Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Scher Throws a Curve Ball

This morning I was on KUOW's Weekday with Andrew Englesen of Washington Trails Association to talk about what I thought was just going to be on where to hike right now. Host Steve Scher threw a curve ball at us by introducing Arlene Brooks of the PNW Four-Wheel Drive Association. Whoa-boy- I didn't plan on talking about this- I thought we were going to talk about pretty flowers!

Anyhow, I stated to the best I could in the small amount of time I had, my feelings on Off-road vehicles (in particular motorcycles) being on hiking trails. So, being one not to shy away from taking a stand (Hey-Stand for something or fall for anything) and being one who despises the polarized thinking of the far left and far right-let me reiterate my stance on motorcycles on our trails.

I'm no Harvey Manning in this department. You'll never hear me refer to dirt bikers as a blitzkrieg- in fact, the overwhelming majority of dirt bikers I have met on the trail are friendly, decent people. I have met far more jerky hikers on the trail than dirt bikers.

I don't dirt bike. I have little desire to. I prefer muscle powered. I love hiking, running, paddling, and cycling.

However, I believe that dirt bikers should be able to recreate on public lands just like all other tax-paying recreationists.

I believe that dirt bikers should have their own trail systems and I have no problem with multiple use trails where usage is extremely low.

However, I believe that dirt biking should never be allowed in environmentally sensitive areas, large roadless tracts and places that have wilderness qualities.

Most DNR areas that have been heavily logged in the past- dirt bike on them to your heart's content.

The Mad River Area of the Entiat Mountains with its pumice soils, pristine waterways, fragile alpine meadows-no way should motorcycles be allowed on it. But they are!

Why I share Manning and Spring's passion to see this area placed in the Glacier Peak Wilderness and I support every effort to do such- I will not demonize ORVers or disregard their recreational interests.

We need dialogue, and I see opportunity in areas like the Lower Mad River Valley where hikers and ORVers can come together and maintain the trails together and perhaps learn about each other. Heck, I'd go for a ride once to see what it is all about. But not in the Upper Mad River Valley! That place is too sacred and fragile to be driven upon.

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