From Spencer Gilbert, Executive Director, BlueRibbon Coalition/ShareTrails
It's finally over. Today is the last day of 2020, and like everyone else, we're ready to put this year behind us and move forward.
The COVID outbreak has created challenges for many of our supporting organizations. Much of the fundraising that supports organizations like ours comes from organized events - many of which were canceled in 2020. In light of these challenges, we've been conservative with our resources and have pushed our team to do more with less. Our financial position is strong and we have been working to protect and increase access in many ways.
Watch the latest episode of At Your Leisure to see some of the ways we've been working with our allies to protect your adventures: https://youtu.be/cKrl9B1CA5o
Travel Management Planning
As discussed in the segment, we are currently parties to a legal settlement in Utah where the Bureau of Land Management is required to analyze travel management plans that cover millions of acres of public land. This is a process that will require years of engagement on our part with our policy and legal team. This fall we were able to protect a decision to more than double the miles of roads that are designated as open for motorized travel and dispersed camping in the first area of thirteen that was analyzed. You can learn more about our efforts by visiting the 10,000+ Project: https://www.sharetrails.org/current-issues/10000-project-keep-utah-open/
Dispersed Camping Access
As we have participated in public comment periods across multiple agencies we are noticing a disturbing trend that many planning decisions are considering options that would dramatically reduce or eliminate dispersed camping on public land. We are working to mobilize those who enjoy dispersed camping to engage in advocacy work and educate the dispersed camping community how to recreate responsibly: https://www.sharetrails.org/camp-free-join-the-dispersed-camping-access-alliance-to-protect-dispersed-camping/
Other Legal Challenges
We are currently doing the initial legwork to prepare legal challenges to defend access in the Olympic Peninsula. We are exploring ways to increase access in Oregon through a partnership with private property owners. We will be monitoring any efforts to create national monuments. We also have some other sensitive cases we are working on that will be better to keep quiet until we're ready to publicly announce them.
Seat at the Table
In 2020 we participated in a policy dialogue with many other groups and leaders in outdoor recreation. Many of the ideas explored during this dialogue are being presented to the Biden Administration. As these ideas begin to shape into serious policy proposals we will continue to have a seat at the table. We are one of the few groups that represent motorized recreation that were invited to participate. We will be more successful in advocating for our supporters and members if we can show up representing a broad coalition of users.
We have participated in numerous public comment periods to maintain our standing in various agency planning processes. We have done this work in Washington, Colorado, California, Wyoming, Idaho, Arizona, Montana, and Utah. Our participation is always more substantive when we share notes with other groups and organizations. If there are issues you want us to participate in, we would love to hear from you. We always try to participate when we are specifically engaged on an issue by one of our members or supporters.
This year as organizations got creative to survive difficult times, we have done joint fundraisers with other groups. We're always stronger when we work together and pool resources. We look forward to meeting with your groups to find ways we can go into 2021 strong.