<font face="Comic Sans MS">I believe that all of us OHV users are in some form or another the true environmentalists. The ones who go out and enjoy nature, clean our trails, groom the trails, and try to minimize our impact on our surroundings while still getting out and enjoying nature. The environmentalists who wish to close everything are the environmental nazis. They are the ones who don't understand forest management, they are the ones who shout "Save the Planet" from the rooftops, yet they are also the ones who like their homes in forests, like large homes, like vehicles on the roads, and enjoy the fruits of the logging, mining, and automobile industries, just to name a few. They are hypocrites.
The wildfires are an example of the environmental movement having an influence on policy. Not just now, but it's been happening gradually for years. Those fires can get hot enough to vaporize aluminum. That is certainly not healthy for the forest, and normal forests don't do that. The density of the forests has increased steadily and the fuel loads have been building up. Selective logging and more prescribed burns are necessary to help create safe forests for everyone again, including the creatures and plants that live there. Logging isn't evil, nor is mining. Both are valuable industries. I don't mind being thrown into a category with loggers and miners, they seem to typically do a pretty good job of taking care of what they do. Especially with many loggers going away from clear cutting, to selectively thinning. More issues in danger are fire fighting. In "wilderness" areas, firefighters aren't allowed to have their equipment in the area to put out the fire. They aren't allowed to thin out wilderness areas, even though the density of the forests is too high already, and it will result in more catastrophic wildfires. Closing off more lands in the way that wilderness areas are already closed off is a very ridiculous move. We need access to these lands for fire suppression, and for recreation, as well as for the resources that we all rely on.
If we do not fight along side of loggers, miners, and other "multiple use" people in court, then by the time they are suppressed, when the environmentalists come to give our sport it's death blow, there will be nobody left to help stand up for us. What we really need to do is take the media back from the eco nazis. We need to show the public real information rather than junk science and worthless "pseudo facts" or half truths. Since the public in general believes the media implicity without bothering to dig any deeper than the surface to find the flaws in what the media says. Fox news does a fair job of this, but that's the only media that seems to.
One other thing about closing lands to logging and oil production... If you close more areas to those activities, then the areas remaining open to those activities come under far heavier use, and are utilized more fully, increasing the impact on those areas. The overall need for those products doesn't decrease, but the ability of the materials to make things such as wood products, and petroleum products does. This not only hurts the economy, but it also hurts the environment in those areas that remain open. If you spread out the logging (selective thinning) you do over a wide area, the impact of the activities are minimized. Closing any public lands is doing a dis-service to many members of the public. I mean are the eco-nazis somehow better or more important members of the public than us? They certainly are not. As members of the public, we all deserve an equal right to access public lands. Incidentally counting wilderness areas, the eco-nazis have far more areas that they can utilize than us in the OHV community can. Many of the "roadless" areas they are claiming, really aren't roadless. They already have roads or trails on them, yet they are going to be locked up regardless.
Ok I'm done. </font>
ORC Land Use columnist:
My November article on ORC