Election results alone won’t protect our rights

By: Land-Use Lump

November’s midterm elections gave the Bush Administration a friendly Senate and Congress, one that will allow the President to make judicial appointments and reform the EPA, USFS, BLM, BOR and USF&WS departments. The results give Bush the ability to make good on campaign promises like protecting access to public lands and bringing the economy under control. While both issues are great news to OHV enthusiasts, greens were already revved up before November 5th, and their losses in the Senate and House will drive them bug-nuts. They’re gearing up, this very moment, to shove even more Wilderness, Roadless and obstructionist lawsuits down the public’s collective throat. Every green group is waging a letter-writing campaign urging members to push Roadless and Boxer’s California Wild Heritage Protection Act, along with stopping any and all timber harvesting, oil/gas exploration, grazing and OHV-recreation. Greens know the sqweaky wheel gets the grease, so they’re on the mainjet.

We, on the other hand, don’t even have our gear on. We think that Bush won’t allow ‘Zero Roost’ policies for public lands, that Roadless will simply disappear and our OHV-Future will be secured. Think again. We’re fighting (at least, we should be) an opponent that has turned the U.S. Forest Service from a money-making agency to a Wilderness-generating green-group. The Sierra Club’s ‘Zero Cut’ policy has dropped USFS timber sales from 15 billion board-feet a year to 3 bbf, turning a cash cow into a total tax burden and endangering 73 million acres of National Forest and the trails within them. Not only have greens subverted the USFS through endless litigation, they’re working on ‘Zero Grazing’ on 265 million acres of BLM land, ‘Zero Drilling’ anywhere in the U.S. and ‘Zero Emmissions’ from Detroit. You can bet ‘Zero OHVs’ is also high on the ‘Burning Man’ totem.


Whether any of this has sunken in or not, be aware that greens are waging war on us! Also be aware that President Bush is waging his own war on terror. We must write and remind him that radical green groups are the Number One Domestic Terror Threat and that the green agenda is destroying forest health rather than preserving it, as greens claim. Remind him that Mother Nature has more weapons of mass destruction than Saddam Hussien, and that greens are pointing some of those weapons directly at innocent Americans.

One weapon is wildfire. The green strategy with ‘Zero Cut’ is to choke man out of our NFs. John Muir used to boast that he could ride a horse at full gallop through our ancient forests. Through Zero Cut, forests that once had old-growth qualities of 20-50 trees per acre now are choked with 500-1000 trees per acre. Fuel loads are so high that any ground fire becomes a crown fire that destroys everything, the whole forest. When Roadless was first introduced, then-USFS Chief Dombeck admitted we had 40 million acres so overcrowded that destruction from wildfire was imminent. Now its 73 million acres. Once these forests burn, taking our trails and homes, the land will be suitable for Wilderness designations.


Wildfire has been a hot topic in Congress this year, and we can tie forest health and OHV recreation directly to pending legislation like the Craig Amendment to the Energy Bill. We can kill Roadless once and for all, and we can protect our OHV future today. All we have to do is take the energy and momentum that won OHVers the election and upshift. Write President Bush, all of your representatives, and your local newspapers urging them to protect forest health and recreational access to public lands. Urge riding buddies or club members to join the fight. Check out the sidebar for talking points and numbers. Praise the President for taking steps to protect forest health and our access to public lands (he recently increased snowmobiles in our national Parks to 1100 per day), and urge him to go further. Press for the BlueRibbon Coalition’s Backcountry Recreation Area as an alternative to any new Wilderness, and tie recreation and forest health to the economy. Both the AMA and BRC have links on their websites that have contact information on your representatives.

Also, money talks louder than letters. Contribute to your representative’s campaign for 2004 early, and give all you can to arm the BRC and AMA legislative and political-action campaigns. That way, when greens sue to close trails in NFs and/or create Wilderness, we will have the artillery to fight back. President Bush is already inclined to help on idealogy, but we have to back it up with strength in numbers. Ricky Carmichael won 24 motos last season simply because he refused to lose. He worked hard during the week to demoralize his enemies, and everything on raceday was
cake. The same ability is within us, so unite!

