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Letter to Governor Owens concerning thr Roadless Initiative

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I thought I'd share the letter I'm writing to Governor Owens.

I'm also using this as an assignment in one of my Natural Resources courses at CSU, so you'll notice I havn't actually attended the Roadless meeting on March 17th for the Arapahoe and Roosevelt forests like I had stated (yet).

I figure approaching from an angle of unity rather than opposition can help strengthen our argument. Unity in the reguard that we really need protected areas to ride, share, and protect for future generations - but also make sure roadless doen't infringe on motorized recreation.

Cheers to Rick Ramsey for allowing me to use information cited from his webpage!

its out of format just a little copied over from word, but i'd say its pretty close.

-Brandon :thumbsup:

Dear Governor Owens,

I recently attended the Roadless Areas Taskforce Meeting in Fort Collins on March 17th in regards to the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests. I am concerned as a recreationalist to find that successful implementation of the “Roadless Areas” legislation could impact more than myself, but thousands of others who like to share our public lands. I am concerned as a lifelong citizen of this great state, that I could unfairly and unduly lose recreational opportunities I once possessed as a child.

I would like to state that Roadless areas legislation could be a good idea in some instances. Instances such as limiting further commercial developments that serve to impact public land far beyond what a recreationalist ever could. The greatest risk, however, is that Coloradoans who love to use our public lands as a source of recreation and inspiration, could lose many of our rights and access to “The Great Outdoors”. My utmost concern, as well as the concern of many other residents of the great state of Colorado is that the Roadless areas unfairly assign rights to certain recreationalists, while stripping bare the rights of others. I believe it is the interest of certain groups who intrinsically despise OHV use, groups who use a legal means guised under “Wilderness” and “Roadless Areas”, to forever abolish a citizen’s fair right to motorized recreation. These groups use environmental scare tactics of all kinds to thwart an entire form of recreation simply because there is a passionate hatred for motorized recreation that isn’t founded by fair judgment.

Most sane people can agree that while concern for our environment is a reasonable and wholesome value, that environmentalism can also be taken to the extreme. Here is an example of just one of the out of control groups I’m referring to. Excerpts from an article posted online by Jeff Deeney of a first hand account follow: http://www.rickramsey.net/IRFDU.htm

“Allow me to introduce myself. I'm the leader of a renegade gang of outlaw bikers responsible for devastating vast expanses of fragile desert ecosystems and terrorizing the general populace. At least that's what the folks in Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) would have you believe.

For the past few years a group of dedicated motorcyclists from all corners of the country have been using the Internet to help organize an annual riding trip to Utah's canyonlands.

..This year SUWA got wind of our plans and planted some observers on our electronic mailing list. For six months, they quietly observed our communications, taking names, dates, planned routes, and even license plate numbers. Little did I know that on the same day I left my home in Colorado to drive to Utah, Ken Rait of SUWA was sending a fax to the BLM office in Utah demanding that this illegal "moto-cross event" be stopped. On our first day of riding, we were returning to camp via the Goblin Valley road when we met BLM ranger Ruben Conde. Imagine my surprise when we discovered he was asking for me by name. We removed our helmets and Ruben politely explained that "some environmental group" had intercepted our electronic messages and led his office to believe that we were an outlaw biker group bent on destroying the desert while racing through closed areas. Ruben's office had already decided that these claims were likely false, but that they should send someone out to check on us anyway. What the BLM discovered was a group of responsible riders gathered together in the Utah desert to enjoy a long weekend of legitimate trail riding, exploring, and appreciation of the splendor around them. Ruben had already stopped by our camp and had a long conversation with some of the other folks in our group. After seeing our quiet, spotless camp and talking with others, Ruben quickly realized that we were nothing more than a group of good friends getting together for a perfectly legal trail ride on designated routes.”

What groups like SUWA, and others don’t want you to believe is that motorized recreationalists are actually responsible citizens. As for anything, there are people who will always be irresponsible. Irresponsible environmentalist groups like SUWA claim outright falsities rather than exercise fair judgment of others. These out of line environmentalists are just like the bad apple, which rots the claims of those who are upstanding and trustworthy keepers of our environment.

