You may have noticed from our cover that this issue of Petersen's 4-Wheel & Off-Road magazine is all about trail closures and how to stop them. It's an important issue now, more than ever before. That's because a groundswell of public opinion is looming over us this election season to make some real change in Washington and around your own home turf. That's right, it's election time as you read this editorial and the associated info in this month's issue. You have the power to control our destiny by voting for those who have our interests at heart, not just the same old same old crap of government intrusion, regulation, and control. That's why we partnered up with SEMA (Specialty Equipment Marketing Association) for this issue. SEMA has long been at the forefront of trying to save the automotive aftermarket from the politicians that try and kill anything enjoyable about modifying your ride. Lift laws, bumper heights, lighting, exhaust noise, inoperable vehicle laws, and land use issues are just some of the areas that SEMA fights for our rights in Washington DC.
But voting for lawmakers who will be on our side is not the final answer. It's also important to team up with not only SEMA (www.semasan.com) but also with land use organizations that specifically deal with our trails, For instance, the Blue Ribbon Coalition (www.sharetrails.com), National Off Road Association (www.nora-usa.com), California Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs (www.cal4wheel.com) Friends of the Rubicon (www.rubiconfriends.com), California Off Road Vehicle Association (www.corva.com), Tread Lightly! (www.treadlightly.org) Off Road Business Association (www.orba.biz), United Four Wheel Drive Association (www.ufwda.org) and many regional and local organizations are all important groups to join, supports, and participate. If we are to keep the onslaught of bureaucratic bungling and misguided closures from taking the rest of our trails away, we need to be more proactive and join in the fight. These organizations and many others are key players in protecting our rights, and it's critical to keep them in the forefront of action.
In the end, even with as many advocacy groups and organizations helping, we still have to count on ourselves. That means starting at the grass roots level and showing the good side of wheeling, not the beer-can throwing, trash can dumping, drunken idiot trashing our public lands. It's up to each and every one of us to promote our sport and hobby in a positive light so any anti's and those unknowing masses don't lump us all together as earth hating, Bambi killing, gas guzzling, bad people. Yes we burn fossil fuels, harvest wild animals for food, and use the ground to our advantage without abusing the right to exist on this planet. We have a voice in this world-we simply need to raise it to the next level. Go Vote!