Truckhaven off-road area used by off-roaders since 1950’s will again be open for world class events
BAKERSFIELD, CA (September 07, 2007) In January of 2007 the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Desert Protective Council (DPC) filed a lawsuit claiming that the California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) purchased the Truckhaven property without completing the environmental reviews required by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). As a result, the special permits required to use the property for events were suspended. An agreement has been reached by the parties involved that will allow State Parks to issue event permits in this area as long as the appropriate environmental reviews are completed.
This area has been used by off-roaders since the 1950’s. It is also the location for California Off-Road Vehicle Association’s (CORVA) annual “Truckhaven Challenge.” This event has been held in the Truckhaven area for twelve years. It provides organized family off-roading fun while at the same time teaching trail etiquette, habitat protection and proper safety techniques. Circa 1964, the Tierra Del Sol Four Wheel Drive Club of San Diego began hosting their “Desert Safari” event in this area. It has been a successful gathering of 4 wheel drive enthusiasts for over 40 years.Before this year OHV organizations did not need to obtain special event permits because the property was owned by several individuals that never objected to the events. Once DPR purchased the property, special event permits became a requirement. The CBD and DPC filed a request for an injunction to keep CORVA from holding their “Truckhaven Challenge” in January of this year. CORVA chose to cancel their request for a permit on advice of counsel. Later, CBD and DPC asked for a court order prohibiting all OHV use in the area. CORVA fought this and the court refused to issue the injunction. CORVA was then dismissed from the litigation.
In July of this year, EcoLogic partners filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuit in support of State Parks. While this motion was pending before the court, CBD, DPC and State Parks entered into settlement negotiations. We are happy to report that the case has now been resolved on terms favorable to the OHV community. CBD and DPC have dropped all of their claims, including those under CEQA. Therefore, the acquisition of Truckhaven by State Parks is no longer in dispute. In exchange, State Parks has agreed to initiate a public planning process for the Truckhaven area. This process will begin at the end of the year and is expected to take 12 to 18 months to complete. In the interim, however, State Parks will be able to issue special event permits to OHV groups, provided they conduct the environmental analysis required under CEQA. This is a great victory for OHV users and for the environment.
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