Reposted with permission from rockymountainsingletrack.com
The $25 OHV permit you purchase to use public lands in Colorado is the least you can do to help keep these trails and routes open. Especially if you come from out of state. Does this sound like it is going to turn into a rant? Damn right it is!
An email was distributed amongst friends a few weeks ago. The email was from an ex ISDE competitor and longtime Colorado trail user who is from Illinois. The letter had some great points to it and was meant to be an outsiders view on what he sees is happening in Colorado. It hit home with many of us.
I have a unique view from the window of my house. I can look out most days as off-road motorcyclists pass by, heading up towards Sargents Mesa, using some of the best trails in the state to get there. Guys and gals from all over the world. Most are absolutely oblivious to what is going on behind the scenes to keep Colorado Singletrack trails and routes open to OHV use. Most just know that they have purchased a permit and that gives them the right to ride. It isn’t their fault, they just want to ride epic trail.
They need to know that every single day, organizations and clubs are working to keep these trails open. It’s a gunfight. And we usually only bring a knife to that fight. The $25 they have paid absolutely helps keep the trails open, but it doesn’t pay the lawyers and attorneys to battle the scores of groups that want us locked out of the national forests. We need all trail users to dig deep and fund the war chest to battle closures.
I don’t agree that as individual enthusiasts we should be the only ones to bear the burden of this continued battle? Where are the Manufacturers, Aftermarket companies, and dealerships? They also stand to lose a lot if we have no place to ride. They are also the ones with the deepest pockets, attorneys, and resources. They should be writing a huge check!
"We also need educated influential individuals to represent us as a user group. Attorneys to do pro-bono work when we can’t fund fighting lawsuits. Well spoken people to attend meetings. Writers, website developers and marketing experts to give us a bigger voice and help us be seen! It doesn’t always have to be cash."
But beyond the monetary needs, we need people who are willing to have constant communication with the Forest Service and BLM employees who manage our public lands. They need to see that the trails are being used. They need to hear from users across the country who travel hundreds and thousands of miles to recreate in Colorado.
We also need educated influential individuals to represent us as a user group. Attorneys to do pro-bono work when we can’t fund fighting lawsuits. Well spoken people to attend meetings. Writers, website developers and marketing experts to give us a bigger voice and help us be seen! It doesn’t always have to be cash.
Get involved in a club. Clubs are making a comeback across our state based on a need maintain relationships with local Forest Service Districts. The clubs are working hard at helping clear trees from trails after snowmelt, as well as coordinating trail work days to maintain trails. Join a club even if you are not a local.
Trail closure has been a topic of discussion for years. I hope to see a day when it isn’t a threat. Until then, we need to keep it in our conversations and continually come up with new ideas and ways to stop it.
Think about what you can do to help. Reach out, donate and join a club.
See the websites below for updates on trail legislation and advocacy.
Trails Preservation Alliance (TPA)
Rocky Mountain Singletrack