A Call to
By Del Albright
No more Mr. Nice Guy. I’ve had
it! Our recreation is in serous jeopardy, I don’t care what you
ride. Whether a dirt bike, buggy, 4wd, ATV, PWC, sled, or wake
skates behind a boat, WE are in trouble.
I am writing this as me, Del.
I am not claiming to represent any group or organization that I work
for, represent or am a member of. This is from my guts telling me
we had better change the way we’re doing business, or we’re gonna lose
our motors. I am getting firmer and staunched in my positions on
land use and access. But we need an army of people getting in the
game so our voice can be heard.
Now I’m not playing Chicken Little
here, either. The sky is not falling. But from my
experience around the continent, the atmosphere is sure shaky.
Tune in here and see what I think we need to do before it’s just any
further down the road, too late.
To make a long, bring tears to
your eyes, story short, this is the gist of the problem:
- Our image is so tainted we’re an
easy target for bad press and closures due to the few yeh-hoos and
dip-wads out there.
- We deserve some of the bad press –
we are not policing our own.
- By not showing up and speaking out
as much as our opponents, we are the vast minority, under dog, get
stepped on groups.
- We are a HUGE army waiting for the
call to help manage our public lands, but we’re not there in mass.
- We wait until the gate is up before
we ask for help or get involved.
Now with that in mind, I have some
fixes. If you've read this far, I am HOPEFUL that you will do
more than read. ACT. Act now. Get your friends to
act. Do not take my gut instinct, based on 22 years in this
business, lightly. Stand up and quit rolling over! Get
aggressive and assertive about your recreation.
Here’s how in simple terms:
FIRST: Let’s clean up our web sites
and bulletin boards where some people think they can talk like inmates
and make us look like idiots. Clean them up now. Change the
rules of posts if you’re a moderator. Get rid of the idiot
behavior and let’s start showing some responsibility towards shaping
our image. If you’re posting to BBS’s, then post like an
adult. Get a private list somewhere if you need to launch out;
but not where our opponents can see you.
SECOND: if you’re not a member of
EVERYTHING you can afford to be, then you’re not in the game all the
way. JOIN every local, state, and regional organization you
can. And JOIN BlueRibbon Coalition. It is through membership
that we build strength and find money to fight the battles.
THIRD: Be an advocate for your
sport. Include others. Do ride a longs. Get
political. Do not think you can let someone else do it for
you. Get some training. Get some help. Do whatever it
takes, but do it now, before YOUR gate goes up. Get a Trail
Patrol or Neighborhood Watch started on your trails. Advocate for
responsible use; dump the dip-wads.
FOURTH: Set the example in
everything you do in your sport. Ride responsibly. Camp
responsibly. Drink responsibly. Behave like EVERYONE in the world
is watching and evaluating your actions. Have fun, yes. But
realize we are threatened like never before. I’ve never seen so
many closures and potential closures on the horizon. I’ve been at
this a long time. Please take heed and act now.
FIFTH: Pick up your pen.
That’s why I called this article a “Call To Quills” (pens). Pick
it up and write a letter. I don't even care to whom you send
it. Just start to write. Tell your congressman how you feel
about multiple uses of public lands. Tell your Commissioner/Board
of Supervisors how you feel about your right to ride responsibly. Tell
somebody something. Get your voice out there. Be
heard. Be in the game. Tell them you’re tired of
rolling over and compromising. Tell them you want no net loss of
public land riding opportunities. Tell them no more unreasonable
compromise that means loss for us.
We are not well-represented when the
letters are counted at the end of the day. We have to change
that, or just give up the effort. I for one am not ready to roll
over or give up any more. I'm in there with teeth barred now.
On the other hand, continue to work
with the great land managers who ARE working with us, trying to help
us, and seem like they have a balanced approach to their job.
Even if you don't get your way every time, do support those land
managers who you know are trying and fair.; Support those good
politicians who believe in giving us a chance to recreate on public
lands. And in both cases, where there are bad land managers, or
bad politicians, put them in the dip-wad category and work to get them
Do it now. Do something.
Please do not sit by and wait. We can't wait. Emergency
closures should be reserved for when management fails. Well, if
you’re not in the game, then chances are, management will fail.
Pick up that quill.