Recreation requires Collaboration
What is the most important thing you
can do to continue recreating on public lands? Preserve your
Access. Without Access you will no longer be able to enjoy the
forest on your OHV, or mountain bike, or horse. Without Access
you cannot fish or hunt or rock climb. Face it, without access
you would not be able to do whatever you enjoy on public lands.
It would be hard not to notice more & more trails being closed
to OHV’s, mountain bikes & even horse riders.
Why is this happening & what can be done to protect our Access?
The theory of divide & conquer is as old as time & closure
activists have used it very well to pit each type of recreation
against each other. They have also used it to pit recreation
against grazing & timber harvest. Then they stand back while we
fight over who should be allowed to use our own trails.
One of the primary justifications for closure is “User
Conflict”. You know, where some intolerant folks say they cannot
enjoy their day because OHV’s are allowed to use the same trail.
Of course those folks could choose to visit a trail which does
not allow OHV use & more than 80% of the trails are already
closed to OHV use. In other cases it might be horse riders
objecting to mountain bike use, or mountain bikers objecting to
horse riders, or any combination. It is very easy for folks to
get greedy & want public lands all for themselves. That is
unreasonable & unrealistic. Past history has shown closing
trails to one type of use often produces a domino effect of
closures for other uses.
Remember when camping & forest access were free? In those days
many of the facilities were paid for by income from timber sales
& grazing permits. Now we prohibit common sense forest thinning
& grazing while incinerating millions of acres each year with
unnatural Wildfires. We pay higher & higher user fees with a net
reduction in forest health to supposedly save the environment.
Today recreation is being portrayed as consumptive, just as
timber & grazing have already been. It seems to matter little
how well we take care of our trails or how much we care about
the environment or how little our impact in the overall picture.
In the political arena recreation is now being pitted against
protecting the environment.
One likely answer to this dilemma is Collaboration among all
recreation groups, as well as with timber & grazing. The common
ground is we all need Access. We need to work together & combine
our voices to be effective in showing we are not harming the
environment while protecting our Access.
Each of you can help by reaching out to people who enjoy other
types of recreation, as well as timber & grazing interests in
your area. Form relationships with them & work on projects
together if possible. This way when the intolerant, but vocal
minority, pipe up & yell “User Conflict”, you can ask what
conflict? You can ask them why they are the only ones not
willing to work with everyone else? When they claim one type of
use needs to be eliminated all of us can stand together & say NO
WE WANT OUR ACCESS.
Stewards of the Sequoia
Division of CTUC 501c3
How You Can Help