A Growing Threat
Whenever we run an article that suggests ORVs and wilderness aren’t compatible, we inevitably get letters from those within our family who say they enjoy both backpacking and off-roading. “Why can’t you be neutral and let bygones be bygones?” they ask. We do try to see both sides of the issue, which is why we sent an editor out with a died-in-the-wool ORVer (“Us vs. Them,” September 1998). And when we addressed the issue of logging roads in May (“The Case Against Roads”), we didn’t suggest closing them all. We simply said, “No more new roads, please. Use the 383,000 miles–eight times the size of our nation’s interstate highway system–that already snake through 100 million acres of public land.”
ORVers have rights to portions of public land. No doubt about it. But the problem I have is when someone else’s right to enjoy their preferred form of recreation impinges on mine. In the case of ORVers, their “fun” is loud and can be heard a mile away–even farther in open expanses like grasslands. Their rights stop at the entrance to my ears. So enjoy your outdoor time, just don’t spoil mine.
By the way, a recent Wilderness Society study cited ORVs as the “fastest growing threat to America’s wilderness.” To see the report: www.wilderness.org/15mostreport.htm.
Kickin’ It Up A Notch
BACKPACKER’s extended family of readers, as well as frequent visitors, will notice some design changes starting with this issue: a simpler, fresher, spicier look.
This doesn’t mean there was anything wrong with the way things were. We just decided to kick things up a notch. More how-to, more trail-tested reviews, more insider tips, and more variety.
Let us know what you think.