Dirt bikes may be coming to your neighborhood soon!
by Daniel Pritchett
In December 2011 I called attention to a proposal to use Bishop City Park as a staging area for Off- Highway Vehicles (OHVs) under the new Adventure Trails program. This proposal was so bad I had hoped it would not be taken seriously. Silly me!
Some Inyo County Supervisors not only take this proposal seriously, they recently decided to initiate work on an Environmental Impact Report for for it. Under the Adventure Trails program certain county roads and (Bishop) city streets will be opened up for Green Sticker (dirt bikes, quads, ATV’s etc…) vehicle use. There are many proposed routes and several go through residential areas in Bishop (including my own). One proposed route would use the Bishop Chamber of Commerce as a staging area. This means after disturbing people in their homes in residential areas, Green Sticker dirt bikers could proceed to disturb people at Bishop City Park. What a great idea!
County supervisors shouldn’t need an EIR to recognize this proposal for what it is: bad planning, pure and simple. The purpose of residential zoning is to preserve the residential character and quality of life of a neighborhood. Turning residential streets into corridors for dirt bike through-traffic defeats the purpose of residential zoning. Turning Bishop City Park into an OHV staging area defeats the purpose of a city park. If the proposal is implemented a few businesses will profit at the expense of the peace and quiet of many of their neighbors and users of Bishop City Park. The fact that such an unfair idea is taken seriously is testimony to the disproportionate influence of OHV enthusiasts at all levels of government.
OHV enthusiasts already have access to many miles of off-highway routes accessible without driving through residential neighborhoods. The Adventure Trails program won’t open any new back-country areas — it will simply allow Green Sticker drivers to disturb people they would not otherwise be able to disturb: people in their own homes and at Bishop City Park. I can’t think of a better way for OHV enthusiasts to generate ill-will toward their activities.
If there are any people left who share the old fashioned view that residential neighborhoods should maintain their residential character, and Bishop City Park should remain a park, I suggest they contact Inyo County Supervisors and Bishop City Council-members immediately.
Daniel Pritchett Bishop, CA