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November 5, 2005

Eco-Terrorists Close National Forests to Citizens

Aided by their pernicious allies in the MSM, the eco-terrorists are once again on the move. This time, they're closing the national forests to the very people that pay the funds necessary to maintain the forests. Predictably, the liberal Denver Post is stumbling all over themselves, steering public opinion to their view that the national forests should not be open to anyone, ever.

As the use of off-road and all-terrain vehicles tripled in recent years, there's been an alarming jump in the ecological damage done by careless drivers veering off designated roads and trails.

This is just typical Greenpeace, eco-baiting at play. It's patently and demonstrably false, but most of the voting populace are too far removed from the forests to objectively sift through the deluge of carefully orchestrated disinformation.

Let's look at the state of Colorado. At 104,100 square miles(or 66,624,000 acres), Colorado is the 8th largest state in the union. The 12 National Forests and 2 National Grasslands in the state of Colorado alone, cover over 16 million acres of land.(This page shows 16,046,266 acres, not including the Comanche National Forest.) This map may give you some idea of how much land that actually amounts to in the state.

In addition to the land set aside for National Forests and National Grasslands, there is also land under management of the BLM(Bureau of Land Management). The BLM manages approximately 8.3 million acres of land in the state.

So, the feds have a total over 24 million acres of land(24,346,266) under their control in our state. So, that's 37% of all of the total land in the state. Keep in mind that, East of the rockies, Colorado is essentially grasslands. So, it's not exactly prime real estate. Ditto for the western slopes. It's all basically high desert. The action is in the mountains, and the mountains is where the feds rule the roost. Basically, all of the mountains are under control of the feds, either as BLM or National Forests.

Then, there are the 40 Colorado State Parks, comprising over 215,000 land and water acres.

Then, there's the Jefferson County Open Space, which has purchased over 51,000 acres of land, water and facilities since 1972. The City of Boulder owns 43,000 acres. Boulder County open space has another 70,000 acres.
Denver Mountain Parks cover another 40,000 acres. Colorado Springs has 8,000 acres of parks.

So, in the end, as a state, we have roughly 25 million acres of public land to play on. And a population of a little over 4 million people. Our population density is among the lowest in the country. At41.5 people per square mile, Colorado ranks 37th out of the 50 states.

I have ridden the Forest Service roads for the last two summers. Each summer, I drove hundreds of miles across four wheel drive trails in Clear Creek County, Summit County, and Park County. Rarely would I pass more than one or two other people out riding on any given day. The exception is on big holidays like the 4th of July weekend, or Memorial Day, or possibly Labor Day, when there it is not uncommon to pass maybe 10-12 other vehicles in a day of riding.

Without exception, the other drivers that I see are obeying the law, and driving on the designated trails. I've talked to people that have been riding in the mountains for years, and they indicate that the trails have changed very little over time. There are no significant detrimental effects of off road vehicle use that I have witnessed in my extensive experience off-roading in the state.

So, my point is that, there's really not many people here, and for the people that are here, there's 25 million acres to play on. So, to say that "...there's been an alarming jump in the ecological damage done by careless drivers veering off designated roads and trails", is just patently absurd. It is demonstrably false, and I challenge the Denver Post to demonstrate that it is true.

The liberal Denver Post weighs in with another observation:

...More and more, though, our wildlife is threatened because reckless ORV use damages habitat.

Again, this is demonstrably false. I challenge the Denver Post to substantiate this allegation. I have never seen any off-road vehicles going off-trail and destroying habitat to the extent that threatened wildlife. In fact, Colorado has the largest elk population in the world. Colorado is a world-famous destination for hunting mule deer, antelope, and elk. The state is teeming with wildlife.

Most of the ATV riding I personally do is above treeline, in an area where the soil is so poor it cannot grow trees. There is no wildlife up there to speak of. Only marmots and grouse. You couldn't hit these animals with an ATV if you tried. Trust me on this one.

What the Denver Post neglects to mention, however, is that, according to the Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition (COHVCO):

The economic contribution of OHV use in Colorado is estimated to be between $204 million and $231 million, according to the Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition (COHVCO). These sales created between 3,100 to 3,500 part-time and full-time jobs and between $68 million and $76 million in labor income to proprietors and employees.

They also neglect to mention how the parks are funded:

Annual fees paid to use State Parks:

Hikers: $0.00
Bicycle Riders: $0.00
OHV(ATV,4WD, motorcycles,etc)(2004-2005: $1,525,000.00
OHV snowmobile revenue(1999-2000) $464,730.00
Total Revenue: $1,989,730.00

So, notice that hikers and mountain bikers contribute nothing, where as the motorized vehicles contribute approx $2,000,000.00 directly to the state coffers. So, how is it that the hikers have so much voice in closing our rode. We should be closing their trails instead. Or charging them an annual hiking pass permit.

The true goal of the Denver Post in particular, and the Main-Stream Media(MSM) in general, is to close the forests to everyone. Their immediate target is to close it to offroad use, but they won't stop there. After the forests are closed to off-road use, they'll be closed to mountain bikers, and finally hikers.

Finally, this action is tinged with racial overtones. It is well documented that off-road vehicle owners and operators are predominately white males. And the white male is the one minority that it is still considered politically correct to openly scorn, ridicule, and sleight.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on November 5, 2005 at 10:24 AM


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