Warning for all: Rumor of New BLM Rules

To all,

Several friends were riding here in sunny SoCal desert last weekend and were harrassed BIG TIME in two locations by BLM Rangers.

First: at Cal City where a Ranger from the Ridgecrest office wrote citations even though they were riding on a legal, marked trail. The BLM Ranger's comment was that although he did not see them ride on illegal trails, the only way they could have gotten to that trail was via illegal closed ones. They protested that they had not been on ANY trails with red "closed" markers. He said there is a NEW RULE that designates ALL UNMARKED TRAILS AS ILLEGAL. THE ONLY ONES THAT ARE LEGAL ARE MARKED WITH BROWN BLM STAKES. In other words, all trails are now closed unless the BLM specifically designates them as open. If this is true it means they just closed roughly 90% of the EXISTING desert trails on BLM land WITHOUT PUBLIC COMMENT!

Second: at El Mirage Dry Lake where a club member of Desert Vipers was riding with his kids. He picked up the front wheel and rode a wheelie for some distance. A nearby BLM Ranger pulled him over and wrote him a FELONY RECKLESS DRIVING CITATION! This on a lakebed where land speed events are regularly run where some contestants legally top 300 MPH!

All of these riders will have to spend big bucks defending themselves in Federal Court. That is, if it's possible to do that. Especially the guy with the Felony charge.

I don't know about you, but in my opinion, this is the most egregious abuse of power I have heard of from the law enforcement folk of the BLM or any other agency in California. I can't imagine this standing up in court, but they will spend thousands to defend themselves and clear their records. This is nothing shy of outright citizen harassment by our public service agency.

Write your U.S. Representative and politely ask that they address this before it becomes the end of recreation in California.


27 Reads and 0 Responses?

You guys have the ultimate desert sleds, and you don't think enough of this problem to respond?

I guess if we lose the right to ride in the desert we deserve it.


Are these actions a prelude to what we can expect on 1-1-03?

The budget increase from 12 to 25 million? Increased rangers? Sound restrictions? Letter of the law? Etc.....?

Baja is only 2 to 3 hours away? Will they force us to take our sport and dollars to another country? Are these actions happening on BLM in CA only or on BLM land throughout the country?

We (off roaders) really do a good job of screwing ourselves too. I voted, but unfortunately there are too many of us who think it's a waste of time to vote, even people in the moto-industry.

The rest of the country better closely watch CA., these things have a way of starting in CA and then migrating.

Baja is an option, but it too is becoming increasingly popular and now there are eco-groups (in Baja) really trying to limit what happens there.

The newest thing from the tourism secretary (few weeks ago at a meeting of event promoters) was his saying that from now on the concerns of the ecological committee will take precedence over the potential for tourism dollars.

Not only that, but with the increased amount of people moving into northern Baja there has been a ton of land that has become private.

There has got to be some sort of way for your friends to fight those tickets, a way that won't break the bank. They sound so ridiculous!


You're right, Tim.

We have done much of the damage to ourselves over the last 30 years. You have been around long enough to see that as I have. Mostly due to apathy.

Well, it appears to be a real critical time right now. The new regulations and closures are coming faster than we can fight them. Much of the land in California is Federal. Hence, it is under the control of Dep't Interior/BLM or Dep't Agriculture/US Forest Service. It is still not too late, but we have to get involved as a large group, or risk ending it all in the next 5-10 years (except, maybe the occasional 1 acre motocross track that allows 2 races per day with eco-sensitive tires on XR200's).

Guys, write your US Representative:


Thanks for the help.



Took advantage of the link you supplied and sent my congressman my comments. Hopefully everyone who reads your post will take advantage of this and ACT!!

I read this post and thought there had to be more to the story on these two incidents. I know a couple of BLM Law Enforcement Rangers and showed them a printout of the post.

For the guy at El Mirage, was he doing wheelies around a crowd or near campsites? If so, then that is wreckless driving. Maybe someone complained about him doing wheelies near their camp with children around. I believe there is a speed limit of 15mph near camps. I dont know and think there is more to the story.

About the guys in Cal City, is that area Closed, Limited Use or Open? It sounds to me that this area is Limited Use, meaning that you can only ride on marked trails. I know in some OHV areas, trails arent marked very well, sometimes you dont know what route you are on, so if the trails arent marked properly, then your friends might have an argument. I dont understand why there is a legally marked route in an area where the only way to get to it is by going off-route. I just talked with a partner of mine who knows the area pretty well and he says that it was freshly marked within the last year or so and that the area is a Limited Use Area(MARKED TRAILS ONLY). So, your friends probably wont have an argument there. The route could have been a dead-end route and the Ranger went ALL the way to the end and back while checking for riders and found no-one. He is at the start and spots some riders coming down the route, according to the Ranger's statement(no legal route to get to the legal one), then those riders somewhere went off-route to get to the legal one, therefore the Ranger gave your friends citations. Only if the Ranger went ALL the way to the end and back with no-one in site, could he be able to issue a citation. So, if your friends could somehow prove that they were on that route and only that route, they should be able to fight the citation.

Hope this helps, sorry if it confuses you.


As I understand it, they never rode on any trails marked as "closed". It is a limited area, and they stuck mostly to trails with brown "open" signs. Occasionally, they were also on trails with no markers of any kind. Unmarked trails constitute a majority of the trails back there. We are just now finding out that unless the trails have an "open" marker, they are closed. This means ALL UNMARKED TRAILS ARE CLOSED. This is a new concept, and I am told will be the norm for future designations. Closed unless they specifically tell us it's open. That's just an easy way to eventually close the desert to all off-road recreational use.

Anyone who doesn't believe it should go to a few land-use meetings and see what passes for public comment hearings.


Dan & Company,

Your're right, it's time to act. This thread is juice too. Apathy is too easy and comfortable. Thanks for the link, I'm writting the Gov. -Atlas Shrugged.

We also need to police our own (if possible). The quality of the people I meet and ride with is exceptional. What we enjoy is great family fun and bonding. The few nut jobs that have been acting irresponsibly way back since the beginning (pre-DT-1 era) have been ruining it for us all along. Take one step forward and 2 steps back. Thanks Dan for this forum/thread.


It does suck that trails are being lost. I think we are going to lose some trails just south of I-8 due to a lot of archeology sites being in the area. Lots of riders are tearing up the sites. I believe the area is going to be a Limited Area(SIGNED ROUTES MARKED OPEN ONLY) similar to the one up at Cal City. That means anything unmarked is closed. Time to start carrying a map!!!

Yeah, from what I understand from my friend, he says that that area that you were talking about in Cal City, was JUST marked within the last year. There should be signs at all major entry points to the riding area, that would be the most reasonable thing to do.

We ALL need to be responsible and find out the rules for the areas in which we ride in.

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