NC4x4

Carolina Backwoods is hosting a charity ride on December 5th at their park in Ash, NC, near Myrtle Beach. It will run from 9am to 9pm, and include a poker run, mud bog, hill climb, grudge race, and hide and seek. Events are mostly geared towards 4x4s and ATVs, but everyone is welcome.

There will be an entrance fee of $10 per rig and $5 per person. Participation in the poker run will cost you $15, and other events are $5 each. Proceeds will benefit the St Jude Children's Research Hospital.

If you'd like to help or have suggestions for the event, please contact Carolina Backwoods through their website.
They'll be taking over the Uwharrie Adventures off-road park near the stables. The event is open to everyone, including clubs and any make or model of 4x4. They'll have a mud pit, rock garden, tractor pull area, as well as the 4x4cross off-road race course. Attendees can camp for free at the stables for the weekend.

Organizers are collecting a $20 donation per person for the event. Proceeds will benefit Operation Homefront, a non-profit who provides assistance for our troops, the families they leave behind, and for wounded warriors when they return home.

ROCK'VEMBER is hosted by Southeast Custom 4x4, presented by 4x4Cross Racing, and sponsored by Rick Hendrick Toyota of Fayetteville.
I only frequent three forums, SFWDA, NC4x4 and occasionally Pirate4x4, but I think that between those forums I get a general feel for the pulse of the 4WD community.

The pulse I’ve detected is weak and tired! I know a lot of you have given up. A lot of you have written emails and letters and feel it was of no use. A lot of you don’t care. But the fact of the matter is that that is just what TU(Trout Unlimited), the SELC (Southern Environmental Law Center) and the USFS (U.S. Forest Service) are counting on in their effort to close the trails in the Upper Tellico OHV area!

The fact is that the fight is just beginning! If you check out my post on the appeals process, you will see that we are right in the middle of the battle! I believe that if the trails are closed permanently, it will be because the 4WD community lacked to fortitude to stand up and fight for their rights.

Here is what we, the 4WD community, must do in order to fight to Rescue Tellico.

1) The letter, email and phone campaign of the pre-decisional process must be ramped back up!

2) Our elected officials must be contacted and made aware of the issues, facts and our position!

3) Media outlets, radio, TV, newspaper & magazine must be made aware of the same!

4) The general public, Mr. & Mrs. non-4WD user, must be made aware of the same and how this decision will impact their future use of our public Forests!

5) Anyone who commented on the issue during the comment period of the FS decisional process can appeal this decision of closure! Anyone who wants to and has the ability shouldclick herefor information on how to write an appeal on this decision. An appeal is required of anyone who would consider bringing legal action in the future. You can bet that TU/SELC will be filing several appeals to protect their interests!

6) Fundraising – I know no one wants to hear this, especially in these economic times, but the fact is that barring our appeal being upheld, we will need money to support litigation.

Basically what we are looking at is fighting the same battle we just fought, again! The same things we did to try and influence the FS decision will now have to be done again to try and influence the appeal decision!

The questions is: Will the 4wd community stand up and fight for their rights, again, or will it tuck its tail between its legs, give up on Tellico and go ride somewhere else?
From the SELC (Southern Environmental Law Center) website:

10. Saving special places. The heart of SELC’s mission is protecting one-of-a-kind sites of particular beauty or exceptional wildlife, historic, or natural value.

This is the SELC’s number 10 accomplishment in their list of top 10 things they have done over the years.

Merriam Webster says: protect – to cover or shield from exposure

“Education, Conservation, Recreation” – The SFWDA (Southern Four Wheel Drive Association) motto.

Merriam Webster says: conserve – to maintain constant during a process of evolutionary change

While the SELC, and associated groups like TU (Trout Unlimited), like to promote themselves as conservationist organizations, SELC’s own web site lists as one of their top 10 accomplishments, “protecting” the environment. What they mean by this is, to shield the environment from exposure to human use. Their philosophy of activism is actually geared more toward a preservationist point of view than a conservationist point of view.

In the case of the issue of the Upper Tellico OHV area outside of Murphy, NC, TU, with the support of SELC would be happy to preserve the area in such a manner that with no human exposure or intervention the native brook trout could continue their evolution. Maybe they would make it, maybe they won’t, but at any rate you won’t be able to blame humans for their destruction.

Conservationists, read SFWDA, on the other hand want to use our human abilities to manage brook trout habitat. We want to insure that through stream and water quality management, brook trout will be conserved, remain constant during this period of evolutionary change, for our descendants to enjoy.

The strange thing I see is that most TU members and SFWDA/BRC members agree on many of the trout issues. The difference is that under the SELCs direction, TU would have us close areas of public land to certain recreational use as a means of protecting trout habitat where as SFWDA/BRC, would work to properly manage the land so that all uses that have been designated as viable uses by the U.S. Forest Service are available to the public.

