Getting Involved In Land Use Issues
You came to the right spot. Here I’ll give you a head start on moving around the Internet and the multiple-use world to find out where to look for “stuff.”
Step 1: Join
Note: If you write me and ask what you can do to help prevent road closures, you’ll get this answer as step 1:
- Join your local club (four-wheel drive, snowmobile, atv, motorcycle, equestrian, whatever your interest may be).
- Join your regional/state club (in CA such as CA4WDC).
- Join a national organization like the BlueRibbon Coalition.
Get the point? Join! Pay your dues to an organization that fits what you think is doing the right thing. Support them with money and your volunteer time. It takes dues and membership to make something happen. That’s where it all begins. Honestly, if you can’t go to meetings, just send money (dues, contributions, etc.). Be part of organized multiple-use to show the public what we’re really made of.
It’ll be those of us in organized recreation that eventually give us a credible image.
Step 2: Advocate & Adopt
Advocate for your sport. Do things like speak up to your family and friends. Even do more than just talk: “Adopt” your local fed (USFS Ranger or BLM Manager).
The “Adopt-a-Ranger” idea comes from my friend and compadre, Tom Crimmins (USFS ret.). Tom is a trails consultant who used to work in the OHV efforts of the Forest Service. He tells me that recreationists by far are out-numbered when it comes to being a familiar face around federal office buildings. Environmental radicals, on the other hand, are well known.
So that means we gotta get our faces in the offices of our local federal land managers and get to know them on a first name basis. Take them on club runs. Take them on rides. Go with them on field trips. Get on their mailing list. Schedule coffee or morning break informal meetings with them. Make a “friend” in the office who can keep you posted on office activities that might be appropriate for you to be a part of (somebody’s retirement or a building dedication or luncheon or whatever). Go on field trips where possible, such as OHV grant proposal projects. Be part of their local list of contacts when “input” is needed to a decision. “Adopt” them as one of your own.
MJR Ed Note: Over twenty Southern California forum users have adopted San Bernardino National Forest trail “Little Bear Peak.” Visit our trail crew site to review past trail reports, objectives, or contact us to join.
Step 3: Recruit Others
Recruit and include others to do the same things you’re doing. We’ve got to re-establish our image (motorized recreationists of all types), so the public sees that we’re really the good guys. We are the true conservationists and environmentalists. The opponents to off pavement motorized recreation have developed our image for us: they make us look like we’re bad guys (see Image article). We’ve got to change that. We’ve got to police ourselves also.
It takes all of us working together and doing our part. We need to build membership in organized recreation by recruiting anyone and everyone who has an interest in keeping public lands open to the public. Get others to write letters, adopt their local fed, and reach out to recruit even more folks.
MJR Ed Note: Visit our forums to find local clubs, events, cleanups, and groups to get involved with.
Step 4: Speak Up
Do your part when it comes to expressing your opinion in writing to anyone and everyone that will listen. Write letters — handwritten works just fine. But tell your elected officials what you believe in. Write them once a year at least. For everytime you go on a ride, write one letter (or make one phone call) — my One for One proposal.
MJR Ed Note: Visit our links page to find your elected officials, and/or visit the BlueRibbon Coalition’s action alerts page for current and pressing issues.
What To Do Next
It boils down to: JOIN, ADVOCATE, INCLUDE OTHERS, and LETTERS! If you’re an acronym kind of person, you’ll have noted that the above steps spell out “JAIL.” Our public lands don’t belong in jail, behind bars!
Please join a national/regional organization, or specialty group today! If you need help finding one, start with these links from the BlueRibbon Coalition.