B. Burke speaks out on EJS - Defender Source
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Old April 4th, 2005, 01:12 PM
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B. Burke speaks out on EJS

From the D-90 list:

Bill Burke's 4-WheelingAmerica LLC
Premier Training & Guided Back Country Trips www.bb4wa.com ... bb4wa@bb4wa.com

1 April 2005

After visiting EJS 2005 - my thoughts!!

I am displeased, disgusted, angry and afraid!! Why? I just returned from the Moab area after two weeks 'wheeling around and spending time with new and old friends and my family. I spent some time on the hard as well as the easy routes and what I saw (witnessed actually is the term) incited me to come up with the adjectives I started this diatribe with and believe me I toned the adjectives down!

I have been guiding/training in and around Moab for about 18 years and have attended as many Easter Jeep Safari events. I have attended many national and international events and have been lucky to 'wheel in some of the most pristine world class areas as well as some garbage dumps! What I saw this last week really sickened me and makes me wonder why I continue to be aligned with this sport and the people that purport to really care where and how they drive on designated 4-wheel drive routes in public access areas. I am not talking about the OHV parks or the Rock Crawling events on private lands, I am expressing this disdain about the "guests" that are invited to 'wheel in my back yard where I work, live and play. They basically left the toilet full of effluence, no toilet paper, the sink full of dirty dishes and soiled my finest linen - that is how I see it. Here is how I actually saw it!

Displeased! Following "rock crawling" type built rigs along Pritchett Canyon, these overly built rigs couldn't make the rock pile so they drove into the wash and the illegal by-pass made by other weak-kneed wannabees that can build a rig but not drive on a difficult obstacle. HEY! You made the choice and selected the VDL hard core route, deal with the obstacles.
Take a strap or use the winch, but stay true to the route. If you can't do the original route don't drive up Pritchett! Better yet stay home on the porch 'cause you may have a "big dog" rig but you are certainly not up to the "big dog" task!

Disgusted! Driving along the route called Metal Masher, my son and I observed where there used to be an obstacle that was (still is) quite challenging -- a large slick rock face steep and tall. It was obviously not enough for the "rock rig wannabees" since they had to move over foot by foot to assault the entire ledge for the next 25 yards sideways. The big moment of disgust was when I saw that the Juniper trees (maybe as old as 125 years) that happened to be in the way were crushed and broken in pure indolence and with complete disregard to the natural habitat of the revered old flora. Just wasted the two trees 'cause they couldn't hurt the tube frame and already dented body panels. Ammunition for the SUWA folks!

Angry! To put it mildly! I was with clients along the routes of Gold Bar Rim, Bull and Little canyons and we stopped repeatedly to pick up trash along the miles of routes we ran that day. We picked up 53 beer cans, 14 plastic drink bottles, cardboard beer cases, a cooler top, and 2 tee-shirts, among other items. We buried 4 piles of human effluence and exposed toilet paper and tried to smooth over 5 different impact areas where vehicles had driven over prime Crytobiotic forests leaving tire prints and destruction for really no reason at all other than to "rip it up!" This was only on one of the many days that followed. There is no excuse for that type of wanton destruction, especially since there is so much information in the public arena about the fragile Crytobiotic soil:

DON'T BUST THE CRUST! It is everywhere, just like the plentiful information about HYDRATE OR DIE! Do these people drain the oil on their living room rugs? Do these people even care about ethics?

Afraid! Yes, I am afraid that these people have reinforced the already bad image the general public has about 4-wheelers. So now I have to hang my head down in shame when I visit the local business people in Moab because of the stigma attached to what a few (not as few as one would
think) bad apples have done to the desert roads. It just gives groups like SUWA, Sierra Club, the BLM and USFS more ammunition for road closure and to establish more Wilderness Study areas. Because, if those that use it don't care enough and continue to abuse it, the privilege to recreate on primitive roads in pristine back-country regions will be easier to close and certainly easier to legislate Fee areas and restrictive access. We might as well as start building private OHV parks like the East Coast regions have to do. Or do we restrict the buggy types to only OHV parks and enforce lift, bumper height and tire diameter laws. Or do we close "it" all and just stand against the fence and sigh away the hours?

So, yes, I am afraid! Because these uncaring individuals that actually make up a large group are threatening my livelihood, recreation and environment.
We should all be afraid what these people represent. I am sure SUWA loves it.

All the insightful diatribes from the vociferous 'wheelers about boycotting this establishment or that business amounts to NOTHING and falls on deaf ears when ones backyard is so scurrilously vandalized by what Edward Abbey once coined as "SLOBIVIUS AMERICANUS" are doing to our sport and our land.