The job of the Rescue Tellico Coalition, through the individual 4wd user, is to make our legislators, the media and the general public aware of this distinction. That through following the U.S. Department Of Agriculture’s own agency mandate of managing public lands for public use, all users of our public Forests can work in cooperation to help conserve our lands for today’s and tomorrow’s use instead of closing them in discrimination to certain user groups.
This is the appeals process 4wd users will be following for appeals filed under 36 CFR 251 (Title 36 Code of Federal Regulations Part 215). This is another step in our fight to Save Tellico and we must adhere to these administrative appeals rules if we hope to continue our fight into the courts of law.

Deadlines For Filing

Appeals filed under 36 CFR 251 or 36 CFR 215 must be filed within 45 days of the date on the notice of the written decision being appealed to the next highest line officer (the Appeal Deciding Officer (Part 215) or the Reviewing Officer (Part 251). Objections to forest plans, plan amendments or revisions must be made to the Reviewing Officer 30 days after notice for the plan, amendment or revision was published in the newspaper of record (Part 219).

Notification

The first step in the appeals process under Part 215 is notification. The USFS official responsible for making the original decision on a USFS project or activity (Responsible Official) must mail copies of the decision to those who submitted substantive comments and others who requested a copy and must publish notice of the decision in a newspaper of record. The notice is required to state whether the decision may be appealed, that an appeal must be filed within 45 days of publication of the notice, and provide the name and address of the USFS official with whom to file an appeal. It must also state when the project or any part of it has been determined to be an emergency situation and when it may be implemented.

Appeal

Written appeals and any attachments must be filed with the Appeal Deciding Officer within 45 days following the publication date of the legal notice of the decision in the newspaper of record.

Review

Once an appeal is filed, the Responsible Official must transmit all documents and comments relating to the decision to an Appeal Review Official, along with a list of those who submitted substantive comments. The Appeal Review Officer reviews the appeal and makes a written recommendation on a disposition of the appeal, but the Appeal Deciding Officer need not follow the recommendation. (The USFS does not release the recommendation until the agency issues the appeal decision.)

Meetings

The Responsible Official must contact the appellant and offer to meet and discuss informal resolution of the issues involved in the appeal. If the appellant declines, the Appeal Deciding Officer is informed. If the appellant agrees to a meeting, a date within 15 days of the close of the appeal period and a place for the meeting is set. The meeting normally takes place in person, although if schedules prevent the appellant's attendance, a video or telephone conference may be arranged. The meetings are open to the public. If the meeting results in new information or resolution of issues, the Responsible Official must tell the Appeal Deciding Officer the outcome of the meeting, which may include one of the following: if and how the parties agreed to resolve some or all of the issues (in which case appellants withdraw the appeal in whole or in part), if new information was received, if in new facts were put forth that require that the Responsible Official to revise the environmental analysis and reconsider the decision, or that the appeal was not resolved and therefore formal review of some or all of it must continue.

Decision

The Appeal Deciding Officer has 45 days following the conclusion of the 45-day appeal period to review the record and the Appeal Review Officer's recommendation and render a written decision that is the final disposition of the appeal. If the officer does not issue a decision within that 45-day period he must inform the appellant(s) in writing that he will not issue a decision. In that case the responsible official's original decision stands as the agency final action. The original decision on a project or activity is then subject to judicial review.

Notification

The Appeal Deciding Officer must give written notice of the decision to the Appeal Reviewing Officer, the applicant(s) or holder(s), and to any holder of a similar authorization who has requested notice of the decision. The notice must state the Appeal Deciding Officer's willingness to meet with the parties to discuss the decision.

Dismissal

An Appeal Deciding Officer can dismiss an appeal for several reasons including filing an appeal past the deadline, the requested relief or change cannot be granted under law, the appellant has appealed the same decision under part 251, the decision is not subject to appeal, or the individual (or organization) did not submit substantive comments during the comment period.
We're on site in Mountain City. If you're nearby, pack your bags and come on out. If not, stay tuned for updates throughout the weekend.
Hobart has introduced a self-contained MIG capable of welding in the field without an additional power source. The 52 pound Trek 180 has two thin plate pure lead (TPPL) batteries inside mated to an inverter-based welder. Together, the system is capable of up to 100 inches of weld with .030 flux core wire on 1/8" base metal. On battery power alone, the welder has a rated output of 120 amps at 17 volts DC with a 20 percent duty cycle. When plugged into a 115V receptacle the rated output jumps to 180 amps. This high output is possible thanks to a more efficient inverter-based power regulator. If that's not enough to fix your busted rig, the machine can be recharged from an automotive inverter (400 watt minimum). Hobart's Autopower system monitors the incoming power and adjusts its draw to avoid overloading small inverters. The Trek will reach an 80% capacity quick charge in 20 minutes. Full charges take about 90 minutes. The Trek 180 will have an MSRP of $1400. Look for it at farm stores and hardware dealers soon. Or check out www.hobartwelders.com for more information. Via UTV Weekly