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August 2012 Trail Head Editorial

Posted in Features on August 1, 2012
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Photographers: Pete Trasborg

NOS (new-old staffer), Verne Simons, and I had just returned to our respective homes after spending ten days and several thousand dollars each in Moab, Utah. It was my thirteenth consecutive Red Rock 4-Wheeler’s Easter Jeep Safari and my umpteenth visit as a cash-chucking tourist. Associate Editor Trasborg was staying to mop up the event overflow when he posted this photo of a local Subaru on Jp’s Facebook page. Now, before I unload…and trust me…I’m gonna unload, I should share.

I grew up just south of Boston in a largely Irish-Catholic neighborhood. Profanity was part of the regional accent and insults were normally settled with fists, not strong words. You’d argue, fight, shake hands, and be friends again. We learned to tolerate and respect others and they did the same for you, cause if not, you’d be eating a knuckle sandwich. One of the things most insulting to us (besides a good “your mutha” joke) was hypocrisy. And, although there are many exceptions to the rule, it’s been my experience that few groups are as hypocritical as dirty, smelly hippies.

In theory, hippies advocate peace, love, and understanding towards their fellow man. That’s what I call common courtesy and respect. No problem. I’m down. Do unto others…and so forth. But if they’re gonna talk the talk, they should walk the walk. So to you hippiecrites, I say the following.

• During the Vietnam War you ran to Canada, burned your draft cards, smoked dope ’til the heat was off, then came back and derided and spat on my dad and his brothers-in-arms as they returned from war. You can hate the war, but you always, always love the soldier because he defends your right to protest and question. F*#ck you, hippie!

• You decry sustainable logging and vilify the lumber industry while embracing terms like tree hugger and glorifying eco-terrorism. Yet you live in a timber-frame home lit by coal-fired or nuclear power and heated by an oil-burning furnace. Build a sod house and go off the grid or shut the hell up. F*#ck you, hippie!

• You abstain from bathing for days on end and cover your rancid stench with more rancid-smelling Patchouli oil because it’s “natural.” Most of us would rather be locked in an airtight room with a 3-day-dead skunk than breathe the polluted air you create. For common courtesy, comb your hair, trim your beard, shave your legs, and take a bath…or move to France. F*#ck you, hippie!

• You call Jeeps and 4x4s environmentally harmful. Yet you drive a Prius or Subaru. Hybrids are more environmentally harmful to manufacture than any 4x4, and the EPA’s 21-23 mpg combined rating of your Forrester isn’t much better than a Wrangler’s combined 18-mpg rating. And the Compass’s rating of 21-25 mpg (which is a more appropriate comparison) meets or beats your import. F*#ck you, hippie!

• You say meat is murder and seek to limit or eliminate hunting, fishing, and gun ownership. Meat is tasty. And aren’t those Birkenstock sandals, those Prius seats, and that Forrester shift knob made of leather? F*#ck you, hippie.

• You lobby to restrict or close public land access for 4x4s and off-highway vehicles, then cry foul when those closures extend to mountain biking, horse riding, hiking, and camping trails. Once the land closure machine is set in motion, it’s nearly impossible to stop it. Public land is for everybody, even if they like things you don’t. Remember, peace, love, and understanding towards your fellow man? F*#ck you, hippie.

I could go on, but I’ve thrown enough punches and can make nice now. I realize that there are exceptions to every rule. Not all hippies are bad. And some off-road enthusiasts can be jerks and act irresponsibly. But the vast majority of us are diligent in promoting and advocating responsible and respectful land use. Before writing this editorial, I contacted the Moab Chamber of Commerce and the Moab Area Travel Council. Neither tracked the percentage of how much Easter Jeep Safari contributes to Moab’s annual economy, but both agreed the event is significant. And the residual effects in terms of visitors who come back for different activities or during the rest of the year are equally significant.

In the end, this is just another case of a few bad apples spoiling the cider for everybody. Most off-roaders are tolerant, helpful, and cooperative of hikers, mountain bikers, climbers, and others we meet on the trail. And most of the aforementioned are just as likely to give us a “cool Jeep” as a middle finger. In the end, we gotta remember we’re both fighting on the same side, with land closures the sword of Damocles hanging over all our heads.

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