|08-17-2010, 05:39 PM||#1|
Joined: Nov 2005
COHVCO Sues Colorado State Parks Board
On Friday, August 13th, COHVCO filed suit in Denver District Court naming the Colorado State Parks Board as defendant. The suit charges the Parks Board with several violations of the Colorado Open Meetings Law and that they lack statutory authority to enact changes to the grant selection criteria as recommended by Parks staff.
COHVCO has been joined in the law suit by 2 individuals and 7 local clubs.
While there do not appear to be any specific penalties or remedies identified for violations of this type, as relief, the law suit asks that the court set aside the changes to the make up of the OHV Grant Review Sub Committee and the changes to the grant selection criteria.
Following is a press release that is being sent to newspapers around the state. Hopefully this will make the news somewhere.
"FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August, 16, 2010
Contact: Jerry Abboud
LAWSUIT OVER OHV RECREATION ALLEGES ILLEGAL DIVERSION OF FUNDS
DENVER, Friday August 13, 2010 – Two disabled Coloradans – one a Vietnam War veteran who lost his leg in combat – joined a group of Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) clubs Friday to sue the Colorado Board of Parks and Outdoor Recreation (Parks Board) to set aside its recent action to divert OHV user fees to activities other than motorized recreation.
The Denver District Court lawsuit, spearheaded by the Colorado OHV Coalition (COHVCO), alleges multiple violations of the Colorado Open Meetings Law and seeks to set aside the July 16 actions altering the 21-year old Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Fund grant program.
Co-plaintiff Lyle Borders of Longmont is a former United States Army helicopter pilot who served in Vietnam, where in 1971 he was wounded and had his right leg amputated above the knee. Mr. Borders is an outdoor enthusiast who enjoys hunting and camping using his all-terrain vehicle (“ATV”) to access public lands and to be able to hunt. Mr. Borders pays annual registration fees into the Recreation Fund. He visits the Arapaho, Roosevelt, Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests in Colorado, as well as public lands in the Grand Junction area administered by the United States Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”). Recreation Fund grants traditionally have ensured the proper maintenance of such OHV routes throughout the state, and provide signage, mapping, and education in responsible OHV use.
Page 1 of 4
“I have always been an outdoors person. After my injury my ability to access the outdoors changed dramatically. If less money flows from the Recreation Fund to trail maintenance, I will lose recreation opportunities,” Borders said.
Jennifer Dent of Westcliffe has also joined the lawsuit. Ms. Dent suffered an injury 13 years ago that severely limited her ability to walk and eliminated her ability to hike. “Thankfully, because of the ATV my husband and I own, I can still travel into the backcountry areas that would otherwise be totally inaccessible to me,” she said. Ms. Dent has been riding on ATVs for approximately two years, including on designated OHV routes on the Rio Grande, Gunnison, Pike, and San Isabel National Forests in Colorado. “We should not be shut out of these areas because of the mode of transportation that I rely on,” she added.
“The Parks Board is trying to divert funding away from the fund’s statutory mandates, which all promote or preserve recreation opportunities,” according to Jerry Abboud, COHVCO’s executive director. “Motorized recreationists are understandably upset that their registration and permit fees would instead go to implement closures of recreation opportunities. We entirely pay our own way without a dime of other state funds,” he added.
In addition to claims that the Parks Board actions violate the Recreation Fund statutory grant criteria, the lawsuit alleges the Parks Board met in secret three times to accomplish these actions. These meetings, according to the lawsuit, violate the state Open Meetings (Sunshine) Law.
“I was specifically uninvited to one so-called ‘OHV Modifications Roundtable’ meeting attended by multiple Parks Board members,” Abboud said. “An illegal process produced an illegal result, which harms a highly successful public-private partnership.” Abboud noted that the U.S.D.A. Forest Service has recognized Colorado’s Recreation Fund programs at the national level as a model for the management of OHV recreation.
