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for people who care about the West

Choosing to ride


Your “Recapture Canyon rules” update in the May 1 issue had this quote from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke: “For many persons with disabilities or for people who just don’t get around like they used to, our public lands aren’t accessible without motorized vehicles.”

For folks with legitimate disabilities, I can see this in appropriate spots, but we also need enforceable (and enforced) restrictions on where the motor vehicles can go. If you ride off-trail in obviously restricted areas, losing your ORV seems like a fair penalty.

For folks who just don’t get around like they used to, I don’t have much sympathy. If it’s age-related, then they had a chance to go walk it when they were still in relatively good shape, just like I did. That they chose to do something else when they were younger isn’t our fault or problem. If it’s just laziness or related issues, which seem to be a big part of the problem, then they’d be better off walking anyway — you get to see more, and you get the health benefits.

But most of the folks I see riding ORVs seem to be both young enough and fit enough to get off their butts and walk; they simply choose not to because they have this cool toy they need to play with somewhere. And it certainly invites abuse and ecological damage in a number of ways.

Tim Baker
Eureka, California