As we move into the seasons of gratitude and giving, we want to send our heartfelt thanks to everyone who supports us in our mission to protect access to outdoor recreation. However, as you know this is a never-ending battle and your support is needed now more than ever.
Just a few days ago, our social feeds were filled with pictures posted by some of our closest allies in this work as they were finally allowed to visit Oceano Dunes after months of closure. In a time where news of toxic political fights tended to overwhelm us all, it was a breath of fresh air to see friends experiencing the true joy of being connected back to something that had been lost. After months of roller coaster economic performance, it was great to hear the stories of businesses in Pismo, who in the first weekend saw dramatic jumps in income.
We know there is still a long way to go. We learned a lot during the closure of the Dunes. We learned that dust pollution still occurs – even with no OHVs in the area. We learned the fight to close the dunes is not about dust, or plovers. It’s abundantly clear, that this is about people. One group of people doesn’t want another group of people to be there. We will continue to stand with our partners in California in fighting to keep the Dunes open.
Unfortunately, we see a similar trend unfolding in Moab, UT. Our team spent hours working with elected leaders in Moab to identify solutions to increasing noise issues in town caused by OHVs. We offered to help educate users. We offered to help the town create and encourage the use of voluntary designated routes. We suggested researching a change in speed limit.
The Mayor of Moab chose to disregard our advice, and the city passed ordinances to enforce lower speed limits just on street-legal OHVs. They also issued a moratorium on any new OHV-related businesses and events. We understand that these are complex issues, but it is problematic to pass laws that discriminate against one user-group where the vast majority of users in that group want to recreate responsibly and follow the law. We are working closely with our attorneys to help those who are directly damaged by these changes.
The COVID outbreak stopped many events and rides in their tracks, which has cut off the lifeblood to many OHV organizations. We also noticed a slowdown in the work being performed by public agencies. Once the public land management agencies adjusted to the realities of the pandemic, we were there during the virtual open houses, scoping meetings, and policy summits. We weighed in on keeping access for snow machines in Idaho’s Shoshone National Forest. We engaged on issues and participated in comment periods in Wyoming, Idaho, Arizona, West Virginia, Montana, Oregon, California, Washington, Colorado, and Utah.
The bottom line is we adjusted, too, and we have never been busier in our efforts to protect your access to public lands. While a large portion of this work involves showing up and sharing our collective voice, it is also important that we alert you to changes that are coming. There are significant issues on the horizon that are going to be as big as anything we’ve ever done. We are going to need your help to succeed in our mission in the face of these significant challenges.
Please take a good look at the enclosed issues list and you will see that we are incredibly busy fighting for you. In addition to this work on the ground, we are monitoring two wilderness bills in Colorado and Washington that we believe will be added to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) during a lame duck session of Congress.
Something has to change with the catastrophic wildfire conditions in the West. These fires destroy lives, communities, resources, and access. We recently created the Oregon Phoenix Project as an experiment in building an community with the specific purpose of digging deep into the records of this year’s fires in Oregon to create accountability, find paths to restitution, protect access in the aftermath, and learn from each other what policy changes we need to promote to save our forests. Learn more about the Oregon Phoenix Project here: https://www.sharetrails.org/oregon-phoenix-project/
Travel Management Planning
For years we’ve been involved in the travel management settlement in Utah, where the BLM entered into a settlement with wilderness advocates to create new travel management plans for millions of acres. Not surprisingly, the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance appealed the first planning decision from the settlement. Our team at BRC led the effort to obtain and challenge SUWA’s appeal, and we’re excited to report that the BLM rejected SUWA’s appeal – a major victory for access! More importantly, we now know what future fights will be like. We will give these fights everything we’ve got, and we believe we can protect access to over 10,000 miles of roads. We created the 10,000+ project to rally everyone to this effort. Learn how you can be part of the 10,000+ Project here: https://www.sharetrails.org/current-issues/10000-project-keep-utah-open/
Grants in California
Our legal review committee recently approved deploying legal resources to defend numerous groups in California who are being targeted with unfair OHV grant audits. These audits were unfair and wrong, and the agency overseeing them needs to be held accountable. We created a dedicated page where you can contribute to this cause: https://secure.anedot.com/blueribbon-coalition-sharetrails/fight-unfair-audits
Ride for Life
After attending the Ride for Life, we learned that charitable giving is suffering everywhere. Ride for Life is an annual ride in Utah that raises money for Make a Wish Foundation. We committed to support them in this cause. Learn how you can support the brilliant cause of Ride for Life: https://secure.anedot.com/blueribbon-coalition-sharetrails/ride-for-life
One of the most alarming trends we’ve noticed this year is what appears to be a coordinated effort by anti-access groups to restrict dispersed camping on public lands. As Americans canceled travel plans and decided to explore the wonders close to home, RVs, camping gear, and overlanding accessories have been exploding in sales. Based on what we are seeing from the anti-access crowd, it would be malpractice on our part not to alert you about an emerging threat to this incredibly popular form of recreation. We invite you to join BRC’s Dispersed Camping Access Alliance and we challenge you to invite two friends who enjoy dispersed camping to become members of BlueRibbon Coalition: https://www.sharetrails.org/camp-free-join-the-dispersed-camping-access-alliance-to-protect-dispersed-camping/
Of course we can’t move the needle on any of these issues without your generous support. The best way to support us in everything we’re doing is to simply become a member. Visit our membership page to learn how you can join today!
For All of Us
FOR OVER 30 YEARS WE HAVE BEEN LEADING THE FIGHT TO KEEP ROADS, TRAILS, AND RECREATION AREAS OPEN. WE’VE WON PIVOTAL LEGAL BATTLES, WE MAINTAIN A CONSTANT PRESENCE OF GRASSROOTS ADVOCACY, AND WITH OVER 700,000 REPRESENTED MEMBERS WE ARE THE BROADEST COALITION OF OUTDOOR ENTHUSIASTS IN THE COUNTRY. AND WE’RE JUST GETTING STARTED. JOIN US TODAY!
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