I just received an early draft of an article that is going to be printed in
the March Blue Ribbon magazine. Its all about how the environmentalists are
thrilled that snowmobilers are fighting with ATV riders, ATV riders don't
want to work with either snowmobilers or 4x4 drivers, equestrians and
mountain bikers are doing battle with motorized recreationalists, and in
general the groups aren't organizing themselves and combining to enlarge the
numbers that the environmentalists need to fight.
I have taken part in all kinds of activities, and I can see where there is
some reason for argument, but also each activity relies on others to
survive. Its true that ATVs can tear up snowmobile trails. It doesn't have
to be this way if the ATV riders only ride when trail conditions allow it,
and don't tear up the trails when they are soft and fragile. On the other
hand, I've seen sledders run out and hit the trails when they are slushy and
wet, and they freeze that way and are extremely difficult to groom. We
can't blam the ATV riders when our own kind do the same thing.
Mountain bikers and horseback riders tend to hate motorized recreation.
Think about this...where are they riding those bikes and horses? Usually on
ATV and dirt bike trails. The same goes for cross country skiers. The best
trails to ski on are groomed snowmobile trails. Its annoying for the skiers
to be in our snowmobile trails, but its also annoying to have a fast moving
sled come up on a skier. In fact it can be scary.
Why is it that in my state, an ATV rider has to pay almost the same cost to
register an ATV that only has a few miles of legal trails to ride on, when a
sled is only a few dollars more expensive, but we have 6,000+ miles of legal
trails? Many of those trails are maintained with state funds, but there are
very few places where the state invests any money for ATV use. Along with
that, why are we sledders paying more money to ride our sleds for a few
months, when ATVs can ride all year?
Well back to the environmental fight. The equestrians and mountain bikers
started out backing up the environmentalists, since they saw a chance to get
rid of the vehicles that scare them while they ride. As happens when you
side with the devil, that came back to haunt them. Now the
environmentalists want to keep ANY wheeled vehicles out of the forests and
desserts, and they are also closing more and more land to horseback riding,
claiming the horses disturb the wildlife. Even downhill skiing is brought
into the picture. Earth First caused millions of dollars of damage to the
Vail ski resort, and won't let it rest at that.
As you can see, there are some minor reasons for our groups to be arguing
among ourselves, but we should be letting those arguments esculate to the
point that we lose sight of the fact that all of our groups are in jeopardy
of losing the land we use for our recreation. Picture the hundreds of
thousands of skiers, ATV riders, 4x4 drivers, mountain bike riders,
horseback riders, and snowmobilers combining together to fight the Sierra
Club, Earth First, Greenpeace, and the other environmental extremist
organizations. There are enough of us out here, we just need to get
The next time you see an ATV on a snowmobile trail, instead of chewing him
out for tearing up the trail, think about what would happen if that trail
didn't exist. Stop and talk to him. Mention your feelings calmly, then
mention how lucky we are to have the trails to ride on. The same goes for
x/c skiers on the trails, or anyone else you thought of as an enemy to our
sport. Instead of arguing with them, talk environmental issues.
Before any of you jump in and say forget it, we will always have trails,
think about this. Thats what we thought about 4x4 trails here in New
Hampshire. Now we are at the point where ALMOST EVERY 4x4 trail in the
state has been shut down. That INCLUDES trails on private lands. The state
slipped it through by requiring that 4x4s require written landowner
permission to use private trails. I know, its the same for ATV use, right?
Wrong. ATVs and snowmobiles are allowed to get blanket permission for club
use. Thats why you can ride your sled without carrying a file cabinet of
forms with you. We have requested this same status for 4x4 use, but have
been denied. So, there is one activity down. Which one is next? Will it
be ATVs? Probably. They seem to be the next lowest motorized form in this
Sorry I have rembled on and on, but this is a subject that means something
to me. We need to get the word out that there is a bigger enemy than other
trail users. Its the ones we don't see on the trails every day, because
they don't want anyone on the trails. Think about it.
PSI Pipes, V-Force Reeds, DG Silencer, Clutched, studded, and regeared!