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It won’t be hard to christen a jackass

Letter from Dave Skinner

Motorized Recreation – September 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine


As usual, the August edition of Colorado Central was a cover-to-cover. As an ex-railroader, I was surprised and impressed with Sharon Chickering’s report on the Leadville Mineral Belt.

In stark contrast, however, Marcia Darnell’s fey little item on the land-use forum in Monte Vista was an insult, not only to readers, but to the participants. That Darnell had to trot out the “UN blackhelicopteritis” angle to make her point was careless and lazy.

The fact is, these folks (some of whom I have working relationships with) aren’t the hayseeds Darnell made them out to be. Jones (and many other professionals) is completely right that the massive amount of work needed to do public forest rehab can, and should, be done in such a way that it can pay for itself. Hell, we’re blowing $15,000,000 up the smokestack every day as I write this, wasting millions of dollars and trees. Is that somehow better than well-done restoration and harvest that could provide jobs and improve the habitat we all wish to conserve?

Jay Walley is correct about the Nature Conservancy, too. Like most land trusts, TNC doesn’t actually take direct physical or fiscal care of the land it supposedly preserves. Instead, TNC acts as nothing more than a high-dollar real estate and lobbying firm that temporarily acquires land, quickly sells at a profit to taxpayer funded agencies and entities that will assume the actual burden of maintaining the land in a desired condition, and then spews press releases hogging all the credit.

As for Hal Walter’s pissy rip on “motorheads,” it’s obvious that “multiple use” only covers the multiple times Walter would like to have exclusive use of the public lands for his purposes, and only his.

By his descriptions, the evil “motorheads” all stuck to good practices for actively sharing public access infrastructure: stopping, slowing down, taking whatever steps needed so as not to endanger other trail users. But nooooo. Even though 98% of recreation visit days are in some form motorized (how do you get that burro to the race, Hal?), Walter wants to segregate them into small areas so the 2% of forest recreationists that play like he does won’t be “disturbed” as they prance through their private preserve.

Well, if I ever buy a racing jackass, I’ll name it Hal … or Marcia.

Dave Skinner

Whitefish, Mont.