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January 2011 4xForward

Posted in Features on January 1, 2011
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Photographers: David Freiburger

Is It Too Late?
OK, enough of the doom and gloom of the last issue, even though it may be true. Yes, we are in grave danger of losing our trails and wheeling places as well as many other freedoms we have in this great country. By the time you read this the November elections will be over and we'll be on another two-year cycle of whatever politicians we may or may not have voted into office. And yes, those of us willing to take a stand, speak our minds, put those thoughts into actions, and vote the way we feel may have made some progress. The most important aspect is just to do something.

Shot next to a Vermont 4x4 trail during the Ultimate Adventure 2010.

When I first got into this magazine business 15 years ago, the "save the trails" mantra seemed vaguely familiar, as I had been reading Four Wheeler since the late '60s and started buying 4-Wheel & Off-Road with the very first issue in 1978. I was well into wheeling and saving trails by then, and even had my first television interview (a Sunday morning talk show that no one listened to in the greater Phoenix market). But at the time I didn't know if I could make a difference or not-and there sure wasn't any national group dedicated to that purpose either. But I was doing something.

Today you have a variety of groups to choose from, and the story remains the same: do something! All of the no-access groups have massive fundraising campaigns aimed at armchair environmentalist, those who say, "Yes, we should save the earth, and here's my $10 for the dying dolphins." Heck, as a group, most wheelers in the world probably care more about dying dolphins and actually do something about it than those who send their dollars in!

It's true: The actual hands-on environmental cleanup and care that organized wheelers do probably far outweighs the masses on the "other side" who hold some of the same basic tenets we do. The difference is they blindly preach the bad mantra of no access and collect funds to sue those who want equal access as afforded by the laws of this land.

It's quite simple: Organized wheelers want to take care of the earth and pass it down to our children as much as the no-access groups, but they would rather sue us and give money from their easy chairs than wheel or even hike the great outdoors to show their children the wonders of the world.

The solution? As I said before, just do something instead of thinking it's not your problem what happens in a state a thousand miles away. Trust me, it will be on your doorstep before you know what's happening.

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