Land use litigation
As many of you are aware your right to utilize your public land is rapidly eroding away. This erosion is not due to wind, water or other, typical, natural forces but by the unholy alliance of trust fund driven special interest groups, co-opted federal land management agencies, and our own shortsightedness. In the not to distant future this erosion will extend to private property as well, the laws are on the books that allow for federal intervention if your property causes harm downstream, that means if you have 10 million acres and you wheel it all by yourself, you can still be liable for the sediment load increase from your trip through the stream on your own property. No, it's not paranoia that comes up with that, it's American Heritage Rivers Act signed by former Pres. Clinton. So even private venues are subject to pressure from the anti groups.
There are currently (at least) four major pro access groups actively in court trying to stem this tide, unfortunately these groups rely not on the millions from eastern charitable trusts, Not from benifit concerts by the barbara streisands of the world, and not from donations from H&R Block, but from member enthusiasts like ourselves,and from small businesses like Predator 4x4 in Colorado Springs, for their funding. I'm going to ask that everyone make an effort to find a few extra dollars in their budget to help one or more of these efforts. It doesn't have to be a million, that would be nice, but not necessary, it doesn't have to be thousands or hundreds, but please try to find something. WE all spend tons of money on our rigs but how much do we spend on ensuring we can use them? Even on the street we are at risk.
So what's up?
The federal Government wants to scrap all vehicles over 15 years old, Uh that's every scrambler, CJ, Bronco, Land Cruiser, etc. out there, and they have legislation in congress to fund that very thing. Your tax dollars to eliminate your ride. Don't worry though because they will give you a nominal fee for your jeep and perhaps a voucher for a new car, but presumably not a new jeep or SUV since that same group of politicos are also trying to force all SUVs to get 36 mpg and other cars even more, that's going to reduce your choices somewhat eh? Connect SEMA for info.
SouthWest Four Wheel Drive Assciation has been in litigation for over a year over illegal closures enacted to, essentially, maintain BLM's "political capital" with the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. The Wilderness Society intervened on behalf of the BLM and has prevented the settlement of the suit and has become very aggressive of late, presumably because they now recognize the potential for precedence to be set. Regardless, the stakes have been raised and that means that we in SWFWDA and our generous friends, must now pony up even more money to see this through.
USA-ALL is in litigation in Utah with the BLM over the new trend of management by emergency closure. BLM has found that they can bypass public input, the appeal process and other plnning rules by closing down routes via an "emergency" closure. these are supposed to be temporary, but once closed.............
Our friends at the Center for Biological Diversity, you remember them, they file suit on behalf of "endangered" species roughly every third day, they closed most of Glamis Dunes, working on Pismo, tons of Arizona, etc. Well they're now targeting the northern Sierra Nevada, they've filed against the Eldorado NF, which is home to, among others, the Rubicon. Contact BRC or Friends of the Rubicon for info or to donate to their land use fund which is being set up to counter this suit.
United FWDA has a Land Action Fund that is available for myriad special projects that affect fourwheelers, United has successfully sued the Forest Service, is in Litigation along with Blue Ribbon and others over several abuses in several states. It's even considered a deductible by the IRS as is BRC.
So how do we all help? When buying those new 38.5 swampers how about getting four and send the money for the spare to any or all of the above? Carbon fiber, bead-locked rims, send the savings of the fifth to keep a place open. Next time you visit you local shop or sell some left over parts, or win the lottery, pulse the shop owner on they're commitment to four-wheeling, encourage them to join these groups and to support the various land action funds. Part of the reason Predator has been so successful is their obvious commitment to four wheeling both through their business and through their support of access. We in SWFWDA have received donations from an injured desert racer's accident recovery fund, from clubs on the east coast, from the great frozen north and from every where. WE appreciate them all and they all go 100% to preserving access.
The Binder Bulletin has set up a matching fund for donations to the Rubicon defense, either through the Friends, or through the BRC. A great and generous way to double your giving. Big Thanks to Bill Thebert who runs the Bulletin and is willing to pony up his income to perpetuate our chosen form of recreation. I think their web address is Binderbulletin.org but play with it if need be. They have PayPal info on the site.
For contributions to USA-ALL see their web site, I think it's simply USA-ALL.org or the like.
For SWFWDA send your contribution to:
Jerry Ward, Treasurer - LAF
3553 Appaloosa Dr
Sunland Park NM 88063
For UFWDA, check the website, UFWDA.org, or contact me directly and I'll look up the info and send it to you.
Thanks for the help, if there are any questions or if you really want to contribute and can't find the info let me know, I WILL find you an address to send your support to.