al., Case No. 14-5284 (D.C. Cir. Mar. 1, 2016) (upholding the district court’s decision that FWS correctly applied the PECE Policy to states’ voluntary conservation efforts when it decided to withdraw the proposed listing of the decision).

[19]ESA Cooperative Policy at 8664.

[20]Id.at 8663 (emphasis added).

[21]This is typically referred to as “primacy.” Primacy under a “cooperative Federalism” statutory scheme is where states have been granted the primary responsibility for administering and enforcing the permit program in a way that is better attuned to their objectives.

[22]SeeTaylor, Phil, “Western governor resent being ‘junior partners’ to feds,” Environment & Energy Daily; available at:http://www.eenews.net/eedaily/stories/1060025646/search?keyword=WGA(last visited Mar. 2, 2016). (Utah Governor Gary Herbert stating, “[t]he nation has strayed from that constitutional principle of federalism,” and that states “should not be treated … as if we are somehow junior partners to the federal government.”).

[23]FWS, Grants Overview, available at:http://www.fws.gov/endangered/grants/(last visited Mar. 1, 2016).

[24]Without implementing regulations, the limited experience of States and Section 6 Agreements beyond a funding mechanism has had mixed results. For example, the State of Idaho has experience with Section 6 Agreements as captured in the Snake River Act of 2004. SeeTitle X of Division J in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2005, H.R. 4818, 108th Cong. (2004) (enacted). Unfortunately, even with the imprimatur of Congress, the cooperative promise of that particular Section 6 agreement has been a disappointment.

[25]The ESA Cooperative Policy, specifically mentions Section 6 agreements as an avenue to fulfill the policy’s direction.

Original content at: http://www.martenlaw.com/newsletter/20160308-western-governors-esa-initiative



Categories: Legislation

4x4Wire Toyota Tech Archive

4x4 Wire - Thu, 03/03/2016 - 16:11

4x4Wire Toyota Tech Archive  
Categories: Legislation

Endangered Mexican gray wolves could be introduced to Utah

MuirNet - Fri, 02/12/2016 - 11:16
A Mexican gray wolf leaves cover at the Sevilleta
National Wildlife Refuge, Socorro County, NM.
Suspicion over federal plans to restore Mexican
gray wolves has spread to Colorado and Utah.
(Associated Press)

The Federal government proposed to release a subspecies of wolf in southern Utah and Colorado. This has raised concerns among local ranchers and the Utah Farm Bureau.

Conversely, wildlife advocates are fighting to introduce the Mexican gray wolf into Utah. The Mexican wolf is a threatened species found in the Southwest region of the United States. There are only 110 species left in the wild. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has surveyed the region along southern Utah and believes the habitat is suitable for the reintroduction of Mexican gray wolves.

Kirk Robinson, executive director of the Western Wildlife Conservancy, expressed his concerns about the Mexican wolf not being discussed during the legislative season.

"Nobody is talking about reintroducing the Mexican wolf," Robinson said. "Our government officials are really upset about this. They don't want Mexican wolves or any other wolves for that matter. That is why there is such a big conflict."

Robinson shed some light as to why southern Utah needs a wolf population.

Categories: Legislation

Planning 2.0: Improving the Way We Plan Together

4x4 Wire - Thu, 02/11/2016 - 14:44

As part of a continuing commitment to improve their management of the nation’s public lands, the Bureau of Land Management is reviewing the way they develop and update our Resource Management Plans (RMPs).

This initiative, known as Planning 2.0, aims to increase public involvement and incorporate the most current data and technology into land use planning.  They have released proposed revisions to planning regulations, along with a preliminary economic analysis and categorical exclusion for public review and comment.  By implementing these improvements, the BLM endeavors to enhance the way that it involves the public in its planning efforts, including measures to provide earlier, easier, and more meaningful participation.

Categories: Legislation

Supreme Court's Stay of EPA Carbon Rules Gives Time to Get the Climate Science Right

MuirNet - Thu, 02/11/2016 - 11:50

JACKSON, Wyo., Feb. 11, 2016 -- The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday to temporarily block implementation of the EPA's Clean Power Plan while lawsuits from 29 states and many power companies proceed. It also provides a chance to be sure the science behind this plan is correct.

