NRC Report - April 30, 2010
Insurance issues have been noted with clubs obtaining insurance under the umbrella CA4WDC policy for their events. Below are three critical points that apply:
A Certificate of Liability Insurance serves as a receipt and nothing more.
The U.S. Government being identified as additionally insured on the certificate of insurance is not acceptable; it must be identified on an endorsement.
The name of the Insured on the Certificate of Insurance must be the same name as the Holder on the Special Use Permit. If the names are not the same, then the Holder must be identified as additionally insured on an endorsement.
NOTE: the HOLDER of the Special Use Permit must be the same as listed on the insurance policy OR be identified as "additionally insured". In addition, the U.S. Government must be identified as "additionally insured".
This means that each member club hosting an event must be listed as "additionally insured" on the insurance policy at the time it is issued.
This issue surface as direction from USFS Region 5. I have obtained the documents from Region 5 that reference the required insurance statement verbiage and provided them to Bonnie. To date, Sequoia National Forest is enforcing that verbiage on permits. I have not heard of similar issues arising from BLM issued special use permits for events.
The long-term impact appears that event dates will need to be defined and submitted at the time the insurance policy is renewed.
I attended the USFS Planning Rule Roundtable on April 6 in Sacramento. Overall, I detect a big interest on the part of the Forest Service to work within the framework of collaborative processes. I made a point of noting that "collaboration" does not mean "consensus". The openness on the part of the Forest Service to engage the public as "stakeholders" and involve them with the development of forest plans is encouraging and in keeping with their efforts that I have encountered over the past couple of years.
The "planning rule" will lay out the framework for the development of future forest plan revisions. The planning rule is the “Process” while the forest plan is the “product”. There are opportunities and pitfalls as the process moves forward. The planning rule is on a “fast-track” and expected to be released early 2011. Of important note, recreation has been recognized as an major factor to be included in future forest plan revisions. Another round of national roundtables is being planned with a tentative scheduled meeting in mid-July in Los Angles.
The Giant Sequoia National Monument Draft Management Plan is currently being reviewed by a science advisory panel. That review is expected to be complete in early May. Forest officials are looking at release of the draft plan as early as June 1 for a 90 day comment period with 6-8 public meetings being considered.
Over a three year period, GSNM officials convened a collaborative team composed of stakeholders, including past litigants in previous Sequoia Forest/Monument litigations, facilitated by the Center for Environmental Conflict Resolution. CA4WDC was one of the original group of litigators and I have attended all meetings (every 2 months) representing CA4WDC. Of note, the collaborative team produced the core tenets of the agency preferred alternative of the GSNM plan.
That group has evolved into the Giant Sequoia National Monument Association, a 501(c)(3), focused on facilitating volunteer activities on the Monument and surrounding southern Sierra Nevada region. I am the current Chairman of the Association Board of Directors.
Two major projects are in the works for this year; a docent lead walk of the Trail of 100 Giants and MyForest Summit. The MyForest Summit will involve numerous schools in the Porterville and Visalia area. Additional projects are being planned; including Site Stewardship with the California Association of Archeology, recovery and restoration of marijuana grow sites with the High Sierra Volunteer Trail Crew.
The Association has received significant support from the Sequoia NF and USFS Region 5. A team from Region 5 is scheduled to tour Sequoia National Monument and met with the Association Board in late June.
BLM has opened comment on the new draft RAMP for Imperial Sand Dunes. This is the third round to develop a management plan for Imperial San Dunes. The sordid history of this plan involves numerous rounds in court dating back about 10 years. CA4WDC has been involved at all stages.
I attended a public meeting where the plan was presented. I see a couple of issues (camping opportunities and access to the dunes from the east) with the current draft. Overall, the plan appears to be recreation friendly. I am in discussion with American Sand Association and San Diego Off Road Coalition to ensure comments submitted on the draft are complementary.
The Ocotillo Wells SVRA General Plan is open for comment. I was invited to a stakeholder recreation focus group to meet with Ocotillo Wells staff to discuss additional points referenced in previously submitted comments.
For clarification, the OHMVR Division has three planning efforts underway involving Ocotillo Wells and state park properties in Imperial County: Heber Sand Dunes, Ocotillo Wells and Freeman Properties/Truckhaven. Each plan will have two separate documents: Environmental Impact Report (CEQA document) and a General Plan (State Parks document). The Heber Dunes and Ocotillo Wells plans efforts are active. The Freeman Properties/Truckhaven planning document is on hold.
On the litigation front, the WEMO (Western Mojave) management plan has been litigated by Center for Biological Diversity. After a couple of settlement conferences, it appears the issue will be back before the judge with a June 18 court date.
Finally, the USFS Water Quality Management Plan continues as the sleeping giant with its potential impact on recreation. I have briefed the North District and Central District with a data collection effort needed to document condition of routes important to recreation. South District will receive the same brief at their July meeting.
In general, the WQMP will be the description of how the Forest intends to ensure the water leaving Forest lands is as good or better than the quality of water entering Forest lands. This tenet is in keeping with Clean Water Act (federal) and Porter-Cologne Act (state) legislation that applies to water quality.
What I am attempting to do is build a documentary record with GPS data points and photographs of important routes with respect to ground conditions; especially where water crossings are involved. A big task; but, necessary in order to have a point of reference when discussing recreation, trails, and water quality.
Projected May Meetings:
May 18 - USFS WQMP, Sacramento
May 22-23 - CA4WDC Board, Sacramento