HOLLISTER, CA (Aug. 22) - Off-highway vehicle (OHV) recreation continues without the cloud of litigation over the popular Clear Creek Management Area (CCMA) for the first time in over eighteen months following the recent dismissal of a lawsuit brought by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and California Native Plant Society. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the CCMA has been under attack for several years by anti-access groups seeking to close the popular off-road riding area, home of the AMA-sanctioned Quicksilver Enduro and known by enthusiasts throughout the country.
The BlueRibbon Coalition, a national non-profit recreation group (BRC), spearheaded an effort by motorized recreation interests to intervene in this case in order to help to protect public access to the CCMA. The suit, filed in Federal District Court in San Jose in November 2004, threatened to eliminate most motorized use of the entire area. The Plaintiffs filed numerous motions seeking immediate judicial imposition of travel restrictions, none of which were granted.
"We are pleased at this result. The recreation community is proud of its strong legal defense of the agency's planning process and continued support for active management of the CCMA," noted Paul Turcke, a Boise, Idaho, attorney representing the Salinas Ramblers Motorcycle Club, the American Motorcyclist Association District 36, the California Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs, the California Off Road Vehicle Association, the Off Road Business Association and the BlueRibbon Coalition in the lawsuit. "However, this success should not trigger complacency. A number of CCMA issues remain pending, including our Interior Board of Land Appeals challenge to the 'dry season' closure, and future litigation at the CCMA and other California riding areas is, unfortunately, more likely than not," Turcke cautioned.
Before and during the lawsuit the Bureau of Land Management has been working on a travel management plan for the area. On January 13, 2006, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released its Record of Decision restricting vehicle travel in the CCMA to designated routes and areas. Based largely on the issuance of this plan, the Plaintiffs stipulated to dismissal of their suit, which the Court approved on August 3, 2006.
Don Amador, western representative for the BlueRibbon Coalition, states, "I believe that off-roaders should continue to build our partnership with the BLM and help support the agency's effort to have a balanced program. With the distraction of this lawsuit removed, the OHV community can even more sharply focus our resources on proactive management of Clear Creek."