November 2001

Land Use

The Cooperative Spirit

by Del Albright, BlueRibbon Ambassador

With the onslaught of anti-access propaganda, combined with some long existing turf battles between some recreation and multiple-use interests, it seems imperative to me that it's time for a change in the way we do business. Today, like never before, we must find a new cooperative spirit.  The world is too small and our opportunities are too limited to waste our valuable time and energy.  Id like to offer some ideas on where we should be headed in the future as users of public lands.

In my many columns of the past, I've written about some on-going themes: changing our image as Recreationists/multiple-users; getting involved in our public lands; getting along with each other; educating and hopefully eliminating the motorized outlaws; and several other topics. They all hold true today more so than ever. If we're to make headway with our way of recreating and using public lands, then we must continue these efforts in a new spirit of cooperation.

No one group or organization can stand alone under the pressure of the anti-access crowd. No one group has enough resources to fight alone. We must continue to work towards banding together at every opportunity.

Everyone who recreates or uses public lands should join their local club/group; their state/regional organizations; and the BlueRibbon Coalition. Each group has its purpose. Each group compliments the others. All groups compliment BRC and vice versa.

By joining an organized version of multiple use activities, and by banding together, we form a unique, unified front that is impenetrable to false anti-access propaganda. We find new allies in our localized struggles for access. And we grow in our impact by combining the limited resources that we have.

There are so many opportunities for us to band together and fight to keep our trails open. We must take advantage of them. Personalities should not dictate our club's involvement in organizations that are doing good things. Club/group leaders should routinely come together to a common table to discuss common problems and solutions.

NAMRC is a good example of this on a national level. Org leaders coming together twice a year to communicate cooperate and develop national strategies for making our sport stronger.

On a statewide basis, clubs and different sports should come together and have round table discussions about how we can all work more closely together. Multiple use is the wave of the future, as is sharing and taking care of trails. We should all find ways to make this happen. Collaborate with your fellow trail users. Find cooperative solutions to trail problems. Find that spirit of cooperation in you and your club.

Now is the time to become the sum total of our parts; a stronger whole. Now is the time to find that new spirit of cooperation.  I urge you to continue to do your part in finding that new spirit.

Visit www.sharetrails.org for more on BRC. Visit www.delalbright.com for more on land use and access.

Del Albright

Del, Ambassador for the BlueRibbon Coalition, is a California resident; long time multiple-user; and an advocate for access to our public lands.

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