Update on Off-Trail Hiking in Anza Borrego State Park

Back in June I wrote a post, Please Help Save Off-Trail Hiking in Anza Borrego.

In October I posted an update, “We the People…” made a difference at Anza Borregowhere I stated,

The State indicated that the management of Anza Borrego State Park will continue to administer the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Cultural Preserve Management Plan of 2012, which is a huge victory.

The biggest challenge for “We the People” is the State is not transparent and it is often difficult to find out about the stuff they pull such as the proposed ban of off-trail hiking in Anza Borrego.

I am always dubious of statements made by politicians and government hacks, and have been looking for news to confirm my last post. What these politicians and hacks say they will do often does not happen. Today I received good news via an email from the California Department of Parks and Recreation:

Email Contents:

Dear Interested Party:

The California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) has initiated a second public comment period for the draft California Code of Regulation regarding off-trail restrictions in preserves and reserves within the state park system.  This proposed regulation was included in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking published on April 8, 2016.  Amendments have been made to the draft regulations based on comments received.  The amended regulation is attached and also available on the DPR website at www.parks.ca.gov/trails.

In summary, amendments were made to proposed Section 4325, Title 14, Chapter 1 to clarify where the regulation will apply and the manner by which the Department will designate areas of Natural Preserves, Cultural Preserves, State Cultural Reserves, or State Natural Reserves open for off trail use.  

Any interested person or their authorized representative may submit written comments relevant to the proposed regulatory action to DPR by email to trails@parks.ca.gov.  Comments may also be submitted by facsimile (FAX) at (916) 324-0301 or by mail to:

Lisa Mangat, Director

California Department of Parks and Recreation

P.O. Box 942896

Sacramento, CA 94296

The comment period closes at 5 pm on Wednesday, January 18, 2017.  DPR will consider only comments received at DPR offices by that time.

Inquiries may be made at trails@parks.ca.gov or by phone at (916) 324-0423.

Also attached was a document with the revisions below (changes/additions are in bold):

Proposed Amendment to replace repealed CCR Section 4325, Title 14, Chapter 1

Section 4325 Off Trail Restrictions – Preserves and Reserves

(a) No person shall leave designated trails or, board walks or other designated routes of travel in Natural Preserves, Cultural Preserves, State Cultural Reserves, or State Natural Reserves within the California State Park System, unless approved by the Department.

(b)       Notwithstanding (a), the entirety or portions of Natural Preserves, Cultural Preserves, State Cultural Reserves, or State Natural Reserves may be open to off-trail access:

  • on routes of travel that have been shown in a general plan or management plan or adopted in a similar process;
  • in an area that has been designated open for off-trail use by the park unit’s general plan or a specific management plan;
  • or, on a route of travel or in an area that the District Superintendent designates open for off-trail use by posted order after determining that off-trail use is important for public access and where it has been determined that impacts to the resources for which the park unit was established will not be significant.

(cb) Section (a) shall not restrict Department employees or their agents for the purpose of management, including but not limited to such as research, enforcement, rescue, or educational programs.

Note: Authority cited: Sections 5003 and 5008, Public Resources Code. Reference: Sections 5003, 5008, 5019.50, 5019.65, 5019.71, and 5019.74. Public Resources Code

What does this mean?

Anza Borrego State Park can continue to operate the sensitive areas according to the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Cultural Preserve Management Plan of 2012, which is what most of us who protested the CDPR proposed  new regulations wanted.

But, note: the CDPR has extended comments until January 18, 2017, and could change or rescind the revised regulation.

We must be diligent. Gosh it is so hard to be a government “by and for the people>”

 

 

 

 

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