The upcoming elections are scheduled for November 6, 2012. I am often asked about what we can do to save our sport. There are organizations and people who want to destroy off highway vehicle (OHV) recreation. They are more powerful than anybody imagines and they pump money into the campaigns of democratic candidates, the party that supports their cause. See: http://www.sovereignty.net/p/ngo/sac-1.html
Hold on a minute… There are organizations that support OHV Recreation. Cycle News printed a very informative article about the Trail Political Action Committee (TPAC) which is a political action committee that supports our rights by supporting politicians who are on our side. See: http://cyclenews.coverleaf.com/cyclenews/20121002?pg=105&search_term=tpac&doc_id=-1&search_term=tpac#pg105
“Currently the house of representatives has a pro trail majority that have passed many laws to address arbitrary trail closures implemented by the forest service travel management rule. They have passed legislation or held hearing to stop the unwarranted anti OHV regulatory agenda of the EPA. Unfortunately there is an anti-trail majority in the senate that has effectively blocked all land use bills that would benefit motorized access to public lands. Changing the political paradigm is TPAC’s number one priority in the 2012 election.”
“TPAC’s motto is ‘All land use decisions are political decisions’. In essence Land Management officials in Washington DC are developing new forest planning rules based not on science, but on the political agenda of outside anti-OHV groups that often help write these new directives. Worse yet employees from these very organizations are appointed by the President into leadership roles within the agency.”
We can’t get rid of our opponents but we can make a difference by voting their politicians out of office and supporting our own political organizations like TrailPAC. “The TPAC strategic goal is simple. TPAC will contribute to pro-access politicians who will support OHV recreation friendly legislation and oppose anti-access proposals and agency overregulation.”
“Big Green-oriented PACs such as the League of Conservation Voters and CREDO SuperPAC have targeted key races. We need to continue sending fiscal support to our candidates to help them get their message out to constituents. As one well-known off-road media person said, “If you want to continue to ride, get involved with TPAC’s effort [to elect a pro-trail majority to the U.S. Senate and retain the pro-trail majority in the House of Representatives].”
The Democrats are bought and paid for by pseudo environmental organizations. These groups also do a lot of harm behind closed doors in committee hearings and in court. They include the California Wilderness Coalition, Defenders of Wildlife, Center for Sierra Nevada Conservation, the Desert Protective Council, Inc., Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, California Native Plant Society, as well as other biggies such as The Wilderness Society, Conservation Fund, The Nature Conservancy, Trust for Public Land, World Wildlife Fund, Conservation International, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Sierra Club among others.
To understand their mindset we need to look at what is said by their staunchest supporters. To quote writer Edward Abbey, “Machines are domineering, exclusive, destructive and costly; it is they and their operators who would deny the enjoyment of the backcountry to the rest of us. About 98 percent of the land surface of the contiguous U.S.A. already belongs to heavy metal and heavy equipment. Let us save the 2 percent — that saving remnant.”
It is OK to drive on asphalt but it is not politically correct to ride off road vehicles on dirt trails. That is the mentality we are fighting. It is a holier than thou attitude that fails to take responsibility for the consequences of their own actions and their impact on the natural world. Instead, they would rather pin the blame on anybody who does not share their bias against the internal combustion engine.
The very fact that we exist destroys the enjoyment of the back country for him and his minions. This, despite the fact that anyone can find someplace to “enjoy the backcourty” in areas where we are not allowed to take our “machines“. This just goes to show that their objections are theoretical; not real and are really just a manifestation of their collective neurosis.
Off highway vehicle enthusiasts constitutes a formidable force in American politics if the group is measured by its sheer size and its enthusiasm. It is a sport that requires a huge investment in commitment, money and in time. It brings families together on the weekends, and teaches children responsibly and keeps them out of trouble. Our enemies fight us using lies and distortions but they miscalculate the forces that they are battling. OHV enthusiasts love their machines and they love their sport and will not give up – ever.
Whether the politicians are on the California State budget committee stealing millions from the OHV trust fund or whether they are creating laws that take away our trails; we have to vote them out of office. We should elect candidates who value OHV recreation and recognize that it is a legitimate activity. We need politicians who will stand up to environmental organizations that file frivolous lawsuits and support our adversaries. These organizations are in the process of trying to eliminate OHV opportunities everywhere.
We need to vote based on recent trends with Democrats opposed to Republicans on issues that pertain to us. The Democrats’ sponsor legislation proposed by our adversaries, like, for example, the red sticker law in California. In California we have to look at how the different parties voted on the budget. But more than that, we mus look at the actions of the individual budget members in the California Senate and Assembly. The Democrats voted for it and the Republicans voted against it. Whether their vote was in any way affected by the raiding of our trust fund can only be surmised.
This is not about being liberal or conservative. For example, there aren’t a whole lot of real world policy differences between President Barack Obama and former President George Bush, Jr. with a few “minor” exceptions. One of these exceptions is their attitude towards OHV recreation. Bush supported access for off road vehicles. Obama opposes access although he does support off shore drilling (remember the Deepwater Horizon blow-out) and other environmentally risky behavior if he can use it to his advantage politically. See: http://carnegieforever.org/2010/05/26/a-fishy-story/
In short, there are huge differences between candidates that support OHV riding opportunities and those who oppose them. Yet despite rhetoric to the contrary there is not much difference in their other political objectives. We just need to recognize who supports us and elect them.
Please donate a few bucks to TPAC and stay tuned to this blog for our recommendations for the November election. These recommendations will encompass local California candidates as well as important national races. We can make a difference if we assert our power at the polls.