Tuesday, May 22, 2012

LEGAL-EASE 101: INTERVENING IN COURT AND WHAT IT MEANS


You may have heard about one of our off-road groups "intervening" in a court action.  This is not the same as filing a lawsuit.  Herein we will explain what it means to be an "intervenor" in a court action, and why it is an essential part of our access efforts.
Legal actions can be described as offensive and defensive.  To intervene is a defensive maneuver that can save the day for us, by ensuring we have a seat at the table when recreational decisions are made.
The core of the defensive maneuver is the "defendant Intervenor" play. Off-roader organizations intervene in lawsuits filed by the anti-access crowd as a defendant. Sometimes, we can mix the offensive and defensive play as well. This is an excellent way of making sure no federal judge makes a decision (about our trails and our sports) without hearing from the people who use them.

An Intervenor allows the OHV community to directly oppose the arguments made by the radical anti's. Specifically, to intervene (become an Intervenor) a person or group that was not part of an original lawsuit, must show that they will be directly harmed by the court's decision. Often, groups like BRC act as representatives of people who have a direct concern in the legal issues.
Interveners (like BlueRibbon Coalition, the California Association of 4Wheel Drive Clubs,  (and others) become a player in the outcome of a lawsuit they were not originally part of.  They often request intervention because the agencies defending the lawsuit may not fully represent off-road interests, or worse.

Monday, May 14, 2012

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO HAVE STANDING IN COURT


"STANDING" IN COURT AND NEPA - WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

To have a seat at the landuse table when the big decisions are made about your trails, roads and riding areas, you must have "standing" in the NEPA process (and subsequent, if any, legal battles). You as an individual off-roader, are best usually represented by an organization such as your state association, national group or large umbrealla national group --the BlueRibbon Coalition


You must show up and sign in to public meetings.
Your name needs to show up on documents and official paperwork.
You have to show that you (and/or your sport) have been "harmed."

You do that with a very specific process (along with help from your local, state and national off-road groups).


Friday, May 4, 2012

SPORT-SPECIFIC OFF-ROAD GROUPS


 I am writing to share my personal observations about the importance of a sport-specific state and regional associations like, for examples, the California Association of 4Wheel Drive Clubs (CA4WDC) in CA, or District 36 or 37 of the American Motorcyclist Association, or the Northeast 4WD Association, or the Colorado Association of 4WD Clubs, or the Arizona State Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs, or whatever state and regional association might be available to you.  

Since my first published article about landuse and public lands in 1982 (yea, 30 years ago since I got in the fight), I have always preached the critical need of clubs and individuals belonging to “everything they can afford and that makes sense to them.” Nothing has changed.  The strength of our landuse fights lies in our clubs and organizations, supported by folks like you. 

Now more than ever is the time to be in the game at the national, regional, AND state level.

Obviously I believe firmly in our national umbrella group for all sports, all trails – the BlueRibbon Coalition.  But I also feel just as strongly about clubs being members of state (and regional) associations for their sport.  It goes hand in hand with our successes in keeping the sport alive. For specifics, every four-wheeler in CA should belong to CA4WDC.  I am not confused about that.  If you want to add other groups to your lists of memberships (that you can afford and that make sense to you), then for sure I encourage that as well.  It is all about memberships.

The bottom line of our successes in saving trails and keeping backcountry motorsports alive STARTS with you JOINING everything that makes sense to YOU.

I will add that my entire training course (the Recreational Leadership Training Course - RLTC at http://www.rltc.biz) is based in the fact that volunteer organizations, from churches to charities to clubs, always have “issues” and maybe even some “drama.”  It just seems to be human nature.  Many times the issues are driven by personalities, misunderstandings, lack of communication, or just plain ugliness of some sort.

No matter; the strength of volunteer associations/clubs lies in its members working together to a brighter future to serve the cause.  It’s all about all of us being on the team, and getting past issues.  It should never be about undermining the efforts of a good cause, but rather about shoring up the groups fighting for us.  It’s about fixing things that are broken so we can all have a better off-road future.

I hope you will join me and be in the game, by being a solid member of BRC and your state and regional association.  If you join other groups as well, I applaud you even more.

Thanks for listening,
Del Albright, concerned recreation advocate