To the editor:
All the recent attention by Utah wilderness advocates to off-highway vehicle use on public lands clearly illustrates a lack of understanding.OHV enthusiasts share a common bond with wilderness advocates - a genuine love of our great outdoors and appreciation of its natural wonders. Attempts by wilderness advocates to stereotype us as uncaring intruders on our public lands are neither accurate nor fair.
Our love of the outdoors has often prompted us to undertake tasks that would be very difficult for non-motorized users or time consuming for our land managers. Clearing trails of winter fallen timber in the spring signals the start of the riding season in most areas where trail bike and ATV riding is popular.
Cleared trails are not only more popular with all users, but also encourage recreationists to stay on the trail rather than start new routes that sometimes cause resource damage. Snowmobilers and four-wheel drive enthusiasts are also generous with their discretionary time and have been involved in volunteer search and rescue efforts that have saved many lives.
The Montana Four by Four Association has participated since the early 1970s in a volunteer conservation program with the U.S. Forest Service that has been very beneficial to several Montana forests.
Last year, Utah snowmobilers cleaned up snowplay parking areas throughout the state. These few illustrations only begin to tell the story of responsible use of our natural resources by motorized recreationists.
While the negative impacts of motorized users are being highlighted by wilderness advocates, the negative aspects of the pro-wilderness movement are overlooked and in some cases even glorified.
Criticism of a deficit timber sale seems rather hypocritical when accompanied with support of a wilderness and national park "let burn policy" that cost American taxpayers millions of dollars, endangered many human lives, roasted thousands of animals alive, and will surely result in severe erosion problems in areas bared by the 1988 holocaust.
The tactics of Earth First! in obstructing any use of our public land for any purpose (including an observatory on Mt. Graham in Arizona) should be a source of embarrassment at the very least.
We do not dispute the fact that many wilderness advocates are genuinely concerned about the future of our public lands.
We respect their right to espouse their preferred public land management philosophy. All we ask is that they be honest in their reporting. We also feel that our right to promote our land management philosophy of "shared use" should be respected.
We hope that some day our mutual love for our natural resources will enable us to overcome our differences. We look forward to a day when we work together in harmony on the real problems with our environment.
Utah BlueRibbon Coalition