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[pct-l] Protecting our trails

This could happen anywhere!

We must let our voices be heard. Forward this email to anyone you think
would want to know about this. Don't just stand by. React.

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Kelsey [mailto:kelseym@omniark.com]
Sent: Monday, September 24, 2001 11:20 PM
Subject: Bike Arkansas News- Womble Trail Threat (FIVE DAYS LEFT)

To all that love the trails...

We only have till Friday, September 28th, 2001 to make comment concerning
the proposal to sell a portion of our National Forest on which the Womble
Trail resides, for commercial development.  We must not, MUST NOT, allow
this to happen.  We have been busy locally with meeting with every group
and organization that we can to promote our concern.  We have met with
the Mt. Ida Chamber of Commerce. We have met with the Mt. Ida Questors. 
We met with Alan Newman, the Ouachita National Forest Supervisor, and the
Ouachita Watch League.  We have distributed information at the Races at
Devil's Den,  We have met with local Cycling Clubs, and this weekend we
spoke at the Arkansas Trails Council.  Despite all our frenzy of
activity, we could still loose this battle.  Why?  There is a good chance
that we have not had enough individual comments against this proposal. 
At Devil's Den, I was amazed by the number of individuals that had heard
about The Womble Threat, and were concerned, but had not taken the time
to write. It is not the thought that counts, but the written word!!!!!
All your concern in the world will not make a bit of difference if you do
not let those that are in power hear your voice.  

So what can be done in this the last week of comment?

1.  If you have not been informed, or do not understand this issue, go to
www.bikearkansas.com and read all about it.   
2.  If you have not commented to the Womble Ranger District do so Now! 
E-mail to raraines@fs.fed.us 
3.  If you filled out one of the little post cards that were handed out
at Devil's Den, but have not sent it in, Do so Now!
4.  If you did fill out and send one or more of the post cards for
comment, and you would like to express your thoughts in a longer letter
you can send an e-mail to the Robert Raines of the Womble Ranger District
at raraines@fs.fed.us 
5.  If you have done all the above, now contact every person you know
that enjoys the National Forest, whether it be biker, hiker, ATV,
Equestrian, Hunter, Fisherman, to let them know about this nasty little
land deal.  Make sure they get a chance to have their voices heard. 

Why is this so important?

1.  This group plans to obtain this land at all costs.  This means that
even if there is not a trail re-route available, their desire is to go on
with the land deal.  I don't believe there is a realistic reroute
available.  This will leave the Womble Trail severed in two.    

2.  This could be just the tip of the iceberg.  Do we want them to set a
precedent like this, indicating that it is now OK to sell off our public
recreation lands to the highest bidder or to the politically connected?  

3.  If this can happen with the Womble Trail, that was voted "Top Ten
Mountain Bike Trail" by a national mountain bike magazine, that provides
year-round recreation opportunity, to thousands each year, that hosts the
Womble Mountain Bike Classic, that was designated by IMBA as an Epic
Ride, that has received thousands of hours of volunteer labor from hikers
and bikers over the past years,  and that provides a considerable
financial impact to the local econalmy, then it can happen anywhere to
any trail on National Forest Land.  

Do not be Complacent!
We have all done it before.  We sit around in our own little world and
assume that someone else will take care of the important issues that
swirl about us.  Be it the local bond issue to improve the local
municipalities, or other important issues, we have all been guilty of
sitting on our butts and doing nothing.  I have done it.... then later I
complain about the miserable conditions and regret that I did not get

Drop everything and do it now!

Mike Kelsey

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