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Adventure Trails System bill gaining momentum

July 6, 2011

The proposed Adventure Trails System, which will allow off-highway vehicle riders to travel a short distance on local streets and roads to reach food, fuel and recreational destinations, has passed the Senate Committee review and will be discussed next in a House Appropriations Committee. Photo courtesy U.S. Forest Service

A proposed Adventure Trails System for Inyo County has passed the Senate Natural Resources Committee unanimously and will be heading for the Senate Appropriations Committee later this summer for final approval.
California State Assembly Bill 628, introduced by Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway, of Tulare, aims to authorize a pilot project in Inyo County to interconnect existing trails designed for off-highway vehicles, such as four wheelers. If approved, the bill will allow OHV users to travel a small distance on surface streets to access amenities such as food and fuel.
The trails currently exist so no new infrastructure would be needed. Private donations would offset any costs at the county level.
“These trails already exist and by joining them together, we can protect these scenic areas now and for generations to come. This will also help the local economy by encouraging off-road enthusiasts to visit Inyo County,” said Conway.
Bishop resident and President of the Advocates for Access to Public Lands Dick Noles said the Adventure Trails System, if approved, will create a sort of “walk way” for ATVs, which will “reduce proliferation of trails.”
“This simple legislation means so much to our community,” said Randy Gillespie, owner of Golden State Cycle in Bishop. “Making it easier for trail users to get to lodging, camping, dining and other services will be a much-needed shot in the arm for our local economy.”
Inyo County has been working closely with the California Highway Patrol, OHV users, local governments, state agencies and the public to develop the proposed routes for the trail system.
“We have partnered with stakeholders to make sure this connected trail system will help our economy, meet the highest safety standards and protect the environment,” Second District Inyo County Supervisor Susan Cash said.
The measure will face policy committee hearings in the Senate some time in August. If approved there, the bill will be introduced on the Senate floor for another round of approvals. If it passes in the Senate, it will be brought back before the Assembly so lawmakers will have an opportunity to review any amendments that have been made to the original proposal.
Cash said that she is optimistic that the bill can make its way through that process before the end of the year.
“Each step is a step in what I consider the right direction,” Noles said. “We think economically and recreationally, this will be a great asset to us in Inyo County.”

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