As we move forward, the below list of five items represents my view of issues that will be major factors in the legal, legislative, and administrative processes affecting recreation opportunities.
- Special Recreation Permits. A tragic accident and budget issues have focused attention on Special Recreation Permits. Citing public safety and need to recover costs associated with issuing permits, Forest Service and BLM are closely reviewing permit applications. The increased review time will translate to cost recovery where the agency will increase the cost of the permit which will increase the cost of events. And, increased requirements on events could eliminate many smaller events.
- Forest Service Travel Management. Over the past five years, the Forest Service has developed a sustainable system of routes to support the needs of Forest visitors with each Forest issuing their own Motor Vehicle Use Map. While the Forests are busy implementing Travel Management Sub-Part B, they are beginning to plan for Travel Management Sub-Part A. Under Sub-Part A, each Forest will determine the minimum system of routes necessary to support Forest management. Your continued involvement with travel management plans is critical to ensure that important recreation opportunities are not lost during the work to define a minimum system of routes.
- Image. Motorized recreation continues to be marked as “destroyers of the environment” and a danger to public safety. Image does affect land management decisions when protection of resources and public safety are considered. Our image is projected to the public though advertising and our own web sites.
- Coalition Building. Motorized recreation is characterized by many facets, each with its own set of advocates. We need to build a coalition of the different facets to develop strategy and set priorities for addressing issues common to all. While we may recreate in different manners, we are bound by two common elements. We use a motorized vehicle and we need access to a place for recreation.
- Membership and Involvement. Increasing membership of organizations and involvement of recreationists is important. As we move into the future, we will be involved with change. The sport is changing. Opportunities are changing. And, regulations are changing. Membership and involvement are key ingredients to ensuring recreation remains a viable opportunity.
The only constant is change. We are in the midst of rapid and massive change that will have a lasting impact on recreation. Now is the time to become involved. Membership in many organizations is falling off. Now is the time to examine your priorities and make your voice be heard.
I encourage everyone to become active and involved. Join a local club, state/regional association, and a national organization. Agencies will be dealing with reduced budget and staff. Working with the agency to replace the reduced budget and staff will help protect access to recreation opportunities.