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Dedicated to conservation and multiple use of public lands for recreation opportunities.

Edited by: John Stewart

2001: A Political Opportunity

By Del Albright

Remember the movie 2001: A Space Oddessy? Well, now that the election idiocy is over, it's time to plot our course of action for 2001 to make our own Oddessy come true. We have a new President who is more likely to understand our desires and fight for our rights. We have many new congressional representatives and local elected politicians who have yet to hear from us. And, we have new opportunities to change the way things are done.

Some of you were part of a nationwide campaign a few years back called BLITZ '97. During Blitz, we inundated our elected folks with emails and letters letting them know who we are and what we stand for. It was very effective then; it can be very effective again.

Now is the time to let our opinions be known. We need to begin 2001 with a major letter writing effort to let ALL our politicians hear from us. We need to talk about:

1. Multiple use and access for all.
2. Keeping public lands FOR the public and not FROM the public.
3. Responsible use.
4. And whatever else is important to you and your interests.

We should take the time to renew our Adopt-a-Ranger and Adopt-a-Trail efforts. Yes, that means attending a few meetings and taking bureaucrats (and politicians) on rides and out in the field with you. Let them see just what it is that we do. Get them to see things from our point of view (or at least make sure they see that there's more than one side to any story).

If we do these things now, while 2001 is still new and while new folks are settling into office, we can change the shape of our own futures. We won't accomplish this by sitting back and waiting. The folks who oppose our choice of recreation won't wait. They'll be telling their elected officials about the Endangered Species Act; National Monuments; Wildlands 2000; and the need for more Wilderness areas. We need to be there too, to keep the spectrum balanced. We need to be there to keep land access open.

For me, it still boils down to a few simple steps:

JOIN: Be sure you're a member of all those groups/clubs that support your choice of recreation.

ADOCATE: Be vocal and advocate for your sport/interest.

INCLUDE OTHERS: Get folks you know to join with you. Convince your friends and family. Through membership and recruitment, we build a stronger foundation.

LETTERS: It takes written letters! You've got to do some! Write to all your elected officials, new and otherwise, and give them a run down on what you think is important to you and your group. Don't hesitate to check out my web site, United FWDA's Public Land Owners Manual (Carla Boucher), or many other sources on the best ways to write letters.

2001 can be a changing point for us. We can perhaps reverse some actions and set a course for new actions beneficial to our way of life. But to do that, it takes all of us getting involved. Jump in now.

DEL

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