Court Orders Closure of California State Park

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A judge in Alameda County, Calif. has ordered the closure of the Carnegie State Vehicle Recreation Area, citing a report alleging that off-road riding activities in the park may be harming a local watershed.

Judge Frank Roesch ordered the park, which is in the hills east of Livermore, closed until a state parks agency files and receives approval or a waiver from the report from the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board. This process could take months, according to the BlueRibbon Coalition (http://www.sharetrails.org), and could prevent more than 100,000 tourists and off-road enthusiasts from visiting the park.

The judge's order stems from a complaint issued by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) and the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance. The groups allege that OHV activities are causing vehicle discharge to enter Corral Hollow Creek, which flows through the park.

 "We have been working with the park to address the hill climbs in Carnegie, which have been problematic, as well as making sure the vehicles are out of the creek," said Dave Pickett, president of AMA District 36 and a member of the Carnegie OHV Taskforce.

Pickett says that the OHV community is taking all of the blame, despite allegations that a neighboring munitions testing facility and area contractors have impacted the creek's water quality as well.

"It is troubling when the OHV community wants to work within the system and is now taking all of the blame," Pickett said. Staff from the park had been working with the regional water board and nearby property owners to address water quality issues in the creek.

Posted by Mary Slepicka