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[pics] How to Win More Access with Our Jeeping on a Teeter Totter (Part 3) [pics] How to Win More Access with Our Jeeping on a Teeter Totter (Part 3)
Part 3 of a special 3-part series in landuse and environmental science providing a greater understanding of how these cannot be separated if we... [pics] How to Win More Access with Our Jeeping on a Teeter Totter (Part 3)

Part 3 of a special 3-part series in landuse and environmental science providing a greater understanding of how these cannot be separated if we want to save trails and keep our motorized recreation sports alive and well.

 The Editors

 Environmental Science, Part 3; Recreation Opportunity Spectrum (ROS)

A crucial thing to understand about roads and trails on USFS lands is the Recreation Opportunity Spectrum (ROS).  ROS is the land classification system the USFS uses to describe the type and character of the recreation opportunities on Forest lands.  It might feel like our Jeeping access is on a toy ground teeter-totter.  Yea, well it might be…read on.

ModernJeeper Del Albright photo of dirt bikes and Jeeps in Moab, UT on the slickrock.

You may find terms like Urban, Rural, Roaded Modified, Roaded Natural, Semi-primitive Motorized, Semi-primitive Non-Motorized, and Primitive coming from the ROS classification.  It’s almost like it’s meant to confuse us.  But wait…

Del Albright clipart of landuse jargon and terms of bureaucracy.

ModernJeeper Del Albright pic of Mokelumne Wilderness sign prohibiting vehicular access.


Think of ROS as a teeter-totter board, with a balance point (Fig. 1).  On the far left is a severe restriction (hiking only), and on the far right is development (urban setting).

Depending on where the center of gravity (ROS designation) pushes down, the board teeters one way or the other; hopefully finding balance overall in the long term.

Del Albright clip art of Recreation Opportunity Spectrum ROS 

Unfortunately (depending on your point of view), the center of gravity is pushed one way or the other, NOT by sound science and legitimate public input, but rather by special interest groups and politics.

Sometimes it goes the way of motorized recreation.  But more often these days, it goes the way of closures and restrictions.

The National Park Service (NPS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) have land designations of their own; separate from the USDA Forest Service (USFS).  On the other hand, some terms overlap all three agencies.

ModernJeeper Del Albright photo of Jeeps lined up for trail ride.

It’s important to understand that land management agencies are always trying to find balance, while at the same time meeting the mandates of their agency mission.  It’s not an easy game to play.

The rules are stringent, and many times change in mid-stream.  Staying involved is how we deal with this and how we stay on top of our issues and concerns.  Getting some basic education in land use is another way to assist land management agencies in moving the balance in our favor more often.

Remember that nearly all land managing agency bureaucrats get caught up in this balancing act, nearly every day.  If they get hollered at by both sides of the fence, then they know they are straddling the mid-point.  Can you imagine having a job like that?

Again, the key is to have the strength of our voices heard when the teeter-totter is teetering one way or the other.  When the feds are trying to balance the spectrum of uses on public lands, voices make a difference.   And let me assure you, in general, things are not weighted in our favor.

ModernJeeper Del Albright photo of MetalCloak Jeep overlooking Wilderness area.



This 3-Part series gives you a good taste of what advanced education in land use and environmental science would provide.  But it’s a taste.  There’s a lot more to it.  Cumulative Impacts build up and affect the decisions made based on the Recreation Opportunity Spectrum and the overall Ecosystem Management or Landscape Plan.  Whew…

Figure out where you fit in understanding and helping this puzzle and do something more about it.

Join, donate, volunteer and write letters when needed. More on that here.

Moab Rim Trail, Utah, with Jeeps overlooking Colorado River by Del Albright.

We at ModernJeeper are here to help.  Write anytime.

Links to:

Environmental Science, Part 1, Ecosystem Management, here.

Environmental Science, Part 2, Cumulative Impacts,  here.


Del Albright Ambassador

Internationally published author; WorldWide ModernJeeper Abassador and 2014 Inductee of the Off Road Motorsports Hall of Fame. Del has been involved in the Jeeping Lifestyle for longer then most of us can count. His educational and mentorship programs have helped developed warfighters in the ongoing battle to keep Public Lands Open to the Public.

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