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[pct-l] Barbed wire diplomocy
Hello All -
The "theory of dirt bike destruction" message from ATV rider "Scar Collins"
has turned into an interesting mini-thread. I am going to create a
"digest" out of the private messages on this one thread in the hopes that
someone else might have some good input.
I responded to her second posting both to her privately and to the list:
Hello Scar (and All) -
Your postings certainly get everyone's attention <VBG>. Now that everyone
has finished throwing emotional hand grenades (I hope!), I wonder if you
would be interested in discussing some of the topics you brought up in your
She responded back to me privately (full quote of her message follows):
Hello Mr. Thorpe,
I am happy to know that you would like to see the
other side of the coin.
I respect you as a backpacker, please do not get
me wrong. I also enjoy the occasional hike. But my
first love is riding our dirt bikes and ATV's, and when
we ride our recreational vehicles we only ride on well
established trails approved by our conservation dept.
As you know from my last letter, I'm not the average
dirt bike rider, I'm female. I ride with two other women,
my husband , my cousin and even on occasion my
6 year old brother will bring out his ATV to ride with
us. We all obey the rules and regulations set by our
Department of Conservation. But those rules do
not seem to be enough for some of our land lovers,
and because of this, my friends and family members
are getting hurt.
As I have stated before, these "tree huggers" run
strands of barb wire accross paths used by riders,
usually just on the other side of a corner, so that the
rider does not have time to slow down, when the
rider hits the barb wire, it usually strikes him directly
on the throat. Now this is not a friendly gesture.
Usually along with the wire is a threatining letter
telling us to stay out of the woods. I have had friends
hurt very bad by these tactics, and it's very maddening.
I am open to conversation about this topic.
(end of quote)
I responded back to her with the following message (full quote of my
Hello Scar -
>Hello Mr. Thorpe,
Please don't do that...it makes me think that you are talking to my father
<g>! We all tend to go by either first names or "trail names" (an old AT
tradition) on this list.
Do you mind if I copy your message to the PCT-L email "mailing list"? I am
not sure how your messages got to the PCT-L mailing list (I think that they
were forwarded by the person who takes care of the web site), but I am sure
that everyone on the list (a couple hundred people) will enjoy this
The "list" that got your messages usually discusses subjects that relate to
the Pacific Crest Trail (2,600 mile horse/human trail that runs from the
Mexico/California border to the Washington State/Canada border). The PCT
is a National Scenic Trail and is set up for horse and human use only under
the federal laws that established it.
There are some places where atv/bike trails cross (or even overlap for VERY
short distances) the PCT and there are a very few "road walks" that are, of
course, open to any user. Usually, the only place that a PCT hiker/rider
would see atv's is in southern California. The BLM has set aside some
areas for OTR vehicle use there that come quite near the PCT. Is this
where you do your atv riding?
>...when we ride our recreational vehicles we only ride on well
>established trails approved by our conservation dept....We all obey
>the rules and regulations set by our Department of Conservation...
I can't imagine that any ethical backcountry-user I know would object to
the type of use you describe above. Some of us might not like the fact
that RV use is allowed in a particular area, but the obvious answer is to
get the Dept. of Conservation (or any other agency that has legal
jurisdiction) to change the rules for using that area.
A truly effective political process would allow all sides to present their
case and then the position that reflects the long-term benefit to our
society should prevail. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't, but
vigilante action is illegal everywhere and obviously not the answer.
>...But those rules do not seem to be enough for some of our land
>lovers, and because of this, my friends and family members are
>getting hurt. As I have stated before, these "tree huggers" run
>strands of barb wire accross paths used by riders, usually just on
>the other side of a corner, so that the rider does not have time to
>slow down, when the rider hits the barb wire, it usually strikes him
>directly on the throat. Now this is not a friendly gesture. Usually
>along with the wire is a threatining letter telling us to stay out
>of the woods. I have had friends hurt very bad by these tactics, and
>it's very maddening.
I would have to admit to being called a "land lover" in my time and I have
hugged my share of trees <g>.
"Now this is not a friendly gesture....it's very maddening" HAS to be the
understatement of the decade!
All humor aside...the activity you describe above (stringing barbed wire in
such a manner) is illegal, unethical, impractical, and just plain stupid.
Only an intellectually and emotionally bankrupt moron (or a psychopath)
would resort to such tactics.
If history hasn't proven anything else, it has shown that such escalation
into violence guarantees that the violence itself, NOT who uses which
trails, will become the main issue! We are talking REALLY dumb (or crazy!)
people here...I hope that you have done MUCH more than complain to this
If it was me, I would have drug the appropriate fuzz (Sheriff, police, FBI,
etc.) out to show them the barbed wire. I certainly would have jumped ALL
OVER the Dept. of Conservation! Unless asked not to by the fuzz, I would
have hit every source of publicity that I could (TV news hounds, newspaper
reporters, letters to the editor, radio talk shows, etc.) to let as many
local folks as possible know what is going on.
I might even pitch a fit on the PCT-L list <VBG>.
WHERE is this happening?
If you don't mind, I will copy our messages to the PCT-L list. If you are
not riding trails in California, Oregon, or Washington State, we might want
to get this discussion on one of the lists that cover other parts of the
country. It certainly wouldn't hurt to get as many heads working on this
problem as possible!
Thanks for the quick response!
(end of quote)
Scar responded back (full quote of her message follows):
Sorry for the earlier formality. I enjoyed you previous
letter, it's nice for a change to have a intellectual
discussion on this matter. If you would like to forward
my discussions that would be fine, I appreciate you
Firstt, no I dont ride in the Western part of the country,
actually I'm centrally located, Missouri to be exact.
Home of the Mark Twain National Forest. Most of
our riding trails are old logging roads.
We ride mostly around the creeks and streams and
we even run upon a cave or two.
One rule that our conservation department is very
strict on is, that we stay out of the streams, because
riding in the streams damages the fish and other
living things, and we are very good to obey this
All of our dirt bikes are equipped with spark arresters
to make sure we have no fires.
So you see, I realize that we do have ones who
are destructive to our lands, and forests, and that
is a shame, because we only have one Earth, and
if we dont take care of it, nobody will. But not all
pleasure riders destroy, some of us, if not most of
feel the same way about the forest as you do .
I appreciate your understanding on the barbed wire
topic, I have had people actually tell me that we
get what we deserve when we run into the wire,
but I ask them this, "are you really accomplishing
a lot by cutting open the throat of a happy little six
year old boy out pleasure riding" if so then, my pity
is with you.
(end of quote)
I am getting ready to respond back to her and I would like to know if any
others on the list want to join in? I don't think that there is a direct
connection to the PCT at all any more (other than how she got her first
message to us). There is an indirect connection in that this type of
backcountry use IS found along the PCT.
I, for one, am interested in following up on this thread (I am occasionally
asked to talk LNT to OTR groups...it can be a HARD sell...<g>). I hope
that I might learn something from Scar...and maybe vice versa (assuming my
leg isn't being pulled!).
If there is interest, I can continue posting to the list. If there isn't
any general interest, I can include private emails from interested
individuals into the thread with her. If there is no interest, I hope you
don't get run over on that OTR moonscape north of the Kelso Road
Trace No Leaves,
- Charlie II AT (MEGA'93)
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