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

Edited by: John Stewart

December 28, 2003

RECREATION ADVOCATES PLEDGE VOLUNTEER HOURS

Recreation groups are joining U.S. Interior Secretary Gale Norton in supporting Take Pride in America.  United Four Wheel Drive Associations (UFWDA) Director of Environmental Affairs John Stewart will present U.S. Interior Secretary Gale Norton with of pledge of 150,000 hours of volunteer work by recreation organizations to rehabilitate fire ravaged lands and help communities in need. 

Secretary Norton will be accepting pledges from Southern California organizations at a ceremony on December 31, 2003 in Pasadena, CA.  Those pledges will be featured on a float during the Rose Parade.

Recreation groups contributed volunteer efforts in the wake of the disastrous Southern California fires when members of the Tierra del Sol Four Wheel Drive Club of San Diego provided close to 600 hours aiding Red Cross and San Diego County with damage assessments.  Volunteer efforts will continue through the coming year as the Warrior Society, Cleveland and San Bernardino National Forest Off Highway Volunteers, and the California Association of Four Wheel Drive Clubs help restore recreation activities in California forests.

Each year recreationists volunteer thousands of hours in activities ranging from trail cleanups to wildlife water source maintenance.  “While fires have received much attention and their devastation is highly visible, the continued draught in the West has had an equally devastating affect on wildlife,” said Stewart.  “Groups like the Society for Conservation of Bighorn Sheep routinely contribute close to 10,000 hours each year to inspect and maintain desert water sources for wildlife.”

Since 2000, major fires have ravaged thousands of acres of forest in Colorado, Arizona, California and other Western States.  Stewart said, “UFWDA members continue to be involved with efforts to enhance recreation opportunities nation-wide including recovery work for the Hyman Fire in Colorado and the Rodeo-Chediski Fire in Arizona.”

Stewart estimates the 150,000 hours pledged as conservative.  Each year clubs nationwide spend hundreds of hours cleaning and maintaining trails.  The site may be the Rubicon Trail, a desert sand dune, or a country road in Virginia or New England.  The action is many people caring about the environment and their recreation opportunities. 

“Volunteer efforts are our way of way of helping to restore and protect the environment,” Stewart said.  “We want to be proactive and work with the land managers and local communities to maintain recreation opportunities for now and future generations.”

UFWDA (www.ufwda.org) is an international association representing over 15,000 members that are involved with motorized recreation.

Take Pride in America is a national partnership that aims to seek, support and recognize volunteers who work to improve our national parks, wildlife refuges, public lands, cultural and historic sites, playgrounds and other recreation areas.  Find out more about volunteering and Take Pride in America at www.takepride.gov. 

Contacts: Related Links:

Contact: John Stewart
Director of Environmental Affairs
United Four Wheel Drive Associations