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Warning! Here’s Your View from a Locked Gate Warning! Here’s Your View from a Locked Gate
A BIT OF SARCASM ABOUT AN ACCESS LESSON LEARNED The gal in uniform with the big gun on her hip smiled and waved as... Warning! Here’s Your View from a Locked Gate

A BIT OF SARCASM ABOUT AN ACCESS LESSON LEARNED

The gal in uniform with the big gun on her hip smiled and waved as she installed the recessed pad lock on the gate. I guess she thought we were happy about the road being closed while we sat in our Jeep watching.

Never saw it coming

 

Her rugged 4×4 government-bought pickup truck that was kinda parked in our view had all sorts of signs and decals declaring she was a public servant. We figured it must be true.

A while back,  she had sent us an official-looking letter asking for comments, but the fish were a’bitin’ so we missed out on the letter-writin’. We figured someone else would write those darn letters. We figured wrong on all accounts.

It was a heck of a view we had – trees, rocks, trails, roads, wildlife, mountains, creeks, and vast open areas beckoning to the adventurer in all of us. It’s easy to recall my Dad, Elmer, telling stories of roaming this kind of back country area 40 years ago with the freedom of a jack rabbit in the Mojave Desert. He always told us to get outdoors and have fun while taking care of the land. He figured we would all have the same freedom. He figured wrong.

We always thought our desert would be open

 

The ability, and most importantly the opportunity that my dad had to take his kids out and teach us how to fish, hunt, hike, play and breathe in the fresh air is all but gone now. My mind wanders off and I think of what can happen if we continue down this dangerous path of management by closure.

Soon it will be just a happy memory of our nine year old when she was able to see nature, hike, take pictures and jump in and out of our 4 wheel drive while we were on the hunt for a new camp spot. Soon she will not have the opportunity to teach them the same lessons and family traditions that came naturally and innocently in her youth to her tots.

Our view now is tainted, to say the least. Padlocks, iron pipe, closed signs, reinforced hinges, and small-print letting us know under no uncertain circumstances that the land beyond the gate is CLOSED to access – unless of course you want to haul your buns in there via boot rubber.

Even private landowners are stopping access

 

Now, as I stand here watching that same gal in uniform jump back into her four wheel drive (that I paid for) and drive on down my old favorite trail I get a lump in my throat and I get a little teary eyed just thinking about the view our kids are going to have from this same locked gate that’s in my backyard. I don’t think I’m figuring wrong anymore.

Back to the future: in reality, there are things we can all do to prevent this (sarcastic) scenario from happening. You’ve read tons of articles on getting involved, joining groups and ensuring your family and friends have a place to ride. Just do it. Make a difference and help prevent closures from blocking our “view” any more. Join up, donate and get in the game.

Please, before we have nothing left to figure on…

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.

  • Harry

    February 26, 2019 #1 Author

    I’ve seen this happen already. The real challenge is some groups of people are organized to “protect the environment”. They believe by eliminating the use of outdoor resources by “certain groups” of people they will protect the land. The real challenge is what they do is to eliminate the ability by non US Government people to help protect the land.

    One example I can think of is in the area where I live. I’ve lived in Southern New Mexico near Las Cruces for over 30 years. I’m surrounded by small mountain ranges which are very enjoyable to view as well as hike around. A few years ago some very interesting fossils were found which resulted in the establishment of the Prehistoric Trackways National Monument (5,255 acres). Then some “environmentalists” decided more land should be protected. They lobbied very hard and got the support of a number of Congressmen; their efforts resulted in the establishment of one more National Monument but this one is tremendous size of 776 sq. miles (2.5 million acres)! This new park was established in 2014 and includes four different mountain ranges (Robledo Mountains, Dona Ana Mountains, Organ Mountains, and the Portrillo Range. Some of the land is currently designated as “Wilderness Study Area”, so it requires an act of Congress to change the status. One disadvantage of the designation is the change of ability to provide services within the Monuments. Prior activities allowed the County Sheriff to patrol these areas since all of these Monuments are within one county. Now only the BLM rangers patrol. The county used to blade the county roads but now these roads are within the Monument so the County does not maintain the roads.

    Of course the groups behind the establishment really want to restrict the access of vehicles like 4×4 and ATV/UTV. units. They want people to walk into the areas. Before the monuments were established, people accessed the areas and enjoyed them. Now they must pay to use the same lands since the BLM must charge a usage fee.

    This is the future for a lot of us.

    Reply

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