Printed letters, February 7, 2013
In Gary Harmon’s Feb. 1 article, “Trails and Tribulations,” there is mention of my interest that the BLM resource management plan’s final alternative includes more designations of lands with wilderness characteristics.
I should have pointed out that my comments on the resource management plan and travel management plan will also include comments about returning some of the roads to “All Modes of Travel” status that are listed as “closed” or “authorized and permittee only” in the BLM preferred Alternative B maps. I believe the management of our public lands can be a balance of varied uses and conservation.
I should have also mentioned that there are economic benefits to keeping some BLM land wild. Lands with wilderness characteristics help boost the health, size and diversity of the wildlife populations in the area. Wildlife brings hunters, fishermen, birders, photographers and wildlife viewers into our area.
Those who enjoy viewing wildlife use a wide spectrum of transportation for their recreation on public lands. Seeing a group of eight deer bounding across a sagebrush-juniper meadow, as I did recently, is equally exciting whether you hiked into an area, drove there or rode your horse, mountain bike, ATV or motorcycle.
I believe BLM staff members are working hard to get the balance of recreation and conservation right so that we can all continue to have those special encounters with nature’s beauty. It is my experience that they love the land and enjoy diverse recreation on public lands as much as the rest of us.
JANICE SHEPHERD, Member
Great Old Broads for Wilderness
ATV drivers stand to lose most in BLM’s ‘Plan B’
After attending the BLM meeting last week, it was apparent who the losers will be in this process — those of us who enjoy driving trucks or riding all-terrain vehicles, or who enjoy target shooting and hunting.
Hunting will be seriously curtailed for many of us. Not many people can walk five miles or more into a roadless area, shoot an animal, dress it out and make several trips packing it out before the meat wastes, especially in warm weather.
The BLM says, “We have to consider all groups.” The wilderness crowd and environmentalists will get more land locked down, which makes them happy. The cattle ranchers and outfitters lose very little in the BLM’s “Preferred Alternative B,” plus they will still have access to the BLM’s administrative routes, so they’re happy.
Only people who like to drive a vehicle or ATV will lose and lose big. In some areas, 100 percent of access will be closed to ATVs and vehicles. Anyone who wants to target-practice or hunt on BLM land will also lose.
People need to get involved in this, and we have a very short time to make our comments, even though the government got four years and spent millions of our dollars plotting this land grab.
It is imperative that everyone who enjoys motorized vehicles or who wants to hunt or shoot on these public lands contact the BLM and voice an opinion, because it is this crowd they want to shut down.
If we say nothing, they will eventually close all of our land down, and we won’t be able to go anywhere except up and down the street. It will do no good to complain after the fact.
Speak up now by contacting the BLM, calling the county commissioners to enlist their help, writing letters and making phone calls to every elected politician you can find.
Be informed before taking a position on gun laws
With all the press about guns, it is only natural that a safety debate is under way. There appears, to be a lot of misconception about guns that are classified assault rifles and about the Second Amendment to our Constitution.
I would suggest the following before joining either the anti-gun or pro-gun crowd. First, read the Second Amendment and learn why our Founding Fathers adopted it. It has nothing to do with hunting but is strictly for defense. If you do your homework, you will learn whom it was written to defend against.
Second, study rifle nomenclature and see that the difference between a semi-automatic sporting gun and what is called an assault rifle (except for the size of the magazine) is strictly cosmetic.
Third, if your fear of firearms is because you have never shot or handled a gun, it would be prudent to take a gun- safety class or hunter-education class from a certified instructor. Make yourself familiar with gun nomenclature, how guns operate and the safe way to handle them. Once you have done that, finish the class by shooting a firearm under the direction of the instructor.
Finally, consider that you are in far more danger driving on our streets and highways than you are from guns. If you check the statistics, you will learn that your children and you are many times more likely to die in an automobile accident than from a gunshot.
Of course, you don’t consider that when you get behind the wheel because you have been taught how to drive. Learning and practicing shooting will take away unreasoned fear of guns.