Learn a lesson from ORV'ers

  Dear HCN,

ORV groups (HCN, 12/9/96) succeed mainly because they are funded by an industry that profits from increased ORV use, and because they have a one-issue focus of striving to keep and increase access to public lands. There are no one-issue groups focused on fighting them. Environmental groups all have other battles to fight.

It is easy for environmentalists to be labeled as elitists by ORV users when their arguments against ORVs are not clearly focused on the environment. People who hate the noise of ORVs or have had a backcountry trip ruined by rude ORV users have a completely valid complaint but a weak environmental argument. Environmentalists must point out the environmental damage caused by ORVs.

At the same time they must work with hikers, rafters, skiers and other muscle-powered sports enthusiasts to form a complete argument to stem the tide of increasing motorized use. The environmental damage caused by ORVs, coupled with how they counter the aesthetic values of many other users, should be enough to mandate some reasonable restrictions on ORV use. But the arguments must be made forcefully, and more importantly, by the right groups.

Rick Price

Victor, Idaho