Protect 24 Million Acres from OHV Restrictions - Oppose H.R. 980!

The Lyin King

Public Lands Advocate
The Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources has scheduled a hearing on May 5 to consider H.R. 980, the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act (NREPA). This legislation was introduced by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). It will designate 24 million acres as Wilderness and components of the National Wilderness Preservation System in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming. This Wilderness designation will make the land off-limits to off-highway riders.

Read more here . . . Issues & legislation of interest to motorcyclists
My Letter

Please feel free to use any of this in formulating your own . . .

"As an avid OHV enthusiast I strongly oppose H.R. 980.

My family and I spend many enjoyable hours recreating in our National Forests, National Parks and on BLM lands. We generally travel to our chosen destination via a four wheel drive vehicle as it allows us to get away from paved roads and into areas we could not otherwise reach due to our age and a disability I incurred while serving our country.

Upon arrival at our final destination we spend our time camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, and traveling the trails in the vicinity with our Jeep and OHVs taking in the beautiful scenery that our public lands afford us.

We in the OHV community generally support the idea of travel being limited to designated roads, trails and areas. We are also in support of a thorough environmental review and analysis as well as ongoing monitoring and maintenance of the OHV infrastructure. Indeed, we as an OHV community have voluntarily taxed ourselves in order to provide funds to the agencies involved so they can actively and effectively accomplish these tasks.

These trust funds are currently being raided by Governors across our Nation in an effort to balance their budget short falls leaving the OHV community with little funding to maintain our remaining recreational infrastructure.

The areas under consideration are not National Parks, they are lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management and should managed as such. Many of the bills will allow BLM managers to close public access and reduce recreation as they have done in the past when given the freedom to do so, usually citing budgetary issues. Fiscal constraints are no excuse for the lack of proper management of our public lands and public access should not have suffered as a consequence.

Lost in all this legislation was the issue of those whose mobility is impaired, including veterans like myself who incurred disabilities while serving our country and the elderly who cannot walk into or nearby most of the areas included in this bill.

Back in the 60s development of America's wild lands and backcountry was a threat. Now the threats are the Wilderness Act, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and many other environmental protection laws passed by Congress due to the way they are being used by Wilderness lobbies to lock recreationalists out of our public lands via "Wilderness" designations.

Public lands are important recreational opportunities for mountain bikers, snowmobilers and Off-Highway Vehicle users, all of which are banned in "Wilderness".

There are other alternatives like National Conservation Areas or National Recreation Areas which would provide the same level of protection from development that the "Wilderness" designation carries while still preserving a diverse array of opportunities for recreation.



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