Joining COHVCO, Mr. Borders and Ms. Dent in the lawsuit are local OHV clubs from around the state, including the Grand Junction-based West Slope ATV Association; the Colorado Springs-based Trails Preservation Alliance, the Denver-based Mile-Hi Jeep Club of Colorado; the Steamboat Springs-based Timberline Trailriders, Inc.; the Delta-based Thunder Mountain Wheelers; the Colorado Springs-based Colorado Motorcycle Trail Riders Association, Inc; and the Durango-based San Juan Trail Riders.
COHVCO is a Colorado nonprofit corporation with approximately 2,000 individual, OHV club, and business members. COHVCO has worked since 1987 to represent, assist, educate, and empower OHV recreationists in the protection and promotion of off-highway motorized recreation throughout Colorado. COHVCO developed, promoted, and assisted in the creation of the Recreation Fund program in 1989 (Section 33-14.5-106, Colorado Revised Statutes). COHVCO has received grants from the Recreation Fund for resource protection and improvement, user education, visitor contacts, planning and travel plan implementation on Forest Service and BLM lands.
The West Slope ATV Association (WSATVA) is a Colorado nonprofit corporation based in Grand Junction with over 300 members. For 22 years, WSATVA has promoted responsible ATV use as a legitimate family recreational activity on public lands through education of the general public, media, and elected officials. WSATVA also provides search and rescue assistance to Mesa County. WSATVA has received grant money since 2006 from the Recreation Fund for resource protection and improvement, maintenance, education, planning and travel plan implementation, and equipment.
The Trails Preservation Alliance (TPA) is a Colorado nonprofit corporation focused on preserving motorized, single-track trail riding. TPA received grant money through the Recreation Fund’s 2009-2010 grant cycle for trail improvement and enforcement in the San Juan National Forest.
The Mile-Hi Jeep Club (MHJC) is a Colorado nonprofit corporation based in Denver with approximately 200 members. For the last 50 years, MHJC has worked to unite adventure loving people in worthwhile 4-wheel drive activities; to educate its members in the proper manner of all road driving; to protect and preserve the natural beauty and terrain; and to participate, on a voluntary basis, in search and rescue and other humanitarian missions as the community needs. MHJC received a grant in 2009 from the Recreation Fund for resource protection and improvement, maintenance, education, visitor contact, planning and travel plan implementation, and signage.
Timberline Trailriders, Inc. (TTI) is a Colorado nonprofit corporation based in Steamboat Springs with more than 100 members across northwest Colorado. For the last 35 years, TTI has worked to clear trails and organize events for motorcycle trail riders. TTI has received grant money through the Recreation Fund since 1998 for trail maintenance, management, education, and equipment for the Routt National Forest Trail Crew. TTI has earned “Good Manager” status for the Routt National Forest Trail Crew. Since 2004, TTI has received grants for resource protection and improvement, maintenance, education, visitor contacts, planning and travel plan implementation, and equipment. TTI intends to apply for grants from the Recreation Fund in the future.
Thunder Mountain Wheelers (TMW) is a Colorado nonprofit corporation based in Delta with approximately 210 families and 40 businesses as members. TMW promotes responsible use of public and private lands to foster and provide an attitude of public service, volunteerism, safe riding practices, and rational and environmentally responsible techniques of riding OHVs. TMW has received grant money through the Recreation Fund since 2004 for new trail construction, resource protection and improvement, trail maintenance, education, planning and travel plan implementation, equipment, signage, and work with the Youth Corps.
Colorado Motorcycle Trail Riders Association (CMTRA) is a Colorado nonprofit corporation based in Colorado Springs with more than 100 members. For more than 30 years, CMTRA has been active in trail maintenance of Colorado motorcycle trails in the Pikes Peak and Southern Colorado region, including on the Pike and San Isabel National Forests. CMTRA received grant money through the Recreation Fund for resource protection and improvement, maintenance, education, planning and travel plan implementation, signage, and work with the Youth Corps since 2005.
