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Randy Banis

Randy Banis

2022, Advocate

Randy Banis has been involved in land use advocacy in the California desert for the past three decades. He worked extensively with ORMHOF inductee Ed Waldheim before Ed's passing.

Randy become one of the key off-road negotiators when Sen Feinstein was putting together her second California Desert Protection Act, which was an attempt to right some of the wrongs that had occurred during the first and original Desert Protection Act that locked up much of the CA desert as Wilderness; the Mojave Preserve, Joshua Tree NM, the Death Valley National Monument, etc.  Randy was extensively involved and went on many field trips with Feinstein's aides and helped them understand the importance of keeping the desert open for all to enjoy, including for off-road.  This led to the inclusion of the six ORV areas of the desert,  Dumont Dunes, El Mirage, Rasor, Stoddard Valley, Johnson Valley, Spangler Hills, and the Vinagre Wash area. The bill was eventually passed by Congress and signed by President Trump.

Randy also assumed management of both Jawbone and El Mirage BLM Off-Highway Vehicle Areas from Ed Waldheim when his health began to fail. He is an extraordinarily capable manager and he saw both organizations through COVID and kept the crews working full time in spite of the pandemic.  At a huge personal sacrifice, he took on the role of a lead advocate for off-roading during the development of the Desert Renewable Energy Plan (DRECP).  This is an ongoing plan that was led initially by the BLM to determine where and how solar site leasing in the CA Desert would be allowed or not allowed. Randy was key in helping set aside recreation SRMA's and ERMA's that would be reserved for outdoor recreation, primarily for OHV recreation.  The DRECP ended up being a big win for OHV by protecting the six desert OHV areas from solar and wind development when some environmentalists wanted them to be required to allow exclusive renewable energy development.  The DRECP still allowed appropriate siting for solar energy and set aside areas for conservation as NLCS lands that were deserving of protection, but not at the expense of public access for recreation, especially off-road recreation.