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Forest Service again being difficult for the Black Dog! (OR)

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Tom,

That email thread is outrageous. I cannot believe that guys attitute. I will be trying to come up with some type of response to send to them without coming off like a completely po'd jerk.

Keep up the good fight Tom. We need more guys like you out there sticking up for us.

Ed

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Hey Tom,

Here is the email that I sent to Gary Larson. I hope it helps.

And if anyone wants to use the body of the email to send a like message, please feel free to do so.

Good luck with this Tom. 🙂

Ed

---------- Forwarded message ----------

From: Ed Boyd <woodsrider@gmail.com>

Date: Jul 1, 2005 9:27 AM

Subject: Black Dog AMA 2-Day National Dualsport Ride Negotiations

To: glarson@fs.fed.us

Cc: TawmN@aol.com

Dear Mr. Larson,

I am writing you today to express my outrage at the way that Doug

Jones has been treating the people that are organizing the annual

Black Dog Dualsport ride.

I read an series of email exchanges between Mr. Jones and Tom Niemela,

and I have to say, I am extremely dissapointed with Mr. Jones'

responses, but more importantly, his disrepectful attitude.

I realize I am not privy to all aspects of this situation, and there

are always 2 sides to every story, but I am hoping that you can look

into this situation to see if there is anyway that the Forest Service

can work with Mr. Neimela in a more positive and productive manner.

From what I read of Mr. Jones' response, the last thing he

communicated to Mr. Niemela was: "Bottom line: You need to take it or

leave it as I have no time to negotiate things further."

That is outrageous and disrespectful for a public service employee to

speak to a tax payer in that manner. I hope that you will address that

with Mr. Jones.

Lastly, I hope you would work with Mr. Niemela. He is a reasonable

person. He cares about our environment. He and his people are willing

to work with you and your people. I am sure some type of mutually

agreeable resolution can come of this if your people will work with

Mr. Niemela in a sincere and positive way.

Please feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss further.

And thank you for you time and consideration. I look forward to your response.

Best Regards,

Ed Boyd

XXXXXX

Duvall, WA 98019

XXXXXXXXXXXX

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Great response Ed! Here's mine...

Dear Mr. Larson,

Having seen the recent response from ranger Doug Jones regarding the proposed Black Dog Dualsport route, I am appalled by the lack of professionalism exhibited, as well as the prevailing attitude toward OHVs in general. The Mt. Hood USFS default OHV policy seems to be one of restriction, and Mr. Jones' attitude expresses neither a willingness nor desire to work cooperatively in addressing the reasonable requests made by Tom. I'd encourage you to consider the personal matter with the Black Dog event in the context of the district OHV policy as a whole. By any reasonable measure, making 16 out of the 1000+ available miles of dispersed single-track trail available to motorized use, with at least some of it apparently limited by moisture conditions (too wet or dry?) at any given time, is NOT considered providing OHV opportunities. Contrast that with the far more customer-oriented multiple use message coming from neighboring Gifford Pinchot NF: http://www.fs.fed.us/gpnf/recreation/trailbikes/

How do you explain the contrast? Mr. Jones' response that resources are tight is not a sufficient excuse for ignoring a particular user group. When given the opportunity, OHV users in various regions have proven time and time again that they will take care of themselves by maintaining multiple use trails, strictly enforcing event restrictions, and proactively working with other user groups to minimize conflicts, often because they have no other choice as dollars get directed to mainstream projects. You only need to look up the Cascade range to the north to see evidence of such successful cooperative OHV programs throughout Washington.

The demand for OHV use is certainly there, as well as the dollars from the sticker program & fuel tax, but the opportunities are not. What happened at Gibson Prairie was the direct result of the USFS not fulfilling their obligation to meet this demand. Mt. Hood provides an extensive system of trails in multiple Wilderness areas that will forever be restricted to hiking. Why shouldn't the majority of the remaining trails be open to multiple use?

Furthermore, while Doug may claim the problem to be a lack of resources, I suggest the problem is rather a lack of cooperation with willing participants, combined with excessive micromanagement overhead. When "resource specialists" must be called in to observe every tire track, we have far surpassed the point of deminishing returns in attempting to protect the environment. We know it's the uneducated bad apples that are the primary concern, and Tom's dualsport events foster positive education in every way. However, this current attitude from Mr. Jones is only serving to create divisiveness and disdain for the USFS among the community of responsible users.

In the interest of wrapping this up, I only ask that you see the bigger picture from standpoint of the event participants while giving Tom the respect he deserves in light of the unfair confrontation he's had to face over the years from certain USFS employees who've clearly crossed the line of bringing personal bias into public decision-making. In the future, I sincerely hope more agreeable terms can be reached without having to resort to tactics that will cost both sides of the debate valuable time and resources that could be better used in creating positive recreation value.

Thank you for your time.

Regards,

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Here's another response submitted by my brother. 🙂

Dear Mr. Larson:

I am an avid outdoorsman and like a lot of people I enjoy my national forests in through a variety of different forms of recreation. One of my favorite activities I look forward to each year is the Northwest Tour & Trail Black Dog Dualsport scenic ride in the Mt. Hood National Forest. This year I was notified that once again, the Mt. Hood National Forest preliminary review of the proposed event route was such that the riders would only be allowed to use a very small amount of single track trail. By itself this is unfortunate as you won’t find a better group of mature, responsible riders on quiet, street-legal, licensed, and insured motorcycles.

Even more disturbing: the preliminary analysis and reasoning for these decisions given by Mr. Doug Jones was based on a multitude of incorrect facts. This, by itself shows lack of professionalism. When Tom Niemela, the event organizer, pointed out these errors, Mr. Jones acknowledged only some of his errors but failed to acknowledge that he had made decisions based on the wrong data. Specifically, the statement that “100-150 motorcycles” would use the Huxley trail is patently false. Also, he completely failed to respond to many other valid points that Tom made in his response. Besides these specific examples the general tone of Mr. Jones’ response could clearly be summed up as a rather smug “I don’t have time for this...take it or leave it…” This smacks of a rather indiscriminate and arbitrary decision making process based on opinion and bias.

This lack of professionalism by the USFS is in clear violation of the stated mission and guiding principles and quite frankly it’s disgusting.

More generally speaking, ignoring demand and popularity of OHV motorized recreation is not a solution. It’s a pity that less than 10% of the approximately 1000 miles of trails in the MHNF appears to be available for motorized use. Demand for motorized access to our public lands continues to increase and continued polices of “management by closure” will eventually create more problems than it solves, and further, I would argue are specifically in violation of these statements straight from the USFS primary mission (emphasis mine – from http://www.fs.fed.us/aboutus/mission.shtml):

  • Listening to people and responding to their diverse needs in making decisions.
  • Protecting and managing the National Forests and Grasslands so they best demonstrate the sustainable multiple-use management concept.
  • Helping States and communities to wisely use the forests to promote rural economic development and a quality rural environment.

Other National Forests, under the same global USFS mission, vision, and guiding principles maintain active multiple-use trail systems are proof points and great examples that this can and indeed does work. Gifford Pinchot NF in Washington is one example. I would submit that if the MHNF could take the amount of effort spent barricading and closing trails and instead redirect those resources to work with OHV volunteer organizations to maintain and responsibly use trails we would all be better off in the end and I believe a step closer to realizing the spirit of the USFS mission.

Thanks for listening.

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