San Juan Trail Riders (SJTR) is a Colorado nonprofit corporation based in Durango with approximately 400 members. SJTR is dedicated to promoting the needs and interests of OHV enthusiasts throughout Colorado while preserving the natural beauty of the wild lands and fostering compatibility and courtesy between forest users. SJTR has been awarded a grant from the Recreation Fund program for the 2010-2011 grant cycle for trail maintenance and improvement."
State Parks has asked the court that they be given until September 26th to respond to the suit, and the court will likely grant their request. Probably, there will be anything to report until that date.
Thus far, COHVCO has spent in excess of $20,000 to have the research done, and the suit filed. There will be no trial. the district court judge will decide the case based on civil procedures law.
If anything happens between now and September 26th, it will be posted on the COHVCO website at www.cohvco.org.
President and Chairman
|08-17-2010, 06:23 PM||#2|
Joined: Jul 2004
Location: Boulder, CO
I just ran into this on KTMtalk, it's an email sent out by the thieves. Of particular interest to me was the link to the Denver Post article. It is so clearly biased that it's hard to believe any editor would let it pass for journalism. Referring to our money as "state funds".....sheesh.
Anyway, here it is:
Sent: Fri, July 16, 2010 9:44:26 PM
Subject: Fwd: OHV Program Reforms APPROVED by State Parks Board Today 5-0!!
From: Aaron Clark
Sent: Fri, Jul 16, 2010 7:59 pm
Subject: OHV Program Refoms APPROVED by State Parks Board Today 5-0!!
THIS IS A CAUSE FOR CELEBRATION!
I want to thank all of you who have supported the SRCA Recreation campaign and our efforts to rein in illegal ORV use and abuse. Today we made a huge step forward by securing sweeping reforms to the State Parks ORV program. Information below.
THANKS for sending in your letters and emails over that last 10 months on this issue. All in all we generated more than 6000 emails and letters submitted in support of this issue. It paid off today!
Colorado Sportsman and Conservation Groups Applaud
Sweeping Reforms to State’s Off-Highway Vehicle Program Made by State Parks Board 5-0
Reforms to $4 Million Annual OHV Program Adopted After News Accounts of OHV Program Abuse and a Year-long Campaign to Allow Law Enforcement & Wildlife Habitat Restoration Grants to be Funded.
(Denver, CO) – July 16th, 2010 – A coalition of Colorado Sportsman, recreationists and conservationists applauded the Colorado State Parks Board for making sweeping changes to the state’s $4M annual Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) Grant Program at their Board today in Aurora, CO. These reforms come after a year-long campaign by sportsman and conservationist to reform the program and an investigative story on the OHV Program in the Denver Post that revealed serious abuses and a disregard for hundreds of thousands of dollars in state funds by a relatively unknown OHV Subcommittee (story: http://www.denverpost.com/ci_14274745).
Past Abuses of the OHV Program include:
· Giving grant applicants $525,000 more than they asked for in 2009 during a time when the State Parks Budget was cut more than $3 million.
· The OHV Subcommittee secretively altering and increasing original grant request amounts before submitting the grants for State Parks Board approval.
· Lack of transparency and conflicts of interest by allowing the OHV Subcommittee to make decisions in sessions closed to the public and allowing subcommittee members to be associated with groups receiving grants.
· Giving excess grant money to trail maintenance projects while insisting that there is not enough money to fund critical law enforcement and habitat restoration.
· State money being granted to special interest groups to develop propaganda and used for special interest advocacy purposes.