Mr. Owens, I do believe that many of the supporters of the Roadless Initiative are upstanding people. Like them, I too know that we must protect our natural areas from further development. I, like many of my trail riding friends, would like to see these natural areas stay intact for future generations. I think both sides can agree that all we really want is to keep these areas open for the benefit of the public. I think we’re really all on the same side here. We must, however, exercise good judgment as while exercising patriotism by not ceasing the fair use of one recreationalist as compared to another. Motorized users, bikers, hikers, horse riders, and all other forms of fair public use should remain protected.

Please, Mr. Owens, I’m asking you to side with responsible motorized recreation, shared recreation, and a ruling of your powers which persevere with the fair standing our nation was founded on: the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In our defense, many trails have already been shut down in the great State of Colorado. Should the Roadless Initiative pass without assigning fair rights to motorized recreation, we will suffer another debilitating blow under the guise of insane environmentalism. Trail riding by responsible users is one of the most spectacular ways one can experience the truest and most wholesome natural wonders that life has to offer – Our Great Outdoors! The “Wilderness” designation, and “Roadless Areas” legislation, if passed, will unduly affect the Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of happiness of many of the Coloradoans in this fair state and could set a bad precedent beyond state lines.


Brandon McLaughlin

A concerned citizen and

supporter of shared use

outdoor recreation areas

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Brandon, that looks great.

I might suggest you add that you understand that the current Roadless language while allows the use of trails under 50" wide to remain. You feel that the roadless plan does not do enough to ensure those existing trails can be maintained.

I also strongly feel that many anti-access groups see roadless as the first step to their ultimate goal of Wilderness designations.

The following quote from the Colorado Mountain Clubs website may go farther than events in Utah (although SUWA is indeed a big problem)

Disallow ATVs, extreme jeeps, 4x4s and other large vehicles that create roads in roadless areas.

Disallow ORVs in inventoried roadless areas and other ecologically sensitive areas.

Disallow hunters driving off-road to retrieve game.

Motorized recreation is the leading long-term threat to the integrity of roadless areas.

The conclusion that forests are not required to inventory and/or map unauthorized renegade routes prior to commencing the official route designation process.

You're heading in the right direction!

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wow.. perhaps this information from the colorado club provides an even better argument.

had no idea of their site.

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Is that radio or tv? I'm guessing radio? never heard of the show..

I don't even have a tv with cable access!

I'll check it out in the morning. :thumbsup:

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Brandon, that looks great.

I might suggest you add that you understand that the current Roadless language while allows the use of trails under 50" wide to remain. You feel that the roadless plan does not do enough to ensure those existing trails can be maintained.

I also strongly feel that many anti-access groups see roadless as the first step to their ultimate goal of Wilderness designations.

The following quote from the Colorado Mountain Clubs website may go farther than events in Utah (although SUWA is indeed a big problem)

You're heading in the right direction!

I'm thinking that what these people are proposing is waay out of line even to people who don't necessarily recreate via motorized.

I could mention that if it were posed, we could demonstrate the responsibility of off road users and the minimal impacts caused by trail riding simply by viewing a video of what it looks like to trail ride.

You know, like a helmet cam with the spectacular views up on the top of the mountain. The clouds forming, the forests below timberline, the single-track trails which are merely strips of bare soil that are actually not impacting the environment to any extent they claim... I think this is a great option.

Apparently when Yellowstone National Park was being debated for years, that in 1872, it was the paintings of a man named Thomas Moran which changed the minds of so many to vote in favor of the park.

I feel if we did the same thing, it would no doubt open the minds of the many who have never tried something to support our cause: such as trail riding up on the hills!


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Rosen is on KOA850 AM radio. Rosen's show is from 9AM to 1145AM. Not sure when the Gov is set to appear again but like was said he has a slot where he takes calls once a month.

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