110 W. New York Ave.
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Volusia County Council nixes support for off-roading in Tiger Bay
By Pat Andrews
posted Mar 18, 2013 - 11:45:34am
UPDATED FRIDAY, MARCH 22 — Volusia County Council members voted to stay out of it and let state forestry people handle requests for off-roading in Tiger Bay State Forest. The vote was 5-2 vote to deny a City of Daytona Beach request for support for allowing off-road vehicle use in the forest.
Off-roading proponents should take their quest directly to the state, County Council members Pat Northey, Joyce Cusack, Pat Patterson, Deb Denys and Doug Daniels agreed.
Council Member Josh Wagner and Chair Jason Davis voted to support the Daytona Beach request.
Greg Gimbert, an avid off-roader who lives in Daytona Beach, asked the City of Daytona Beach to support off-roading in Tiger Bay. The city did, and asked the county's support.
The County Council took at the city's request March 21.
The County Council listened to comments from almost 30 people on both sides of the issue before the members made their decision.
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PREVIOUSLY REPORTED —During its Thursday, March 21, meeting, the Volusia County Council will decide whether to support a request to allow the use of off-highway vehicles (OHVs) in Tiger Bay State Forest.
Tiger Bay State Forest, off U.S. Highway 92 between DeLand and Daytona Beach, offers "hiking, cycling, horseback riding, picnicking, boating, fishing, hunting and wildlife viewing," according to Volusia County's SportsVolusia.com website.
Use of off-road vehicles is not allowed, however, and a group of Volusians has been pushing for that use to be OK'd in a portion of the 27,000-acre forest.
So far, the Florida Forest Service's answer has been "no."
A March 15 letter to the County Council from Bunnell District Manager Anthony Petellat stated that the Forest Service's "first hand experience and knowledge of OHV programs" indicates that such trails are not a compatible use in this forest.
Off-highway vehicles are allowed in some other state forests, and the Florida Forest Service will work with riders in East Central Florida to find other suitable lands for the vehicles' use, Petellat said.
Greg Gimbert, an avid off-roader who lives in Daytona Beach, is asking Volusians to support off-roading in Tiger Bay.
"Many off road enthusiasts have been working for over 3 years to open Tiger Bay State Forest to off road uses and we need your help … I want my public land back and I want us to be able to use it our way with the same rights as those available in other state forests. Join our cause," Gimbert stated in an email to locals and The Beacon.
He's asking supporters to go online to www.sharetrails.org/issues/rapid-response-center/tiger-bay to sign a letter of support.
The City of Daytona Beach is supporting Gimbert with a resolution. Mayor Derrick Henry wrote to Volusia County Chair Jason Davis, asking the County Council to support the "dedication of 10 percent of Tiger Bay's land for the exclusive use of ATVs and motorcycles … "
Others want to put the brakes on off-highway vehicles in Tiger Bay, including the West Volusia Audubon Society, whose Vice President and Conservation Chair Stephen Kintner said he has concerns about their impact on other existing users of Tiger Bay State Forest. Kinter asked for a public forum to explore "finding appropriate places for off-road vehicles."
Former County Council Member Joie Alexander served on the Tiger Bay State Forest Resource Management Plan Advisory Group, which, after meetings in 2010, determined that "Tiger Bay State forest was inappropriate for ORV [off-road vehicle] use."
"I believe the process in 2010 met the test and should stand until the next review is scheduled in 2020," Alexander wrote.
She plans to attend the Thursday, March 21, meeting, "on the other side of the podium," she noted.
The County Council hearing is scheduled for 3 p.m., in the Frank T. Bruno County Council Chambers at the Thomas C. Kelly Administration Center, at 123 W. Indiana Ave. in DeLand.
Also on the Thursday, March 21, agenda are hearings for land-use amendments to facilitate the Farmton Local Plan, adopt a conservation-management plan, and transfer the Deep Creek conservation area into county management. These hearings are scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m.
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