4x4 Guys

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Rut Row
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4x4 Guys

Post by Rut Row » Thu Apr 07, 2011 6:05 am

I've been emailing Preston Stevens, President, Middle Atlantic Four Wheel Drive Association. I thought you would appreciate this message. I'll try to go see him on the 15th.
Hi Ken,

As you have likely figured out. This is much deeper than the way it appears on the surface. It would likely be beneficial to put together a stragegy meeting. This goes much deeper than just the DNR and ECO nuts. Anti's if you will.

You all are one of the few truely organized ATV groups in the area. I worked with you all to some extent in the `90's with the GWNF ten year disaster. They called it a plan. It turned out to be a Sierra Club wish list and when the Forest Service wanted to close something to fit their agenda, the plan was even more worthless.

Here are one of the real challenges, and it really takes the teeth out of our arguement, particularly for you ATV folks. The northern portion of the ORV loop, especially on East Valley Road has been trashed by renegade riders. Even the Fire Suppression pond has been breeched several times. Fortunately for us in four wheel drive, there has been almost no problems regarding four wheel drive renegades. On the other hand, we will lose out, likely, as well.

Ironically, on the GWNF, it appeared the locals had that 180 degrees out. They were killing four wheel drive with "daddy's" pick-up.

One of the other issues that really is putting a crimp in any campaign that we may put forth, is the total lack of knowledge of public land managment by the majority of those I saw at that meeting. Beating up on the timber folks and timber managment is a huge mistake. We very much need those folks in our camp. I had been fairly successful in getting those folks on our side.

The routes that we use are either county roads, CCC built roads or timber skid or tram roads. A managed forest is a healthy forest and 25% of any money made from a given operation go straight to the local county treasury. I have been enjoying Maryland State Forests since the 1960's. I have seen what works and what does not. Ironically, a clear cut (deferred) cut comes back better and faster than any other procedure. It just is not policially acceptable. If we could tighten up the OHV community relationship with the DNR, then these operations could lead to additional access. Even if a given site would be open for only so many years. Access/opportunity is access/opportunity.

Other than maybe you all, the ATV folks have not gone out of their way to work with the DNR. Meet with Mark Beals. Discuss ways to make things better. That hurts when that does not happen. Worse yet, most individual bitch, not offer constructive suggestions or solution.

I heard many folks referring to Green Ridge as "park." Parks are managed very different from a Forest, state and federal. You always want the land management agency feel that you know more about land management than they do, or at least as much. Any time folks try to make an arguement, but come off as they are clueless, much of the message is lost or not taken serious.

Unfortunately, I saw this coming probably 5 to 8 years ago. I even took it to the Blue Ribbon. All that happened was nasty comments from other readers, rather than addressing the issue. Only one understood where I was coming from. I even asked BRC for a list of ATV groups in this area. They said there were none. Since Adena Cook backed away from that group and Clark Collins refusal to work closely with United Four Wheel Drive, I have had little use for BRC. It was all his way or nothing. Had he been willing to work more a team, we would have made a very powerful coalition.

Since then, apathy has been winning out. How does that go? " We have met the enemy and it is us."

I and the DNR have been exploring developing an ORV/OHV park. Wills Mountain was one site that I actually went out with them to look at. Unfortunately, access is very limited and generally through a private track or a residential neighborhood. The local residents would have likely made that project dead on arrival. It would have been nice, especially for you all. Short of an all out unified campaign, ATV access on Stafford and East Valley is on life support.

I will be up there on the 15th for the weekend with a few of our membership. We will be staying at the G1 site on Wallizer Road. Feel free to stop by, particularly in the evening around the campfire. It is the groupsite near White Sulphur Pond.

Preston Stevens
President, Middle Atlantic Four Wheel Drive Association
Ken
2019 Mystery Bike; EM Escape? Harley Road King? :shrug:
2014 Yamaha FZ-09 Adventure
2011 KTM 450 Xc-W Six Days (plated)
1972 Honda CL350 Scrambler (project)
Die young as late as possible, remember who you were before the world told you how it should be. -- Barry Morris

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Hare
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Re: 4x4 Guys

Post by Hare » Thu Apr 07, 2011 4:15 pm

many good points especially about the loggers, they are our friends. we need to recruit we need numbers, the people with the machines are out there, we just need to get them together under one banner.

