imagine for a moment that we are paddling down a beautiful, serene
river in a canoe or kayak. The trees are beautiful, lit up in all
of the glory of Fall - yellows, greens and oranges. The sky is that
ever-so-subtle shade of blue that no camera or paintbrush could
ever really capture . The only sound is the sound of your heart
beating as you hear the rapids approach.
Scenario 1 - you
look over to the shore and see a couple of families camping, children
happily playing at the water's edge, a couple of four wheel drives
parked with the camping gear and other stuff. Everyone waves. Everybody
is outdoors enjoying nature. Your mood is calm, relaxed and prepared
for what's ahead.
2 - in the distance, you hear the muffled sound of a motor
and on the adjacent shore line you can see a string of off-highway
rigs playing on a trail.
Scenario 3 - as
you round the corner of the bend a 4x4 truck comes splashing through
the water headed directly towards the entry to the rapids you have
been waiting to conquer. The water is churning, there are two or
three other trucks sitting on the bank cheering him on. You are
annoyed and irritated.
Scenario 4 -
as you round the corner of the bend you head toward the rapids,
not paying any attention to anything around you but the water, the
sky and the sound of your own heart. The experience is great and
you have conquered the rapids.
Think long and hard about
which of these scenarios you will remember during your life. Like
that person in the canoe is now doing, think about which one of
these scenarios would make you vote for or against legislation to
ban 4 wheel drive vehicles.
I were to play psychiatrist, I would say that most people would
remember scenarios 3 and 4, while 2 would be forgotten when scenario
4 played out. But it would be significantly entrenched in their
memory along side of scenario 3, and they would remember that it
was all the 4x4 causing the problem.
Pretty easy decision,
isn't it? Unfortunately, there are many of us that do not think
about the consequences of our actions when we are on a trail, when
we are leaving mud tracks from the trail onto the public highway
or streets, when we are sharing trails (including waterways) with
other outdoor adventurers, or when we casually talk about or post
information to the web about our adventures.
Ladies and gentleman,
I am here to tell you that our sport is under attack. It is under
attack by our friends, our government and every person that you
meet on the street - whether you (or they) know it or not.
you love the adventure of 'wheeling and you want to continue to
do that (especially on public lands) then you need to step up to
the plate and spend a little time thinking about what you do when
you are 'wheeling. Ask yourself questions like: