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Confessions of another ‘Green Extremist’

Letter from Ray Schoch

Motorized recreation – September 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine


Regarding Hal Walter’s August piece on getting “motorheads” off the trails: Thank you, Hal. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

I’ve had pretty much the same experiences he’s had (not counting the ones with pack stock), and liked them just about as much as he has.

Nothing I’ve seen in terms of behavior on the part of people riding trail bikes or ATV’s on the trails that I’ve been on suggests even faintly that these are people who value the outdoor experience beyond its ability to provide them with trails they haven’t already ridden, and I couldn’t agree more about the mufflers.

I feel the same way about snowmobiles. While working for a big-box office retailer in Denver last winter, I had occasion to print many copies of materials for a snowmobile association commenting on the proposed use plan for the White River National Forest, among whose assertions was the very interesting idea that a desire on the part of hikers, back country skiers, snow-shoers, and other non-motorized users of the forest in the winter for “solitude” and “silence” represented a “new paradigm” in outdoor experience.

The idea that a desire for silence and solitude on the part of hikers and other non-motorized trail users is somehow bizarrely out of step with what most people assume an outdoor experience is supposed to be like is ITSELF one of the more bizarre ideas I’ve run across recently.

If there are fewer roads, or shorter roads, it’s possible that there will be places in Colorado I won’t be able to see in person, since a 10-mile round trip is about my hiking limit. Those are the breaks. I couldn’t agree more with his assertion regarding the rights being simultaneously claimed by motor users and denied to the non-motorized.

If Hal Walter is a green extremist, then so am I.

Ray Schoch