MD Riders Access Foundation

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Re: 4x4 Guys

Post by Rut Row » Fri Apr 08, 2011 5:45 am

Here's more from Preston
I wish I could attend that meeting. But, I have to work on that Monday. I will be towing a 29' travel trailer. Leaving late is not so smart for me.

To make things worse about today. At about 11:00am today, I found out the meeting I had to be at was cancelled, because the key person called out sick. I think he was really not ready to deal with me and the hospital's issues with their work.

I am sorry to say, that our Green Ridge rep that was to be there, is likely one of the most liberal people in our group. Nature Conservancy. Need I say more.

It alt to be quite interesting for Mark. He is new to being a Manager. Francis fought closure tooth and nail. Thus, this never was a consideration in his book.

Mark being new, is under the microscope. His is in a no win position. You have to get some tenure before you can grow a set in that position. Users are going to give him a ton of grief.

They let go a long time friend and forest manager from another state forest year before last. I did not get all of the details, which we likely will not. I heard something went south with a timber project. This is really odd, too. He is one of the most knowledgible people I have ever met when it comes to timber management. A real good public speaker to. Very interesting.

He did make some tactacle errors with the sportsmen in that area, as well. He really got in hot water with that. There too, he is a advid hunter. He was trying to do the "right" thing. But, he tangled with the wrong group. That actually cost us premium access.

There is likely something else behind the 18 month closure. It might actually be good. Okay, I do tend to seek out that silver lining.

Did they say if it was an outright closure, or just unlicensed vehicles?

Stafford Road access private inholdings. and there are 4 roads that tie into Stafford Road.

When you folks submit comments, here are some things to consider.

I do not know if Maryland respects "prescriptive rights." But, that ORV loop was designated so in 1976.

West of East Valley Road next to the northern section, is some legislative declared State Wildlands. Maryland's version of "Wilderness." It is nearly as bad as the Federal designation, too. Still. East Valley was designated a state ORV route long before the Wildlands designation, I believe. I feel pretty confident about that. The road that is closed off along that route is in too good of shape to be an old road.

The section on Stafford Road that they are so concerned about the rattlesnake habitate is the least abused section of the entire loop and sees the least ATV traffic as well. That section is geared more toward four wheel drive than ATV. As you know, much of it is rocky and rough as a cob. Just what our group loves.

I have never seen anyone harass those snakes. For sure, I would not.

I truely do not think the certification is as much as the reason for this closure, as much as it is a tool for some to do so. The certifcation "could" be a good thing, really. But, I highly doubt the timber value will out weigh the cost of administering this process. It takes tons of man hours and lots of documentation. It is very similar to the Joint Commission I have to deal with at the hospital. In other words, the hospital pays them to make our lives miserable. They cost hospitals millions, just to make sure we all score well. They often cause poeple their jobs.

Francis Zumbrun did an outstanding job managing that forest. He really knows his stuff. Yet, even though he wanted to open more stuff up to us and you all. His hands were too often tied. In the "Peoples Republic State of Maryland" common sense and government are rarely in the same sentence.

Remember, do not accept "no" for an answer. Ralley the troops. Get any Maryland residents in your group to write their elected representatives. Copy the State Senators and Delegates that represent that area. We can turn this around. But, we have to beat our way through the apathy that runs knee deep in our groups.

Our younger members are into "instant gratification." Many of our older members are tired of fighting and end up abandoning sport for something less political. Of course, there goes your experience and deep knowlege.

Unfortunately, places like Rausch Creek, while really nice, well managed and the like, kill any organized efforts to maintain access to oper public lands. Paragon really killed our movement. We had developed a very strong lobby within our local club. After Paragon, it was "I would rather pay for it, rather than work for it."

We have the numbers, especially combining our efforts. If we could just get all our membership to all participate.

Hope to see you next Friday or Saturday.

Have a great day!
Ken
2019 Mystery Bike; EM Escape? Harley Road King? :shrug:
2014 Yamaha FZ-09 Adventure
2011 KTM 450 Xc-W Six Days (plated)
1972 Honda CL350 Scrambler (project)
Die young as late as possible, remember who you were before the world told you how it should be. -- Barry Morris

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