Land seems to be closing left and right around the country, but more so in California. One area that was under recent litigation was the Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area in Southern California.
A lawsuit had been brought against the California Department of Parks and Recreation and the Division of Motor Vehicle Recreation by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility in 2013. PEER claimed that the state was not protecting cultural and archeological resources within Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area, 85,000 acres located near Borrego Springs, California.
The lawsuit lasted several years and sought to limit travel in the park to only routes shown on the official park map, a small percentage of the routes actually in the park. The California Off-Road Vehicle Association led the fight against the closures and played a pivotal role in fighting this lawsuit on behalf of the State. Additional organizations, EcoLogic Partners and Tierra Del Sol 4 Wheel Drive Club, later joined in the legal battle under the direction of CORVA’s attorney Jesse Barton.
On Jan. 2, 2018, the Superior Court of California ruled in favor of the California Department of Parks and Recreation and the Division of Motor Vehicle Recreation. Off-roaders can still enjoy full use of the recreation area, while park management can continue to manage the park without fighting a lawsuit.
“With the recent passage of Senate Bill 249, which renewed the California Off-Highway Motorized Vehicle Recreation Division, and the win of this lawsuit, a strong foundation of responsible use guidelines for off-road vehicle opportunities has been established in California,” said CORVA Managing Director Amy Granat. “While these successes should be celebrated, it’s critical for off-road enthusiasts to continue to advocate for their rights. CORVA will continue to monitor legislation and engage its members to protect off-road opportunities.”
Here is another great win for the off-road community and especially one for Southern California locals that head to the desert. How do you feel about this victory? Tell us in the comments below!