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January 1999

Land Use

Land Use and the New Year
By Del Albright

For a multiple-user like me, this is the time of year I think about snowmobiling, snow-wheeling, and the fireplace. I plan to enjoy the snow this year; but I don't plan to crash any more snowmobiles like I did last year. Ouch.... And yes, I'll probably end up with my wheeler in a ditch or two on some snowy trail; but that's ok.

It's also that time of year to do the old New Year's resolution routine. Well, it's a given I've got to drop a few holiday pounds. Oh yea, and start exercising again. But there are a couple resolutions I'd like to ask you to adopt. The rewards will far exceed the effort.

1998 had some WINS and some major showings for our side that will go down in history. The victory over the Stanislaus National Forest CLOSED unless signed open policy was a biggie. Black Sands Beach showed one of the best turnouts for support from the OHV community. Yellowstone National Park found out who we were when they began shutting down snowmobiling. The Recreation Trails Program (Symm's Act) was funded as historically high levels. And there are other examples.

We ARE making a difference. It's really beginning to show. On the ground, too! Now, here's the catch. We've got to keep it up. The charge has started; and we're taking back ground! We cannot let up now. In fact, I propose to you that we increase our efforts just a wee bit more.

Here's some New Year's Resolutions I ask you to consider:

1. To adopt Del's One-for-One proposal (one trail ride or event for one letter or meeting with bureaucracy).

2. One twenty dollar bill extra to your favorite organization or their legal fund.

3. One face-to-face meeting with your local congress person before the year's out.

4. One letter from your club/group to your elected representatives (especially if they're new ones) highlighting the key issues your club would like addressed (and please include things like:

  • Continued and appropriate spending of RTP funding;
  • No net loss in trails/roads;
  • Public access to public lands;
  • Support for multiple use (many uses) on public lands;
  • Public input in to the decisions made affecting your area.

If we all were to do these (plus whatever other resolutions you may have), I predict the recreation world would rock and roll the opposition!

On the One-for-One, all I'm asking (see previous articles on this) is that every time you enjoy your favorite sport (wheeling, snowmobiling, biking, whatever), you make a little chalk mark by your computer. Then one cold, yucky evening when you can't go outside, you sit down, count the chalk marks, and write ONE letter for every mark. Write to your legislator. Write to your county commissioner/Board of Supervisors. Write to your state organization stating what's important to your club. WRITE.

Now as to the extra $20. We can all afford it; because we can't afford not to. The bottom line in today's society is the threat of lawsuits. It works. It takes money. Give your favorite group/organization that extra twenty right now while it's on your mind. If you really can't afford it, send me an email and let me know. I'll pay 1/2 for you.

For the face to face resolution, I'm asking you to take the effort before the year's out, to get hold of your elected person, and tell the staffer who answers the phone that you'd like a meeting. Take in a list of key issues (such as you'd put in the letter I mentioned above) and go in and lay your cards on the table. There are also plenty of articles and publications out there on how to write to and meet with elected officials. If you need help, let me know.

And lastly, the letter from your club/group. There are sample letters floating around from many organizations that you can use. But just do it. Please. If you need help, again, drop me an email and I'll get you lined up with the right contact.

1999 is our year. We can be a strong force to be reckoned with. All it takes is you and I working together. Thanks for listening and good luck in 1999.