Everyone that operates a motorized vehicle should be required to read "Desert Solitaire" by Abbey, in order to get a license. There needs to be a resurgence of a new ethic for the way 'wheelers should treat this fragile land we are loving to death and closure.

If you build a "rock buggy" type rig so you can attack and conquer, then by all means use it to that end in the area or park made for that. But when 'wheeling on established 4wd routes, stay on the road and enjoy the journey not the thrill of conquering big rocks off the route and smashing trees and rolling over Cryptobiotic soil. Back country travel and 4-wheeling is about the journey, not fighting nature with machine. If you are one of those that needs to fight nature then go SWIM WITH THE SHARKS! I am sure they will have fun with your body. And we that share an environmental ethic will not even remotely miss. Can you say: "Gene pool selection" and Darwin awards?

Displeased because these "slobivius americanus" exist and recreate with impunity.

Disgusted these people can actually hold a driver's license and call themselves 4-wheelers.

Angry there are so many of these "bad apples" that the numbers are getting larger and those that care about ethics seem to be getting smaller.

Afraid that the actions of these uncaring, indolent, boorish imbeciles will drive the general public and land managing agencies to start really pushing for road closure, vehicle build restrictions and more government interference.

We should all be afraid. We should all care about environmental ethics and appropriate behavior when operating motorized vehicles on public access lands especially in fragile remote regions.

We need to WAKE UP and start working on the tarnished image that seems to be getting more tarnished as we drive along.

Bill Burke
>>>>>>>>>>>>
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  #2  
Old April 7th, 2005, 03:45 PM
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jim pendleton
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Anybody got a picture of Bill Burkes son?

I must admit, though I do follow the posted trails, the crust issue has only been barely described to me.

Anyone have a link to its importance.


"Don't Bust the Crust" Mike Tyson quote?


Please do not be offended by my remarks. As a self pronounced psuedo intellectual, might I make another point. Bill is an important member of our community, Land Rovers in North America. But people outside our community, or new to it do not know of him or his credibility with us. So in the wrong hands an important piece of literature, as read above, may read as a college worded rant. So do not expect to bring wannabee off roaders away from the dark side with messages like this. I am not expressing any dissapproval with the piece or its message.

Use Bills message, like the trail, wisely.

Jim Pendleton
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Lemons or lemonaide, whatever your taste provides.
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Old April 7th, 2005, 03:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pendy
Anybody got a picture of Bill Burkes son?

I must admit, though I do follow the posted trails, the crust issue has only been barely described to me.

Anyone have a link to its importance.


"Don't Bust the Crust" Mike Tyson quote?


Please do not be offended by my remarks. As a self pronounced psuedo intellectual, might I make another point. Bill is an important member of our community, Land Rovers in North America. But people outside our community, or new to it do not know of him or his credibility with us. So in the wrong hands an important piece of literature, as read above, may read as a college worded rant. So do not expect to bring wannabee off roaders away from the dark side with messages like this. I am not expressing any dissapproval with the piece or its message.

Use Bills message, like the trail, wisely.

Jim Pendleton
Here is a link about the cryptobiotic crust found in Arches NP, adjacent to Moab. There are tons of signs all over Moab, Arches and Canyonlands NP describing it, although one must be able to read the signs, which might preclude many of the bubbas causing the damage from learning about it.
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  #4  
Old April 22nd, 2005, 06:54 PM
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I have to agree with Bill wholeheartedly. I first went Land Rovering around Moab in 1965 (Series 109) and was awed by the region's rugged and almost pristine beauty. Year by year as the National Park Service decided to make the area "more accessible", and advertizing focused on luring more people out there, I watched wjith increasing frustation as those whose appreciation for the area was far short of mine came and wreaked havoc on the terrain. These irresponsible, thimble-brained morons consistently drove in areas where they were not supposed to tread, or got into situations that were well beyond their driving skills, meaning they had to hack apart the scenery to get themselves out of trouble.

It is interesting that as the National Park Service made the area within Canyonlands "more accessible" to the layman, they encouraged its destruction at the hands of the careless. Now you are forbidden to get into areas that I routinely visited in the 1960s without mishap. I cannot see how that is making the area "more accessible". Keep in mind that this type of irresponsible behavior happened within a National Park that is supposedly routinely patroled. Out in the public lands that Bill frequents it is even worse. It takes only a few jerks to ruin the entire show for all of us. I don't want to be told that other areas are now "off limits" due to the improper actions of others.

The fact is, there are just not that many places left to really get out and put the Land Rover through its paces. We cannot afford to lose the few areas left open to us. If anyone has some suggestions about how we all can enforce the preservation of good 4x4 areas I'd love to hear about it. My sister happens to be in the U.S Congress and being a Land Roverite herself, might lend some support to some intelligent proposals.

