Enviromentalist vs Offroaders......

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historik951
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Enviromentalist vs Offroaders......

Post by historik951 » Tue Feb 01, 2011 12:54 am

Hi Gang,
I'm about to present a " open forum " about a subject that may be very dear and yet very emotional to some. I am hoping this will present a place for all sides to be able to " discuss " their view of a sensitive subject. The subject is the closure of HUGE pieces of land due to what some might say is the " destructive and wanton behavior of ORV's ".... and still some would say " the overzealous protection " of others... To me this is two extremes on opposite ends of the stick.... And in the middle of this is a third party that has absolutely no say..... This is the group I feel akin to, the desert explorer... We do use off road vehicles but, we NEVER go fast.. we actually want to take our time and enjoy what we see... We understand the value of mother natural and surely do not want to cause her any harm, we also want to leave a legacy for our childrens children.... The parks system began as a place where people can enjoy the outdoors, a place where people can learn about the outdoors, and a place where people can EXPLORE the outdoors... What does it say at the gate to Yellowstone, the very first park " For the benefit and enjoyment of the people ".... It doesn't say for off roaders or environmentalist... simply says the PEOPLE which means everybody.... The problem I often run into when bringing up this subject, is if I say I drive a 4x4 I am instantly put into the " dirt NASCAR " crowd... which I am not... But at the same time, if I say the the destruction cause by 4x4r's is a shame, I am put into the environmentalist crowd.. Honestly I am a little of both and yet not either.... I can understand where each is coming from, yet because of a long term battle between the two, I ( my group ), are nor even part of the conversation. And I believe we should have a voice too, I should have the ability to go to places that are now off limits due to " destructive behavior ". I also know what some of you are thinking... " well you can, just not with a vehicle ", but lets be honest, I am one of many that can not hike some 15 plus miles to a area and then back.... all in 1 day.... or even overnite with a full backpack. And as long as I am respectful of the land and it inhabitants why not ??? I was at a local park awhile back when this discussion came up with a ranger and he said there was ZERO solution for this matter.... So I suggested a " special trails permit " where the driver would be responsible for all persons in his/her vehicle and would have to go through a " training class ". This class would explain how to " tread lightly " and what the driver would be responsible for and why.... The people who would want to travel these areas would have to pay a permit fee and this fee would cover the cost of the training of the courses.... The look on the rangers face was priceless, it was clear that this was NEVER a thought, but then the politics came in and it was shot down, lets face it the government does NOT know how to think " out of the box "..... They are not about creative solutions, unfortunately they are bogged down in a bureaucratic system that does not allow for this to happen... I don't blame the ranger, after all he is simply a product of the states system..... Remember I did say this " may " offend some people, but to be truthful I haven't seen anyone with the state parks trying to come up with a solution for this ( but I would love to be informed if there is ). You are simply label either a off roader or a environmentalist.... there is never a discussion about any middle ground. This is all I am asking for, a middle ground, a discussion a search for a solution. If I have offended anyone I do apologize, but sometimes we as a people need to get past the emotions and tackle the problem at heart. Otherwise our childrens children will be talking about this same issue and that would be just as wrong..... I am open to any and all discussions as long as we respect each other, and will anxiously wait for your version of this blog....

Thx
Historik951

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Re: Enviromentalist vs Offroaders......

Post by LeeVW » Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:36 am

Historik951,

That's an excellent post. You made many good points, and I'm sure folks on both sides of the issue should be able to relate to what you said. I consider myself to be an explorer with philosophies very similar to yours. I would much prefer to kick back, one hand on the wheel, driving slow and taking in all the beauty that is around me. I use the vehicle to get from one area to another, then go about exploring each area on foot. I ride dirt bikes on occasion, and they are used for the exact same purpose. My riding buddies and I rarely go over 25MPH on the trails, and we NEVER go off-trail! You miss too much when you go too fast, and my body doesn't heal like it did 20 years ago!

The problem is that we are in the minority.

I have observed time and time again how the younger crowd (16-25) conduct themselves in the backcountry. There seems to be some mentality that as soon as the wheels hit dirt, one must drive as fast as one possibly can, all the time. I see it in the local forest, I see it in the desert. Only a small fraction of the drivers take a relaxed attitude towards off-roading. I must admit that I drove way too fast off-highway when I was younger, but I never went off-trail, and I ALWAYS slowed down when I got near people, animals, other vehicles, or structures. Not today's youth, they just keep going full bore right past buildings, cars, and hikers. I know of one rancher in particular who has lost more than one animal because it was stuck by someone going way too fast through his grazing allotment. It's no wonder we have been painted with such a harsh bursh. Many representatives in our own community deserve it.

