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There is a big difference between reverently communing with Mother Nature in our sacred national forests and obnoxiously crashing around in them on loud, polluting, dangerous ATVs and dirt bikes [


We do not allow celebratory gunfire downtown (the right to bear arms), human sacrifice (freedom of religion), all-night punk raves in suburban backyards (freedom of speech) and we do not have to allow power-crazed nitwits to roam around in our national parks on deadly big-boy toys like dirt bikes, ATVs, snowmobiles and SUVs (right to be wrong).



I am a 26-year resident of lower Canoncito, located in Apache Canyon, just off of Ojo de la Vaca. My family and I built our adobe home by hand, as have many of my neighbors, and we have spent our time in this valley as responsible stewards of the land. I have lived in Santa Fe for 31 years and am a native New Mexican.

I am horrified to learn of the Forest Service proposal and initial plan to sacrifice Glorieta-Rowe Mesa to the off-road vehicle lobby under the guise that those activities already exist in the area. The suggestion that this is a way to control the abuse is ridiculous! Off-road vehicles are one of the most environmentally destructive forces I can imagine. To sacrifice our forest in this time of global warming�to gas-consuming, exhaust-belching, boundary-less noise-generating and soil-ripping machines is insanity.

The concept that the forest service will manage activity that already exists by keeping the OHV folks on designated roads and therefore reduce the damage is seriously flawed. Off-road vehicles go �off road� and there is no budget in place or even serious hope for funding proposals that can come anywhere near being adequate enough to enforce the rules or monitor the inevitable destruction.

Glorieta Mesa is a great resource for New Mexico livelihoods of ranching and family homesteads, while providing traditional resources of stone, wood and grazing land. It is also a place of beauty and serenity, not only for those of us fortunate to live nearby, but also the residents of Santa Fe and outlying communities, as our recent meeting of concerned citizens, attended by 150 folks�old timers and newcomers�demonstrated.

While off-road vehicles may comprise 6 percent of the population, those who don�t use them are 94 percent. The protest you are currently hearing comes from tax-paying citizens who feel our community was either intentionally bypassed in the process or at least under-notified. Our community showed up in force and we just learned about this proposal two weeks ago! How can the gateway of Ojo de la Vaca and the residents of the mesa be so ignored?

Our voices deserve to be not only heard, but they deserve to be respected. I support the growing coalition joining and the numerous significant issues they have identified. I understand we are to be engaged in this struggle for a long time and promise to be an active voice against this proposal.



Joanne Spivack, self-proclaimed �old lady dirt bike rider,� exemplifies the problem of OHVs on public lands. She is oblivious to, or in deep denial regarding, the damage done to the environment, the disruption to wildlife, damage to habitat and the lack of responsible behavior by many ATV and dirt bike riders on public lands. While she is correct that �public land is public,� that does not mean she has a right to destroy that public land. That ATVs have done tremendous damage to public land all around the country is already well known. The Studies & Reports page on contains a detailed report on how the Adirondack Forest Preserve has been terribly damaged by off-road recreational vehicles.

The vast majority of Americans do not want these vehicles on public land. However, certain financial interests do. Indeed, the Blue Ribbon Coalition, which spearheaded the organization and training of off-road groups very early in the Forest Service Travel Management process, is funded primarily by timber, oil, gas and mining interests. Other corporations, such as ATV and motorcycle manufacturers, also have a key interest in this debate and in framing the issue as one of �rights.� Once again, it�s the will of the vast majority of the people against the slick propaganda of moneyed interests and once again, machine madness versus the living world.



It�s proof, I suppose, that the RumsfeldCheneyBush �with us or against us� mentality is working when someone of your intelligence [Ted Rall] succumbs to the propaganda [

]. Your column is simply riddled with faulty logic and the oddest little smears against liberals.

Very early, you make the statement that supporting the troops requires supporting their mission. That is like saying if you believed in Jesus you must also believe in and support the Inquisition. You go on to quote William Kristol in one of his ugly remarks about the liberal mentality, which couldn�t be farther from the truth. Liberals weren�t obsessing about how dangerous it was to not �support the troops� until right wing hate-mongers twisted a genuine concern for the reasoning behind the invasion into this ridiculous love-the-war-support-the-troops/hate (or even question) -the-war-abandon- �our�-boys version of reality. I agree that it was pathetic for liberals to cave in so quickly, but so they did. In any case, Ted, you should know that not everyone thinks as Fox News, CNN and Rush Limbaugh would have us think.

As a liberal, supporting the troops has never meant �feeling sorry for them, or pretending to� as you so very snidely put it. I don�t feel sorry for any of my nieces or nephews who have volunteered to serve their country, no matter how misguided I think they may be. But I am deeply concerned for their welfare and the welfare of their fellow troops, which is a long way from feeling, or pretending to feel, sorry for them.

You talk about liberals being hard-wired with reflexive pacifism. I don�t know if that�s true or not but, if so, it has to be better than being hard-wired with reflexive aggression. In any case, it isn�t just that liberals oppose militancy �even when faced with horrific oppression� but that the horrific oppression this country chooses to oppose seems most often to coincide with our basest desires: greed, oil and whatever else the Halliburtons of the country demand.

You conclude that antiwar lefties don�t believe in national self-determination. I wonder if you might consider that there are forms of self-determination that are not based on wars of aggression and imperialism?


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