National Trail Recreation Group Petitions Ad Council To Pull Inflammatory Atv Fire Pr


Don Amador, BRC Western Representative

- Phone: (925) 625-6287

- Fax: (925) 625-5309

- Email:

- Webpage:

Date: 07/21/2008

POCATELLO, ID (July 21) -- A national trail recreation group is strongly urging the Smokey Bear program to revise its current ATV fire prevention campaign. On behalf of outraged OHV enthusiasts, the BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC) contacted the Ad Council last week strongly urging them to withdraw the inaccurate and inflammatory ATV-oriented public service advertisements.

BRC reviewed the ad material posted at and found the PSA was sending the wrong message to riders operating their ATVs in a legal manner with functioning USDA Forest Service approved spark arrestors. The ad implied that the proper way for motorized recreationists to prevent wildfires is for them to load up their vehicles and go home.

Smokey Bear has historically cautioned the public against careless acts, such as tossing a lighted cigarette out of a moving automobile or not properly extinguishing a campfire. BRC feels this ad should be focused on educating the public about using approved spark arrestors on their OHVs and confining their use to legal roads, trails, and areas.

Don Amador, BRC spokesperson on the use of sound compliant mufflers and spark arrestors, states, "As an advocate for the use of legal exhaust systems on public and private lands, I found the current Smokey Bear ATV wildfire PSA to be offensive, unethical, and unprofessional. The ad should have been focused on encouraging enthusiasts to use legal spark arrestors on their OHVs and stay on designated routes."

"Smokey Bear is inappropriately using a mountain biker as a surrogate to tell members of the motorized trail community that the best way for them to prevent wildfires is to just stay home. This ad sends the wrong message at a time when many government and civic leaders are encouraging young people to step away from their video games and get out and enjoy the great outdoors," Amador continues.

"BRC has heard from a number of our recreation partners and agency staff who are equally outraged by this PSA. It is our hope the Ad Council, Forest Service, and National Association of State Foresters withdraw this ad and work with BRC and other stakeholders to develop a legitimate outreach program to the OHV community," Amador concludes.

BRC's response to the advertisement can be found here:

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The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible use of public and private lands, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. It represents over 10,000 individual members and 1,200 organization and business members, for a combined total of over 600,000 recreationists nationwide. 1-800-258-3742.


This is awfull. Is Smokey Bear government funded?

There's a pretty good thread in the California forum on this, here is a post I did with some info on the site sponsors from that thread:


Site Sponsors: footer-ad-council.jpgfooter-us.jpgfooter-foresters.jpg

That says that this site is sponsored by:

The Ad Council

"The Ad Council is a private, non-profit organization that marshals volunteer talent from the advertising and communications industries, the facilities of the media, and the resources of the business and non-profit communities to deliver critical messages to the American public. The Ad Council produces, distributes and promotes thousands of public service campaigns on behalf of non-profit organizations and government agencies."

The United States Forest Service

"Established in 1905, the Forest Service is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Forest Service manages public lands in national forests and grasslands.

Gifford Pinchot, the first Chief of the Forest Service, summed up the mission of the Forest Service— "to provide the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people in the long run."

National forests and grasslands encompass 193 million acres of land, which is an area equivalent to the size of Texas."

The National Association of State Foresters

"NASF is a non-profit organization that represents the directors of all 50 state forestry agencies, the eight U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia."

So that's one federal government agency, and two non-profit organizations that work with and for state and federal government agencies.

How about this little bit of info from the National Association of State Foresters website:

Smokey Bear and NASF

Through the Cooperative Forest Fire Prevention Committee (CFFP), NASF works with the USDA Forest Service and the Ad Council to support the message of Smokey Bear, the national symbol for fire safety. Smokey is one of the best known symbols in America, and sixty-plus years of work has led to one of the most successful public service campaigns in history.

The Chief of the U.S. Forest Service was given the authority (36CFR271, 18 U.S.C.711), in concert with the CFFP, to use the Smokey Bear symbol to promote forest fire prevention nationally. The Committee membership includes the U.S. Forest Service, the National Association of State Foresters (NASF), and the Ad Council, and provides advice, direction, and implementation so that the Smokey Bear program may provide information concerning the prevention of forest fires that is educational, appealing and technically accurate.


Basically Ad's response is we know it's a bunch of hot air but we're running it anyway, Smokey targets kids, ATVs are bad bad bad, no daddy I don't want one Smokey Say's they start fires...TJ

Please again do pass this link around as much as you can, your clubs, web sites, yahoo groups etc. :thumbsup:

Who does the "letter" from the Pirate site get sent to? I've already sent my own to the appropriate people at the Forest Service, Ad Council, and NASF (copied BRC and AMA D36). I don't see any sense in repeating that, but I would send another if it was going to someone else that mattered.

I have my own list to, I just send letters that are different keep in mind letter generators, are set up with the thought in mind most don't have any list at all. I see no reason not to use both but use your own judgment, as far as their list contact their moderators, I don't have that information and personally did not feel it was necessary. BASICALLY JUST DO SOMETHING...TJ:ride: