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9 Simple Ways to Increase Public Awareness of the Issue

How To Protect Our 4-Wheeling Trails & Riding Areas


Up till now, when it comes to trail riding and driving on backcountry roads, four-wheelers have gotten a pretty bad rap. We're often perceived as just a bunch of yey-hoos who are largely responsible for using and abusing the public lands across this great country of ours. The fact is, 4-wheeling drivers, ATV riders, and other offroad enthusiasts (including those who ride dirt bikes, dune buggies, snowmobiles, etc.) have done and continue to do a lot of GOOD things to protect, preserve, and maintain the roads and trails that we ride on.

Come on... No matter what our interest: 4-wheeling, ATVing, hiking, camping, hunting, fishing, birding, mountain biking, motorcycle riding, backpacking, nature photography, dirtbike riding, horseback riding, climbing, we ALL have a right to enjoy these lands! Let's all pull together and make sure that our children, and our children's children, will be able to appreciate and enjoy these beautiful lands of ours too.

Right here. Right now.

It's up to each us to change our image and do what we can to see to it that the sport of 4-wheeling seen in a positive light, rather than a negative one.

Here are 9 simple ways that one person can help to increase public awareness of the issue of off-roaders' rights to use the land too:

  1. Start an e-mail contact list of friends and family who are interested in learning more about this issue. When you come across articles, news, or relevant information, forward it to everyone on this list.
  2. Add a catchy phrase or quote that's meaningful to you into the tagline of your e-mails. A thing as simple as an e-mail signature will remind others of the importance of this issue. Not only would you be sharing your point of view with others who might be unaware of the problem, you'd also be opening up the lines of communication about the issue by creating opportunities for those who come in contact with your e-mails to educate themselves about the topic. You'd be surprised by the impact of such a simple thing!
  3. Make your own website in support of the cause. Here's a great example of a simple website that was created solely for the purpose of educating the public and making a point. Whether you already know how to make websites, or you've always wanted to know how, but didn't know where to start... There's no time like the present. Now you've got a focus for your new website! There are literally thousands of how-to sites on the Internet to get you started, and with all the free templates available and free server space provided by e-mail providers these days, there's no reason to put it off any longer.

    You can even add a colorful "web sticker" on your website to make it easy for others to contact their elected officials. There's a web sticker for federal representatives and a web sticker for contacting state representatives.

    If you (or your club) already have a website, then do your duty and include relevant information about local land issues. Not only will you be serving as a role model, you have no idea all the people you'll be helping to educate about this topic. We all need to get the word out, and this is one way that takes very little effort.

  4. Call radio talk shows. Ask questions. Make a statement. Be courteous and professional even if the host disagrees with you, but be firm on the issues. This is simply another way to get the word out and tell your story.
  5. Put a meaningful bumper sticker on your vehicle and ask your friends, family, and neighbors if they will also put a bumper sticker on their cars. To get more bumper stickers, check here.
  6. Attend local political and community meetings. Make friends. Without forcing your agenda on others, it's important to speak up about the issue whenever it's appropriate. When people ask for more information, have something ready to hand them.
  7. If you or someone in your local 4-wheeling club is talented at public speaking, arrange to give a presentation at the local library, local lodge or community event. Most public libraries will reserve a meeting room at no charge where you can show a video and give a presentation. Be sure to submit your event announcement to the local media and post flyers around town so that people know about it.
  8. Call or write your local newspapers and television stations. The media is always looking for human-interest stories. Tell your story. If you have two or three others who also have a story to tell, offer to arrange a meeting over coffee with the reporter and a small group for interviews. Try to develop a friendly, professional relationship with the local media - even if some disagree with you.
  9. Create a "buzz" about land issues. Start a word of mouth campaign simply by telling your friends, your family, and your co-workers about local land issues. And ask them to tell someone too. Pass it on!

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