Phil Klasky and Dave Cole are on opposing sides of the debate of whether off-road racing is appropriate on public lands in Southern California. But both agree they don’t like the way the Bureau of Land Management is charging for off-road racing permits.
Klasky, a longtime desert racing critic from Wonder Valley, east of Twentynine Palms, and member of Community ORV Watch, is upset that federal officials did not charge promoters of a February off-road race in Johnson Valley the full cost of overseeing the event.
Critics have long contended the BLM favors off-road fans, and this is just the latest example of cutting racers a break. The fees are intended to protect pristine areas of the desert, racing critics complain, and without them the BLM doesn’t have the money to mitigate environmental damage caused by off-roaders.
Cole, meanwhile, said he is worried higher fees will kill off-road racing in Southern California, which a dedicated group of people enjoy. The BLM, he explained, is pricing off-roaders right off public lands.