By Ray Pessa
President, Friends of Giant Rock
Published: Saturday, January 9, 2010 12:28 AM CST
I was pleased to hear that Supervisors Brad Mitzelfelt and Neil Derry are supporting a change to ordinance 3973 that removes the staging permit requirement. This shows me a sense of justice and the fortitude to lead in spite of slanderous accusation of secret meetings and process circumvention made by the misled. Some desperate writers have no shame.
To turn the focus on something more positive, Friends of Giant Rock is perusing a training program that would have target group of third-to seventh-graders.
Does this mean I admit there is a problem with off-roaders’ conduct? Of course. Although the incidents are isolated, the issue is compounded by the reduction of riding areas and unclear boundaries.
I have spoken to irreverent off-roaders but never said I got dirt kicked in my face; if you’re going to quote me, please get it right.
In 2007, Friends of Giant Rock submitted an OHV program called Riders Intensive Driver Education (RIDE) to the state OHV Commission and to the county’s Land Use Services. This program, although very effective, is also labor intensive and no response was received.
Friends of Giant Rock, by the way, is a small, local OHV club whose members understand the issues and take what action they can to educate riders, support law and code enforcement, keep riding areas open and yes, fight for the right to assemble on our private property for OHV activities.
The county’s ordinance was crafted in two days by a stakeholder committee comprised of nine individuals, only two of whom represented the OHV community — neither of whom live in San Bernardino County.
To me, “stakeholder” implies balance and I see none here.
To address this issue is, in fact, why Friends of Giant Rock was formed. We remain transparent, and we support the protection of our desert plants and animals. I do not consider tire tracks in the sand or a motorcycle driving down a dirt road a terrorist act of destruction and resent the foul and false accusations made by some disgruntled writers.
I moved to Yucca Valley in 1978 and had been towing my dune buggy out to Giant Rock area seven years before that. I still enjoy exploring our desert wonders from my homebuilt buggy. And sometimes I go out to the cabin during the week or an off weekend and enjoy the peace and quiet. I’ll walk next door and feed the neighbor’s horses some carrots and scratch the heads of those scroungy goats.
I was asked by the editor (of the Hi-Desert Star) if I thought coexistence was possible. Clearly, I do. There are, however, a few extremist whose only goal is to exterminate the OHV. Good luck with that.
With the staging permit issue being resolved, I look forward to addressing the training needed at the youth level and the continued education of riders and residents alike. Some more desert cleanup projects and riding activities are planned as well. There is a legal designated route that will take you from Johnson Valley open area to Stoddard Valley open area. Anyone up for that trek?