Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Growing SUV use in the mountains

Out There alum Deb Acord had a story in the Rocky Mountain News today about the growing trend in recreational SUV use on public land.

She notes "A survey conducted by the U.S. Forest Service in 2004 showed nearly 48 million Americans turned their SUVs, ATVs and motorcycles off the pavement onto trails and roads on public lands that year. Nearly 2 million of those drivers headed to trails and backcountry roads in Colorado."
Unfortunately no mention of how Pike National Forest is unable to keep up with the damage from off-road driving. It's serious. In the last 10 years, I"ve noticed considerable degradation of some of our nicest mountain meadows, which have been turned into high-clearance mud wallows.
As an owner of a high clearance Tacoma, I say, have fun on the old mining roads, but leave the meadows alone.

9 comments:

Teleken said...

Meatheads on the loose!

Dena Rosenberry said...

I haven't read Deb's piece yet, but wanted to remind everyone of another local blog this is dedicated to keeping the Pike National Forest clean - and spotlighting abusers:

http://piketalkii.blogspot.com/

UltraRob said...

There's plenty off established jeep roads. I can never understand people feeling like they need to go driving truly off-road. I feel bad when I ride my mountain bike across a meadow to look at somthing. I generally leave my bike and walk.

John said...

I absolutely despise such blatent stupidity of those riding and driving off established trials. This hurts the environment and scenery that the responsible OHV community holds precisous.

I also despise the fact that many existing and historic trails have been closed and more are being threatened to be closed. I whole heartitly agree that there should be a review of the FS roads and trails and non-sustainable trails/roads should be closed and new sustainable or re-routed trails/roads should be built to replace those closed. I don't understand how or why rising use of our National Forest is driving a reduction in access, the opposite should be occuring as this is Public Land. It all seems to come down to money and the inadequate budget alloted our Forest Service friends. Reduced access is a recipe for more uneducated idiots to abuse our precious Forest.

If we could all agree that all parties have a right to recreate and we base the management of land on the population that uses it, we might all be able to get along. Education as well as stupid proofing certain areas is also important. There are multiple local clubs that perform trail work every year. Unfortunately these clubs don't get the press or have the money and blanket backing of most of the sue happy national special interest groups.

Everybody get involved and protect your right to recreate responsibly!

Tree Hugger said...

I wanted to point out that the people in the Rocky Mountain News story are members of clubs that only travel on established jeep roads. Its members love the outdoors and are very aware of the Tread Lightly! principles. I don't think it's fair or accurate to lump these guys in with the drivers who entertain themselves by tearing up meadows, or to even assume that a story about four-wheeling is a blanket approval of that kind of environmental abuse.

Dena Rosenberry said...

I don't think anyone here is saying all off-roaders are bad, just that poor use of vehicles - unchecked - tends to tear up the backcountry and create divisions among outdoors lovers.

There are plenty of off-roaders who are active in preserving our forests and wildlands.

Jack Placchi said...

As a land management agency, the Bureau of Land Management in Colorado manages vast areas of undeveloped land open to motorized vehicles (over 8 million acres). We believe that motorized recreation is a legitimate use of public lands and would like to manage them with a minimum of restrictions. However the picture you chose for your article of a jeep trying to get unstuck from a bog is not the type of 4 wheeling we like to see promoted. This article encourages people to drive in a manor that is environmentally destructive and inappropriate on public lands. Many people who view this article may assume this is an appropriate use and will use their vehicle as encouraged by your article.

In Colorado, we are fortunate to have the many resources our state offers for motorized vehicle use. Trails are abundant and enthusiasm for motorized recreation is mile-high. We all benefit from the opportunity to drive in Colorado. But it is just that: an opportunity. While many motorized recreationists respect the land they recreate on, it only takes one person, deviating from roads or trails, to limit that opportunity for others and creates a negative image for motorized recreationists.

That's why the Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition initiated a campaign with the BLM, Colorado State Parks and USDA Forest Service to form "Stay the Trail" - a coalition of responsible users interested in preserving the opportunity to ride. Their mission is to reinforce and highlight responsible motorized recreation, and to modify and mitigate irresponsible use in an effort to minimize resource damage on public lands. We are establishing a statewide culture of responsible OHV use that will continue beyond the life of the project, effectively creating a stewardship ethic among all Colorado OHV recreationists.

We have built a successful federal, state and local partnership and would be honored to have you join us as we implement this campaign. Please feel free to contact jack_placchi@blm.gov with any comments or questions. Check out the website at www.staythetrail.org

I thank you for your consideration.

Jack Placchi said...

BLM Colorado manages vast areas of undeveloped land open to motorized vehicles (over 8 million acres). We believe that motorized recreation is a legitimate use of public lands and would like to manage them with a minimum of restrictions. However the picture you chose for your article of a jeep trying to get unstuck from a bog is not the type of 4 wheeling we like to see promoted. This article encourages people to drive in a manor that is environmentally destructive and inappropriate on public lands. Many people who view this article may assume this is an appropriate use and will use their vehicle as encouraged by your article.

In Colorado, we are fortunate to have the many resources our state offers for motorized vehicle use. Trails are abundant and enthusiasm for motorized recreation is mile-high. We all benefit from the opportunity to drive in Colorado. But it is just that: an opportunity. While many motorized recreationists respect the land they recreate on, it only takes one person, deviating from roads or trails, to limit that opportunity for others and creates a negative image for motorized recreationists.

That's why the Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition initiated a campaign with the BLM, Colorado State Parks and USDA Forest Service to form "Stay the Trail" - a coalition of responsible users interested in preserving the opportunity to ride. Their mission is to reinforce and highlight responsible motorized recreation, and to modify and mitigate irresponsible use in an effort to minimize resource damage on public lands. We are establishing a statewide culture of responsible OHV use that will continue beyond the life of the project, effectively creating a stewardship ethic among all Colorado OHV recreationists.

We have built a successful federal, state and local partnership and would be honored to have you join us as we implement this campaign. Please feel free to contact jack_placchi@blm.gov with any comments or questions. Check out the website at www.staythetrail.org

I thank you for your consideration.

Anonymous said...

At least some gas-hog SUV owners are using them for one of their intended purposes other than just dodging mud puddles at Starbucks.