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This Thursday, March 13, the House Natural Resources Committee, Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands has scheduled a hearing on the impacts of unmanaged off-highway vehicles on federal lands.

Although as of this writing no witness list had been posted on the Subcommittee's website, both BRC Executive Director, Greg Mumm, and our Western Regional Representative, Don Amador, have been in contact with Subcommittee staff. Pending any last minute changes, the witness list will include representatives from the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, as well as a sheriff from New Mexico, a doctor from Children's Mercy Hospital, a Tribal representative and a retired Game and Fish officer.

Also testifying will be Ken Rosevear, American Sand Association (ASA), and Russ Ehnes, National Off Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC).

More info on the hearing can be found on the web, including a link to view the hearing live via internet: CLICK HERE

The hearing appears to be designed to bring both Congressional scrutiny and another round of bad press (here we go again), again vilifying the tens of millions of OHV users.

But it is also an opportunity to let your Congressional representatives know how important OHV use is to you and your family, and to bring Congress's attention to the fact that they have not funded recreation commensurate to its importance to the American people. So we are asking our members to send email to the House subcommittee.

We've put together some very simple instructions below for a "cut and paste" email, including suggested comments from both BRC and from Larry Smith at Americans for Responsible Recreational Access (ARRA). Follow the simple instructions and send your email today.

Come Thursday morning, I imagine we'll be reading in the newspapers how eeeeevil OHV users are. Please know that BRC and other national OHV groups talk to the media often, it's just that most of them are biased against OHV users and rarely print what we say.

Thanks in advance for your action.

Brian Hawthorne
Ric Foster
BRC's Public Lands Department
(208) 237-1008 ext 107

PS: BRC will be submitting formal written testimony as well as attending in person. But your emails will make a difference. Please take a minute and use our step-by-step instructions.


Easy Step-by-Step instructions on how to send your comments to the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands for the hearing on the impacts of OHV recreation on Federal Lands:

NOTE: Your email will be considered Congressional Testimony. You must be polite and scrupulously accurate and factual.

STEP 1: Open your email program and start a draft email. Address it to [email protected] and [email protected]. Also, please cc to BRC at [email protected].

STEP 2: Cut and paste the following comments in to your email:

I understand that OHV use should be managed, but I want to be clear that wholesale closure does not equal effective management.

OHV recreation is a legitimate use of federal lands, and has been recognized as such by federal land managers.

OHV recreation can be managed and sustainable, while also providing a valuable recreational experience for OHV enthusiasts.

Motorized recreation is a family activity that offers an opportunity for parents and children to experience all that our public lands have to offer in a unique manner.

The U.S. Forest Service has identified "unmanaged" recreation as one of four key threats to forest lands. If unmanaged recreation is such a top threat, then why won't the agency put recreation management as a top priority in their budget?

The Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management both indicated that partnering with local constituents through effective volunteer programs is essential to long-term success, yet very little to that end is taking place on the ground. When OHV users ask "can we help," all too often the answer is "no."

Education and enforcement, including useful maps and signage, are crucial elements to resolving OHV issues, and yet the agencies have not made any of these components a priority in their efforts to move to actively managed OHV recreation.

STEP 3: Take just a minute to add a bit about where you live and where you like to ride. Be certain to include your name and address. A return email address is NOT sufficient! ("anonymous" emails are often discarded) Then click "send" and you're done!
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