Off-road fans are a force multiplier for FUDS program
August 10, 2012
By Dave Palmer
SAN BERNARDINO -- San Bernardino County is home to six off-highway vehicle recreation sites regulated by the Bureau of Land Management. That fact alone made the Glen Helen Raceway prime real-estate to discuss the 3Rs of Explosives Safety at Formerly Used Defense Sites during a Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series event Aug. 4-5.
"We're here to talk to the public about the FUDS initiative, and certainly to spread our safety message," said Suneeta Sahgal, Los Angeles District FUDS project manager. "But, we also gather valuable information from these fans."
Participants are asked to take a brief tablet-computer based survey that provides information on what types of outdoor activities they use public lands for and where they may have seen ordnance or evidence of military use.
Many of these motorsports events are held on or near FUDS sites. This location is part of the former California-Arizona Maneuver Area, where Gen. George S. Patton, Jr. used approximately 12 million acres of southeastern California, southwestern Arizona, and a small portion of southern Nevada to prepare a million troops for desert warfare.
"This is the second event I've worked and I'm amazed at how many people report seeing munitions," added Sahgal. "And I'm really pleased they take the time to notify us; they also seem to be aware about the potential for harm from WWII munitions."
There are as many as 10,000 potential FUDS sites across the Nation and its territories. The program consists of sites used by the military prior to October 1986. According to the USACE FUDS website, the program has spent or obligated $5.8 billion through fiscal year 2012 and expects to spend another $8 billion (based on 2012 dollars) to complete the project.