It's election season, so political issues are at the front of everyone's mind. OHV advocacy is one issue from which we must never back down, since motorized recreation is shown little to no love by politicians as the anti-access faux-environmentalists' incessant haranguing and lawsuits lead to the tragic closure of millions of acres of public lands. With that in mind, United Four Wheel Drive Associantion's Jerry Smith wrote the following story from the Jeep trail's perspective:
I am one of your favorite “motorized” trails out here on some of your public lands. It gets lonely out here, all alone since the federal government closed me to motorized travel. They closed me and won’t tell me why… hell, they won’t tell you why if you ask them to. Have you even asked?? Do you even care??
I used to enjoy all the emotions I could instill in you as you rode along my length.
Crossing the washes, deep with sand and rocks of varying size in the bottoms seemed to bring a smile to everyone’s face… once you were safely through them. I liked the apprehension look as you entered the washes not knowing if you were good enough to make it or not. It was always something of a thrill to watch as I brought your customized, one of a kind vehicle to a halt while you got out to look the situation over. That was a smart move you know? I had that trap set to stop any vehicle.
You outsmarted me on that one though. Moving those rocks must have taken quite an effort on your part. That rushing, flooding water had a lot of power behind it to place those rocks to block your progress. I admire your persistence. Where was that persistence when it came to resisting the government when THEY decided to close me?? I could have used a little help you know?
You see, those land managers don’t listen to me much. I am just a commodity to them… something to be managed is all. They don’t give one damn about me as a resource.
I’m just a maintenance expense that they can’t cover, and a source of “conflict” between user groups, so they take the easy way out and close me for now… just waiting for the time to come when they can take me out of their inventory, drop me from their maps, and then I am included in another “Roadless Area” so the “Preservationists” can name me to another Wilderness Study Area or similar entity. Why don’t you care???
Didn’t I provide some special times in your memory? Wasn’t I something to cherish? Didn’t the times you rode my twists and turns, my hills, valleys, and steep off camber climbs mean anything special to you? They sure were to me!!
I loved seeing the looks on the faces of your family as they questioned the sanity of traversing me. Scaring some until a tear formed in their eye. UNTIL --- they saw the panorama at the top of the rise that took their very breath away. Let me tell you, seeing that tear of fear turn to one of exuberant joy was a major thrill for me. It just made me want to quake with overwhelming feelings of happiness… but I did not want to scare all of you away.
There has always been a strong connection with you and me. Your times on my back were very special to me. I miss you so very much. I thought YOU cared about me. How could you just let them take me away?? Was it something I did? Was I not enough fun and excitement for you… were there not enough great memories? What did I do wrong?? I’m sorry I let you down!
Now that you must go elsewhere for your vacations and weekend trips, I hope you know that those trails will be more crowded because they are the few left for your pleasure… FOR NOW!!!
Oh yeah, didn’t they tell you? They are already planning to close them too. You’re “overusing” them and it is causing too much environmental damage that they can’t afford to fix. Guess what… that short drive to them will cost you two or three times as much to get to the next trail that they will leave open ---- until that one is “overused”!! Get the picture? It’s a cycle that YOU have allowed to grow into a repetitive sequence.
Your neglect to protect me has allowed the Preservationists to win every battle… not that YOU fought for me.
Did you write to the government agencies about how you loved me? Did you call them and voice your concern for me? How about all those meetings that you could have attended? Did you take an hour or two to support me??
How about the organizations that had people there representing YOU? Did you even respond to their pleads of support? Did you even rejoin them this year? You know how much your membership means to them in both your numbers being represented and the few dollars that help them carry YOUR voice into battle don’t you? They work hard for YOUR ACCESS to YOUR TRAILS you know?
Is it right that the very few who fight for YOUR ACCESS to YOUR TRAILS should do it all at THEIR expense? Don’t you care at all that I could have still been providing you and yours the thrills and enjoyment that I once did? Hey, I miss you!!! I want you back!!! Will YOU DO SOMETHING to get me back?? PLEASE!!
I know that your time is limited. I know that you don’t think your voice is heard. I know that you don’t like writing letters, attending meetings, learning the land management laws, and all that stuff. But you CAN do something. Really!!
Donate to the organizations that do work their hearts out on YOUR behalf. Make it easier for them to travel to meetings, pay for their expenses doing what YOU don’t wish to do… but MUST BE DONE!!! Their personal money can only go so far before it can no longer be counted on. They have families to care for just like you… THEY are supporting YOU. Can you do less than help them do that???
I want to be there for you!! Will you be there for me??
Your favorite trails… I miss you!!