By Del Albright
This story is about off-pavement motorized recreation and how the "cowboy" claim to fame of riding free is just not real anymore. Not for us as people who put a motor rather than an horse under us.
Now please don't get me wrong, there is a ton of "freedom" built into what we do; but in today's world we cannot behave like riding and roping cowboys on public land and expect to have a "horse" under us much longer. By that I simply mean we must follow the rules, obey the laws, be good stewards, and set the example for the younger folks behind us.
I also pray (literally) that we will always have real cowboys on ranches, doing real horse riding, roping and cattle driving. I also fight for and work hard to help make sure cattle grazing on public lands continues to be a viable lifestyle. But here I speak of motorized recreation and how the "cowboy" in us must be corralled.
While it would be hard for me to argue the point that we might have too much big government in some circumstances, there are just some rules we need to follow when you are on the throttle or gas pedal. And if we follow them, and be part of developing them by getting involved, then we can keep our motors running and our "horses" fed.
It still boils down to all of us doing our part; joining organizations that make sense to us; being good stewards of the lands (and waters) we enjoy; obeying the rules; and setting the example for others who also want to enjoy our great backcountry by motor.
NOTE: for a good example of a recreation code of ethics, see what BlueRibbon Coalition/Sharetrails has to offer: http://archive.sharetrails.org/node/14768
Original author: Del Albright