With Congress back in session, our staff and policy experts have been working full-speed with members of the presidential transition team and with members of Congress to prepare them on steps they can quickly take to right many of the environmental wrongs of the past eight years.
The President’s Council on Environmental Quality developed this report about off-road vehicle use on public lands in 1979. This well-written and insightful report offers a historical perspective about how the modern off-road vehicle came to be and analyzes the issues surrounding ORV use on public lands, the policies taken by the land agencies to address the issues, and offers solutions.
By God, it was my right. No one could tell me I couldn't chop new roads through national forest land with my off-road vehicle and my chainsaw.
I paid my taxes. This land belonged to me. If a few trees had to be cut and some makeshift roads had to be opened, well, too bad. It was worth it if I got to have a little more fun. My buddies in New Mexico and millions more around the country probably felt the same way.
"We see a growing amount of aggressive and lawless behavior taking place on off-road vehicles," says Harrison Schmitt, executive director of Responsible Trails America, a national group that calls for off-road vehicles to use designated trails. "We're starting to see people tired of the abuse and beginning to take the law into their own hands."
…In 2007, 4.7 million off-highway vehicle users visited public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), compared with 3.8 million in 2004, the agency reports.
Our number for snowmobiles in Yellowstone is zero, the number proposed by the Clinton administration. Had it been accepted, eight years ago, the winter economy of the communities surrounding Yellowstone would have long since adjusted. The transition from snowmobiles to snow coaches would be complete, and there is every likelihood that winter tourism would be up, in a quieter, cleaner, more pristine Yellowstone.
Citing evidence that the US Forest Service failed to comply with environmental laws, a federal judge agreed with conservationists concerns and struck down the Salmon-Challis National Forest’s Travel Management Plan, which would have allowed motorized use on hundreds of miles of trails - causing damage to forest resources like clean water, wetlands and wildlife.