America’s Great Outdoors Idea Jam

Posted by on August 10, 2010 under Legal, Updates. This post currently has 6 responses.

What would you think if you could tell the Obama administration how you feel about outdoor recreation and conservation? It would be nice since wealthy lobbyists for conservation groups like the Sierra Club seem to have a stranglehold on influence in Washington. But now it is possible to speak to Washington about your concerns and to counter the ideas promoted by OHV opponents.

Blue Ribbon Coalition’s website informs us of a new law signed by Obama, “America’s Great Outdoors Initiative”, which directs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Council for Environmental Quality (CEQ) to coordinate with the Interior and Agriculture Departments on a program to promote conservation and outdoor recreation.” Go to the Blue Ribbon website to learn how you can join the discussion.

Don’t let the groups who are trying to stop OHV recreation hog all the ideas. We need to input our thoughts about the proper utilization of recreational resources. Off road recreation is not a crime. Go to: http://ideas.usda.gov/ago/ideas.nsf/ and let them know what you think.

6 Responses to “America’s Great Outdoors Idea Jam”

  1. Jason Discher says:

    Just to let everyone know, when I first went to the site, OHV was the most popular by far, all in a positive light. Now it’s still most popular but in a negative way. The pseudo environmentalists found it and have been badmouthing us ever since. Be warned, some of their comments and ideas will make your blood boil! I know mine did. It’s so obvious they have only a stereotypical view of us. So try and keep a level head to show who the real adults are. I have to admit I lost my “adult” attitude a few times, so now I step back and take a breath before I comment. WE know the TRUTH, and it’s up to us to educate the ignorant.
    Thanks to all involved in getting this posted!!

  2. Diana Tweedy says:

    SOME THOUGHTS AFTER READING COMMENTS IN THE AMERICA’S GREAT OUTDOORS IDEA JAM

    Like many off road enthusiasts I was incensed when I read the rubbish that poses as dialogue in the America’s Great Outdoors Idea Jam. I am talking about the extremists not those who have doubts about off road recreation but have an open mind. These extremist spiels repeat the same old tired worn out clichés over an over. Like political sound bites they have created a world all their own, and are and so out of touch with reality it is almost laughable, except these proponents take themselves very seriously and preach their gospel with the fervor found only in extreme religions.

    Some posts tell off road riders to get of their bikes and partake in a rewarding physical activities like hiking. Hiking is the modern parlance for walking. I walk everyday. I walk to and from mass transit. I walk while doing my indoor chores (I don’t employ a Mexican housekeeper). I walk while taking care of my lawn (I don’t employ a Mexican gardener). Like many Americans I walk daily as a part of my job.

    If I want to get exercise I ride my bicycle or my off road motorcycle. Riding an off road motorcycle is a great way to burn off those extra calories. It works leg, back and arm muscles which expand and contract to offset the pounding that off road terrain subjects to the rider and machine. There is also the factor of muscling a two-hundred and fifty pound machine around corners, over obstacles, up and down hills and in the air over jumps.

    Compared to walking there is no comparison. Walking is light easy exercise while off road riding is heavy taxing exercise. After a ride I am sore and heavily fatigued. Racing off road is even more invigorating. When I used to race I was so fatigued after a race that I could hardly walk my bike back to the pits. Walking has always been such a big part of my life that I don’t notice any effects, either good or ill.

    I have been told by a holier than thou protagonist for kayaking to sell my motorcycle and take up their wholesome sport. Excuse me; wholesome? Why do they only paddle down stream and then use their heavy has guzzling vehicles to get them back to where they started. Aside from running a few minor rapids it is a boring unappealing sport. If paddling down stream is such great exercise, why did Huck Finn paddle down the Mississippi on a raft? He was adverse to work or any kind and drifting down the river fit right into his game-plan. Not a bad idea in those days since it was all about adventure and seeking new experiences. The idea was to have fun and Huck was not pretentious in any way.

    Jetsam from kayaks flung into our rivers is marring our waterways. Unsecured belongings such as candy wrappers, cloths and food containers are being lost overboard with the increased popularity of this so-called sport. This was chronicled several years ago on the American River when Kayak groups forced a popular OHV area to curtail operations several days a week including Saturdays. An article in a popular newspaper documented the problem of trash in the river caused by careless Kayak paddlers.

    Normally I hate to denounce any outdoor activity. I have been a horseback rider; I have backpacked hundreds of miles both on the east coast and in California; I have climbed mountains; I have skied, both down hill and cross country; I have sailed small boats in rivers and oceans; and I have ridden my bicycles sometimes a hundred miles a day. In short I have competed and raced all my life and I am in excellent physical condition for my age. I am not bragging but pointing out that I have been interested in sports all my life.

    That said, I am sick of the misinformed and distorted realities of those who purport to take part in these and similar sports and whose vapid attacks on a sport they know nothing about is a misguided attempt to throw insults at us without contributing to the conversation. I guess that they never heard of the study done in the mid-eighties that found motocross racers were second only to soccer player in terms of strength and endurance.

    Aside from their contention that off road riding is not a sport and is just an excuse to be lazy; I will look at their contentions one by one and show them up for the false myths that they are. First let me be perfectly clear, I am not for the proposition that off road riding shouldn’t be restricted in some ways, but I do believe that we have a right to our form of recreation and that it is wrong to deny us our right to ride on appropriate trails.

