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Suggestions sought on OHV improvements

Posted: March 3, 2014 6:10 p.m.
Updated: March 3, 2014 6:10 p.m.

Tate Hensley, 10, puts his new KTM 65 dirt bike through its paces at the Rowher Flats OHV site recently. Signal photo by Jim Holt

U.S. Forest Service officials are inviting off-road enthusiasts to weigh in on making their favorite off-road destinations a better place.

As part of a process of applying for state funds to improve things such as the actual facilities, their operation, maintenance and law enforcement. a public comment period is scheduled to begin Tuesday and last until April 7.

That gives the public more than a month to comment on federally owned and maintained off-roading areas such as the Rowher Flats Off-Highway Vehicle area.

Forest officials are applying for $410,000 in state funds in an effort to help manage the “Off-Highway Vehicle,” or OHV, program. The funding request is an annual undertaking aimed at augmenting the current budget for OHVs.

Asked if she expected safety to be among the concerns voiced in comments submitted from the public, U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Sherry Rollman said she won’t know until the comments actually come in. But she added that safety is always a concern.

“Safety is of paramount importance to whoever is participating in the sport,” she said Monday.

It also remains a high priority for USFS staff, she said.

Off-road safety was thrust into public awareness last month with the Feb. 9 death of 16-year-old Hunter J. Baugher of Ojai, fatally injured in a motorcycle crash at Rowher Flats. The OHV spot is about five miles north of Sand Canyon Road on Sierra Highway.

His death was the second of a young motorcyclist within a week.

Motorcycle racer Tommy Aguino, 21, of Saugus died Feb. 2 in a crash at the Piru Motocross Park on Center Street in Piru.

According to California Highway Patrol officers investigating the fatal crash at Rowher Flats, Baugher was using all the required safety equipment when he was killed.

“The boy made an unsafe turning movement to the right and traveled off the designated trail. Due to the rough terrain, he was unable to maintain control of the motorcycle and was ejected off of his vehicle,” the investigating CHP officer wrote in a report on Baugher’s death.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt




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