Letter to the Editor
I find it ironic that the articles, The real tragedy of Tellico and Plumas National Forest Cleanup fell opposite each other in the December 2009 edition of the Blue Ribbon Magazine. The choice may have been by design, but clearly the distinction regarding cooperation could not have been made more apparent.
The Forest Service has a difficult, and vastly underfunded, mandate to manage our national forests. Part of that mandate includes providing recreational opportunities. They do not have adequate personnel or money to complete beyond even the most basic of tasks within the forest. As a result, the Forest Service has largely abandoned the recreational side of the coin, defaulting to management by closure rather than reaching out to the community of users within the local and regional population nearby. By their own admission, much of what is accomplished can best be described as managing to avoid lawsuits. This has brought progress within our forests to a halt.
Volunteerism is a catch word that readily describes the efforts chronicled in both articles. Southern Four Wheel Drive Association, Paradise Ridge Riders and Ironman Dual Sport are to be applauded for their efforts to volunteer in behalf of their forests. Without volunteers, recreational progress would fall by the wayside.
Without effort by progressive members of Forest Service management, volunteer outreach does not occur. Without volunteers, little is accomplished beyond the most basic of maintenance. Inadequate maintenance often results in lower recreational usage. Oftentimes, the downward spiral increases in both speed and intensity until closure is the only option.
Here in Texas, we are working closely with the Forest Service state and district personnel to promote responsible recreation opportunities in our forests. Progress is slow, but progress is being made by a very dedicated group of volunteers that continue to address both issues and attitudes within, and outside, our sport that affects progress and success.
I am particularly glad to see the economic impact of tourism included into the article on Tellico. That is very important information and Jay is to be recognized for including the information. I have long said here in Texas that the Texas Motorized Trails Coalition is an economic development engine that just happens to enjoy OHV recreation. Destination and heritage tourism are important components in the economic life of the small cities and towns in America and they can go hand in hand in providing recreational and educational tourism for all Americans. Recreational and educational opportunities also serve the needs of the Forest Service, increasing awareness, volunteerism and recreational income, all which support progress within our national forests.
President - 2007-2011
Texas Motorized Trails Coalition
Tony Eeds aka Teeds aka Dad aka Grandpa
Rider Down - In memory of Stevie
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If you are unwilling to accept my viewpoint as being valid, what ability do you have to alter it?
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Sir Winston Churchill
be seen not heard
Good roads bring bad people
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