We like to bring back this article as the year kicks off because the message is critical to saving trails and keeping our sports alive. All of us at ModernJeeper encourage you to look into what we love about Jeeping and backcountry exploring, and do your part to help ensure a solid future.
Flashback Fun with the “Love Month,” by ModernJeepers Del & Stacie Albright
February is here and a great month. Some call it the “love month,” what with Valentine’s Day and sunshine on the way. Seems to us there is also a lot of November birthdays out there (get it?)! But writing for the “love” month gets us a little on our soapbox.
When it comes to land use and public access, love is not a word we use very often. Love our recreation? Yes, of course. Love those who want our form of recreation dead and buried? We do not think so. But there is that message we hear from religious leaders — love thy neighbor.
We suppose we could apply that thinking to land use and recreation. Can we forgive those who trash our reputations (via our means of recreating)? Can we learn to “love” our neighbor when they want us thrown off public land? Do we turn the other cheek when some vocal minority group uses bad science, lots of money, and many brainwashed, partially informed zealots to advocate and pursue their form of personal self-interest to the detriment of us?
Being outside with someone you love is always rewarding
And what about some of our own peers? Do we still “love” them for some of their travesties? We remember well a report from a very reliable source that some desert recreationists stole some ore carts right off the abandoned rail line from an old desert mine in Southern California. Now that takes some effort! Ore carts are made of iron and are very heavy and awkward to move. We were hoping to show those carts to the youngsters that travel the desert with us.
Occasionally, our own peers can be some pretty poor examples of our form of recreation too. We have all seen a sampling of snowmobilers, dirt bikers, UTVers, four-wheelers, or whomever, doing things that we would just as soon they did not do. Do we forgive them?
How much do we forgive?
Do we forgive special interest radical enviro groups that do not live up to their own deals? Do we still attempt to compromise with folks that have back-stabbed us before?
We are optimists in a lot of ways. We still believe we can find peaceful co-existence with some enviro groups; not all, but some. We are willing to compromise where it makes sense and is critically necessary; but not just for the sake of compromising — and certainly not if all it means is that we keep losing access!
Whether backcountry exploring or serious rockcrawling, we cannot compromise away our legal access.
In any disagreement, all sides must be willing to give; or the middle ground is never achieved. On the other hand, we can be very unforgiving when someone blatantly breaks the rules or cheats us!
Love and forgiveness…
Love: it’s an interesting concept with a lot of ramifications. Forgiveness: it’s easy to talk about but very hard to do sometimes. I guess for us it is not very simple to live up to the “preaching” that usually follows these two words. We try hard, but it is not easy.
Our advice to you, if you were looking for any, is to take the world as you see it, and evaluate it on a case by case basis – especially in our land use, ModernJeeper world.
Each person/group you deal with is deserving of a fair chance – at least one; but certainly, deserving of your personal evaluation and not that of the rumor mill. Look at each situation with a fair eye; then make a choice and go for the gusto – whichever way you need to.
To keep doing this, we also need to “do” land use
Our final suggestion in this “love month” is simple. Each time you see a peer do something you know is unethical, we suggest you take immediate and direct action to let them know how you feel about it and what the right way should be. Do what is right.
Each time you encounter a group that breaks the rules or cheats you, we suggest you deal with it head-on and let them know. Do what is right. Are we suggesting that you learn to always “love” and forgive? Not exactly. We are suggesting that you not just “let” things happen in this world around you. Make something happen. Take a stand and believe in something (to do with your recreation) and do what is right.
Have expectations and make them clear to those around you. Get involved in land use and public access as your time allows with your passion, your creed, and your ability to do what is right. Let’s keep “love” alive.
(Originally published in 2000, then 2017 and 2019 here on ModernJeeper)