I have been a reader of Dirt Rider magazine since the late 1980’s, and this is the first time I felt strongly enough to submit a letter. A couple of years ago while surfing the net I came across a story of an OHV area in danger of closure. Most of us who are active in the off road world have read similar stories, and like most of you I went ballistic; yelling at the computer screen at the injustice, upsetting my dogs and interrupting my wife’s cooking show she was trying to watch. As I continued my rant, my wife said, “Instead of working on an early heart attack, why don’t you do something more productive.” Of course I was a little indignant at first about her remark, because I was a little perturbed at the State of California, but she was right. After cooling off like an overheated KTM 4-stroke on tight single track without a fan, I did the following and joined these clubs: CORVA (California Off Road Vehicle Association), Stewarts of the Sequoias (pro OHV club), Blue Ribbon Coalition, renewed my AMA membership and joined the A.T.R. (Arizona Trail Riders).
I know that times are lean, and I’m lucky enough to have a little extra to give back, but after donating to these organizations I, and my blood pressure, felt a whole lot better. I ride mostly in Arizona (adopted state), but I occasionally ride in the People’s Republic of Kalifornia (home state). Even though I am a resident of Arizona and have never ridden in the Piute Mountains (West of Kelso Valley California in the Sequoia Mountains), I decided to adopt a riding area by donating to the Stewarts of the Sequoias. I hope someday I may get the chance to ride on those trails, but I may not if we don’t take proactive steps to prevent further land closures. If you have the means, join a local club and then adopt an area in a different region and help your fellow dirt bike brothers and sisters. The entire off road community is better off when we help and support each other.
I know for a fact that the Arizona Trail Riders has made a positive impact in our Arizona riding areas by working with land owners and governmental land management groups. Helping your local OHV club will go a long way in keeping your local riding area(s) open. Better yet, donate a little time with that club and help with clean-ups, trail restoration and writing letters to the powers-that-be. Through guilt, pressure, persuasion and a little blackmail I got about eight of my riding buddies and family members to send letters to the town of Peoria to help preserve our riding spot near Wickenburg AZ. “You” the person reading this letter right now can make a huge difference by standing up for your rights. There is a lot of truth in the old adage “there is power in numbers.” Most off road people are freedom-loving individuals who want to be left alone. That is why most of us love riding dirt bikes, but as a consequence of this individualism we as a community don’t usually voice our opinions. If you are mad at the current situation, “do something productive.” If you are already in the fight to protect our public lands from uninformed public officials thank you, and keep up the good work! For the rest of you don’t be like how I was for years, waiting for someone else to keep our riding areas open. Get involved in the fight to preserve our public lands. You will sleep sounder at night; at least it worked for me. Thanks for reading this letter, enjoy your off road motorcycle and stay safe.
Elliott Lyle, Tucson AZ
PS I loved the article on saving our trails (March 2013 issue), thanks Dirt Rider. We need more Don Riggle’s (Trail Preservation Alliance), Don Hood’s (A.T.R.) and Chris Horgan’s (Stewarts of the Sequoias) if our sport is to survive. Thank you!
You make a great point about riders being individualists and that riding area preservation is one aspect where riding does become a team sport. You’ve done an excellent job of the impossible – being in more than one place at the same time. Keep up the outstanding effort and keep inspiring more riders to do as you do. – Pete Peterson