Recently I came across a blog called “Utah Trail News”. The post of September 5th caught my eye. A long-time back country user wrote an open letter to the forest service. He said that he has ridden in the back country for years, staying on the trails, choosing lighter tires and trying to do his part to protect and enjoy the outdoors.
However, he now wonders why he even bothers. He was out riding a few weeks ago and came across a gate blocking access to the ATV trail. That entire area is now charred black from the “let it burn” policies of the forest service. Says he:
Your decision to let it burn has not only cost us taxpayers many MILLIONS of dollars more than if you had put it out when you had the opportunity, but it has now burned through many more acres of pristine wilderness, including the very trail you had closed off to me so I wouldn’t damage the environment. I now question your judgment, and wonder why I bothered not going ahead and riding onward. What difference would it have made in the end? I trusted your judgment and yet I now realize you didn’t have my interests at heart at all. It was merely control.
Further, he took another ride to a high country lake with his disabled daughter, only to find that access had been cut off by a crudely erected fence. That same day, he continued and found this:
I then rode further down the trail only to find several big pieces of machinery working through the forest. They were cutting down trees. Nice trees. Not the hundreds of trees dying to the bark beetle. Nope. These were healthy trees. And the machines went wherever they wanted, leaving tracks much more severe than my ATV ever could. Or all the ATVs I’ve seen on the trail as a matter of fact! They also left fuel and oil spills – something I know I have never done. I questioned you again. Is this what I wanted? Who wanted this? I rode on the existing trail, keeping the area clean all these times only so you could do this?
And then this:
Once again I set out to explore another wonderful 2-track trail I had ridden just last year. When I got to the trailhead, it had been, ah, changed. Once again, you had spent my hard-earned money to close this trail to my use. But you didn’t just set a gate to limit travel. Or even a 50″ gate to limit the type of vehicles. Nope. You used a piece of heavy equipment and destroyed it. And scarred this beautiful area. Once again you spent my hard-earned tax dollars doing more damage to the environment to keep me out than I could have done in many years of riding the trail!
And for more back-country fun, you can ride past dead, rotting carcasses of cows left on the trail until you get to the fence meant to keep you off trails you’ve ridden for years.
Apparently the federal government’s take on “wilderness preservation” is to bulldoze and clear-cut the back country, let wildfires burn because it’s good for the environment, while keeping ATV riders off of trails and away from lakes. Oh, and while taxing us all for the privilege. Sounds about right – for a federal government that’s clearly insane…. (and btw – make sure you check out the pictures on the original blog.)