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Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Anti-hunting move

Sheriff refuses to uphold Forest Service rules

Resistance to U.S. Forest Service restrictions finally shows!

Finally!! I have been complaining about the new U.S. Forest Service restrictions since they first came out for public discussion in El Dorado National Forest—but public complaints were few, and they passed draconian restrictions which are even now in effect.

Initially, what happened, was that President Bush signed off on rules for restricting "off road vehicles" in National Forests throughout the nation. That was all well and good, but those who want the public out of the forests—and I firmly believe the U.S. Forest Service is of that mind set—determined that would extend to any vehicle, since in fact, any vehicle can drive off the road! How ludicrous!

The intent was to keep 4x4 vehicles from running up hillsides and through swampy meadows, not to keep mom, dad, buddy and sis from parking their trailer alongside a stream! But that's exactly what has happened in El Dorado National Forest. And this was the first imposition of the restrictions in the nation, so all the other national forests are probably going to follow suit.

The main restriction that's killing everybody, is that no vehicle may park more a car length off any road. So, what happens if you want to cut firewood and there's a burn pile 100 yards off the road? You have to carry the wood!!!

What if you have horses in a horse trailer, and you want to camp, unload the horses, and have a nice fire, etc.? You have to camp within a car length of the road!!! That's not even safe for unloading the horses, with traffic, to say nothing of the ambiance of camping on a major thoroughfare!!!

What if your grandparents want to bring their trailer up the mountains and camp alongside a stream, like they've been doing for 60 or 70 years? Now, they'll find all those campsites blocked off by boulders, downed trees, and signs that say "no vehicles allowed".

Camping is restricted to campgrounds and "designated campsites" only. All the hundreds, if not thousands, of remote campsites that folks have been using for ever are now blocked off by boulders, downed trees and signs that say "No Motor Vehicles." More and more forest users are finding out that they are now "locked out" of some of their favorite campsites. Personally, I hate designated campgrounds. I don't like the restrictions, controls and proximity of other campers, some of whom are blaring radios and partying all night—not exactly a great outdoor experience.

I've always thought it was unconstitutional—and downright un-American—to keep the public from using public lands, and now an entire sheriff's department feels the same way, and they have announced they are not going to enforce the laws! Amazing!

The Sheriff of Plumas County, Sheriff Greg Hagwood, has announced that he will refuse to support U.S. Forest Service restrictions on the use of public lands, saying that neither he, nor his deputies will cite the public if found in violation of the most recent restrictions adopted by the U.S. Forest Service.

He said he and his administration, along with the area patrol sergeant Dean Canalia and Chester deputies Ian James and Chris Herrbach, were attending a Tea Party meeting to “demonstrate first and foremost their awareness of what the United States Forest Service was trying to inflict on residents and tourists alike with restricting access to public lands.”

“Secondly, I want every citizen to know we do not support, endorse nor will we inflict this one-vehicle limit nonsense on them,” Hagwood said. “Bottom line, we are not going to be agents of the federal government in creating a new class of criminals who are doing nothing more then accessing what are public lands.”

“I will be damned if my staff will start inflicting these latest federal mandates on law-abiding citizens who are doing nothing more then enjoying what should continue to be recognized as public lands,” Hagwood said.

Hagwood also sees more and more restrictions coming, like road access for snowmobiles, off-highway vehicles and woodcutters.

“I see this as the beginning of an effort to restrict and inhibit access to public lands. Just because those uses are not targeted today does not mean they won’t be tomorrow,” he said. “At some point this nonsense has got to stop.”

As I have been saying for years, the U.S. Forest Service already had plenty of laws on the books protecting areas from destructive off-road use and activities that would be detrimental to the forests. In my estimation, the Forest Service used the new rules as a way out of patrolling public forests—by restricting public use instead of simply carrying out existing laws through enforcement.

I am immensely pleased with the actions taken by Sheriff Hagwood in Plumas County, and I would love to see a similar stand by Sheriff D’AgostinI in El Dorado County. As the good Sheriff said, "At some point this nonsense has to stop."

NO MOTOR vehicle signs are everywhere in El Dorado Forest now, thanks to new "rules" put in place, keeping the public from using campsites and roads that have been open forever. WON PHOTO BY BILL KARR

Reader Comments
Resistance was plenty on this from the OHV community. We knew what was coming and have been fighting it from the start. We fought for you as well while you sat back and let OHV be crucified. Ha! Be careful what you ask for. You are getting it. Sure you were fine with those evil earth destroying OHV getting the shaft. Funny how fast you backstep when your truck is included. What you want is discrimination. Guess what? Any car or truck that leaves the roadway is an OHV. Welcome to our world. By the way I am also an avid hunter and fisher and so are many of my OHV brothers.
Dave Meek Jr.
i agree with the sheriff 100%. between the forest closures, MLPA fiasco, trout stocking closuresand state park fee increases. its getting very hard to trust our elected officials who are SUPPOSED to represent the people, not their OWN agendas.
frank venegas
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