Snowmobile Alliance of Western States Cutting through deceptions & misperceptions to protect YOUR RIGHT to ride!

23Aug/07Off

The Sound of Silence

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If you've ever experienced the silence following an avalanche, you know how heart shattering that can be.  How about the silence that follows when your buddy takes out a tree or has left the path you expected to see him on?  Silence of snowmobile engines as they travel into the distance can be calming or invigorating because you know the riders are heading off for a good time.  The silence of machines being shut down when it's time for a break to take in the beauty surrounding you and be thankful for just how lucky you are to be able to experience where you are at.  Sometimes silence can be very peaceful, sometimes frightening and other times just downright dangerous.

You've all heard "silent but deadly" in one context or another and "the squeaky wheel gets the grease".  It's time to get real squeaky!  Silence will be deadly to recreation as we know it if you as a motorized recreationist don't start speaking up for yourself.  There is a mass of storm clouds hovering above snowmobilers and other motorized recreationists and unfortunately it's not the storm cloud that brings in the deep white snow that snowmobilers anxiously await.  Time is growing short to take a pro-active stance to contact your state representatives and senators on actions pending in Congress, forest service staff regarding travel and forest revision plans, BLM managers and other land agents.  Speak up now or you may not have the chance to do so again. 

You are not alone when you ask "what good does this do”?  The good comes from becoming part of the solution rather than the apathetic part of the problem, have your individual voice heard.  We can all bet the anti-access movement has their voices heard day in and day out.  Just check out a wilderness search on-line.  You will find dozens of anti access groups that are continually pummeling the powers that be to eliminate access to the public, especially snowmobiling and other motorized access.  If you are a student, use your academic resources to promote access.  The anti's use this tool all of the time to compile false data showing how detrimental snowmobilers and motorized recreationists are to the environment.  You are right when you say or think, writing federal, state and local government officials, the Forest Service about revision of forest and travel plans, the BLM, and other natural resource entities about the many land access issues seems never ending – that is because it is never ending! It would be nice if with one quick, fell swoop we could just say or write our view once and have it done.  It doesn't work that way.

WE will be our own worst enemy if we choose to be silent.  Realistically, you can't be heard on every single issue but you can be heard on what you will take the time to make your view known on.  You have the power to make a difference with your opinion but the only way that happens is when you make it known to the representatives and senators, government officials and land management directors making the decisions that will affect the future of access.  Hashing out issues amongst ourselves helps to spread the word and hopefully bring on those who may have never looked at this as a serious matter of concern before.  It shouldn't stop there.  Once you've hashed over the issues amongst your friends, family and associates write it down and send it to someone who can use that information to make a difference.  Get your snowmobile friends to take a serious look at the SAWS website, their local pro-access groups, and the state and national groups that are available to them for information and help.  Most of us have experienced first hand the end of access to an area we were once allowed to recreate in.  That's usually when the blocked access issue becomes real to us because that "enviro movement just hit the back yard". There are more barriers ahead, especially if we remain silent and thought of as fools.

Recreational activities we presently enjoy including snowmobiling will be subject to various congressional actions that if passed promise significant impact on many activities.  There will be a ripple effect felt far-reaching to the non-motorized activities many of us enjoy as well. Whether you are just a recreational snowmobiler or make your living from the sport, take the time to look at just a few of the key issues facing all of us by going to the SAWS organization website http://www.snowmobile-alliance.org/ or you can also check the ARRA website http://www.arra-access.com which is one of the few pro-access resources for Federal Legislative Updates or Regional Access issues.  You'll see what is at stake.  Pass the information on to get more people involved.  It's important that you contact your state representatives and senators to let them know what your view point is.

Janine Stewart
Montana SAWS Representative

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