Complicated ruling was a victory of sorts for conservation-

Judge rejects U.S. management plan for California desert. By Louis Sahagun. LA Times.

This was a huge case over a big area and a BLM plan that took 15 years to develop. My view of it as a partial victory is based on private email from kt. Perhaps kt will want to comment on it here.

Here is the judge’s decision pdf

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan's Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of "Hiking Idaho." He also wrote "Beyond the Tetons" and "Backpacking Wyoming's Teton and Washakie Wilderness." He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

7 Responses to Judge rejects U.S. management plan for California desert (West Mojave)

  1. mikepost says:

    This is a tough one. Having no plan (as opposed to a partially flawed one) allows the damage to continue. The ATV/dirt bike riders are a significant and organized political force in that area and will no doubt be the ones to seek the injuction of a new tighter plan and all the while the trails and the damage grow.

  2. Rick Hammel says:

    Mikepost, you are partially correct. I had the dubious distinction of being an ORV leader back in the early days of the California Desert Plan. It was the BLMs first major land use undertaking. I have completely seen the light and have been green for many years.
    The OHV groups are well organised and all have “legal defense funds.” The funds are financed through entry fee surcharges and fundraisers. However, in todays legal market, I do not know how far these funds will go.
    My suggestion to the Court, would be to order the BLM close the area until the BLM comes up with a Courrt approved plan. It has been done before on the old Barstow to Vegas course and it was very effective.


  3. Justin says:

    Anyone have more details on this or could point me somewhere? Does the decision extend across the entire California Desert District? I spent a year doing restoration on closed ohv routes near El Centro can vouch for more needing to be done.

  4. Rick Hammel says:

    Justin, As far as I know the West Mojave Plan covers the Ridgecrest and Barstow Field Office juresdictions. Perhaps part of the Needles office.

    Go to Click on the California map then on one of the aforementioned field offices.You can then give them a call.


  5. I am asking Western Watersheds Project’s California office to send me a copy of the decision.

  6. OK, I have the decision text and have added it to the post.

  7. Rick Hammel says:

    Ralph, I am a little les than 1/3 of the way through the decision. It certainly is bringing back memories. I was directly involved in the 1982 CDCA Plan amendment. But those days are gone forever for me. Now I am one of “those tree-huggers.” What turned me around was the willful distruction of resouces by supposed OHV leaders in 1989. I have never regretted my decision to move away from the OHV communuty.



September 2009


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey