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Backcountry United: An Open letter to the Snowmobile Industry.

MountainCat1

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Oct 4, 2015
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Montana
Depends on where you live. My area has an extensive network of "Jeep roads". The proliferation of ATVS and UTVS has become an issue more in recent years that ever before. There are tens of thousands of those buzz bombs ripping around the forest here, all summer long. It is huge business too, rentals, repairs etc.


In 2005 there were almost none and I was fighting the sled issue.
I again ask the question: Are there TOO many outdoor recreationists competing for the use of available public land?
 

kidwoo

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Dec 28, 2008
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Depends on where you live. My area has an extensive network of "Jeep roads". The proliferation of ATVS and UTVS has become an issue more in recent years that ever before. There are tens of thousands of those buzz bombs ripping around the forest here, all summer long. It is huge business too, rentals, repairs etc.


In 2005 there were almost none and I was fighting the sled issue.
I made the mistake of being in Moab on Memorial Day weekend a few years ago. I think there were more side by sides than people.

Definitely not around in 2005, but the rules governing them were put into place then. There's not much more they can do as far as laws at this point. Other than just shut even more down.
 

kidwoo

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And oh by the way, who controlled the house in 1984?
Oh wait, it was the democrats.

It absolutely does make a difference who's in power. Quit trying to mislead.
The house alone does not pass laws.

Mislead? It's reality. A republican president signed those wilderness expansions in 1984. Why? Because he was equestrian who got taken out to some of these places and wanted to 'conserve' them.

And a democrat president signed the omnibus wilderness expansion bills in 2009.


You can focus on party all you want but to have faith in either that this will somehow stop this nonsense will bite you in the posterior. Boulder-White Clouds wilderness happened because of a republican. I trust neither.
 

Jaynelson

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Nov 26, 2007
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Nelson BC
I again ask the question: Are there TOO many outdoor recreationists competing for the use of available public land?
There are definitely enough that you're only going to see more conflicts. We see it up here....with the backcountry getting exponentially busier than it was years ago. I can only imagine that with 10 times the population in USA that it's even more of an issue.
 

donbrown

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Nov 26, 2007
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Sadly,I have no long term panacea solutions to offer that have not been suggested above in this needed discussion. The only thing that I can contribute is that loss of access to the "back-country" is not confined to ATVs & Sleds; I live in rural Montana (ranch country) and access for fishing & hunting is being being bought-out by affluent private interests thereby excluding the public. Even simple "horn hunting" for sheds has become a cut-throat activity in the public land. At this rate, the increasing sheer numbers of disrespectful, selfish individuals recreating in our public lands will destroy the joy for all. That begs the question, or "elephant in the room", is there simply TOO many outdoor recreationists competing for the available space on our public lands??
In Yosemite National Park it used to be anyone to climb up HALF DOME. Now you need permission. More people wanting to see nature.

But don't worry there is an area riddled with half domes.

There are many half domes in the Sequoia National Forest. So many the public asked to make more roads and parking lots so to go to the area and see the public lands.

What happened …. "The Domeland Wilderness is located at the southern end of the Kern Plateau. This land was first protected by the Wilderness Act of 1964 as a 62,695 acre wilderness and was later expanded to 130,081 acres in 1984 to include the delicate transition ecosystems that meet to the east, south, and north of the original wilderness. These new additions, now jointly managed by the Bureau of Land Management and Sequoia National Forest, are rugged and dry. Permits are not required for day use or overnight trips. Overnight camping is permitted though limited to 14 days. After 14 days, campers must relocate at least 25 miles from their previous site. No more than 15 people and 25 head of stock are allowed on overnight trips.

It was common to have groups of people hike thru the area for days at a time.
Head of stock …. mule trains of horses / donkeys packing in food and supplies. Don't worry the people doing these were ticketed and told not to come back.

Yet a chosen few along with Forest upper management go there many times … to make sure no one else does.
 

Matte Murder

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May 4, 2011
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It all comes down to money and votes and lawyers. We are so outgunned in the money department which also limits are ability to buy lawyers. I’m not sure about the votes either. So many people vote on emotion rather than information.
The only real chance we have long term is making a coalition of ALL freedom loving people. Car guys, boat guys, gun guys, motorcycle guys, fishermen, hunters, pilots, etc and the friends and families of all these people. An attack on ANY of the sub-groups needs to be beat back by the entire group.
I remember about 20-25 yrs ago there was an editorial in Car and Driver basically saying the same thing. He referenced the gun issue and that car guys shared a lot of the same issues as 2nd Amendment people and that the only way to stop the assault on internal combustion engines was to relate to everyone’s else battle for the freedom to own the things they wanted and use those same things.
 

Dogmeat

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Get out and vote next month, and vote Republican.
When the Democrats are in power, we lose land.
Always have, always will.
Pretty easy way to make a difference.
In this day and age you're just picking the lesser of two evils. Anymore, I can't even tell which is "less" regarding stances on motorized access to recreating on public land.

The Republicans have a huge donor base of folks that own ungodly large tracts of land in the Western US, and they've participated as much the last 15 years in the land giveaways as the democrats have ...
 

BackcountryUnited

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Sep 28, 2018
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I'm trying to understand how this forum works.

I would be happy to offer him a free premium account.
But given your generally "Hostile" attitude towards compromise in any Way, Shape or Form, I am not sure he would find much of a welcome friendly debate.??
I appreciate the opportunity to "hash" this out with anyone, but 1. Christopher is right, the few sledders who choose to be combative and ignorant are never going to ditch their selfish know-it-all angry attitudes, or their loud-ass aftermarket cans (that make zero more horsepower, btw), and 2. when is SnoWest forums going to move to a more modern user interface that doesn't require primitive coding skills to navigate?

I seriously mean no offense here, but this industry is operating in the dark ages here, afraid to invest in keeping up with the world around us—while the Outdoor Industry continues to crush us with modern sophisticated technology and media that influences the masses to engage with their conversations and bolster the belief that WE (snowmobilers) are destroying our National Forests.

Anyway, sorry it took me so long to figure out how to engage in this forum conversation. But bring it on. I'm ready to debate!

I'll do my best to navigate the dinosaur operating platform while I'm at it.
 

BackcountryUnited

New member
Sep 28, 2018
31
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"Big10Inch" is a very impressive name.

Mostly, I think he needs further education on the subject. I would love to see his enthusiasm re-directed into efforts that may get us somewhere rather than towards the failed attempts of the past that have been proven not to be effective.


Like I keep saying, the things on his list are not new ideas. They are the low hanging fruit of the problem and will unfortunately not be productive towards his stated goals.
Thanks for the constructive comment "Big10Inch", you're full of criticism of what I had to share, but I see zero IDEAS from you that actually propose anything better.
 

BackcountryUnited

New member
Sep 28, 2018
31
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8
Staying on the groomed trail would be boring.

spread the love.stay on the groomed trail.
If snowmobiling was restricted to groomed trails, the industry would fold. I know I would stop riding altogether!

In the east, I get it. But in the west, that's the only reason to get out there.
 

BackcountryUnited

New member
Sep 28, 2018
31
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Let's talk.

YES, the loud can thing HAS been addressed. I already stated that over ten years ago CSA supported a bill to limit loud sleds AND supported a bill that allowed increased enforcement of the first law. So it is already illegal to run a can louder than the limit. If you think everybody is going to obey the law, you just might be crazy. NOBODY obeys every law, everybody makes their own choices.


I think it is fine to encourage each other but I think it is a total cop out to say that is what is losing us land. In fact I beat that dumb argument in my last land management plan revision. Seems the highway goes right through the riding area and the trucks coming up and down the mountain were a bigger noise issue than the sleds, I was able to PROVE this to the USFS/BLM in this particular area.


You will NEVER be able to remove their arguments, never. They will find an "endangered species" to fight you with and win at the end of the day, ask a logger...


We need to be FAR more aggressive. You are unfortunately still mired in what doesn't work. You end up helping them by dividing our own ranks with dumb arguments like your can is too loud. Sledding is all about freedom. Suggesting that the way to win is to further limit our freedoms is backwards.


Using the FACTS is a great way to go, it helped me. You will never be lily white in their eyes and I think it is a waste of time and energy to try and be that. It is just another win for the opposition. Stop giving them that much power. Do you really think you can beat them by playing it clean? They don't even bother pretending, dirty is the way to win. Maybe it is time we take a page from the winning teams play book and fight back? Problem is, this is too risky for most, so here we sit, losing time and again.


List me those wins using your ideas. Not mitigated losses but wins because there is a HUGE difference.


I have done my time in the trenches. Nobody truly cared enough to even really help last time I gave of my time and resources. Besides, you are still proposing to fight a losing battle. When you are ready to stage a massive snowmobile protest on closed lands, let me know. Anything less is a waste of my time.
I would love to have a phone conversation with you about your experience, and see what could be learned. (Thank you for the fight you put up when you did. I do appreciate it.)
 

BackcountryUnited

New member
Sep 28, 2018
31
4
8
I'm all ears.

Everyone, this is Jon, the original author of the op-ed posted above.

Look, I am not here because I want a fight. I wrote the "Open Letter" as a way to distract Winter Wildlands, call out OEM people I knew indirectly, and get our community riled up and talking.
3 birds. 1 stone.

The work we are doing at Backcountry United is a purely grassroots effort. I am organizing people and the industry one conversation at a time, and hoping that through ALL of our love for snowmobiling, we can plant a seed and infect a popular sentiment that snowmobile access to public lands is not the terrible evil that Winter Wildlands Alliance has influenced into the Outdoor Industry and US Forest Service.

I am not going to stop because somebody else tried it before and they were unsuccessful. I have access to real influence over the conversation in our community and the sled and ski/snowboard industries, and I believe that my team and my relationships are already making a difference. AND we are just getting started.

So if you want to be the type that says "F YOU I'LL DO WHAT I WANT!", then go right ahead and be that asshole. Enjoy your life.

But if you want to open your mind and have a conversation about how to change the many negative perceptions of our sport, then let's have a conversation! I think you'd be surprised at how many people me and my supporters have softened with this approach.

Are we going to win them all? Definitely not.
But it's still worth trying, and we are gaining momentum.

You can email me with any feedback, or set up a call with me, at:
backcountryunited@gmail.com

Thanks.
 

Big10inch

Well-known member
Mar 11, 2018
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Thanks for the constructive comment "Big10Inch", you're full of criticism of what I had to share, but I see zero IDEAS from you that actually propose anything better.




You should read more closely if you haven't seen my ideas for how to combat this...


Changing the perception of sleds among greenies is a valiant idea but as long as they burn gas and make noise, at the end of the day you will lose that battle.


You also seem to miss that most of the conflict is based on selfish needs and wants, not facts. The skiers want the land for themselves, period. They want the easy access to the greatest ski venues, they want it quiet and deserted. I haven't seen anyone successful at changing this human condition but you are welcome to try it I guess.


I think you also need to start looking at how we ended up here today. WWA didn't show up to the USFS office one day with cookies and milk to help sweeten them up while they whispered sweet nothings in their ear. They showed up with lawyers and threats and doom and gloom predictions. They became a thorn in the side of the land managers and in the absence of a similar protest from motorized users the USFS caved and gave them what they want because it was less painful for them than the fight. This is the squeaky wheel getting the grease...


I propose that we as sledders become the new squeaky wheel. We have the facts on our side. The stories about how the noise and pollution from our sleds is hurting the wildlife and environment are all fictional. That has never mattered much. Trying to befriend your foe hasn't worked either, they will patronize you to your face all day long then return to base and start fighting you with the same lies the very next day.


My idea is... that we stage massive protests in/around closed areas. We need media coverage, we need signs displaying the facts, we need to become a serious enforcement issue to the USFS, we need them to understand that we are done taking a back seat and want our rights to the public lands back.


So you can try to win hearts and minds back, best of luck with that. I think it is a backwards approach. We first need to engage in some civil disobedience to get everybody's attention. We need to turn the tables on the other side, then we can engage in your touchy feely approach to mend the reputation created when we assaulted the system. Going with the sensitive approach has netted us nothing but losses because it shows how truly weak we are. They just steamroll right over us.