Inyo County press release
The Inyo County Board of Supervisors today will consider approving a letter thanking Senator Tom Berryhill for his invaluable help in extending the time for piloting the Adventure Trails Program in Inyo County.
Senator Berryhill sponsored SB 1345 to extend the provisions of the Adventure Trails Pilot Program through 2020. Under the original enabling legislation, AB 628 (Conway), the Adventure Trails Pilot Program was set to sunset on January 1, 2017, unless extended by the State Legislature. Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 1345 into law on August 26th.
“Other counties, specifically Sierra County, expressed interest in considering having the Adventure Trails Program expanded to their communities,” said Fifth District Supervisor Matt Kingsley, “But, ultimately, SB 1345 had to be narrowed to just extending the period for the pilot program in Inyo County. We really need to be able to get enough data to be able to fairly evaluate the pros and cons of the Adventure Trails Program in Inyo County, and let the State Legislature evaluate it, too.”
Although AB 628 was passed in 2011, the Board of Supervisors’ commitment to conducting extensive public outreach and considering an abundance of public input resulted in the Board not approving the routes for the Adventure Trails Pilot Program until January, 2015. In the end, as a result of robust public discussion and compromise, the Board only approved seven of the 36 proposed routes. However, implementation of the project was further hampered by delays from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power in granting approval for the County to use campgrounds leased from the City as start or end points on four of the seven approved routes.
The other three routes were opened to combined use by qualifying OHVs last year. Independence No. 1, Lone Pine No. 1 and Bishop No. 15, were respectively opened on July 14, 2015, July 24, 2015 and August 5, 2015.
As Inyo noted in its report to the State Legislature, required by AB 628, last December, “ … (T)he combined-use routes have only been open for a short period (about four to five months) and as a result usage of the route by eligible OHVs has been relatively light. This has resulted in minimal data being available for analysis. An expansion or extension of the pilot project would allow for the collection of a more complete data set.”
The County has since reached an agreement with LADWP on the remaining four approved routes, which have start points on City of Los Angeles land. It is anticipated these routes can be opened to combined use in late September or October. Under the original provisions of AB 628, the County would have had a year or less to evaluate their use. As a result of SB 1345, all seven routes can be analyzed for another three years. As required by SB 1345, the County will be submitting another report to the Legislature prior to January 1, 2019.
Essentially, thanks to Senator Berryhill’s efforts, the County has been granted additional time for a proper analysis of the program’s overall viability – time that was lost due to delays from the outset of the program’s implementation. The Board is sincerely grateful for both Senator Berryhill’s efforts and for the positive outcome, which should be of benefit to anyone with a vested interest in seeing the Pilot Program sufficiently evaluated.
Senator Berryhill’s sponsorship of AB 1345 not only gives the County an additional three years to properly analyze Adventure Trails, but he helps the Board keep a promise made to its constituents – supporters and opponents of the pilot program alike – that the issues they raised would be taken seriously and carefully evaluated.
The Inyo County Board of Supervisors is extremely grateful to Senator Berryhill for his leadership and support.
It should be noted that AB 1345 only extends the provisions of AB 628 for the Adventure Trails Pilot Program in Inyo County. It does not, as erroneously stated on the September 13 agenda and in agenda back-up material, expand those provisions to include Mono and Sierra counties. There was movement to include the other counties in the legislation but they were not included in the version of AB 1345 that made its way to the Governor’s desk and was signed into law last month.
The County welcomes comments on the combined-use routes. For further information, to submit comments on the routes, and to view maps of the four combined-use routes in the Bishop area, review the Assembly Bill 628 and Senate Bill 1345 Monitoring and Reporting website at http://www.inyoltc.org/ab628impl.html.