I think just about everyone here on DUSA falls into the "explorer" category. Knowledge is more important to us than adrenaline, which is why we're on here to begin with. Anymore I just try to remain mellow and see as much of the desert as I can before it's all locked up. The latest Feinstein/Boxer Wilderness bill has been introduced, and they have been quoted as saying they have another million acres to go. They will not stop, and they will not be voted out. Desert exploration has become a race to get there before it's closed.

I do not have any children, nor do I plan to. As far as I'm concerned, future generations can do what they want with our public land, and it looks like they will choose to close it. The two crops of kids I see today are the ones who like to tear it up and the ones who build fences to keep vehicles out. The ones who build fences will win because they are involved. The others are just looking for their next thrill. I envy past generations because they had greater freedom in their exploration, and I feel sorry for future generations because they will have no idea what it's like to explore the backcountry on unpaved roads. Judging by the way they act and the way they vote, that's how they want it.

Lee

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Re: Enviromentalist vs Offroaders......

Post by Brew » Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:13 am

The permit process has pro and con.

Pro: Motorized vehicle operators get educated.
Con: Enforcement, even with the permit.
.....................

Most of the land that is being referred to is not state parks land, it's BLM.

And while Historik951 feels that he is not in either "group", many of us are in both groups. We do stop to see the sights between rapid movement. When riding a motorcycle on dry sand, we actually need to keep the speed up to keep the bike on top of the sand. Going slow makes the ride unstable.

Brew
Last edited by Brew on Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Enviromentalist vs Offroaders......

Post by reptilist » Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:14 am

I choose common sense and courtesy over extremist vitriol!
Good posts you guys!

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Re: Enviromentalist vs Offroaders......

Post by Dan » Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:42 am

Good posts, and it is an interesting topic you chose. I think the discussion needs to take place often, and I think sometimes it should be held in front of policy makers.

My take is that the group you describe, historik and Lee, is larger than you think it is. I think it's larger than the tear-it-up crowd, and also larger than the lock-it-up crowd. I think if you wanted to assert influence on policy, you should gather support from like-minded people and become a stakeholder. But like many other groups, there is a general lack of desire to get involved in the political process. The group is not angry enough to be motivated to get involved.

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Re: Enviromentalist vs Offroaders......

Post by LeeVW » Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:26 am

Rep,

You're right, common sense and courtesy is the way to discuss these matters. It's too easy to get carried away because the topic is so emotional for most of us.

Dan,

I have a feeling you're right about the middle of the road group being larger. A lot of what I said was based on what I saw last weekend on Trabuco Creek Road in Orange County, CA. Trabuco Creek Road is an unpaved road that leads into the Cleveland National Forest. It is popular with hikers, mountain bikers, and people with street legal 4X4 and other vehicles who are looking for a local place to get the tires dirty. I was cruising along in the buggy at about 10MPH, enjoying the beautiful weather. I saw a couple guys in Jeeps doing the same thing. They were driving slow and were courteous. But that was it. Every single vehicle I saw other than those two guys was going way too fast for such a heavily traveled dirt road, and NO ONE else was slowing down when passing another vehicle or hikers. It was disgusting. I even saw one idiot just about hit another vehicle head on because he wanted to blast through the water crossing as fast as he could go. I had to get out of there before I did something I would regret.

When I come across other people on the trail, I slow way down, give them a wide berth, and say hi. Sometimes people say hi back to me, other times they scowl as if I'm the devil himself. Either way, I know I did my part to show that the off-roading community shows courtesy when they share the trail with other people. The morons who blast by and cover everyone with dust not only undo all that, they can also sway those who were in the middle of the road more over to the closure side. That's why my anger is not with those who implement the closures, it's with those who CAUSE them.

Lee

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Re: Enviromentalist vs Offroaders......

