We are kicking off 2017 with a legal fundraiser - all proceeds going directly to our legal fund. I'd like to take this opportunity to let you know why now, more than ever, a robust legal fund is so important.
Like many of you we are still trying to come to grips with the recent upheaval in national politics. For some, bold predictions are the order of this new day. We have navigated these waters before, and can provide a dose of experience and reality in guaranteeing: (1) whatever the predictions are, they will not match reality; (2) our anti-access opponents will return, particularly to the courts, with even greater zeal fueled by already brimming coffers growing at a record pace.
Sharetrails/BRC Legal needs to play a key role in guiding the recreation community through these challenges. Our legal fundraiser last year did not raise the amount required to sustain our legal retainer and we were forced to make up the difference from our General Fund. This shortfall inhibited our ability to represent your interests. In the end just a few people dug deep to take care of everyone else. That really needs to change.
We raise money for specific legal cases ahead of any engagement, but much of our legal work is done under a general retainer agreement with our attorneys. This is a very cost-effective method of getting critical work done short of, or before, going to court. It’s a great bang for the buck. You should know that our lawyers work for less than half the hourly rate that the anti-access lawyers seek (and sadly often receive) when their fees are reimbursed by our government.
What will we do with your money? There is a window of opportunity for meaningful reform, ranging from Presidential orders to agency guidance to key statutes. Opponents to change, and to our access in general, will be in court, and are likely find some judicial sympathy, particularly in fighting the perceived repeal and replacement of “environmental protections.” We need to do this right. Sharetrails/BRC Legal has unparalleled experience in this arena and we need to deploy on every front possible. Wilderness areas, National Monuments and other barriers to access – all are potentially on the table. But we need to strike while the iron is hot.
We need to make sure that we can fully fund the retainer. On a purely financial basis, we face increasingly longer odds that David did against Goliath. That is not right. Though we absolutely appreciate and can use any amount that you can donate - $5, $10, $50, I’m asking everyone who can afford it to donate $100 to this legal-specific fundraiser. If the majority in our organization pitches in anything close to this amount we can make a difference.
You want a good outcome in the legal arena? It can’t begin to happen without money. Right now that money likely means a whole lot more than it did even a few months ago and may in the future. Please give as generously as you can and help us repel threats and seize opportunities that may present themselves with the new lay of the land. Need more help with how to be an effective advocate for OHV access? We’ve made a short video that might help. Please donate now.
Thanks for your support.