    They say that dirt bikes tear up the trails. We have a fund in California to maintain off road vehicle trails supported by registration fees, entrance fees and some gasoline taxes (roughly in proportion to gasoline usage by off road riders). The other groups have no such fund and maintenance for their trails comes out of the general tax base.

    Secondly, all trails, even cow trails cause erosion. Lack of vegetation on these trails and the lack of the supporting root structure that vegetation offers causes water to run down the trails and creates erosion. The hiking trails behind my house are graded once a year to fill in ruts that are carved out of the trails after the rainy season. It does not matter if trails are used by horseback riders, bicycles, and hikers or off road vehicles; they all require maintenance every so often.

    Another common complaint is that noise from off road vehicles is disturbing the extremist’s commune with nature. Lately off road motorcycles have been quieted down by mandate. Most riders who ride in duel use areas use even quieter mufflers in order not to bring attention to them-selves. Motorcycle noise is becoming less and less of an issue, but there are still the occasional scofflaws who ruin our image by running illegal mufflers. You can’t judge a sport by the few that ignore the law. They can be reported to the rangers if the hikers are concerned about the racket.

    The other point is that there are limited areas open to off road machines and almost unlimited opportunities for hikers and their ilk. Why can’t they choose a park that does not allow off road riding for their communing with nature? For example in Alameda County where I live there are literally hundreds of parks open for hiking and only one park of about a thousand acres where off road vehicles are allowed.

    Lastly, the argument is made that nature should be kept pure and that modern machines, including bicycles, horse back riding (they use saddles and bridles), trucks, four wheelers and motorcycles should be banned from all parks. What will happen if someone is injured and needs to be taken to a hospital? I guess they plan to carry their compatriots out on litters. Beyond that their conception of what is proper ignores the interests of other user groups. This is fascism pure and simple.

  3. Jason Discher says:

    Here’s the comment I left on one of the anti-ohv ideas on the A.G.O.I.J. site after returning from a hike with my daughter. For once I was able to get the words out the way I really felt.

    13) Jason Discher (08 Aug 2010)
    I just got bake from hiking Rock City @ Mt. Diablo park in California, and yes I’m a dirt biker. The amount of trash we picked up off the trails completely filled the small packs we were carrying! The erosion of the sandstone let alone the dirt trails was enormous from all the foot traffic. The amount of graffiti carved into the rocks was simply saddening. My 8yr. old daughter, a dirt bike racer herself, was really taken aback by all the vandalism and garbage we saw on the hiking trails. How do I answer her question, “Why do people think we (dirt bikers) are the bad guys dad?” I chose the high road and explained that all different types of people enjoy all different kinds of recreation and that we can’t blame “hikers” for this mess. If we do that we’re no better than the people trying to stop us from enjoying public lands.

    Granted we do sometimes find a small amount of trash at the campsites at the head of our OHV trails, which we pick up as a pre ride ritual. But NEVER do we find trash on the trails. Ok, maybe a fender here and there, we ride some really tough trails. ;o)
    My point is, please don’t generalize us by a bad experience you may of had or “heard” from others. The OHV’rs I know are the best stewards of the land I have ever met and I am very proud to be raising my daughter with the same values.

  4. Diana Tweedy says:

    Way to go Jason. A thoughtful balanced comment that paints us in the best light. Rather than attacking them for their hateful and biased comments, you took the high road and told it like it is. Perhaps it is all a part of being a parent and providing a good role model for your daughter. Picking up other people’s carelessly discarded trash is just one example of how we care for the environment. Thank you.

  5. Diana Tweedy says:

    SAVE THE TRIALS sent me the following message:

    “Our most recent alert warned that the Ideas about Off Road Recreation and Public Access listed on the President’s America Great Outdoor Initiative website were getting Voted heavily into the negative territory by those who want to take away your access to your public lands.

    Some of you responded, but Ideas promoting access are still in the negative or low positive territory. So to make it as easy as possible for you we have created a Short List of Important Ideas that you just click on and Vote. No need to read the 69 plus pages of Ideas on the America Great Outdoors site unless you want to. It only takes a minute to register and Vote on the USDA Great Outdoors website. They require no personal information, only your name, password and city.

    Thanks to the 1000 or so people who have voted, but we need about 3000 more people to vote. {FIRST_NAME|Trail Lover} you can help turn this around and make sure the Ideas that are important to you are rated higher when the President is given a report next month. The time to speak up is NOW!”

    Please click on the following link to get to the Great Outdoors website. It is easy and will only take a few minutes of your time. Remember what is at steak. Don’t miss the opportunity to have your voice heard.

    http://www.savethetrails.us/AGO-Vote.html

    Please do not put off acting because it might make a difference if the numbers are in our favor. Don’t let the anti access people flood this site with their message without opposition. The President has given us a forum to express our views. Use it and lets be counted. A democracy does not flourish without the participation of the people. Thank you.

  6. Diana Tweedy says:

    THE PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS WILL BE OVER SOON. Do not hesitate to put your two cents in, but always read the proposal that you are voting on first. It would be better to go to the original Blue Ribbon Web site in the Post above these comments to access the Great Outdoors web-site, but if you are pressed for time the Save the Trails site will get you there too. Just be careful and read over what you are voting on before making your selection. I found some new comments that I had not voted on earlier and so it was good in that way, but I did not agree with everything not related to public recreation and I refrained from voting where I was not sure of my position. Take heed…

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