Vail Daily letter: Preserve motorized use
June 3, 2014
I confess I am one of the bad evil people who like motorized recreation. I know the main activities in the Vail area are of the nonmotorized type, both winter and summer. We are known as a resort area and most of the outdoor activities in the area are done in the White River National Forest but the vast majority of this forest is closed to motorized use
We are blessed to be surrounded by many miles of public land that we the people have a vested interest in, and we trust the local Forest Service personnel to properly and fairly manage this great local asset. But, wait — some people want to have this great treasure all to themselves and not have to share it with unworthy types like me who like to enjoy the backcounty on many types of equipment both nonmotorized and motorized.
I recently went to a meeting with some representatives from the local Forest Service and was informed that the current summer road plan for the forest in our district contains zero, none, nada dirt bike trails that are legal, even though there exist many fine trails in the forest. We were told that if these rules were not followed the few roads that are available to unlicensed but registered motor vehicles would probably be closed.
It seems that the current management at the Forest Service is generally against motorized recreation, but if there is enough pressure to allow some use they will throw us a bone. Historically many trails for bikes both motorized and nonmotorized were pioneered and maintained by the user groups but only the nonmotorized uses are now allowed. Even in the winter over-the-snow vehicles are not allowed on much of the local forest.
If the current trend continues, we are going to lose not only the revenue that these sports contribute to the local economy but also the people who want to enjoy these activities.
In the past, US Congressman Jared Polis has made moves to help preserve motorized use and the revenue that they pour into our economy. Please let him know that we are not getting a fair deal and would like to make our local public lands once again become the land of many uses, not of select uses.
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