Bipartisan Bill Introduced to Reopen Clear Creek for Off-Highway Vehicles

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 17, 2015) -- The BlueRibbon Coalition, a national trail-based recreation group, applauds Congressman Sam Farr (D-Salinas) and Congressman David Valadao (R-Coalinga), and Congressman Jeff Denham (R- Modesto)  for reintroducing the Clear Creek National Recreation Area and Conservation Act of 2015 (H.R. 1838).  The bill would reopen the 75,000 acre Clear Creek Management Area to OHV recreation and other multiple-uses. In addition, the proposal would designate about 21,000 acres nearby as the Joaquin Rocks Wilderness.

In 2008, the BLM imposed an interim emergency closure of the area to all users, even hikers, citing unsubstantiated concerns about a public health risk due to naturally occurring asbestos. 

The San Benito County Board of Supervisors petitioned Congress in 2011 to address the closure by designating it as a National Recreation Area based on the 2005 Clear Creek Travel Management Plan as the guiding document for the NRA. The Plan identified about 243 miles of motorized roads and trails, 400 acres of open riding areas and authorized a number of permitted OHV events.

Don Amador, Western Representative for the BlueRibbon Coalition, states, "I believe this is cutting edge bipartisan land-use legislation that benefits both the OHV and conservation communities.  It is the result of a lot of hard work by the sponsors of the bill to craft a win-win proposal that reopens Clear Creek for OHV recreation and establishes a new Wilderness area that can be enjoyed by hikers and sportsmen."

"I know that many businesses in San Benito County will also appreciate the return of recreationists to Clear Creek since the OHV community has historically been an important economic factor to the local economy," Amador concludes.