locked Carnegie SRVA / Tesla Park


Alexander Henry
 

Hi all,

Tucked away in the rugged, dry foothills of which separate the Livermore Valley from the Central Valley lies Carnegie SRVA, a mecca for dirt bikers and ATVers. The unchecked use of OHVs erodes and degrades the land and there have also been multiple fires in the area in the past few years.

Unfortunately, while the off roading community is given free reign to destroy the land, it is completely off limits to us birders and naturalists who seek only to visit the area for low impact recreation which does not harm the ecosystem nearly as much.

How does it make sense that a birder walking up a canyon passively observing the wildlife is illegal, while people riding around on OHVs causing fires and killing plants and eroding the hillsides is totally okay and allowed?

This area is super important habitat which we have precious little of in the East Bay, or even the Bay Area in general, and it’s probably one of the best sites in Alameda County for a number of unusual bird species including Canyon Wren, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Cassin’s Kingbird, Greater Roadrunner, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Golden Eagle, Prairie Falcon and others.

For more information visit http://www.teslapark.org/


Marcus
 


Marcus Pun
Video Editor / Producer/Editor / Camera
C: 510-384-8085 | H: 510-530-2507
Oakland, CA


On Wednesday, July 14, 2021, 11:00:27 PM PDT, Alexander Henry <awhenry@...> wrote:


Hi all,

Tucked away in the rugged, dry foothills of which separate the Livermore Valley from the Central Valley lies Carnegie SRVA, a mecca for dirt bikers and ATVers. The unchecked use of OHVs erodes and degrades the land and there have also been multiple fires in the area in the past few years.

Unfortunately, while the off roading community is given free reign to destroy the land, it is completely off limits to us birders and naturalists who seek only to visit the area for low impact recreation which does not harm the ecosystem nearly as much.

How does it make sense that a birder walking up a canyon passively observing the wildlife is illegal, while people riding around on OHVs causing fires and killing plants and eroding the hillsides is totally okay and allowed?

This area is super important habitat which we have precious little of in the East Bay, or even the Bay Area in general, and it’s probably one of the best sites in Alameda County for a number of unusual bird species including Canyon Wren, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Cassin’s Kingbird, Greater Roadrunner, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Golden Eagle, Prairie Falcon and others.

For more information visit http://www.teslapark.org/




Richard Bradus
 

Marcus (and all),

Thank you for taking the time and emotional energy to respond. 

Here in SF we are confronted with the ruinous effects (and overwhelming political pressure) of the dog walkers who push their off-leash "rights" above all else, without providing any additional funding or stewardship (unlike the OHV community - the few "bad apples" and all). And then there are the golf courses, those water-wasting, often economically stratified playgrounds for the few that nonetheless provide sometimes important habitat for wildlife, but we cannot (and should not) roam at will for birding in view of the danger to ourselves of being struck by an errant shot and the potential disruption to the golfers (who do, after all, pay for their privilege).

The key here is balance, and doing our best as a society to accommodate different interests to provide opportunities for all kinds of recreation (and land use in general) without undue limitation or destruction. If we in the birdwatching community press a "holier than thou" position we are as much in the wrong as the rule-breaking off-leash dog partisans and any other group that seeks its own pleasures to the exception of others.

We need to stay active and vigilant to protect nature, expand parkland and other resources, and work WITH other groups to find compromises that ensure the best use of different lands and resources for all of the many uses we need and desire as a society.

And the real over-riding issue threatening these ecosystems and our way of life that we must confront together: global climate change, which cannot be countered solely by individual actions but requires a massive reordering of priorities and resources by government ("green" initiatives and ending fossil fuel subsidies as well as land use) and industry. We are going to have to work TOGETHER to achieve this.

My "two cents".

Richard Bradus
San Francisco


On Thursday, July 15, 2021, 2:59:16 AM PDT, Marcus via groups.io <scrod2000@...> wrote:



Marcus Pun
Video Editor / Producer/Editor / Camera
C: 510-384-8085 | H: 510-530-2507
Oakland, CA


On Wednesday, July 14, 2021, 11:00:27 PM PDT, Alexander Henry <awhenry@...> wrote:


Hi all,

Tucked away in the rugged, dry foothills of which separate the Livermore Valley from the Central Valley lies Carnegie SRVA, a mecca for dirt bikers and ATVers. The unchecked use of OHVs erodes and degrades the land and there have also been multiple fires in the area in the past few years.

