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Know the West

Check your facts on ORVs

  Dear HCN,

I think Todd Wilkinson should check his facts a bit more thoroughly next time he writes an article such as "Forest Service sets off into uncharted territory" (HCN, 11/8/99). He states that the BlueRibbon Coalition "receives significant funding from OHV manufacturers and timber companies." I suppose this depends on your definition of "significant." Most readers would not consider the 1 percent of our overall support from timber and forestry associations to be significant, nor would they consider the less than 5 percent of our overall support from industry in general to be significant.

The BlueRibbon Coalition is a grassroots organization, and always has been. Our ongoing efforts to preserve recreational access have been supported by our individual and organizational members, ordinary people like you and me.

Second, the 30-40-30 split for the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) is not theoretical at all, as Wilkinson claimed. These breakdowns are mandated. Perhaps Wilkinson is lamenting the fact that motorized recreationists have been more involved with the program than non-motorized recreationists. The RTP money must be matched by money or labor on the part of the organization involved. If no one is willing to put in the time and/or money, no trails are going to be built or restored.

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, our financial records are open to everyone. As to RTP, there is plenty of literature on how the money must be spent, and we could have given him a lot more accurate information to use. I fear Wilkinson has let his leanings against motorized recreation cloud his judgment.

Michael Patty

Pocatello, Idaho

The writer is editor of BlueRibbon Magazine.