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Action needed tonight to save Swell trails! (Read 40 times)

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Action needed tonight to save Swell trails!
10/02/18 at 08:13:56
Action needed tonight to save Swell trails!

I wish this were a joke, but TONIGHT we really need OHV enthusiasts from across the country to call Senator Mike Lee's office in D.C. (202-224-5444) and urge him to oppose S. 2809, the Emery County Public Land Management Act.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) at 8am Mountain Time, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will vote to pass this bill to the Senate floor. As a member of this committee and a traditional defender of responsible OHV recreation, Sen. Lee is in the best position to call out this bill for attempting to phase out OHV riding in the San Rafael Swell.

The Emery County bill may not close trails immediately, but it would inevitably sunset our sport in a premiere riding area. Specifically the bill prohibits the construction of any new motorized routes--even temporarily---anywhere in the Swell at any point in the future. This sort of blanket ban prevents the realignment of trails as needed, prevents short links to make the existing network more useful, and even prevents the hand-building of a singletrack for e-bikes. While banning new routes, the bill does nothing to protect old routes (not even establishing a flexible policy of "no net loss"), thereby creating a sort of ratchet strap with no release mechanism.

What's worse, the Senate version of this bill refuses to recognize motorized use as a legitimate form of recreation in the Swell. The House version had actually clarified that the recreational purpose includes "non-motorized and motorized" uses, a simple amendment from Rep. Bishop that passed unanimously. We are astonished to report that the Senate version strikes this amendment, essentially challenging the basic legitimacy of motorized recreation across this million-acre "recreation area" (half of which would be closed in perpetuity through wilderness designation). We are hopeful that Sen. Lee will insist on conserving diverse recreation opportunities within the remaining half that's open now, not just for the next year, but for the next generation.

We'd love to show you the new version of S. 2809, but it hasn't been released publicly despite that the Senate committee will vote on it first-thing tomorrow morning. In fact, the offices of Sen. Hatch and Rep. Curtis waited until 4:30pm Mountain Time to notify any OHV advocates of their intention to fast-track the bill. With the support of national OHV groups, the local OHV clubs have been requesting four modest changes since June, and since then we have gotten little more than stalling tactics from the bill's sponsors.

You could call the offices of Sen. Hatch and Rep. Curtis as well (202-224-5251 and 202-225-7751), but the most important call is to Sen. Lee (202-224-5444). Tonight leave a voicemail and, for extra credit, write him a letter that is both respectful and personal (mentioning your experience in the Swell, spending in Emery County towns like Green River, and concerns with how the bill would affect the outlook of OHV riding):
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Finally, please send RwR a copy of your message to Sen. Lee (by emailing Clif at RideWithRespect dot org).

It's a shame, as this bill could've been fixed to benefit all parties. However the bill's sponsors have been virtually deaf to responsible recreationists including OHV clubs like the Sage Riders and Castle Country that have volunteered thousands of hours in Swell (not to mention Swenson Strategies and a dozen national OHV groups). Apparently Utah's own representatives need an immediate reminder of how important 4WD, ATV, and motorcycling is to Utahns and visitors alike.
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Have fun, ride safe, keepem wheels down, and see you at the Jamborees,
The ATVUtah.com Forums Team.
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Re: Action needed tonight to save Swell trails!
Reply #1 - 10/02/18 at 17:46:34
Calls done,  thinking on the letter next
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