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Open gates

Don't let your trail's gate close

All of us love an open gate. Sometimes we see them on our morning commute, or way out in the desert as we head out with our toys. What lies beyond it? Is the public allowed? We make a note to check it out someday.

That day finally comes and you arrive at the gate. Only this time, it’s closed and a prominent sign confirms that it was closed with finality and purpose. Another opportunity lost. You wonder to yourself if there was something that you could have done.

Vignettes like this play out throughout our state every day. Public lands are under attack by a litany of laws, local ordinances, regulations, litigation and lack of funds. Personnel shortages due to budget cuts allow our beautiful lands to fall into disrepair. Sometimes the easiest solution is to simply block access, leaving our memories and enjoyment locked inside.

The next time that you are out enjoying a county road, BLM land, a state park, or a ride in the forest, ask yourself if you are sure that this land will be available for your kids to enjoy ten years from now. How about your grandkids twenty years from now? I’ll bet you don’t know the answer to that question. Do you care enough to find out? It’s a pretty safe bet that there is some sort of pending regulation, environmental compliance, lawsuit or other action with lots of letters in its abbreviation that is going to have an effect on the area that you have been enjoying for years, along with the trail that you just discovered yesterday.

So what are you going to do about it? You barely have time to get out on the trail, let alone get involved in the process of keeping land open. And besides, you are just one person.

The best idea is to call the person in charge of the trail/park/road that you are on. Ask them if there is anything pending that is going to affect your ability to recreate in the area. If there is, ask them how you can get involved and give your input.

Still can’t dial the phone? Remember that excuse about being just one person and how you have convinced yourself that you can’t make a difference? That’s where Cal4Wheel comes into play. It’s the same thought that the association’s founders had 55 years ago, so they got together to have a bigger voice. And we are still broadcasting loud and clear for all of our land managers, litigators and legislators to hear. They listen when we call. We can keep your gate open and your memories alive.

So here is my inevitable sales pitch: become part of the louder voice. You can start by joining Cal4Wheel. But don’t stop there. Let our natural resource consultants know about your favorite trails/roads/parks. Ask them if there is anything that you need to worry about and how you can help.

Let’s ensure that the next time you drive up to the gate it is open wide, with a trail just for you stretching far into the horizon.

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