The BlueRibbon Coalition, was founded to defend access by responsible motorized recreationist to public lands. .
The endangered species act has been misused as a means to lock out mountain bikers and other trail users from huge areas. The abusers use the very existence of a threatened or endangered species to close public access for petty and indefensible reasoning--simply because the trail may cross a stream or pass through the general area where the protected species MAY exist. "Scientific studies" the preclude the closed areas are typically heavily biased and rarely audited.
Recently many closures are the result of expensive civil lawsuits inflicted upon land managers in the name of a protected animal or plant, by offshoots of major environmental organizations specifically created for this purpose. The trails are closed in out-of-court settlements to stem the financial losses that the land manager must bear to continue to defend US (legitimate trail users who by right, should be able to experience these places), in court.
Revising the endangered Species Act to enforce a more scientific and less emotional protocol to determine which areas should be closed to protect precious plants and animals has been long overdue. Please read the following press release.
The BlueRibbon Colalition, a national recreation group, supports the bipartisan Congressional effort to reform the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The BRC agrees with Chairman Richard Pombo (R-Tracy) and Congressman Dennis Cardoza (D-Merced) that the ESA needs to be fixed.
For many years, trail-based recreation has been negatively impacted by misapplication of the Act via massive critical habitat designations and land-use restrictions related to the Northern Spotted Owl, Mojave Desert Tortoise, Red-legged Frog, Fairy Shrimp, Arroyo Toad, Kit Fox, Coho Salmon, and many other species.
Don Amador, western representative for the BlueRibbon Coalition, said, “I was glad to see both political parties at the news conference supporting an effort to reform the ESA. For too long, our access rights and the rights of private property owners have been sacrificed on the altar of unjustified land closures.”
“At this time, green extremists are trying to misuse the Act to restrict historic motorized access to Clam Beach in Northern California because of potential threats to the Western Snowy plover, a listed species. In many cases, these closures have little to do with recovering a species. I think this bipartisan effort to make sure that habitat set-asides are scientifically, not politically, based is a giant step in the right direction,” Amador continues.
“All too often, challenges to historic access have come from ‘threatened’ subspecies or distinct population segments (DPS) rather than ‘endangered species.’ One feature of the bill will allow more flexible treatment of the threatened critters and impose more scientific rigor on the listing of DPS,” Amador continues.
“BRC works as a partner in the good stewardship of the land and is collaborating with federal agencies and the University of Washington on a recreation-oriented research project related to the Northern Spotted Owl. Land management decisions should be science-based and that is just what the Pombo/Cardoza proposal champions. I am proud our organization is supporting this effort,” Amador concludes.