Proactively Mitigating Trail “Problems” Are YOU Tired of Just Reacting? By Jerry Smith UFWDFA Environmental Director Whenever public land management makes decisions about closing individual trails and roads, it’s almost always done behind closed doors. Often, in fact most often, there will be no reason offered when management is questioned as to “why” they close a trail. So, there lies the question. Why do we the public, the OWNERS of “public lands”, not deserve a straight answer? Oh, and that brings us to the next question. “What if we got a straight answer?” What are we going to do with the information? But then, that begs the question; “What if we had that information BEFORE the final decision to close a trail was made?” Might there be some options before us that we could use to keep the trail open?
PRIOR to a decision to close a trail being made? After all, you can’t “fix” what you don’t know is broken. From personal experience, the very first thing necessary is to build a strong and trusting relationship with your most local land managers. This is not just a quickie introduction type of relationship, you must work to build a very good working relationship at the very least, but a good personal relationship is even better if possible. You might wonder; “How do I do that?” That’s a very good question. The easy answer is to participate.
In many cases where the reason for a trail closure is evident, there are things that COULD be done to lessen the problem. With a smaller problem, the necessity to use the extreme measure of trail closure just might be alleviated.
“Participation” can come in many forms. One of the primary forms would be to show up at BLM and USFS meetings in your locale. Go with an attitude of “How can I help keep our trails open to motorized uses?” You must ask questions that will get you answers as to what the agency is planning for individual trails. YOU must get specific because they seldom offer specifics.
So, how do we find out what problems exist
Next, get to know the agency recreational
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