Sunday, July 16, 2006

See, I Keep My Promises

I finally finished the 4 Wheeling video from two weeks ago. Better late than never, right?

We decided to try out a new area on this ride, the Jellison area in the Little Belts north of Harlowtown. There's a lot of riding to be had in these parts, but unfortunately it would seem that it's no great secret. This was by far the most populated area that I've ridden anywhere in the state, and I'm sorry to say that I saw evidence of more abuse in this area on one ride than I've witnessed on every other ride I've ever been on put together. Off trail travel, user created trails, garbage tossed on the ground. It was almost enough to make me ashamed to call myself an ATV rider. The only reason that I'm not on a flaming rant about the whole thing is the simple fact that this is the one and only time, and the one and only place, that I've seen these sorts of things, the very things that those opposed to motorized recreation most despise. The ill effects even in this particular area where isolated and nowhere near what a lot of the anti groups would like everyone to believe they are everywhere that motorized travel is allowed, but I did pick up a few cans, and I did see a half dozen or so trails that shouldn't have been there although I have no way of knowing how long they've existed. At one time it was perfectly legal to travel off of the trails in certain areas. But at any rate, this is why I will continue to keep my favorite riding areas to myself. That way, hopefully, all of the yahoos will stay where they are and keep this a thankfully isolated incident.

The only thing I can say to my fellow ATV riders is: Clean up after yourselves and act like adults for crying out loud. The rules are there for a reason. After all, we're not talking about our own private property here, we're talking about public land and unless you want to get all of us barred from using it, I suggest that you treat it with a little more respect. If you have room on your machine to pack in a cooler full of beer, you have room to pack the empty cans back out instead of tossing them along the trail.

There wasn't one of the "user created routes" that I saw that led to anywhere that couldn't have been accessed by an existing trail. This is the kind of shit that's going to have all of us riding around in circles eating each other's dust soon when the tree huggers succeed in shutting all of the trails down. In case you haven't noticed, assholes, there's a large opposition to our favorite sport in this country. Every track you make through virgin grass, every piece of garbage that you chuck over your shoulder, and every new trail that you create brings us one step closer to getting the proverbial boot, for good.

I ride my machine in the forest because, well, I love the forest. I don't ride there because I want to see how much stuff I can tear up, I ride there because I like to get away from assholes with nothing better to do than destroy things. If that's your idea of fun, please do the rest of us a favor and do it on private land, preferably your own private land, not in the National Forest. That land belongs to all of us, that means it belongs to me too. I'm not too keen on people tossing trash around and screwing up my property. Believe me, if I see you do it, we will talk.

There, I've done my bitching for today. Now clean up your act before I have to join the Wilderness Society. ;)

Enjoy the video . . . please. See, I can be polite . . . sometimes.

Wheelin' with Justin and Jim, Episode 1
Video sent by raginredneck93


powderman said...

You are absolutely right...saw some of the most flagrant misuse of 4 wheelers on the Bighorns this weekend...folks were not local either. Believe me...if I could have gotten them on film, I would have and make no mistake..I would have turned them in. If we do not police ourselves...we will be riding in our backyards...I have been an avid rider since 1984...what we did then we cannot do today. Enjoyed the video...

ken Hayes said...

Would love to watch the video but due to living in the country and not having the high speed hookup it will take aprox. 2 hrs to download. So I will just have to emagine what your trip was like. Every fall I make a trip to Buffalo Whyoming and spend time with my good friend there. Every year the Forest non-Service closes more trails. Where we were they did more damage in closing the trail head than all the riders did up to that time. Trails that had been open for years were now walk in or horseback only. Of couse horses don't damage the area at all. Bull shit ya know. My friend has a cabin on a Forest servise lease and he received a letter telling him that he had to take a couple nails outta the trees that held bird feeders because they would damage the trees. What did we find where they had closed the trails? Signs nailed to the trees and areas bull dosed where the closure was located. Our lands are being shut down and we will not be allowed in because of people that trash areas and don't respect the lands. I say get the goods on those that desreguard the rules and turn them in. We must be the ones to police and protect the rights he have that we are loosing because of idiots that disrespect the treasures we have. From the middle of missery I remain kh and thanks for the opportunity to give a comment.

Justin said...

Welcome aboard powderman. I think this area has one major thing in common with the Bighorns, it's well known and popular. There's another area up on the divide near Homestake that, although I've never seen it myself, I've heard also has similar problems. I've never been 4 wheeling in the 'Horns, but I have been up there snowmobiling and it doesn't take one long to realize that it's an extremely popular area. I think you're exactly right in the way that you alluded to the fact that most of the abusers "aren't local". That's just all the more reason why those of us that ARE local, need to be vigilant and report abuse to the authorities whenever possible. Trouble is, even though these areas are indeed popular, they're not overpopulated by any means. The odds of actually seeing someone else doing something wrong are slim to none. It's not at all unusual to see four or five other trucks with trailers at the unloading area, and still not see another machine on the trails all day. The abuse of a few bad apples, however, remains for everyone to see for a very long time. Nonmotorized users see that abuse, and just naturally assume that all ATV riders and dirt bikers behave that way. I don't know what the solution is, but I think that education goes a long way in the right direction. Getting the word out that responsible riders won't tolerate bad behavior and will definately report abuse is a big step in the right direction, in my opinion.

Sorry to hear that you couldn't watch the video Ken, hopefully you have a good imagination! I agree with you when it comes to the Forest Service, at least in a lot of cases anyway. There seems to be a blatant double standard in place, I haven't been to a single area where I didn't see Forest Service signs and trail markers nailed to trees. If we go around a deadfall we're enemies of the environment, but they seem to be just fine with firing up a bulldozer and moving a small mountain to put up an interpretive marker or a shithouse. I made several comments a while back regarding some comments that a tree hugger type had made about ATV's spreading noxious weeds. I've seen plenty of noxious weeds growing along the trails alright, and most generally they're growing right out of a big pile of horse shit. I've yet to see an ATV eat weed seeds and shit them along the trails, and I wash my machine after every ride just to make sure that I'm not a culprit on that one as does everyone that I ride with. I'm not saying that I'm against horses in the forest, quite the contrary actually, but I also don't appreciate getting the blame for something that's obviously bullshit, I mean horse shit, you know what I mean. ;)

A big part of the trail closures are indeed due to idiots abusing the land, but a lot of it is also due to idiots on the other side letting their emotions dictate their actions and blowing things entirely out of proportion. I'm obviously very much pro ATV, but as I think I demonstrated in this post, I can be honest and give ground to the other side if there is indeed warrant to do so. I've yet to see the treehuggers give so much as an inch when an ATV, snowmobile, or motorcycle club donates time and resources to do something good, which they do quite often. There were isolated incidents of abuse in this area, but nothing on par with what groups like the Wilderness Society and the Sierra Club would like people to believe there is. Unfortunately, most of the members of groups like this have never been to the National Forests, don't spend any real time there, and don't have a clue what's actually going on except for the propaganda and tripe that these groups distribute as a scare tactic. As a result, they keep writing big fat checks, and these groups continue to get their way.

The Dixie Drifter said...

Nice movie justin had not heard that ole' CW MaCall song in years, next time make it an overnighter and take some movies around the camp fire....

Justin said...

We've been talking about that for years Drifter, just haven't gotten around to doing it yet. There's a trail that goes all the way from Superior MT over to Wallace Id, takes 3 days to ride it. Some day, hopefully a bunch of us will get around to making the trip.