USUALLY OUT-NUMBERED AND ALWAYS UNDER THE LIGHTS
What’s it like at the land use table?
Sitting there under the hot lights of the meeting room, “Joe the Wheeler” perspired while gritting his teeth and tapping his booted foot. He was frustrated.
As a club delegate he had volunteered to help shepherd through some concerns of his club about their trail. It was not going his way. And there was only a couple supporters at the table; most everyone else was gov’mt bureaucrats or anti-access radical enviro’s.
Every time he brought up a trail concern, one of the enviros would launch into some emotionally charged, save the world speech against him. Seems like they took turns doing that too.
Working to save trails might not always be fun, but we must have a seat at the table to save great trails.
For every objective point he made, again, the enviros would rebuttal with emotions, “how they feel” and other namby pamby stuff that didn’t really apply to his trail.
Then of course there was the threat of finding “endangered” species, flowers, bugs, whatever, in or near his trail. He had to have answers.
And of course, with a table full of bureaucrats from multiple agencies, he had to know titles and rank in order to not insult someone.
Ok, you get the picture. The list goes on. It’s a thankless job meant for only a few of us to take on. But we NEED people to take on this job.
Here are some things to help if you choose (get the chance) to be at that table.
1. TEAMWORK: First off, support those who ARE at the table for us, whether you end up there or not. Give them that “team” feeling. Let them know they are appreciated.
2. NOTES: Keep good notes, especially as things progress and you have to wait your turn to talk. Take good notes of the points you make as well as points made by others.
3. PATIENCE: Be patient; know that bureaucracy is meant to move slowly so most of us do not want to be part of it – on purpose.
4. LISTEN: Listen carefully for not just what is said, but what is not said. Keys to solutions might be hidden in words not completely spoken (with bureaucrats sometimes, especially).
5. KEY POINTS: Have your key points on a 3×5 card or whatever, so you can keep referring back to them and making your points clear. Repeat them as needed. Be heard.
6. PHONE: Use your phone to capture moments, record certain decisions and copy flip charts.
Special Note: Recent reports of in-fighting and/or back stabbing have driven off some (younger) land use advocates. When someone is willing to step up and sit down at the land use table, let’s do all we can to support (and train) them. There is no surer path to the demise of our motorsports and trails than to drive off new blood (says Del).
Next time your delegate or buddy is at the land use table, be sure to tip your hat in thanks.