President George W. Bush
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
(202)456-1111 (comments)
[email protected]
U.S. Capital Switchboard…(202)224-3121
Senate/House Bill Status…(202)225-1772
BlueRibbon Coalition
4555 Burley Dr., Suite A
Pocatello, ID 83202-1921
American Motorcyclist Association
13515 Yarmouth Dr.
Pickerignton, OH 43147
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Tie access, forest health and the economy together
* Express support for rolling back onerous environmental laws, like 1969’s NEPA, that greens are using to choke our economy, forests and OHV opportunities. Urge the President and your reps to shelve Roadless and Inslee’s other green-written legislation, HR5358, in favor of reforming NEPA to allow sound management of and recreational access to our public lands.
* Senator Tom Daschle already admitted that green obstructionist lawsuits are harming forest health. As drought gripped South Dakota last summer, Daschle attempted a midnight rider to exempt his state from the very environmental laws greens are using to enforce the Sierra Club’s ‘Zero Cut’ USFS policy. If it was good for South Dakota, it should be good for your state, too.
* Greens were behind the USFS Smokey the Bear campaign, which has led to dangerous fuel loads like those that destroyed much of Yellowstone NP in 1987. The USFS now estimates that we have 73 million acres of National Forests so overcrowded (underlogged) that they’re in imminent danger of catastrophic wildfire. And yet the Sierra Club is still championing ‘Roadless’ which seeks to turn 58 million of those unhealthy acres into Wilderness, where no chainsaws or firefighting aircraft are allowed.
* In 2000, taxpayers footed the $1.3 billion bill for wildfire suppression. In 2001, the Sierra Club and other GAGs sued to halt 48% of the 1,671 USFS fuel-reduction programs. That’s 800 forest-health plans stopped cold. Not surprisingly, 6.5 million acres of NFs burned in 2002, twice the average of ten years ago, along with 2100 structures and 29 human beings. The cost to the taxpayer will be $1.3-1.6 billion for suppression alone. Damages to property and life are way more than the $4.5 billion we’ve paid over the last three years suppressing the results of ‘Zero Cut.’
* This past summer, wildfire ravaged more than 36,000 acres of the Routt NF in Colorado. That’s the same forest that wind severely damaged in 1997 and that was subsequenly infested by pine beetles. Did the Wilderness Society care about forest health when it sued to halt the forest-health clean-up? Evidently not.
* The current green strategy in the face of mounting criticism is to ‘allow’ fuel-reduction thinning only around towns and homes within the forests to create buffer zones. Hogwash. Mechanical thinning is desperately needed in at least 73 million acres of NFs.
* One Texas A&M Forestry Professor said that fully 20% of all prescribed burns (to clear fuel loads and improve forest health) escape and become deadly crown fires.
*In burned areas every winter, rain erodes soil and deposits ash in the very same salmon streams the greens used to stop logging through evocation of NEPA and the Endangered Species Act.
* OHV recreation not only coincides with good forest health, many OHV clubs volunteer countless man-hours on local trail-maintenance and conservation efforts, which is invaluable to the local, budget-strapped USFS ranger. California’s OHV recreation opportunities contribute $3.2 billion a year to that state’s economy> and provide many millions in conservation. Clubs volunteer many more millions – which taxpayers would have to offset if OHV recreation were prohibited.
* Nationwide, more than 1.5 million vehicles enter our 191 million-acre National Forest system a day, and only 2% of these people are there for Wilderness, yet the greens want to ban the other 98%. Roadless, if passed, will have stolen enough acreage so that 49% of our USFS system will be Wilderness.
* Greens are now using the same NEPA/ESA-lawsuits against grazing on BLM lands, building alternative-energy windfarms in Oregon and Massachusetts, oil and gas drilling on public lands, erecting a telescope on Arizona’s Mount Graham, and OHV recreation on public and private lands. Imagine how bad our economy would be if greens were as successful across the board as they have been in destroying the USFS system.


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