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

Edited by: John Stewart

Drawing a Line in the Sand

By Jody Czapla

As a group, we need to decide where to draw our line in the sand concerning road closures. Do we just ignore the small road closures and pretent that it is okay because no one really ran that trail? Or, do we fight to keep them all open?

Doing land use has been a real eye opener for me. I never thought about how many trails are out there and how many there used to be. One of the questions we have to ask ourselves is "What is worth fighting for?" As recreationists, I believe that we are at a great disadvantage. We lack the money and the people to fight to keep our trails open. I am tired of people calling me and saying "I heard that they are going to close so and so trail. What can YOU do about it?"

You know what? I can try to find a way to keep it open. I can put hours and hours of research into that trail and find out if it meets certain critiera to keep it open. I can make a lot of long distance phone calls to people and fight to keep the trail open. I can send letters to the offices of the federal and state land management agencies and local land use boards. I can send letters to elected officials. I can send e-mail to others and have them respond to flood the office of whomever is trying close that trail.

Here is the important question: What will you do to keep that trail open? If you can take the time to call someone and say "They are going to close that trail", can you take the time to help those of us doing land use? Can you take the time to work with us to keep that trail open? I don't mean putting in 50 hours of work or doing $50.00 of phone calls or sending out 50 letters or 50 e-mails. While those are important tasks, I mean ask the person doing land use in your area what you can do to help.

Your land use person might ask you to do something as simple as finding an old map with that trail on it. Or, asking you to talk to old timers in the area that remember the trail and have them put something down on paper about the history of the trail. The land use person might want something as simple as pictures of the trail and a description of any work done on it. These things would take up very little of your time and would help out your land use person a great deal.

Consider this, if you do these small things, it will take up a small part of your time. If you do nothing to help out, think of all the time you will have to spend brooding when that trail you love is closed.

Where do we draw that line in the sand? We don’t have the resources to do all we need to do nor do we have the time to do what it takes. If you haven’t looked lately, there few people doing land use in your area. Those that do are limited in time and money. Do we let the 'little' trails go and fight for the big ones? Do we fight for certain areas? What do we do? Where do we draw our line in the sand? The next time you call and tell your land use person that a trail is in danger of being closed, ask what you can do to help. Ask not what they can do, ask what you can do to help keep that trail open.

Contacts: Related Links:
  • Jody Czapla
    Colorado Association Of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs
    Land Use Northern District