Off-Highway Drivers Not Always The Bad Guys

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Editor:

Regarding the article in the Tuesday March 3 edition, titled “Forests to ban off-road driving” — Let me be one of the first of hopefully many, to say that I found the article to be very irritating, and in my opinion, somewhat misleading. It seemed to contain unilateral conclusions and statements once again intended to sensationalize a few bad examples to justify forced application of more unwanted restrictions.

It’s the same tactic time after time, ostensibly to right some wrong, but in reality, creating the smoke to conceal a greater evil of managing and/or reducing one more of our rights and freedoms.

Sure there are some offenders. Aren’t there always? But as usual, they are the exception and should not define how all off-roaders are to be thought of.

There are some other truly inaccurate impressions that are created by the statements in the article.

For time and space sake I only quote the following: “Right now it’s unmanaged, unregulated and you’ve got people going anywhere they feel like.”

Doesn’t that give you the impression that all is chaos and disaster? Surely then off-road driving has just got to be stopped or significantly reduced. Ridiculous.

This past year, the state of Arizona imposed a new tax in the form of a $25 fee on every off-highway vehicle — the OHV tag. To paraphrase the stated purpose of this fee, it was to generate funds to allow enforcement of the laws on the books which prohibit misuse of the wilderness and public lands, promote appreciation of those resources by OHV users, maintenance and marking of approved trails, and implied but not stated, hopefully, to keep road closures and unnecessary restrictions from becoming the “fashionable” action in this new “greener” world.

Not surprisingly, it was supported by a majority of OHV drivers. So why portray us all in general as bad guys? How about listening to, and allowing us to be involved before creating this perception of evil?

Considering motorcycles, quads, side-by sides, jeeps and buggies, I’m guessing there are about 1 million of us in the state, give or take a hundred thousand or two. That means we just paid about $25 million (per year) toward a solution to the problem. Did we buy a pig in a poke?

I do realize there is a difference in the terms, off-road, off-highway, cross country, and they are not all interchangeable. A subject for the next 400 words.

Thank you sincerely.

Gary Rolf

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