The reforms approved today to the OHV Program, which is funded by an annual $25.25 registration fee on OHVs include the following:
· Law Enforcement, Education and Travel Management Plan Implementation (i.e. trail closures, barriers, signs, etc) will now become an official criterion under which grants are scored and treated the same as any OHV trail maintenance grant, which has received the majority of funding in the past. The New Grant Selection Criteria will be:
o Need and Benefit of proposed grant (25 pts)
o Law Enforcement, Education & Travel Management Plan Implementation (25 pts)
o Resource and Habitat Protection (25 pts)
o Local Partnerships & Leverage (25 pts)
· An element of “Need” will now be incorporated into the “Benefit” criterion so that a variety of grant applicants (i.e. Enforcement, habitat protection, etc.) will be allowed to earn points vs. just awarding points to grant applications benefiting OHV recreationists.
· OHV Subcommittee Reconfiguration & Diversity: The OHV Subcommittee which reviews, scores and approves the $4M in grants annually will no longer be comprised of (10) OHV enthusiasts and instead the OHV Subcommittee will now be comprised of (8) motorized and (3) non-motorized and (1) diversified user for an 8-4 Subcommittee Composition for the 2011 grant cycle. This diversity of interests will allow for a more transparent and balanced review of grants.
· (1) Division of Wildlife Law Enforcement expert and (1) Wildlife or Biologist expert will now serve as ex-officio members of the Subcommittee. These experts who have never participated in the process and will be able to provide input on enforcement needs and help the OHV Subcommittee understand the impacts OHV use has on wildlife, hunting and habitat. In addition, state employees involved in the administration of the OHV Program will no longer be able to score the grant applications.
· In order to promote transparency and prevent OHV Subcommittee members from subjectively giving artificially low or high scores to select grants, all scores given by each OHV Subcommittee member will be made public and shared with the entire Subcommittee instead of those scored remaining secret and averaged together with all other scores.
· The OHV Program will incorporate an “escalation procedure” that will allow any grant that does not receive OHV Subcommittee approval to be escalated and considered for funding by the State Trails Committee and/or the State Parks Board.
“We view these changes as a balanced and necessary step in the evolution of a program that has grown ten-fold over the last ten years” says Bryan Martin, Director of Conservation for The Colorado Mountain Club, “As this program continues to grow it is critical that all aspects of responsible OHV management, especially law enforcement and habitat protection, are included in the grant funding and that more and more public land users are bought into the program.”
The reforms to the OHV Program are a culmination of work, research, and negotiations over the past year. Since the fall of 2009, the State Parks board has held nearly one public meeting a month to discuss the issues at stake in the modification of the program. State Parks Board members, State Trails Committee members, State Parks staff and Department of Natural Resources staff have heard from thousands of constituents across the state. The proposal is a reflection of the diverse views, observations, and input the public has had in this process over the past 10 months.
“For the past decade the OHV Program has been controlled by a small and relatively unknown group of OHV riders who have awarded millions of dollars in grants for OHV trail maintenance and OHV promotion while critical law enforcement needs were neglected and thousands of miles of habitat damage occurred. These reforms benefit both motorized and non-motorized recreationists and will hopefully ensure that this $4 million state program is open and transparent and that all aspects of OHV management are treated fairly and funded,” said Rob Firth, former Chief of Law Enforcement for the Division of Wildlife.
David Lien, Chairman of Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers said, “These reforms are common sense. Colorado Hunters and Anglers pay fees every year to ensure our sport is managed responsibly for all to enjoy. Our hunting and fishing fees go toward adequate law enforcement and habitat protection and the OHV Program should do the same.” Lien referenced
a recently published national sportsman’s poll on OHV abuse as further evidence that these reforms are needed http://www.responsibletrails.org/images/ea...king%20up-2.pdf.
Several other Western states such as AZ, NV, NM and CA have recently passed legislation or rules directing OHV registration funds towards law enforcement and habitat protection which were supported by both motorized and non-motorized interests. Unfortunately, in Colorado negotiations with the OHV community were initiated numerous times, but OHV representatives pulled out on every occasion.