Before anyone gets too wild about it, keep in mind I am NOT in favor of government agencies dictating what I can and cannot enjoy. I am in favor of punishing those that disobey simple rules under which we all should operate.
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Old April 22nd, 2005, 09:55 PM
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Steve, I'm with you. I take a lot of heat for my views, but I'm in favor of confiscation of vehicle and $10K fine. Defining exactly what would constitute violation is the issue that is hard for me to resolve. And I'd restrict confiscation to cases of admission or conviction, not 'on the spot' like the DEA. Also a $10K fine for littering, and a $5K BOUNTY paid to anyone providing evidence leading to conviction. You could make a living out of that!!

Doug W.
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  #6  
Old April 23rd, 2005, 02:01 PM
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Gosh Doug, wouldn't that be the life, just patrolling out in God's country nailing nitwits ruining the offtrail sections of our scenic wonders and earning a living doing it!! Unfortunately, in reality the courts would never endorse such huge fines, no matter how deserved. Heck, they won't even hadn out such fines or confiscate the vehicles of repeat-offense drunk drivers who have killed people. Still, levying fines is one answer; the problem is obtaining proof. Maybe just the threat of such fines would be enough to deter some of the troublemakers. Perhaps there is some way to in essence deputize all off-roaders to patrol our own turf and turn in such miscreants.
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Old April 23rd, 2005, 04:08 PM
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Understood Steve. It's just what I would do if I was El Supremo.

I used to ride my mountain bike off-road in Griffith Park, as an outlaw -- 53 miles of fireroads and trials, all in the center of the massive Los Angeles population, and all off limits to bikes. I'd ride early -- 6:30 to 7:30 and never got stopped. The fine was $107. In 7 years of riding there, I saw less than a half dozen other mountain bikers. The THREAT of capture was huge, there were normally Park Rangers patrolling the roads and fireroads. If I did occasionally ride later in the day, the amount of heat I'd get from hikers was intense -- enough to keep anyone off the trails during 'normal' hours. (BTW I felt totally justified in my actions, so no lectures please.)

The point is, threats and peer pressure work -- it's just how to get those two deterrunts (spelling) applied. Peer pressure works (from my experience above) only with sufficient real upset. I'd react to anger or 'righteous indignation' by just getting pissed off in return (as I said I had my actions all neatly justified). It was the irrational fear of my bike by timid hikers and their visible upset that pushed me out of prime time and into the wee hours of the morning.

Food for thought....

Doug W.
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Old April 25th, 2005, 06:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevewhitaker
Unfortunately, in reality the courts would never endorse such huge fines, no matter how deserved. Heck, they won't even hadn out such fines or confiscate the vehicles of repeat-offense drunk drivers who have killed people. Still, levying fines is one answer; the problem is obtaining proof.
I actually agree (to a point) with Doug. There need to be dire, severe or worse case some consequences for doing bad things. I can understand the rationale behind not confiscating drunk drivers cars (only vehicle), but in many cases people who take their trucks off pavement usually have another car to drive (esp if its a buggy). Either way at a minimum there needs to be a fine and it needs to be stiff enough to make you think - even if its only $1000, it will make you think about it.

Old fashioned film pictures that have visible license plate should be ok. The problem we ran into in pnw when I was there was actually getting someone to do something even though we had the incriminating pictures.
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Old April 27th, 2005, 10:18 AM
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I'm really in favor of some serious fines for those who abuse the privelege of offroading. The fines must be of realistic magnitudes, however, so that the authorities will use them. If the fines are too high, the powers-that-be tend to let offenses slide due to the sob stories about what such fines will do to the livelihood of the offenders. Thousand dollar fines seem okay to me, and even worse for really serious offenses.

I guess I'd like to know how we could enforce such punishment. If I catch a nitwit tearing up the landscape what can I do? (I do have a .45-120 Sharps that comes to mind (that's an old and powerful Buffalo rifle that is about a short step short of a cannon to the uninformed)). Seriously though, if I were lucky enough to have a camera and get some video or photos of the jerk doing his thing, then I could turn said evidence into the authorities and hope that they do something about it. If I have no camera, perhaps I can phone into an authority, but then unless they post numbers to call about such offenses, how would I know who to contact?

It seems the feds and/or state could set up some procedures for us all to follow to enable us to report offensible offroad behavior so we can police the offroad areas ourselves. These procedures could be clearly posted so we would all be informed, and also as a warning to others that ANYONE can report them if they do something really out of line.

I would like to ensure, as much as possible, however, that whatever procedures we can recommend will prevent some tree-hugging, anti-vehicle-of-any-kind fanatic from being able to trump up nonsense charges against any of us even when we are doing nothing wrong. I've run into that kind of person before as well. Then again, there's that Sharps option...
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