Responsible Off-Roading

Ben Ruset

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This link is in our Links section, but it's so good I think it should be shared here.

http://www.sharetrails.org

This is the site for the Blue Ribbon Coalation, which is group of people who defend against unfair land closures, and try to educate the owners of motorized off-road vehicles of the vitures of Treading Lightly and respect for the environment and other people who use the trails.

I think that it's very important for the off-road community to remember that many people also use the trails to hike, horseback ride, etc. Wanton destruction of land for a few cheap "thrills" will not only anger the radical environmentalists who want to keep everyone out, but gives the sport a bad name.

You might be interested in the article I wrote about "What not to do when Off-Roading in the Pine Barrens", with photo courtesy of Bob M. I posted this.

It also has a thread on JeepsUnlimited.com where I tried to educate some of the off-road community of the virtues of respecting the land.
 

bobpbx

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Oct 25, 2002
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Hi Ben,

The Blue Ribbon looks good except for a couple minor criticisms I have. One of their positions is:

The BlueRibbon Coalition supports the establishment of Congressionally designated backcountry where motorized use can co-exist with mountain bicycles and other recreational uses as well as other management activities while still preserving the backcountry character of the landscape. One major attraction for OHV enthusiasts, and others, to public lands is the primitive, backcountry character of much of these lands. The BlueRibbon Coalition supports the preservation of this backcountry character, where it exists, and supports continued motorized access into these areas. The Forest Service planning process is a dynamic and transient process; therefore congressional designation is needed to preserve these areas.


How can they say they support the establishment of "backcountry", and yet still be pushing for motorized access into it?

I also find fault with the wilderness position:

The BlueRibbon Coalition supports the designation of Wilderness in areas that truly meet the characteristics identified in the 1964 Wilderness Act, and where obvious evidence of human development, such as roads, does not exist and has not existed. We also support management of Wilderness areas for the use and enjoyment of the American people as required in the Act

What they are saying here is, if it had a road, you cannot go in and plant on the road and make it wilderness again. That does not allow repair to wildernesses that were destroyed by progress previously.......
 

Ben Ruset

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BobM said:
Hi Ben,

How can they say they support the establishment of "backcountry", and yet still be pushing for motorized access into it?

What they are saying here is, if it had a road, you cannot go in and plant on the road and make it wilderness again. That does not allow repair to wildernesses that were destroyed by progress previously.......
In response to your first question, I would consider the Pine Barrens as 'back country.' Of course the interpretation of this would really hinge on the definition of what "back country" is.

In response to the second question, I believe that it has to do with taking lands that are already being used / have been used by man and making them closed. Take Friendship Bogs - they would have a problem if the state designated that a "wilderness area" and closed to humans.

I don't think any one group (Sierra Club, NY-NJ Trails, Blue Ribbon, etc.) have the silver bullet that will kill the problem, and that these sort of issues need to be handled on a case-by-case basis.

I posted the link to show that, while there are many who make the sport look bad, there are groups that promote responsible ORV/ATV use. When we go out on our trail expeditions, we're going off-road; I would have a serious problem if the state came in and said that you could not do that anymore.

Since you and I are the only drinkers here,
:chug:
 
J

JeffD

Guest
I think organizations such as Blue Ribbon are doing good to promote responsible recreational use in backcountry areas. It's good when responsible 4 X 4ers get together and form a brother and sisterhood which, I hope, will spread the practice of responsible use.

Unfortunately, when some folks abuse recreational use of public lands, there arises the idea to close areas off. Sometimes it is legitimate, as enforcement may truely be impossible; other times it may be that the enforcement people don't do their jobs or they are forced not to by political correctness concerns (don't make waves). Maybe someone could advertise and have a COFFEE AND DONUTS stand for rangers at strategic places so there would be more of a police presence. Of course the areas could be moved without public notice so the vandals can't just go where the rangers aren't. Someone could leave a sign on the advertised spot that reads something like FREE COFFEE AND DONUTS MOVED TO X.

And there are also the opportunists in the form of radical environmental groups such as the Sierra Club, who see wilderness as a vast area that nobody can get into.

I've posted this before, but I believe it is appropo in this context:

http://resourcescommittee.house.gov/press/2002/2002_0401enviroped.htm


I'm glad that we were able to drive to the Friendship Bogs and other backcountry so we could enjoy it on our outing last Saturday. And let's let the message to use but don't abuse the Pine Barrens spread!