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Adventure Trails focus shifts to public outreach

October 27, 2011

AAPL is currently working on a schedule for community meetings where residents will be asked to decide what county roads should be opened for off-highway vehicle use. Photo courtesy okaboo.com

Local residents and community leaders will be meeting next month in Independence to kickstart the next leg of the new all-terrain vehicle route system.
Advocates for Access to Public Lands President and Project Leader Dick Noles told the Board of Supervisors Tuesday that there is still a lot of work to be done before the Adventure Trails System is implemented, but, after the Nov. 9 meeting, the public should be involved for the remainder of the planning stages.
The Adventure Trails System, which was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown late last month, will give green sticker off-highway vehicle users the ability to travel up to 10 miles on some county roads to access amenities such as food and gas. The idea is to responsibly connect local off-road trails to Inyo County’s communities.
“It took three or four years to get this far, but now things are going to start moving,” Noles said Tuesday. “We met with the Forest Service to see how the Adventure Trails System would tie into the forest. It was very positive. We got the same response from the Bureau of Land Management, which will be the first public lands we’ll reach leaving the valley floor.”
The next step, Noles said, is the Nov. 9 meeting in Independence, where representatives from AAPL, the Sheriff’s Department, California Highway Patrol, BLM, local civic clubs and chambers of commerce and the Board of Supervisors will discuss trails system signage and how it will all tie together.
From there, Noles said AAPL will begin a series of community meetings, starting in Independence, to get recommendations from residents on what county roads and BLM and Forest Service trails should be included in the Adventure Trails.
“We’re not going to come into your town and tell the community what we want,” Noles said. “We want to hear what they want, and we’ll map it.”
The dates for the community meetings have not been set, Noles said, “but we want to start in Independence, start easy, and get our feet on the ground.”
AAPL member Jim Toomey said the organization is currently applying for non-profit status in hopes of obtaining grant funding to help with Adventure Trails implementation.
Toomey said that not all off-road routes around local communities will be mapped and identified as part of the Adventure Trails System, because there are just too many to include in a usable visual guide. With that in mind, he said he hopes residents will be willing to attend the Adventure Trails meeting to help identify certain connecting routes that would create “loops” that OHV users can use to explore and be brought back to town or the area where they parked.
“You’re going to be connecting all the dots so the public who is not familiar with the area can look at it and say, ‘Gee, I’m going to do this,’” First District Supervisor Linda Arcularius said.
Second District Supervisor and Board Chair Susan Cash clarified that implementation of the Adventure Trails System will not call for any new roads, and only existing routes will be incorporated.

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