Unfortunately, while the off roading community is given free reign to destroy the land, it is completely off limits to us birders and naturalists who seek only to visit the area for low impact recreation which does not harm the ecosystem nearly as much.

How does it make sense that a birder walking up a canyon passively observing the wildlife is illegal, while people riding around on OHVs causing fires and killing plants and eroding the hillsides is totally okay and allowed?

This area is super important habitat which we have precious little of in the East Bay, or even the Bay Area in general, and it’s probably one of the best sites in Alameda County for a number of unusual bird species including Canyon Wren, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Cassin’s Kingbird, Greater Roadrunner, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Golden Eagle, Prairie Falcon and others.

For more information visit http://www.teslapark.org/







--
Richard Bradus
San Francisco


David Yeamans
 

Thank you, Marcus for educating us on the status of the OHV lands which Alex mentioned. I have two bits to add. Where I practiced my environmental sciences, the off-highway parks would be called sacrificial areas, that is, areas dedicated to areas to limit the destruction to only one place rather than have it wreck a much larger area. The USDI would call it "hardening the area" by installing tables, fences, paths, and other "improvements." Ho, hum, it's what people seem to need in order to protect at least some of the rest of our universe from our love affair with motorized recreation.

The second bit is that the OHV area hires a small staff of environmental monitors. They look for bugs and bunnies and if they find a threatened one or habitat for one, they get to say something about it. Whether the managing agency listens to them is another matter. I walked into that area with special permission and attended by two of the entry level biologists and had a safe and rewarding day of it as sponsored by the San Joaquin Audubon Society.
*************************
Dave Yeamans

If you see bad, do good.


Alexander Henry
 

Just a quick reply, not trying to perpetuate this conversation. Some of my choices of language were more emotionally charged than necessary, and the point of my post was not to attack OHV users, I did not intend to offend anyone. I am sorry that post was offensive and I wish I’d worded things more neutrally and impartially. I was just trying to raise awareness in this community about the Friends of Tesla Park.

I am not ideologically opposed to off-roading or using off-highway vehicles, but I think it, like any other high-impact activity, should be done in an intentional way, strategically planned so as to minimize impact. I also think the expectation that some of the money raised by OHV users should go towards purchasing and managing mitigation lands to compensate for the degraded habitat is a very reasonable expectation. Many companies and government agencies invest in purchasing or improving mitigation land when they develop or degrade habitat in other areas, whether to meet environmental regulations or to maintain positive public relations, or both. I think it is reasonable for the OHV community to be held responsible for mitigating their own impact in the same sort of way, is all. 

Again, my intent was never to offend or attack any specific individuals or groups, but just to advocate for the conservation of some land, and the ecosystem it supports.


On Thursday, July 15, 2021, Marcus <scrod2000@...> wrote:
As a past user of Carnegie SVRA, a couple of things. Probably get me banned lol. I will try to balance this as much as possible.

FIRST and foremost.
People walking around in an OHV area represents a hazard to themselves personally, and to the users of the area. A hiker will not have gear or any other indication of presence that can be readily seen. There is a lot of high speed motorcycle and ATV riding. Everyone is required to wear helmets, pads, etc.  Just don't go, don't push the issue. It is a safety concern for all involved. Violating safety rules because you think are in the right is insanely stupid and can get people seriously hurt.

From what I understand, currently casual use of the proposed Tesla park land itself is prohibited. It is trespassing on state land. Respect the signage.

Want Tesla property to be a park? Work for it. Support AB 1512. But don't go around feeling entitled. You are not. The land was purchased in part by the OHV riders' fees as well as gas taxes, not "park" funds. Even it is is only one fifth as claimed by the tesla park website, it is still 20% and that is a significant amount of money and effort by the OHV user community. It is a lot more than we pay as casual users of the EBRPD, as an example, or State Park lands, many of which are fee free.