"New data and understanding now show that the science underlying the global 'consensus' on climate change is flawed," says Dr. Peter Langdon Ward, a geophysicist who worked 27 years with the US Geological Survey. Ward spent the last ten years reexamining the many assumptions underlying greenhouse warming theory.

"Current climate models calculate energy incorrectly," Ward explains, "based on a fundamental misunderstanding in physics going back 150 years."

Categories: Legislation

Up-Purpose Your Volunteerism

4x4 Wire - Wed, 02/10/2016 - 17:16
Purposeful Volunteerism: Pushing Beyond Holding Our Ground Only by escalating to more offensive strategies will we win the battles for access.  By Del Albright, Ambassador Sharetrails.Org/BRC    

Do not just volunteer; but rather up-purpose your volunteerism! In today’s world when we are all torn in many directions by multiple jobs, kid’s school games, community involvement, paying bills, family commitments and more, we must stop wasting our precious volunteer time.  Too many of us have become trapped into the status quo of losing ground in the long run.  Herein I will explain purposeful volunteerism and how we need to push beyond just holding our ground when it comes to access to responsible motorized recreation.

Categories: Legislation

Say “No” to EPA’s Threat to Motorsports

4x4 Wire - Wed, 02/10/2016 - 09:22
Say “No” to EPA’s Threat to Motorsports: SEMA Opposes Regulation Prohibiting Conversion of Vehicles into Racecars

SEMA has issued a press release informing the public that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is aiming to make it illegal to convert automobiles originally designed for on-road use into racecars, even though such conversions have been done for decades.  Under the EPA’s proposed rule, it would also be illegal to sell any performance-related products for those cars.  The EPA’s proposal would have a devastating impact on motorsports since many types of racing rely on production vehicles that have been modified for use strictly at the track.

Ask the EPA to Withdraw its Proposal Now
Categories: Legislation

Cold Weather Camping

Badlands Off Road Adventures - Wed, 02/10/2016 - 00:00
Cold Weather Camping
Nice Camp site

(Click picture for a larger image.) At this time of year, thoughts often turn to escaping to sunny, sandy beaches. Some folks, however, enjoy romping in the snow. They brave the elements, and camp out in the wild. One benefit is that you can have the park or wildlife area practically to yourself.

Just as you need to account for the extreme heat of summer, so should you plan for the challenges of camping in snow and cold.

Start by checking the forecast. You should know going in what to expect. Never camp alone, and always tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back. Prepare for the worst so you’re not taken by surprise. (And if a bad storm is predicted, stay home.) Clothing The most important factor is to stay warm and dry. Frostbite and hypothermia aren’t just annoyances. They can be killers.

Needless to say, you’ll need warm clothing and lots of it. Clothing that incorporates Gore-Tex (or similar fabric) is very useful. You need to wick out as much sweat as possible. Damp clothing can chill you quickly, and bring on hypothermia.

Outercoats should have a nylon shell to break the wind. Thinsulate is a great insulating material for coats and gloves.

Layer your clothing during the day. Make sure there’s some give, though. If you feel constricted, the fabric will be packed so tightly that it’ll lose some insulating ability.

Having extra clothing also ensures that you can change into dry stuff at the end of the day. Look for sturdy boots. Sorel is a good brand, but there are others. You’ll want rubber soles with good traction. Leather uppers are nice, but treat with a sealant. Tent I recommend a 4-season tent. The walls on these are solid material to block wind and shed snow. I prefer those with a full fly over the tent as well. Unbelievable, it makes for a better desert tent too. The fly creates shade and the combination of 2 walls keeps blowing sand out. Look for a model that has a vestibule. That’s where you’ll store your outerwear and boots. A vestibule, provides a transition area to reduce the snow you track into the main tent. It provides more room for sleeping, and your bedding and dry clothing won’t get wet.

