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A Call to Quills!
(An Alternative to Closures)

By Del Albright, BlueRibbon Ambassador

No more Mr. Nice Guy.  I've had it!  Our recreation is in serous jeopardy, I don't care what you ride.  Whether a dirt bike, buggy, 4wd, ATV, PWC, sled, or wake skates behind a boat, we are in trouble.

I am writing this as me, Del.   This is from my guts telling me we had better change the way we're doing business, or we're gonna lose our motors.  I am getting firmer and stauncher in my positions on land use and access.  But we need an army of people getting in the game so our voice can be heard.

Now I'm not playing Chicken Little here, either.  The sky is not falling.  But from my experience around the continent, the atmosphere is sure shaky.  Tune in here and see what I think we need to do before it's just any further down the road, too late.

To make a long, bring tears to your eyes, story short, this is the gist of the problem:

1.  Our image is so tainted we're an easy target for bad press and closures due to the few yeh-hoos and dip-wads out there.

2.  We deserve some of the bad press – we are not policing our own.

3.  By not showing up and speaking out as much as our opponents, we are the vast minority, under dog, get stepped on groups.

4.  We are a HUGE army waiting for the call to help manage our public lands, but we're not there in mass.

5.  We wait until the gate is up before we ask for help or get involved.

Now with that in mind, I have some fixes.  If you've read this far, I am HOPEFUL that you will do more than read.  ACT.  Act now.  Get your friends to act.  Do not take my gut instinct, based on 22 years in this business, lightly.  Stand up and quit rolling over!  Get aggressive and assertive about your recreation.    Here's how in simple terms:

FIRST: Let's clean up our web sites and bulletin boards where some people think they can talk like inmates and make us look like idiots.  Clean them up now.  Change the rules of posts if you're a moderator.  Get rid of the idiot behavior and let's start showing some responsibility towards shaping our image.  If you're posting to BBS’s, then post like an adult.  Get a private list somewhere if you need to launch out; but not where our opponents can see you.

SECOND: if you're not a member of EVERYTHING you can afford to be, then you're not in the game all the way.  JOIN every local, state, and regional organization you can.  And JOIN BlueRibbon Coalition.  It is through membership that we build strength and find money to fight the battles.

THIRD: Be an advocate for your sport.  Include others.  Do ride alongs.  Get political.  Do not think you can let someone else do it for you.  Get some training.  Get some help.  Do whatever it takes, but do it now, before YOUR gate goes up.  Get a Trail Patrol or Neighborhood watch started on your trails.  Advocate for responsible use; dump the dip-wads.

FOURTH: Set the example in everything you do in your sport.  Ride responsibly.  Camp responsibly. Drink responsibly.  Behave like EVERYONE in the world is watching and evaluating your actions.  Have fun, yes.  But realize we are threatened like never before.  I've never seen so many closures and potential closures on the horizon.  I've been at this a long time.  Please take heed and act now.

FIFTH: Pick up your pen.  That's why I called this article a “Call To Quills” (pens).  Pick it up and write a letter.  I don't even care to whom you send it.  Just start to write.  Tell your congressman how you feel about multiple uses of public lands.  Tell your Commissioner/Board of Supervisors how you feel about your right to ride responsibly.  Tell somebody something.  Get your voice out there. Be heard.  Be in the game.   Tell them you're tired of rolling over and compromising.  Tell them you want no net loss of public land riding opportunities.  Tell them no more unreasonable compromise that means loss for us.

We are not well-represented when the letters are counted at the end of the day.  We have to change that, or just give up the effort.  I for one am not ready to roll over or give up any more. I'm in there with teeth barred now. 

On the other hand, continue to work with the great land managers who ARE working with us, trying to help us, and seem like they have a balanced approach to their job.  Even if you don't get your way every time, do support those land managers who you know are trying and fair.  Support those good politicians who believe in giving us a chance to recreate on public lands.  And in both cases, where there are bad land managers, or bad politicians, put them in the dip-wad category and work to get them dumped!

Do it now.  Do something.  Please do not sit by and wait.  We can't wait.  Emergency closures should be reserved for when management fails.  Well, if you're not in the game, then chances are, management will fail.  Pick up that quill.

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