Post by historik951 » Tue Feb 01, 2011 4:04 pm

Lee you gave me a idea... What if everyone had to display some sort of ID tags like the number tags used in racing. Large enough to be seen by just about anyone, that way if someone was acting up you could report the number ( and a quick cellphone vid won't hurt your cause ).... When you register for your tag, the park would take a digital photo of your vehicle(s) and have you on a statewide or even national list. Act up and you are banned, your file would even have where and when you violated the rules. If you are caught without your tag then there is a HUGE fine, something large enough to deter not displaying your tag. Then if there are enough complaints you would be banned from the parks ( plural )... If something like this was enacted, that would surely separate the abusers from the users... I know some people would argue about " being tagged " but I think those who understand why would be ok with it. Could be the abusers who might argue against it...... Any thoughts ???

Thx
Historik951

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Re: Enviromentalist vs Offroaders......

Post by Dan » Tue Feb 01, 2011 4:20 pm

I understand fully, Lee. And I share your desire to present a good neighbor to the rest of the world. If you've ever heard the expression: Bad roads bring good people, and vice versa", then you'll understand what I'm about to say. I think the same thing applies to areas that are close to urban centers. The knuckleheads who aren't serious about the activity end up in places that are easy to get to. The places with paved roads right up to the staging area, or paved roads right up to the dirt road. It's a half hour from the house, or it's easy to drive there, and it brings all sorts, and a high population of users at that. So, not only do you get the bad apples, but a very high concentration of them. If you were to explore out in the Ord Mountains, or the Old Woman Mountains, or Red Rock Canyon, or Last Chance Canyon, or Panamint, you would be very unlikely to run into these types. It's probably been almost 30 years since I took my Jeep up into that area, as I'd prefer to avoid these people. Same with places like Gorman, El Mirage (although I have been to El Mirage much more recently). You've been to very out of the way places. I'd expect you have seen very few of these knuckleheads out where the serious folk travel.

I think with any activity that attracts a wide range of people of different ages, the annoying ones who can't seem to live by any rules are typically younger. Those who are annoyed by that behavior are typically from the older groups. Partly, it's a question of having some consideration for others. Sort of a narcissistic attitude that "no one else's preferences matter as much as mine do, therefore I'm within my rights to impose my views and the effect of my presence on everyone around me" kind of perspective.

That narcissism is on full display in both the tear-it-up crowd as well as the lock-it-up crowd.

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Re: Enviromentalist vs Offroaders......

Post by Dan » Tue Feb 01, 2011 4:22 pm

historik951 wrote:Lee you gave me a idea... What if everyone had to display some sort of ID tags like the number tags used in racing. Large enough to be seen by just about anyone, that way if someone was acting up you could report the number ( and a quick cellphone vid won't hurt your cause ).... When you register for your tag, the park would take a digital photo of your vehicle(s) and have you on a statewide or even national list. Act up and you are banned, your file would even have where and when you violated the rules. If you are caught without your tag then there is a HUGE fine, something large enough to deter not displaying your tag. Then if there are enough complaints you would be banned from the parks ( plural )... If something like this was enacted, that would surely separate the abusers from the users... I know some people would argue about " being tagged " but I think those who understand why would be ok with it. Could be the abusers who might argue against it...... Any thoughts ???

Thx
Historik951
Hisorik, I think the problem is not within the "parks". Those are open use areas with few rules or regulations to begin with, and most explorers are more interested in other places where there are few chances for encounter of others. I think most of the problem is on public lands where it's legal to use OHVs outside the designated Open Use OHV areas. BLM refers to these as "Limited Use Areas".

Oh, I think if it's done right, you wouldn't get much of a push-back from the OHV crowd, on the large ID tags. If they are attached to existing number plates that are already on most two and four wheel green sticker OHVs, then it shouldn't be much of an issue. It's when they want to force expensive and dangerous modifications that you have pushback.

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Re: Enviromentalist vs Offroaders......

Post by historik951 » Tue Feb 01, 2011 5:37 pm

I'm confused then, I was told that the reason the environmentalists are so adamant about the closings, is because of the destruction that is left behind. If the " racers " are not out in these areas, then the why the fight ??? Is it because of a few miscreants ??? That can't REALLY be the reason MILLIONS of acres are being locked up... is it ??? And btw the parks hands are not so clean in this as well, for example ABSP just acquired a large parcel near the Vallecitos stage station and there is no off roading allowed there either. Now one can hike till their hearts fall out, but no vehicles, no off roaders, no quads, no motorcycles....period. And I'm sure this is not the lone case... it's just something that I use as a example, no harm intended....

Historik951

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