Empowering Leadership, the new article series for leadership development, by Del Albright -- helping to lead volunteers to victory!
LAND USE AND THE “ONE FOR ONE” PROPOSAL
By Del Albright
Let’s see what are our choices: four-wheeling or write a letter? Snowmobiling or attend a meeting?; mountain biking or a scoping session?; fishing or fighting the feds? You get the picture. Ugly choices; but it doesn't take a rear-end specialist to figure out that playing is ALWAYS a lot more fun than meetings, letters, and bureaucracy. There is a catch here, though, and you know in your heart what that is.
The (relatively) small vocal minority groups (of mostly radical protectionists) are trying to exclude recreational activities (and for that matter commercial activities) from public land. It’s that simple. They want us off. Hiking and photography will be allowed in the future, as well as smelling and limited breathing. But who knows what else.
So what are our choices? What can we do about it? Well, if you’ve read this far, then there’s a small chance you’ve attended a few meetings and maybe even written a couple letters. It’s all about politics; and that’s how we win. It’s all about YOU and ME taking that little extra effort to make our opinions known. I do have a simple proposal I’d like to offer you.
I never ask anyone to give up playing for political involvement. All I ask is that you CONSIDER the importance of keeping our public lands open and ASK yourself if you’ve contributed something to the effort. Heck, I believe even a simple letter to your congress critter explaining how much you enjoy a local trail is better than nothing. Express your opinion and let your love of your sport be known.
Yes, we’ve got to continue to go to scoping sessions and meetings. Yes, we’ve got to write to our elected officials and sit through boring presentations now and then. And yes, we must let folks know what and why we believe in enjoying our public lands. In the meantime, get out and ride your trails. Teach your kids to enjoy the great outdoors. Pass on your love of your sport to friends and family.
I also tell folks not to burn out on political involvement. You can get in so deep that your sport is no longer fun; or you don’t have time to really enjoy it. I don’t suggest that. I say for every time you ride a trail, write one letter or attend one meeting. Simple trade off: One for one. If you go out for a day in your rig, on your horse, or atop your mountain bike, make one call to your congressman or write one email or hand written note about YOUR priorities for him/her for this upcoming year. On the other hand, if you are the kind sitting through meetings or writing letters, make sure you give yourself equal treatment on the play side of things. Get your one day in the field too.
In the words of Thomas Jefferson speaking to John Hancock: “Come on, John, it’s just a signature!” Let’s put our John Hancock’s on a few letters in return for a few trail rides. Heck, get brave and attend a meeting or two. Start out sitting in the back; then gradually find your way to the front section. Make a difference.
If we all did it, our voice would be heard across the land. Please give my proposal some support: One for One!