Incidentally, never sleep in clothes you’ve been working in. They will be damp with perspiration, which means you’ll be uncomfortable all night. Set aside dry clothing for sleeping. That includes socks, heavy pajamas (or sweat shirt and sweat pants) and a warm hat.

Prior to setting up, pack down the snow for a firm base. Create a berm around the sides for wind break, and remember to face the front door away from the wind.

A good sleeping bag is a must. If you can’t find one rated to the proper temperature, take along two. You can stuff one inside the other. Understand that manufacturers take liberty with the temperature ratings on their products. Assume your boots, sleeping bag, and clothing won’t really keep you comfortable at the manufactures rated temperature. That’s why you pack heavy clothing, and even feet and hand warmers.

Use a foam mattress or blankets as insulation under your sleeping bag. Termarest mattresses work but the $20 / $30 6 inch type air mattresses don’t provide much insulation, because the air inside circulates too much. Dead air space is a great insulator but it has to be dead (i.e. not circulate).

Tent heaters are nice, however be careful. Today’s models are small and easy to use. The Little Buddy by Mr Heater, for example, uses the standard 1 lb. propane cylinder. The manufacturer claims it can heat up to 100 square feet.

Do not leave the heater running all night. Even though it has an oxygen sensor and a very sensitive tip-over switch, I wouldn’t want to take the risk of fire or CO poisoning. Run the heater before you snuggle into your tent, then again when you wake up.

If you are on a hunting trip, store guns and outerwear outside but away from snow (in the vestibule or your vehicle). A gun warming up will generate condensation if brought inside. Any snow on your outer clothing won’t melt if left in the cold, so you’re not likely to get damp (at least from that).

Also, don’t leave gear, including shovels, axe, etc. outside. They could get buried in the snow. Store those in your vehicle. Cooking Cooking, as you can imagine, presents its own challenges. Interestingly, the cold temps can work against you. To prevent (or minimize) freezing, keep fresh food it in a cooler. (Secure during the day to thwart critters.) You may want to stash the cooler in your vehicle overnight.

Use wooden or plastic utensils as much as possible. Metal objects get blasted cold in the winter. Propane is fine for most winter applications, but it is sluggish in severe cold. If you anticipate those temps, pack a stove that runs on white gas.

Vehicle This is a good time to recheck the vitals. Inspect your tires. Rotate and replace as needed. Test the battery and windshield wipers; replace if necessary. Check your antifreeze: Is it still at full strength? Are you low on windshield washer fluid? Make sure you have a survival kit and tire chains (if applicable).

Room permitting, pack a snow shovel—small models are available—and ice pick. Orange spray paint comes in handy for marking the snow in the event of an emergency.

Remember to include a fire-starter kit. Fill a baggie with matches and cotton balls coated with Vaseline. Communication Keep your cell phone charged up. Before you leave, identify the frequencies of the ham radio repeaters in the area you are visiting. Make a habit of listing to the NOAA weather broadcasts each day. If you’ll be in a really remote area, consider a Sat phone or other device discussed in "Communications equipment is critical for off-road driving.”

Mother Nature puts on a new performance during winter. For those hardy enough, camping can be very enjoyable and rewarding. As with any other four wheeling experience, preparation is key.


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Red Pass, Death Valley - looking NW in the Grapevine Mountains
(Click picture for a larger image.) Summary of upcoming events.

Sand Clinic February 28, 2015
On Pismo Beach in California
(Click picture for a larger image.) If you have been waiting for the next Sand Driving Clinic, put it on your calendar for February 21st and sign up now. This day-long clinic will expose you to a variety of driving conditions and levels of difficulty. Driving on sand is challenging and different than dirt, so we’ll progress slowly as you learn the proper techniques. As your confidence grows, you will master increasingly more challenging dunes. Along the way you will be exposed to the beauty of SVRA and the thrill of the windswept dunes. This is a rare opportunity to cruise the only beach in California open to vehicles.
More details...

Register for the Sand Clinic using this link.


