|Recreational Access and Conservation - News and Information
LETTERS AND PHONE CALLS ARE IMPORTANT - Letter Writing Tips and Talking Points
Some people feel that their voice is so small it won't be heard so why bother. This is wrong! We all need to FIGHT BACK to keep our public lands open. We ALL must get involved. Since so few people actually take the time and effort to write and call, those who do are indeed heard. The extreme environmental or "Non-Access" groups know this and are constantly pushing their members to write and call. While they make up only a small percentage of people, they portray themselves as "the citizens". We need to do exactly the same if we are to stop them from influencing the government to shut down access to larger and larger areas of the very best government lands!
- Write your own letter, make your own call. Personal calls and letters have much more impact than petitions or form letters.
- Use rational logic. Not emotion.
- Make your letter short Generally make only one major point. Make that point in the
first sentence of the letter or phone call. Example, "Please do not support the Wilderness bill
because it excessively limits access to our public lands." In essence, you are "voting"
on an issue with your letter or call.
- Let the addressee know your concerns, be specific.
- Emphasize your recreation as something of value to you and others
- Mention your love of the outdoors and the environment.
- 3 short letters have much more impact than 1 long involved letter
- Add something personal/family. A photo of you and your family on a trail is very
good. Your family has been visiting this place for 20 years, and now the road is closed.
- Get others to write/call. Get your friends, parents, club members, etc to be
involved. Help them write letters. Show them what THEY are losing by road closures.
- Ask for a response, and to be allowed to give future input on this important
matter. This establishes you as an interested party. Always ask to be put on their mailing list.
- Don't --
be nasty, negative, angry, or personal. This immediately sets up an adversarial situation, which is almost
always bad and counter-productive. It is human nature to respond positively to calls for help, but to
negatively to demands for almost anything. There will indeed be times when it becomes necessary to be
adversarial with a politician or bureaucrat. This should be a last resort - and never your first
communication with them.
- Don't -- tell the politician/bureaucrat you are their boss (taxpayer).
They will only react coldly, or negatively. However, it is proper to mention you are one of the
politician's voting constituents (if you are) since they generally pay more attention to people who
can keep them in office.
- Don't --
attack the environmental community, Endangered Species Act, etc. It is proper to disagree with these
groups or with the interpretation/implementation of a law like the ESA, but do so for rational and logical
- Access to our public lands is what everyone needs to use and enjoy them. Without
access, these lands may as well be in another country.
- Roads are a valid access for the majority of citizens. Without them, only the
extremely capable hikers with lots of time can use and enjoy our public lands.
- The very young, the old, and the disabled are definitely being discriminated
against when their access by roads is taken away. "Road-less" equals "access-less"
for the majority of citizens. This is just as bad a form of discrimination as gender, religion, or
- You are an environmentalist too! The extreme-environmental groups like the
Sierra Club, SUWA, UWC, Forest Guardians, Earth First, etc, like to claim that they stand on
the "higher moral ground". Their cause is more noble than ours. They are "saving"
the land, while we are despoiling it as we drive over it. As you well know, this is simply not true.
We care about the land just as much as they do - but are open-minded enough to allow access to all, not
just an elitist group. You need to point this out to the politicians/bureaucrats.
- The self-proclaimed "citizens" groups do NOT in fact represent the view
of the majority of the citizens. The "Citizens' Proposal" by SUWA for HR-1500 really is the
very selfish opinion of a self-proclaimed, small, but very vocal, group. You are just as much a citizen
as they are. They don't represent your opinion.
- OHV use is just as valid a form of recreation on our public lands as hiking. Please
use the term OHV - Off-Highway Vehicle, not ORV - Off-Road Vehicle. We really don't want to go off the
roads. We DO subscribe strongly to the principle of "Tread Lightly!".
- You are in favor of Wilderness areas, but not the bloated and excessive plans
proposed by the Non-Access Activists.
- Closing areas and roads is actually NON-management. The charter of the BLM, Forest
Service, and National Park Service is to manage our public lands for multiple use, not to lock us out
- Rangers and "planners" make many road closures arbitrarily. This robs
the citizens of any voice in the planning or implementation.
- RS-2477 Rights of Way must be protected. The extreme environmental groups hate
RS-2477. BLM and Forest Service officials have been reluctant to accept RS-2477 designations. But it
is still a valid law, and is the key to maintaining access. Defend RS-2477 every chance you get.
- Include photos, GPS satellite data, old maps showing roads, etc. Documentation
is everything! Try writing an article for a magazine documenting a particular road or trail. Help
Counties with this data trying to defend their RS-2477 rights. SUWA is doing the opposite with
their "Road-Kill" program.