Hi Folks--

California PEER (Public Employees for Environmental responsibility) has been trying to convince the State Legislature and Governor Schwarzenegger to use the accumulated cash in the State Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Fund to keep many of California's State Parks open. PEER points out that this re-programming of the OHV funds is fully justifiable because they are collected from gas taxes, and mostly represent street vehicles (yours and mine) that NEVER go off-road.

This funding mechanism was created due to the huge political pressure of off road riders and the recreational vehicle manufacturers, because they could not keep OHV recreation areas open using just the "green sticker" licensing money from off-road vehicle riders.

This was largely because 1. there are relatively few of them, but 2. very few of them pay for a license, because the requirement to have one is widely ignored.

I hope I have your attention, and that you will read the call for action from Karen Schambach, PEER's California Coordinator. I know that you all care about California State Parks, but we need to make the level of opposition to closing them known, along with this simple solution!

AND PASS THIS MESSAGE ALONG! If you are a news person, feel free to print the message below, with attribution as given. If you want more information, email or call Karen Schambach - email: [email protected]; cell phone: 530-305-0503.

[Please forgive any duplicate mailings. I tried hard to avoid them, but I'm sure I let a few slip through.]



by Karen Schambach, California Coordinator
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility

Unbelievable as it sounds, there is a very real danger Governor Schwarzenegger will soon close 220 of California's 279 State Parks, unless the legislature finds a way to replace $143 million in general fund monies. But the Governor and legislature are ignoring a logical and totally appropriate source of funding, which is The State's Off Highway Vehicle Trust Fund.

While social programs, law enforcement and fire protection programs are being slashed throughout the State, the OHV fund continues to be funded at full levels, primarily through transfers from Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax revenues.

But most of the $60 million the OHV fund will receive this year is fuel taxes on street legal vehicles. Yet the OHV Division refuses to fund any project that doesn't benefit dirt bikes and ATVs.

Not a single State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA) is slated for closure, because the OHV Division falsely claims their program is user funded. The truth is that the program is not entitled to $49.8 million of the $60 million in fuel taxes it receives. This amount would go a long way to replacing lost State Parks general funds, and it may keep open the park you use!

You can help by calling Darrell Steinberg, California Senate President Pro Tem at (916) 651-4006, and
Karen Bass, Speaker of the California Assembly: Phone: (916) 319-2047. Ask them to appropriate this funding from the OHV Trust Fund and put it toward State Park Funding.

Tell them that:
* The OHV Trust fund is NOT user-funded. All Californians who use vehicles off the pavement have a portion of their fuel sales taxes paid into the OHV fund,

* Fees from "Green Sticker" (non-street legal vehicles) registration account for only 12% of the OHV Trust Fund,

* The OHV Division uses these funds exclusively to support green-sticker activities. This is a violation of state law, which intended the department to support both motorized and nonmotorized recreation related to off-highway vehicle use,"

* Fewer than 1 in 16 California households use non-street-legal vehicles, and

* More than four fifths of off-highway vehicle use has nothing to do with green-sticker activities. Most off-highway vehicle use in California involves street-legal driving on dirt roads, either for pleasure or to get to a destination for non-motorized recreation. Street-legal vehicle users engaging in non-green-sticker activities have paid $49.8 million in fuel taxes that benefit only dirt bikes and ATVS. That money should be reallocated to the Department of Parks and Recreation.

It's just as important to call or email Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger about using OHV Fund money to keep State Parks Open. Reportedly the Governor called State Parks Director Ruth Coleman when his office began receiving large numbers of calls and faxes from people objecting to State Park closures, and ordered her to call off the campaign!

She told him she could not -- this is grass roots in action!

Lets keep the Governor highly informed of the public's need and desire for State Parks to stay open, and demand that California's non-OHV parks and public lands continue to be available for all Californians to use - not just those who ride trail motorbikes and ATVs.

Email, phone or FAX the Governor at Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger - Interact (paste your message into the form), and (or) Phone: 916-445-2841; Fax: 916-445-4633.

Rather than apply the bulk of tax dollars derived from recreational driving only to trail-ride facilities that are closed to all but the select few who own green-sticker vehicles, our non-OHV parks should get the benefit of all the money paid by non-motorized recreational park users.