Carnegie SVRA used to be cattle ranches, then an old clay works as far back at the 19th century, then a motorcycle park before state purchase and so there''s never been anything really natural there for well over a century. "Destroyed" is hyperbole. Inre fires, there has been only one fire in god knows how many years and that was a  year ago.. Can't say that with a lot of areas around the state, especially near freeways. So please get real.  Of course nature abhors a vacuum and will refill as it can. So yes there is wildlife on site. Funny enough they seem to be okay and at least have an area for habitat. Condominiums and single family home developments are less hospitable.
 
Try not to eliminate the SVRA for crying out loud. There are only 9 SVRA's in the entire state for 40 million people.
Don't like OHV, that is your right, but a lot of people do.  As for the environmental impact, your driving thousands of miles each year around to various locations for birding, some in vehicles that get less than 30mpg, is not exactly impact free in terms of pollutants and CO2. Your tires and brakes along with whatever fluids leaking out  throw off particulates of plastics, composite materials and other chemicals that pollute the land and water. The freeways and highways you drive on are also destroyed habitat as is the home you live in, the places you work, shop etc.  None of us are saints.

As noted, OHV riders pays fees for the park which keeps them as open space and a portion of the gas tax In past years some of these fees were used to balance the state budget and not all was paid back until later. Unfortunately this meant that a lot of opportunities to buy other land was lost, sometimes to developers.

Perspective. Carnegie SVRA has over 1,300 acres.  For comparison, EBRPD alone has 125,000 acres in 73 parks, including over 1,250 miles of trails and 55 miles of shoreline. EBMUD has about 60,000 acres of watershed. There are also multiple state and county owned parcels, hundreds of square miles of privately owned undeveloped ranch land and habitat. Carnegie's acreage is only 0.7% of that of just those two land owners.

"Tesla Park", about 3400 acres (?) was purchased in the late 90's using the above mentioned funds through the  Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) Division of California State Parks. Yes off roaders in part paid for land. And lots of it.  Because it was a cattle ranch they thought it could be easily converted to OHV use. Well that turned out to be a mistake. First of all cattle ranches never use all of their land and a lot of it does remain natural enough. Second, a full EIR needed to be filed. Recent court ruling went against what was a bit of a shady attempt to get around the EIR.  So now the status of the lands is in a bit of limbo.  If the park plan goes through instead of the OHV the fund will have to be compensated to the tune of about $9 million dollars. No such thing as a free lunch. OHV users deserve to have their money spent just as properly as park funds need to be spent.   The original idea for expansion was to allow for increased activity due to increasing population. There are no other areas as suitable for OHV use because developers have bought most of it or zoning prohibits such use.

Currently AB 1512 which is making it's way through, would turn the Tesla ranch area into a park. As we know environmental groups launched multiple lawsuits to keep it from OHV use.  By the same token, you can expect years of lawsuits from OHV interests, not just industry but groups representing people who have OHVs to file lawsuits as it can be considered a breach of use by the state. The bill does authorize $9 million dollars in financial remuneration to the OHV fund, but as many riders will ask, but where can they get the additional land? What use is it if they cannot? 

It may end up that a much smaller part of the Tesla parcel may become part of the OHV area, but I doubt that. It will probably be the whole ranch with some buffer zones adjacent to the SVRA.  Just be patient and in a few years we will probably have a new park. In the meantime the flora and fauna in the Tesla parcel will thrive without all the human traffic that would be generated even as a park.  Just do not expect to get everything you want and be happy that you at least have a park instead of thousands of acres of new roads, shopping centers, and housing developments with creepy names.


At least thankful to the riders that the impetus for more OHV land, and their fees, bought the Tesla parcel instead of developers.


Marcus Pun
Video Editor / Producer/Editor / Camera
C: 510-384-8085 | H: 510-530-2507
Oakland, CA


On Wednesday, July 14, 2021, 11:00:27 PM PDT, Alexander Henry <awhenry@...> wrote:


Hi all,

Tucked away in the rugged, dry foothills of which separate the Livermore Valley from the Central Valley lies Carnegie SRVA, a mecca for dirt bikers and ATVers. The unchecked use of OHVs erodes and degrades the land and there have also been multiple fires in the area in the past few years.

