Friday, April 6, 2012

National Forest Document Stirs Scandal with Road Removal Plans

I first read about the Forest Service's shameful new guidebook entitled "A Comprehensive Framework for Off-Highway Vehicle Trail Management" on Don Amador's terrific land-use blog.  He wrote a thorough review of the guidebook and later commented on increasing public outrage surrounding this scandal.  I was appalled to read about this guidebook, another blatant example of the government burning through our tax dollars and conspiring with the anti-access "environmentalist" organization named Wildlands Center for Preventing Roads (Wildlands CPR) to lock the vast majority of the American public out of their public lands.

The following multi-use environmentalist organizations have all voiced their criticisms of the United States Department of Agriculture and United States Forest Service publication in an open letter:

All-Terrain Vehicle Association
American Motorcyclist Association
BlueRibbon Coalition
Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition
Colorado Snowmobile Association
Trails Preservation Alliance
Utah Shared Access Alliance

Since then, the media has finally started picking up on the story and exposing the derogatory bias against motorized recreationists.  The Washington Examiner published an editorial that explains the scandal quite clearly.  Live On Dirt, the All-Terrain Vehicle Association, and the American Motorcyclist Association all wrote great summaries in which they included a copy of the open letter.

The reason for the outrage isn't just because of the discrimination against a certain group of legal, responsible recreationists; this guidebook outlines the closure of public rights-of-way for ALL forest users.  Not only will OHV users be banned from driving on forest roads, but also fishermen, mountain bikers, hunters, and anyone who loads up their minivan or Prius with gear for kayaking, picnicking, birdwatching, geocaching, or simply bringing the young, the elderly, or the disabled into the forest for a relaxing afternoon with Mother Nature.

Help us fight these land closures now; if we wait any longer, we'll find that we are ALL locked out of the forest no matter what form of recreation we partake in.

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