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Rant Editorial - Fight to Off-Road

Posted in Features on September 1, 2012
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Do you love using the outdoor lands owned by the people of the United States? So do I. That’s why I’m happy to have a small portion (too small) of my tax dollars paying for those lands that I (and every other resident of the USA) own.

I spend as much time outdoors as I can and more often than not it’s on state or federal (public) land. And I’m not just talking about in a truck. I use our lands for mountain biking, snowmobiling, relaxing, camping, swimming, hiking, horseback riding, exploring, and sightseeing, too. I was lucky enough to grow up working outdoors, playing outdoors, and taking a lot of environmental courses throughout my entire academic career. It all gave me a true appreciation for everything natural.

If I were forced to stay in cities and on pavement all the time…well, you might as well just put a fork in me because I’d be done. That’s why I am so concerned about the future of these natural lands.

When funds are cut, the parks are closed; full lockdown. They’re not left open and unattended. They go into full preserve mode in which no one is allowed in. Through our tax dollars, funds and trusts were long ago set up to keep these lands open and available to the public. Unfortunately those funds are being dipped into by our government, and at the same time that other budget cuts affect state and federal parks. These are monies that you and I pay through taxes to ensure that our lands are taken care of and remain available to us.

But now, to fix problems caused by greed, overspending, or just plain old poor planning (blame what you will), it has been decided that depriving the public lands of necessary funds is an acceptable loss. I strongly disagree. Public lands are one of the only things I’m still happy to fund with my tax dollars. Why not take from road taxes? I never wanted pavement anyways. Let’s spend those funds on public lands and go back to dirt roads!

While that may be a bit drastic, I think that cutting funds for OHV and other state parks is worse. There are other programs that could be drawn from (hmm, government pensions perhaps?) that would not affect our country’s overall wellbeing as much.

If you agree with me, then write in, call, or visit your local government representatives. Let them know how you feel. Office addresses, phone numbers and government employees’ email addresses are all public record and can be found on the internet in a few minutes. Sometimes you can even find auto forms that you only have to sign your name to. Contact them and make your voice heard.

Right now, the government apparently doesn’t think you care enough to do something about the budget cuts to OHV and other parks. Prove them wrong. The more people speak out, the more your government will listen.

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