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Know Your Land Rights

The Proven Way To Stop Trail Closures

John Lavina (March 2014)

It seems every year another favorite trail has been taken away, forever closed to motorized use due to development or environmental issues, endangered species, etc.  If it was truly always about preservation or saving wildlife, I think we could agree that actions like this were necessary and always good.  But hey, we're not idiots.

Girls Motocross Trail RidersPolitical correctness and alterior motives have also driven many of the closures, and environmentalist groups have been known to utilize any means necessary to accomplish their goals.  Their tactics may have included comment trolling and email spamming to produce an inflated image of supporting sentiment and supporting voices.  They may also have publish skewed statistics or misleading photographs to over-inflate dangers or impacts, produce biased expert opinions, or simply used litigation to get their way. It's been enough to make anyone feel helpless, but fear not, there is plenty that you can do.

Know Your Facts

Did you know that according to the USDA Forest Service, most forest destruction and wildlife displacement is caused by urban development, invasive species and forest fires? Fact. It is a safe bet that most forest fires are started by either lightning, or by poorly managed campfires or cigarretes... Not spark shooting ATVs or dirt bikers with flame throwers.

Where there is irreponsible or destructive behavior going on we are AGAINST it. But after spending the last 10 years helping to document the regulations, registrations sticker programs, and operating hours of over 1300 riding areas accross all 50 states we could safely opine that nowadays, there is actually very little unmanaged motorized recreation going on anymore. It's heavily managed, trust us. Furthermore it's effects were never easily quantified, so keep your opponents honest when they make their accusations. It's your right to make sure the goal of any closure is truly for the management and sustainability of the land, not for some political or ideological war.

Get Organized

The first thing you should do is to better educate yourself about who is working for you and who is working against you, before these disputes happen. These battles are won with real voices, authentic emails, and warm bodies so you have all the tools to win.  In most cases, if you can organize effectively, you will have the greater numbers, so stop rolling over.  Make yourself knowledgable, passionate, and numerous and stop letting your opponent win by default. 

The trick to winning is to be pro-active and start thinking about protecting the areas you enjoy before they come under attack.  Have your clubs established, people up to speed, phone numbers, email addresses, websites, statistics, and legal representatives and politicians lined up and ready to go before it happens.  You don't have to wait until there is a problem to band together, and you don't have to do it all yourself. Check out the organizations below, and see how they can help you fight to keep your favorite lands open for everybody's use.

Blue Ribbon Coalition    NOHVCC    ATVA    AMA
Trail Improvement Work Volunteers - Photo courtesy of the NOHVCC

Get Motivated and Make Your Voice Heard

Make it a point to regularly contact your state governors and senators to let them know that you are out there and how you feel. In this age of pandering identity politics, make sure someone is pandering to you too. It sucks but you have to do it if you want to survive. Get in there and get yours.  Your viewpoint is equally as important as any other human being on the planet.  You need to demand that it be heard.  If you pay taxes, those lands belong to you too.  The following links may be helpful.

Your Senator    Your Governor    Wilderness Designation

Get Involved

Contact one of the local clubs in your area.  If this form of recreation really matters to you, don't forget to contribute your time to a local club.  It's an inexpensive way make a difference, as well as to find great people to ride with.

Your Local Clubs and Organizations

Vote With Your Wallet

Finally, support the companies that support you back and you know who they are.  Support the bike and ATV manufacturers, the gear and aftermarket product manufacturers, the dealers, the ATV parks and MX tracks, the sports channels that carry off road events, and the websites that cover off road news.  They all contribute big time to the cause so buy from the people that support you and keep that money in your own circles, working for you, not against you.  It is that simple.

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