Senate Bill 767, which encourages the sale of the Carnegie expansion property, known as the Alameda-Tesla Expansion Area, has passed out of the final Senate committee and is now eligible for a vote on the floor. The land in question was purchased using funds from the Off Highway Vehicle Trust Fund, with agreement as to the future purpose of the land signed by adjacent landowners.
Subsequent to the purchase of the land, extensive work was undertaken to correct previous neglect and to bring the property up to the high environmental standards mandated by state law. Instead of recognizing this fact, the bill instead seeks to deny the OHV community a long overdue opportunity for increased motorized recreational opportunities.
Two years ago, the legislature widely supported and passed S.B. 249 (Allen, Chapter 459, Statutes of 2017), which created a series of environmental responsibilities including monitoring and review for all land overseen by State Parks and managed by the Off Highway Motorized Recreation Division. The environmental responsibilities in S.B. 249 go far beyond what any local county, city or nonprofit is mandated to do or can afford to provide.
Furthermore, this legislation would set a dangerous precedent by emboldening local landowners who object to the location of any state park, preserve or beach to push legislation to privatize that specific location. Passage of this legislation would support privatization of public land and hurt many Californians looking forward to enjoying experiences the Alameda-Tesla Expansion Area will have to offer upon completion.
State parks should remain for the benefit of all Californians, not just a select few.
AMA members, and indeed, all OHV recreationists must immediately contact their elected officials and remind them of the agreement that was made when the expansion properties were acquired. It is also important to remind them that the program uses no General Fund monies and is, in fact, based on a user-pay, user-benefit style model. Monies used to pay for the program include those taxes collected on fuel, SVRA entrance fees and vehicle registrations (green and red stickers).
The OHV community has long paid its own way and will continue to do so, as long as these monies are used for their intended purpose.