Unfortunately, while the off roading community is given free reign to destroy the land, it is completely off limits to us birders and naturalists who seek only to visit the area for low impact recreation which does not harm the ecosystem nearly as much.

How does it make sense that a birder walking up a canyon passively observing the wildlife is illegal, while people riding around on OHVs causing fires and killing plants and eroding the hillsides is totally okay and allowed?

This area is super important habitat which we have precious little of in the East Bay, or even the Bay Area in general, and it’s probably one of the best sites in Alameda County for a number of unusual bird species including Canyon Wren, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Cassin’s Kingbird, Greater Roadrunner, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Golden Eagle, Prairie Falcon and others.

For more information visit http://www.teslapark.org/





--
Alex Henry


Aaron Maizlish
 

This thread is closed.  I appreciate the measures response provided by Marcus to an emotionally charged issue, but frankly this topic has nothing to do with birds or birding. We just have to accept that some land uses are not compatible with our hobby and move on. Please let’s stay on the topic of birds and birding.  No more griping. 

Aaron Maizlish 
Moderator 

Currently birding in Mexico….


On Jul 15, 2021, at 7:04 PM, Alexander Henry <awhenry@...> wrote:

Just a quick reply, not trying to perpetuate this conversation. Some of my choices of language were more emotionally charged than necessary, and the point of my post was not to attack OHV users, I did not intend to offend anyone. I am sorry that post was offensive and I wish I’d worded things more neutrally and impartially. I was just trying to raise awareness in this community about the Friends of Tesla Park.

I am not ideologically opposed to off-roading or using off-highway vehicles, but I think it, like any other high-impact activity, should be done in an intentional way, strategically planned so as to minimize impact. I also think the expectation that some of the money raised by OHV users should go towards purchasing and managing mitigation lands to compensate for the degraded habitat is a very reasonable expectation. Many companies and government agencies invest in purchasing or improving mitigation land when they develop or degrade habitat in other areas, whether to meet environmental regulations or to maintain positive public relations, or both. I think it is reasonable for the OHV community to be held responsible for mitigating their own impact in the same sort of way, is all. 

Again, my intent was never to offend or attack any specific individuals or groups, but just to advocate for the conservation of some land, and the ecosystem it supports.

On Thursday, July 15, 2021, Marcus <scrod2000@...> wrote:
As a past user of Carnegie SVRA, a couple of things. Probably get me banned lol. I will try to balance this as much as possible.

FIRST and foremost.
People walking around in an OHV area represents a hazard to themselves personally, and to the users of the area. A hiker will not have gear or any other indication of presence that can be readily seen. There is a lot of high speed motorcycle and ATV riding. Everyone is required to wear helmets, pads, etc.  Just don't go, don't push the issue. It is a safety concern for all involved. Violating safety rules because you think are in the right is insanely stupid and can get people seriously hurt.

From what I understand, currently casual use of the proposed Tesla park land itself is prohibited. It is trespassing on state land. Respect the signage.

Want Tesla property to be a park? Work for it. Support AB 1512. But don't go around feeling entitled. You are not. The land was purchased in part by the OHV riders' fees as well as gas taxes, not "park" funds. Even it is is only one fifth as claimed by the tesla park website, it is still 20% and that is a significant amount of money and effort by the OHV user community. It is a lot more than we pay as casual users of the EBRPD, as an example, or State Park lands, many of which are fee free.

Carnegie SVRA used to be cattle ranches, then an old clay works as far back at the 19th century, then a motorcycle park before state purchase and so there''s never been anything really natural there for well over a century. "Destroyed" is hyperbole. Inre fires, there has been only one fire in god knows how many years and that was a  year ago.. Can't say that with a lot of areas around the state, especially near freeways. So please get real.  Of course nature abhors a vacuum and will refill as it can. So yes there is wildlife on site. Funny enough they seem to be okay and at least have an area for habitat. Condominiums and single family home developments are less hospitable.
 
