Are Trail Users Conservation Minded?
If they are it does not show. Here is the annual agenda for the Washington State Trails Coalition meeting in Lacey later this year.
Outdoor recreation users are increasingly flexing their political muscle, and I personally have never seen it used to benefit wilderness, wildlife or biodiversity.
This “one-day gathering is the forum for our statewide network of trail advocates. Everyone with an interest in trails is welcomed – whether motorized, non-motorized, snow, asphalt, dirt, water, urban or backcountry!” Hooray. As long as you want to build trails somewhere, you are welcome. We do not care where. We do not differentiate, or discriminate based on the amount of harmful impacts involved.
Take a look at the agenda for this year’s meeting. It is focused on only a few things; advocacy, funding (attracting more business sponsors) and broadening public appeal by discussing improvements in health (human), increased tourism dollars, and reduced traffic. What does not appear at all on the agenda? Anything having to do with wildlife, forming coalitions with conservation and environmental groups, concerns about biodiversity and resiliency. It is a very “me,me, me” agenda.
Granted, there are differences of degree and policy between these many organizations, but somehow, no matter which group is involved, impacts to public land and mitigation just never seem to make it on the agenda. The harmful impacts on our public resources are the same regardless of the degree of negligence or willful lack of concern.
My position: BIODIVERSITY BEFORE BIKES