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John Stewart

Little Wins and Rays of Hope

I’ve discovered there are “phases” in this off-road life we all love so much, especially if you’re in the game of fighting for trails and riding areas.  Like a lot of other things in life, it appears there are steps we go through – kind of like losing someone – withdrawal, denial, anger, resentment, all that stuff.  I’ve been through it all one time or another.  But the little wins and the rays of hope are what keep me going.  Allow me to share with you how that hope and light can help you as well.

John Stewart

View from the Locked Gate

A bit of sarcasm about an access lesson

The gal in uniform with the big gun on her hip smiled and waved as she installed the recessed pad lock on the gate.  I guess she thought we were happy about the road being closed.  Her rugged 4x4 government-bought pickup truck that was kinda parked in our view had all sorts of signs and decals declaring she was a public servant.  We figured it must be true.

She had sent us an official-looking letter a while back asking for comments, but the fish were a’bitin’ so we missed out on the letter-writin’.   We figured someone else would write those darn letters.  We figured wrong on all accounts.

Del Albright

The Future is Calling

The Future Is Calling -- Who will be there to answer?

By Del Albright, BlueRibbon Coalition Ambassador

Activists in off-road recreation seem to be an aging group – no offense intended.  Many of us are “gray hairs” and many are working so hard that “burnout” may cause some premature aging.  I worry that not enough young folks are taking up the torch and carrying the flame. When the future calls, will we have folks there to answer?

I was enjoying the business of an annual convention recently of the California Association of 4WD Clubs (CA4WDC) when I noticed long-time activist Jim Bramham sitting nearby with his grandson, Oscar (2 and 1/2 years old).  I swung the camera towards Oscar and said, “Hello.”  Upon hearing those familiar words, Oscar picked up his play calculator like it was a telephone and answered me back.  Cute.

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John Stewart

GPS and Go Home Button

Does your GPS unit have a simple, one-touch, Go Home button? Mine does and I love it when traveling. Makes the trip home easy to plan.

But here's a thought for you. Have you considered how easy it would be for a thief to find your house with this button? If a bad-guy gets your car keys, thus your car, there's a good chance you have a home key on the same key ring. So he gets the car started, pushes your Go Home button, follows the route and there he is, right at your front door with YOUR keys.

So my advice is to chart your Go Home button to a very nearby place – but not your house. Heck, just a few houses down would be enough to keep a car key stealing thief from finding your exact location.

There are a ton of websites out there to help you choose a GPS if you don't have one yet. I do recommend having one in your off road rig (and your RV if you play with big toys). It's a very helpful tool and be most useful in an emergency as well – you can direct in emergency folks with way points (lats and longs).

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John Stewart

Build a coalition; save a trail

Friends groups or coalitions are a significantly solid way to save your trail or riding area – especially where you need mixed uses working together. For example, if your riding area is used by dirt bikes, atv's and 4x4's, a Friends group (or coalition) is the way to go. This will save your trail in the long run. Folks have got to work together and find ways to cooperate in order to keep the anti-access crowd from shutting you down. I started Friends of the Rubicon 8 years ago and we've been saving the Rubicon ever since. We had to ban together for several reasons, but most importantly we also had to set aside club and organizational issues so we were all on the same team.

When you work under a Friends group banner, it's easy to set aside turf battles or disagreements, and get the job done together.

There are literally dozens of new Friends groups formed up all over the country recently. They are saving trails and winning land use battles. Some examples include Friends of Eldorado, Friends of Fordyce, Friends of Greenhorn, Friends of High Lakes, and many more. It WORKS! You become a much more powerful group when you include other groups, clubs and recreationists. Give it a shot. I'll be happy to help you get started.

Read more about the process on my web site right here: http://www.delalbright.com/Articles/coalitions.htm

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