Actually, I do not have one single problem with taxpayers buying up land - what I do have an issue with is a combination of things that I have seen happen over the many years we have been going to the desert. (and we did live in the desert of California, also).
Here's my issues - and I see this everywhere - Joe Blow buys a one acre lot, in the middle of nowhere, and then expects to live there all alone - even though he drives to his house by a road, I have seen them try to stop me from driving to where I'm going, I have seen them put chains across the public roads, and I have seen them put up No trespassing signs, but have no problem, what-so-ever of trespassing on my property.
I have an issue with environmental groups buying up public land - because then the public is subject to their rules on land that our tax dollars paid for. Our states, California included, are selling us out. Public land is becoming only public to certain people.
You mentioned the car races - well, in an area where we cannot take an electric wheel chair, in the Mojave desert, there is a major car race every year - but that is ok, because they have the money. It has become a rich man's desert.
You are right - the desert was there before dirt bikes, but the dirt bikes were there before your house, too. And it is public land - not your (or my) private retreat - public land is supposed to be for the enjoyment of the public - all the public, separate from the land you put a home on.
But, the government will charge you money if they find out you are taking pictures that you might put out in public, for a buck or two - they will throw miners off legal mining claims - they change the names of roads, and call them "routes" and make people NOT be able to be there.
I can understand the issue of people who willfully destroy the desert or any other property - but, let's be open and honest, three hours after a bike or an SUV goes down the road, a wind picks up and you have no clue to its ever having been there. There is a difference.
Believe me, when I say - this is as passionate a subject for me as almost anything in my life - the taking away of public land for public use. I have even been a part of the congressional fight against S:21 - The California Desert Protection Act.
It took up more than 2 years of my life and time fighting that bill - in fact, I was threatened, by the government, that I was lobbying illegally, because I wasn't registered as a lobby group - that was actually funny, they found out I was a private lobby group of one!!!!
If you want to debate the ins and outs of the desert and its use and restrictions - I've got no problem with that!!! It hits one of my biggest pet peeves. (along with public toilets that are so tall my feet can't hit the floor when I sit)
, and I can debate it forever!!!
Some other things that were said - I think bikers need to know where they are - just like metal detectorists should know who's land they are detecting. Just because it is public land, doesn't mean it is open for detecting. I cannot tell you how many obnoxious people we have come across - and we have also come across many, many nice people out in the desert (a couple of them lost and panicked, but still nice). Bikers and 4 wheelers need to know where they are going - you wouldn't drive down route 10 if you wanted to go down route 30 - you don't drive across someone's land when you are
wanting to drive across public land. And, we have posted and fenced, and posted, and fenced, and posted and fenced, and someone cuts the wire, pulls the stakes and shoots the signs. So - its a two-way street.
Also, they started closing routes(really, roads) in 1993 - I have pictures of the very first one they put up, and I watched them do it. But, like I said before, they really closed roads, not routes - and then called them routes, because it was against the Wilderness Act to close roads - they were just supposed to sign-off areas that were not used for regular travel, but, they did what they wanted to. (you can thank Feinstein). It might interest all here to know that our government, and the state of California got to make the call - Sierra Club got to draw the maps, make the wilderness and close the roads. Anyone who doesn't believe that - I have Sierra Club's original, colored in, plans for it. (Feinstein sent it to me).
And, believe me - they are not done.
So, bottom line - like I said before - we have to learn to live together - everyone should be able to recreate how they like to - on public land, or land set aside for the purpose. People who destroy things should be prosecuted individually - you don't throw the baby out with the bath water - its the same arguement that goes on about guns - they want to take them all away because some nut shoots up a school - its the nut, or the criminal that needs the prosecuting - take them out of the equation - and live - and let live.
By the way - I do actually enjoy debating a subject that means a lot to me, and having a place to do it.
Beth (Mrs. Oroblanco)