Try not to eliminate the SVRA for crying out loud. There are only 9 SVRA's in the entire state for 40 million people.
Don't like OHV, that is your right, but a lot of people do.  As for the environmental impact, your driving thousands of miles each year around to various locations for birding, some in vehicles that get less than 30mpg, is not exactly impact free in terms of pollutants and CO2. Your tires and brakes along with whatever fluids leaking out  throw off particulates of plastics, composite materials and other chemicals that pollute the land and water. The freeways and highways you drive on are also destroyed habitat as is the home you live in, the places you work, shop etc.  None of us are saints.

As noted, OHV riders pays fees for the park which keeps them as open space and a portion of the gas tax In past years some of these fees were used to balance the state budget and not all was paid back until later. Unfortunately this meant that a lot of opportunities to buy other land was lost, sometimes to developers.

Perspective. Carnegie SVRA has over 1,300 acres.  For comparison, EBRPD alone has 125,000 acres in 73 parks, including over 1,250 miles of trails and 55 miles of shoreline. EBMUD has about 60,000 acres of watershed. There are also multiple state and county owned parcels, hundreds of square miles of privately owned undeveloped ranch land and habitat. Carnegie's acreage is only 0.7% of that of just those two land owners.

"Tesla Park", about 3400 acres (?) was purchased in the late 90's using the above mentioned funds through the  Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) Division of California State Parks. Yes off roaders in part paid for land. And lots of it.  Because it was a cattle ranch they thought it could be easily converted to OHV use. Well that turned out to be a mistake. First of all cattle ranches never use all of their land and a lot of it does remain natural enough. Second, a full EIR needed to be filed. Recent court ruling went against what was a bit of a shady attempt to get around the EIR.  So now the status of the lands is in a bit of limbo.  If the park plan goes through instead of the OHV the fund will have to be compensated to the tune of about $9 million dollars. No such thing as a free lunch. OHV users deserve to have their money spent just as properly as park funds need to be spent.   The original idea for expansion was to allow for increased activity due to increasing population. There are no other areas as suitable for OHV use because developers have bought most of it or zoning prohibits such use.

Currently AB 1512 which is making it's way through, would turn the Tesla ranch area into a park. As we know environmental groups launched multiple lawsuits to keep it from OHV use.  By the same token, you can expect years of lawsuits from OHV interests, not just industry but groups representing people who have OHVs to file lawsuits as it can be considered a breach of use by the state. The bill does authorize $9 million dollars in financial remuneration to the OHV fund, but as many riders will ask, but where can they get the additional land? What use is it if they cannot? 

It may end up that a much smaller part of the Tesla parcel may become part of the OHV area, but I doubt that. It will probably be the whole ranch with some buffer zones adjacent to the SVRA.  Just be patient and in a few years we will probably have a new park. In the meantime the flora and fauna in the Tesla parcel will thrive without all the human traffic that would be generated even as a park.  Just do not expect to get everything you want and be happy that you at least have a park instead of thousands of acres of new roads, shopping centers, and housing developments with creepy names.


At least thankful to the riders that the impetus for more OHV land, and their fees, bought the Tesla parcel instead of developers.


Marcus Pun
Video Editor / Producer/Editor / Camera
C: 510-384-8085 | H: 510-530-2507
Oakland, CA


On Wednesday, July 14, 2021, 11:00:27 PM PDT, Alexander Henry <awhenry@...> wrote:


Hi all,

Tucked away in the rugged, dry foothills of which separate the Livermore Valley from the Central Valley lies Carnegie SRVA, a mecca for dirt bikers and ATVers. The unchecked use of OHVs erodes and degrades the land and there have also been multiple fires in the area in the past few years.

Unfortunately, while the off roading community is given free reign to destroy the land, it is completely off limits to us birders and naturalists who seek only to visit the area for low impact recreation which does not harm the ecosystem nearly as much.

How does it make sense that a birder walking up a canyon passively observing the wildlife is illegal, while people riding around on OHVs causing fires and killing plants and eroding the hillsides is totally okay and allowed?

This area is super important habitat which we have precious little of in the East Bay, or even the Bay Area in general, and it’s probably one of the best sites in Alameda County for a number of unusual bird species including Canyon Wren, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Cassin’s Kingbird, Greater Roadrunner, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Golden Eagle, Prairie Falcon and others.

For more information visit http://www.teslapark.org/





--
Alex Henry