20 Nov. 2012
Off-Road Vehicle Laws
There are always people out there that like to complain about all the laws made by the United States government. Most kids don’t like some of the laws that are enforced these days. You have to go to school every day and you can’t drive yourself to school until you’re sixteen, then after all that you have to be home by eleven or you get in trouble for curfew. These are a few laws that all kids hate to have enforced today. Although these are just a few laws that really stand out to us now as kids, unfortunately they are probably for the better. Everyone knows that there are a lot of different recreational laws enforced in the world too. Every spring you have to get a new license for a boat to be able to put it in the water and a hunting license before you go hunting. Maybe we should step back and take a look at some laws that truly do not need to be enforced. The public’s rights to use off-road vehicles on federal lands are a huge issue in the Colorado Mountains. Without organizations like COHVCO, many more trails in the Colorado Mountains would be closed to the public. For example while the Colorado off-highway vehicle coalition is an environmental organization that advocates and promotes the responsible use and conservation of our public land and natural resources to preserve their aesthetic and recreational qualities for future generations (“Who is COHVCO”). The Colorado off-highway vehicle coalition is a strong supporter of trails systems in the Colorado Mountains as long as the public is obeying the laws. If the public is following the laws, COHVCO will help the public stand up against the government trying to shut down access to public land. In addition, because the COHVCO protects the interests of off-road enthusiasts, the COHVCO is fighting against a proposed law that would close access to trail #667 in the Pikes Peak National Forest. This law suit, if passed, will cause off-road motorized vehicles to be banned from trail #667 (“Colorado off-highway vehicle Coalition”). When the government tries to shut down a trail, that specific trail may lead to several more, so really it shuts down a trail system instead of just one trail. The reason the government is trying to shut down Trail #667 is dirt bikes and ATV’s on the trail are causing erosion. The erosion damages the habitat and the loose dirt from the erosion is getting into the stream that runs along the trail and is killing a native trout species. When there is a hard rain and the stream is really flowing hard, doesn’t dirt get into the stream? That doesn’t kill the native trout? More over, because of the work it has done representing off-roaders, COHVCO was selected as organization of the year by the Blue Ribbon Coalition (Sheets). COHVCO does outstanding work with the off highway vehicle workshop which includes sessions for land managers, and have been working on land use planning for several of the national forests in Colorado. The Blue Ribbon Coalition made a really good decision to select the COHVCO organization for the award because they have been really working hard to keep trails open and allow the public to ride mountain trails with off-road vehicles. All in all, the COHVCO fights for the rights to ride on public land in the national forests across the Colorado Rockies. While many more trails would be closed to the public without organizations like COHVCO, the federal government also needs to recognize the public’s right to enjoy federal lands. For instance, although the government has a lot bigger issues in the Rocky Mountains than the public riding issues, the government is trying to shut down the rights to ride on public land throughout Colorado when there is a pine beetle killing all the trees. (Davenport). When we are out riding on these trails, we are not hurting the environment nearly as bad as the pine beetle that has been tearing through the Colorado Mountains....
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