OHV’s LInked to Weather: Could This Be True?

Sometimes I think there should be a category on this blog for “things that seem too strange to be true but I don’t have time to look at the document myself.” See the italicized sentence in the quote below.
Does anyone out there in blogland have a copy of the report we can post?

PS, who forgot to tell me when the perfectly good English words “resilience” and “relevance” were replaced with “resiliency” and “relevancy” does it follow that prurience is now “pruriency”.. I just wanna know?

Here’s the story:

Specifically, Vilsack said the USFS decided to remove the report, titled “A Comprehensive Framework for Off-Highway Vehicle Trail Management,” and cease distribution of hard copies and video discs “to clarify the context for the reference to Wildlands CPR’s BMPs [best management practices] and how the Forest Service develops and uses its own national BMPs.

“The Forest Service also had concerns about some of the graphics and the relevancy of some of the information,” Vilsack wrote.

Vilsack’s letter was in response to a letter dated March 9 in which the AMA and six other organizations demanded answers concerning the anti-OHV statements and innuendo in the document as well as the inclusion of information from the Wildlands CPR, which is an anti-OHV group.

Besides the AMA, organizations signing the letter were the All-Terrain Vehicle Association, the BlueRibbon Coalition, the Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition, the Colorado Snowmobile Association, Trails Preservation Alliance, and the Utah Shared Access Alliance.

The intent of the guidebook is laudable: to help OHV trail managers develop sustainable trails and protect the environment surrounding the trails.

But Wayne Allard, a former U.S. senator and U.S. representative from Colorado who is now the AMA’s vice president for government relations, noted that “the document includes a variety of statements and innuendo that reflect an anti-OHV bias, and cites as a source for information an anti-OHV group. This type of government guide should be fact-based and neutral. It shouldn’t include inflammatory, biased language and the recommendations of a group known to oppose OHVs.”

Among other things, the 318-page guide stated: “This framework was developed to help trail managers corral the OHV management dragon. The author hopes it has provided some insight into the nature of OHV trails, and some tools to help keep the beast at bay. Happy herding and happy trails!”

The guide also claimed that OHV use causes an “increase in frequency and intensity of weather events,” and acknowledged gathering information from the Wildlands CPR.

3 thoughts on “OHV’s LInked to Weather: Could This Be True?”

  1. The connection between OHVs and “weather” probably relates to the fact that OHVs typically run on fossil fuels, which emit greenhouse gases and contribute to climate change which is predicted to cause increased frequency and intensity of precipitation events.

  2. One could make the exact same claim about cellphones, air conditioners, computers, electric cars and all Apple products. The emissions from an OHV are more easily re-sequestered than the same amount of emissions coming from coal-powered plants (which power much of America’s electronic toys). I doubt that a solar-powered OHV would be acceptable, as well.

  3. I was disappointed to read this blog post today, which basically cites a press release from the American Motorcycle Association without referring to any other data. That press release and numerous other press releases, posts and articles from off-road vehicle user groups on this particular topic (the publication of an OHV guide that included some information they didn’t like) have included significant misinformation and/or distortions about what is in the OHV guide that was pulled from the agency website. Unfortunately, this blog post continues that cycle. While we recognize that the “dragon” language in the OHV guide was inappropriate and should be changed, that was completely separate and unrelated to Wildlands CPR’s data.
    In 2008, Wildlands CPR published Best Management Practices for off-road vehicle use in forested lands (download at: http://www.wildlandscpr.org/ORV-BMPs). No where in this document do we (Wildlands CPR) refer to ORVs changing the weather. Our Science Program Director, however, is quick to point out that some peer-reviewed studies do look at dust and other ORV impacts and the consequence those may have related to weather changes, but those are not cited or referred to in our BMPs. We have reviewed the FS OHV guide in question (it is no longer available electronically, but we have a hard copy), and from our review of logical places where such a comment might be included in this very long document, we can find no reference anywhere where the report claims that off-road vehicles change the weather. If it is there and we missed it, it certainly isn’t cited to Wildlands CPR.
    The ORV groups’ press release objects to the inclusion of data from Wildlands CPR while failing to point out that the document also cites many of their own groups. Wildlands CPR is a long-term interested stakeholder in off-road vehicle management, just as the off-road vehicle user groups are. As such it is as appropriate for the Forest Service to include information from our organization as it is to include information from user-groups. Finally, the data the Forest Service used from WIldlands CPR was scientifically and legally based, and was recently published in a peer-reviewed journal. These are probably the only peer-reviewed BMPs on ORV management that currently exist – seems like that would be an appropriate thing to include in a comprehensive guide to off-road vehicle management.
    We have posted about this topic a bit more extensively on our own website (http://www.wildlandscpr.org/blog/orv-bmps-cause-quite-stir). I remain disappointed that the baseless statements in the ORV press release were reissued on the New Century of Forest Planning blog without any additional research to determine what the press release was about and whether the data included in it was factual.


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