Bryan Martin responded to a recent claim from the Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition (COHVCO) that the process for considering reforms to the OHV Program has been flawed, stating “COHVCO as well as representatives from the sportsman and conservation groups have had numerous meetings and discussions with State Parks staff and Board members and both groups have provided extensive written and verbal testimony over the past year on this issue, so any accusation that the process was flawed is patently false. Despite COHVCO’s heavy-handed tactics and opposition every step of the way, the interests and concerns of sportsman, law enforcement, and public land users won out. We are confident that despite COHVCO’s opposition to these common sense reforms, that the majority of OHV users support adequate funding for law enforcement and habitat protection because they ride responsibly and want to crack down on the reckless riders.”
Bryan Martin, 303.996.2768
Director of Conservation, The Colorado Mountain Club
David Lien, 719.650.6526
Chairman, Colorado Backcountry Hunters and Anglers
Rob Firth, 970.531.3939
Former Chief of Law Enforcement, Division of Wildlife
Aaron Clark, 303. 324. 7031
Director of Recreation Campaign, Southern Rockies Conservation Alliance
# # #
Quietuse mailing list
|08-17-2010, 08:08 PM||#4|
Joined: Jul 2008
Location: Longmont, CO
COHVCO Legal Fund
Just made a modest donation to COHVCO to help support their legal efforts. Not saying so for congratulation, but rather to see if others are willing and able to help. If not for this legal battle, then for those in the future.
|08-17-2010, 09:34 PM||#5|
Joined: Jan 2005
Location: Eames Lounge Adv'er
Triumph Tiger XC --- KTM 525 EXC --- Honda XX
Save $5 off your smugmug account with this coupon( 1qoLJk8tfsGWM )
|08-19-2010, 07:03 PM||#10|
Riding, not skiing.
Joined: Oct 2003
Location: Boulder|Denver|Winter Park
950 Adventure ✧ 950 Super Enduro ✧ 450 XC-W Six Days
|08-20-2010, 06:39 AM||#11|
What could go wrong?
Joined: Sep 2007
COHVCO donation sent.
'00 XRV750 Africa Twin, '99 CRM250-AR, '88 TLM220R, '77 TS-50
Death is more universal than life; everyone dies but not everyone lives. -A. Sachs
"Get on with living or get on with dying" Paul Rodden 71 years old
Diesel RV build
|08-20-2010, 09:04 AM||#12|
Horny as Hell
Joined: Feb 2005
Location: Wheat Ridge Colorado
Just dropped another load of coin on the doorstep as well.
Not as much as I'd like, but every penny counts.
Rampart Range Motorcycle Management Committee(RRMMC) Past President/VP
Certified SAE J1287 sound tester
|08-19-2010, 11:03 AM||#13|
Joined: Mar 2006
Location: Colorado Springs
Action deserves a donation. Done.
|08-19-2010, 01:26 PM||#14|
Allergic to Asphalt!
Joined: Oct 2004
Thus far, COHVCO has spent in excess of $20,000 to have the research done, and the suit filed. There will be no trial. the district court judge will decide the case based on civil procedures law.
Good Time to bring this back up:
Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition is out there defending our right to ride the great trails we have here in Colorado. (www.cohvco.org) for more info on COHVCO).
They are volunteers on a limited budget, fighting a well oiled and well funded environmental machine that can afford to hire full time lawyers and lobbyists.
They are doing a remarkable job w/ what they have, but are in dire need of more help.
The problem is that COHVCO is totally outgunned and we as a user group tend to be apathetic and think someone else will take care of our rights.
It has just come to my attention that Colorado has 130,000+ OHV tags issued, but COHVCO only has 2000 members! That means 1.5% of riders support keeping our trails open. I would like to see what the percentage is on the environmental side?!?!?
This is sad & ridiculous, let your buddies know that if they want to keep riding the trails here in Colorado COHVCO is one of their best allies and needs the support ASAP!
So Many Idiots, So Few Comets!!!!!!!!!
|Thread Tools||Search this Thread|