Feb. 2021 - Off-Highway Vehicle Feasibility Study
The County of San Diego (County) Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) is requesting approval from the County Board of Supervisors to pursue grant funding for a feasibility study to determine potential locations for an Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) park. If approved, DPR will oversee the planning and analysis for the park, and will solicit public feedback throughout the process.
Approximately two-thirds of San Diego County consists of mountains and deserts in the backcountry area, which is largely undeveloped. This area provides an abundance of land that can be considered for the establishment of DPR’s first OHV park. At the same time, San Diego County open space lands are environmentally sensitive, providing habitat for the largest number of rare and endangered species within the continental United States. As such, there is an identified need to site an OHV park in an area that is convenient and safe for OHV users and minimizes impacts to sensitive environmental resources.
San Diego County has a high concentration of OHV ownership, which continues to grow as documented in OHV registration data. High demand combined with a limited number of legal OHV facilities that are located at a substantial distance from communities and incorporated cities has resulted in a growing amount of unauthorized OHV use on open space lands throughout the region. This type of unauthorized use is of particular concern to the County given that our region is environmentally sensitive, possessing the highest amount of threatened and endangered species than any other county within the contiguous United States. DPR recognizes the need to develop an OHV park that meets existing and future recreational demands for OHV users while protecting sensitive environmental resources.
In addition to establishing an OHV Park that balances recreation needs and environmental resource protection, there is also a need to establish an OHV Park that is within proximity to existing communities and incorporated cities. Currently, OHV facilities in San Diego are located in the eastern portion of the County, near the Imperial County-San Diego County border. The County has an overall goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2035 and has a need to reduce vehicle miles travelled to meet this goal. By siting an OHV Park closer to existing communities, the County intends to reduce the travel distance for residents and visitors, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, the feasibility study will also analyze the potential to implement electric vehicle charging stations at a future OHV Park to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with OHV use.
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors has expressed support for a feasibility analysis that would determine potential locations for the County’s first OHV park. At its February 10, 2021 meeting, the Board of Supervisors directed to DPR to begin the process to site an OHV park in San Diego County. Given the availability of land in the region and the identified need for an OHV facility, DPR is seeking planning funding to analyze the feasibility of establishing an OHV park.
The proposed planning project (Project) consists of a feasibility study to identify and prioritize potential sites for the County of San Diego’s first OHV park. If successful, DPR intends to hire a consultant to perform the feasibility study and prepare a final report to summarize the outcomes of the analysis.
Additionally, the Project will include a stakeholder outreach process to ensure that the public and interested groups are involved in the evaluation and prioritization of potential sites for the OHV park.
Ultimately, the desired outcome of this feasibility study is a prioritized list of potential sites which DPR may then utilize for future development of new OHV facilities. At a minimum, the desired facility will meet the community’s needs with respect to OHV recreation demands while protecting the County’s significant natural resources.
For more information on the proposed OHV park project, please contact David Norgard at firstname.lastname@example.org.