Saturday, June 19, 2010

Offroaders Awake - Endure (Embrace) The Politics

The single most destructive thing a responsible offroader can do is to sit back and do nothing!!!

Seniors are especially vulnerable to the militancy and deceitfulness of the environmental groups who seem (this election year) to have governmental "backdoor passes" due to the likes of Obama, Harry Reid of Nevada and Susan Holecheck of Mesquite.

Those of us who feel like we've "paid our dues," and now are entitled to let the "kids" do all the heavy lifting while we go out and do all the unfinished exploring of our world that we deferred until the kids were raised – we've got a rude awakening!

Preferring to go at a much more leisure pace now days, and enjoy the more sedate mentality befitting a person of my age, I have done just that until recently when I have stumbled upon some dangerous secret combinations which can completely derail most of our expectations.

Seniors – Lost Dreams

Listen to this: as incredible as it may sound, there are actual persons whose entire waking moments and very livelihood are dependent upon stopping motorized access (and hence seniors access) to lakes, mines, camps, ghost towns, forests and nearly every other non-urban destination. No kidding! That's how some people actually make their living - out of work lawyers, save-the-world flower children and starving environmentalists.

When I sit with seniors, who nearly universally begin reminiscing about their childhood places and vacations deferred until retirement, it is a complete revelation to them just what percentage of those life-long planned destinations now will NEVER, ever be realized because of land closure and their inability to back-pack.

If you or the companions you care about cannot back-pack the 2-10 miles into the site you are just plain out of luck, no matter what your plans have been these many years.

No Scarcity of Wilderness

Just like congress opting themselves out of social security, health benefits restrictions and the pay regulations that they force on us, most eastern states have nearly NO federal lands when compared with what they've forced on us in the west.

Utah, right now, has 52,696,960 acres of land, and a staggering 33,258,253 acres of that is federal land63%.

Nevada with 70,264,320 acres of land has 54,159,458 federal - an incredible 77%! And much of that is senior restricted in some way – thank you Harry Reid!

Idaho – 60%, Wyoming 54%, Colorado – 36%, Oregon – 52% and California, as large as it is – 44.7%. [Where do you think the Sierra Club started.]

When considering designating public lands as Wilderness, Congress and federal land managers are advised to consider the “relative scarcity” of Wilderness in the area.

There is NO SCARCITY OF WILDERNESS IN ANY OF THESE STATES. The Majority of the acreage of Gold Butte is closed federal land – two wilderness areas AND the Lake Mead NRA. But Nancy Hall and her "fiends" aren't satisfied – they want it all!

Immediate Action Required

The BLM is currently holding hearings about CLOSING THE 3-CORNERS TRAILS and Beaver Dam Wash including the Mormon Wagon Road.

Two bills with hearings THIS week want to close 48,000 acres in South Dakota and almost a half-million acres in Idaho! The South Dakota land, already administered by the USFS, already restricts to "designated routes."

In Idaho, already well managed epic high alpine mountain bike single track and supreme high altitude snowmobiling routes are at jeopardy. Additionally, 150,000 acres of the already protected Sawtooth NRA will be turned into a Wilderness whose only difference is that an NRA allows a diverse range of recreation, and Sierra Clubbers don't like to share! Don't delude yourself – Sierra Club is for Hikers Only.

The Idaho debacle will put "332,775 acres into the most restrictive land management designation on the planet: Wilderness, which precludes any motorized use – including using chainsaws to maintain trails. Wilderness puts limits on group size (usually “12 heartbeats”) and often requires permits and fees for overnight visits. Wilderness will limit the State of Idaho's ability to protect and manage for wildlife and wildfire."


There is NO threat to these lands. No large commercial clear cut logging operations are pending. No mining operations, with bulldozers at the ready, can or will threaten these lands. Recreational use is already intensively managed with an emphasis on protecting natural resources. Make no mistake, this legislation is “Wilderness for the sake of Wilderness, because we can” and nothing more.

In all of these areas, there is certainly no scarcity of Wilderness. Get out your maps and look.

The political importance and relevance seems like it has been coming to a head these past several months, but it never tops off. This week is the time for another (or first) letter! A lot counts on it.

Know Who Supports You

I've watched the blogs of several other organizations which I follow express the same sentiments. They feel the same urgency and fear the same consequences of inaction. Not all of these sites are stellar but all deserve to be on your "follow" list as sources of reasoned argument and information. To mention a few:

My favorite Nevada site: Forgotten Nevada has gone on record as endorsing several Nevada candidates.

U.S. SENATOR: Sharron Angle
GOVERNOR: Jim Gibbons
Lt. GOVERNOR: Brian Krolicki

ShareTrails - now calls themselves Blue Ribbon Coalition and has a lot of information about the recent Idaho/S Dakota issues. They urgently request letters to legislators and supply:

WASHINGTON STATE – Senator Ron Wyden; and Senator Maria Cantwell
WYOMING – Senator John Barrasso
SOUTH DAKOTA – Senator Tim Johnson
LOUISIANA – Senator Mary L. Landrieu
ARIZONA – Senator John McCain
UTAH – Senator Robert Bennett
NEW JERSEY – Senator Robert Menendez
ALABAMA – Senator Jeff Sessions
ARKANSAS – Senator Blanche Lincoln
TENNESSEE – Senator Bob Corker
COLORADO – Senator Mark Udall
NEW HAMPSHIRE – Senator Jeanne Shaheen

In my opinion, as far as blogs go Take back Utah is a crappy web site, built on the same largely self promoting hystrionics as most "Tree Hugging" groups – but they seem to be politically informed. They claim to have interviewed both Utah republican candidates and emailed that:

"While both of them are good men, they are endorsing Mike Lee for U.S. Senate because, as a lawyer, he is better equipped to fight through the legal crap in land use. Perhaps we will know better after Lee's public land use debate with his opponent

The Utah Shared Access Alliance (USA-ALL) is a very informative and probably action oriented site. They recognize that, even though privately funded, they face a well-funded opposition which is seeking to remove motorized and mechanized recreation from ALL public lands in Utah.

They sponsor, support and create a myriad of offroad related events throughout the area, including the recent land use debate between Mike Lee and Tim Bridgewater.

I'm not actually clear on the relationship between the Save Gold Butte and Back Country Rambler sites – they both seem to be run by the same people (relatives of original land owners?) and are heavily graphically oriented. They almost talk the talk of offroaders; but sure use a lot of the same rhetoric that the "Fiends of Gold Butte" use. It has the most "etherial" content of any blog that I follow. You don't actually ever see the words ATV or SUV on their pages or learn just how the authors take their "trips" into the Butte. And they don't answer simple emails requesting clarification.

Frankly, I've had too much experience with "closet" Sierra Clubbers who want to dilute the playing field with confusion and lethargy to jump into this sites ball field yet; but, they do seem to drop the right names and be connected.

That's it. Those are the sites I follow regularly. Some clearly want your money. If you, like I, don't have much to give – then give what REALLY matters: WRITE A LETTER! … NOW!


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