Less Sound= More Ground/ Article

I have participated in land use workshops conducted by the supervisors of Ocala National Forest. These workshops were designed to have participation from all the various groups using the forest. We were told the managers were hoping to get some kind of consensus as to how to split up the areas for different use. They hoped to be able to group certain uses into specific sections of the forest. This seems pretty sensible to me. I recognize that the horse owners should have a right to enjoy an area without having to dodge trucks or bikes. I was there to make sure we got the same deference for off-road motorcycles. It was a disaster. It seems that none of the players wanted any of the others not only in their section but in their forest. I quickly learned there was a pecking order. I was surprised to find that the horse owners didn’t want hikers (or anyone else on their trails, especially motorcycles). The mountain bikers really didn’t want horses on the mountain bike trails. The motorcycle riders were only concerned about head on collisions with trucks and didn’t mind others using the same trails and the trucks and atv users didn’t really care as long as they didn’t get shut out.

In the end it became obvious that the managers knew that this would happen. They used it to their advantage and were able to cite irreconcilable differences among the users and thus give the managers full control to develop their usage plan without any real input from any of the users.

So the Powers That B recently closed the Ocala National Forest to night riding. They sited noise. They say there are complaints from people living close to the forest boundaries. This I can believe. I personally would hate to know that I had went out of my way to buy a quiet piece of property that backs up to a national forest only to find that I couldn’t sleep at night due to the comings and goings of high performance trucks and motorcycles all night. I never rode at night but now I wish I had since I will never again have the opportunity.

Their second move is to start proceedings to confine all recreational riding to a very limited area. That really scares me because the erosion will be an ugly issue. When they condense the off-road riding into 1/10 of the previous area there will be 10 times as much use and 10 times more erosion. The enviro warriors will point to the 'scars' and try to get us permanently banned. How do you stop it? Even when the primary user groups got together they hurt their cause more than they helped it.


Kyle..I agree with you 100%. In addition, at 43, my skills will always be the limiting factor in my race results. That extra HP at the cost of Db is meaningless. We have an Winter Indoor track in Michigan. One guys' 450 was so loud, when he packed it in, he got a standing ovation and these were all hard core riders. (hard core cause we all pay $50 to ride a small track after trailering from all over the state just to get a couple hours on the dirt in winter).

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