########################## Death Valley April 08-11

This is a 4 day trip on the back roads in Death Valley. We will drive the Panamint Mountains, drive past Badwater Basin (lowest spot in North America), visit Chloride Ghost town, Titus Canyon, check out Ubehebe Crater, Teakettle junction, The Race Track & Lippencott Mine Road, camp at the Warm Springs and leave via Steal Pass up to the high meadows, then take Dedeckera Canyon down to the Eureka Sand Dunes. All four days will see some light to moderate 4-wheeling. Much of the trip is quite remote with random or no cell service. We don't plan to stop at tourist sights you can get to in a passenger car.
Check out the details and sign up on the website: http://www.4x4training.com/Adventures/Deathvalley.html
August 2013 Off-Road Adventures Magazine: Death Valley Excursion by Denis Snow

You can register directly at http://www.4x4training.com/calendar/calendar.php#Deathvalley

########################## Wilderness First Aid Course April 16 & 17, 2016

If you are interested in taking a Wilderness first Aid Course (WFA), Badlands Off-Road Adventures is sponsoring a 2 day class in April. We engage a professional medical instructor from Wilderness Medical Associates, the certifying agency.

Badlands Off-Road Adventures is sponsoring the Wilderness Advanced First Aid (WFA) clinic because we feel everyone should be prepared when they go outdoors. This will be the best first aid course you have ever taken. That is unless you go on to the Wilderness First Responder Class.

The WFA clinic will provide you with skills, knowledge and training to handle life threatening medical emergencies and allows you to be better prepared to protect your family in an emergency. Wilderness First Aid is a two day immersion into general medical concepts and Basic Life Support skills. This course teaches what to do with a medical emergency when help is miles away and calling 911 isn’t an option.

“The Wilderness First Aid was one of the MOST USEFULL clinics I have ever attended, due in large part to the effort you and Josh put in to make it all possible. " Joe de Kehoe.

The clinic will be held April 16 & 17, 2016 at the Hungry Valley State Vehicle Recreation Area (SVRA) near Gorman, CA. Please reserve the dates on your calendar or sign up today. (Note – you must be 18 years old to take the clinic.)

If you are interested follow these links.

More Details...

You can register directly at http://www.4x4training.com/calendar/calendar.php#WFA

Winch Recovery Bandana & Winching DVD
Click for higher resolution image We have our new stock with many new colors (Red, Orange, Green, and Blue) on hand. The Bandana is packed full of useful information and is a quick reference in the field when no DVD player is available."

The Bandana layout follows the “Vehicle Recovery Plan” with pathways to more detail. A unique section of the Bandana, gives the steps for a “Winch Rigging Check: Walk through” so that you verify every element of the rigging before you commit to the pull. Stuff this in your recovery kit and you will always be ready!

Pick up or order the Winching DVD too! There is no substitute for hands on training. If you can, sign up for one of Badlands Off-Road Adventure’s Winching Clinics.

Warning – the Bandana and DVD are not a substitute for proper training and use of quality equipment that is used within the bounds of their safe working load. We advise you to use the information provided in both the Winching Recovery Bandana and the "Basic to Advanced Winching and Recovery DVD" at your own risk. We cannot control the quality and specifications of the equipment used and the methods actually employed.

Winch Recovery Bandana Order Button
Colors Orange Red Blue Natural Green Natural

Order a Basic to Advanced Winching & Recovery DVD too!

(Click picture for more details)

I hope to see you on the trails!
Tom Severin, President
Badlands Off Road Adventures, Inc.
4-Wheel Drive School
Make it Fun. Keep it Safe.

If you find this information valuable, please pass it on to a friend. You can forward them the email. If you received a forwarded copy of this newsletter and would like to subscribe for yourself, go to: www.4x4training.com/contacts.html and follow the instructions to join our mail list.
Want To Use This Article In Your Magazine, E-Zine, Club Newsletter Or Web Site? You are welcome to use it anytime, just be sure to include the following author/copyright information: Tom Severin, 4x4 Coach, teaches 4WD owners how to confidently and safely use their vehicles to the fullest extent in difficult terrain and adverse driving conditions. Visit www.4x4training.com to develop or improve your driving skill.

Copyright 2016, Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Inc.


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