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UFWDA Community Forum  |  Access (Land Use, RTF, Advocacy, etc)  |  General Land Advocacy  |  Topic: Our image as seen by others! « previous next »
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Author Topic: Our image as seen by others!  (Read 8478 times)
Todd Ockert
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« on: July 14, 2007, 10:08:36 am »

Here is the impression that others are trying to create for us!
I would bet that if we look at comparable numbers for any city, we have less citations issued on a percentage basis for the number of people recreating on public land!

We need to get better at policing ourselves and stop this behavior. 
I am not going to say what crowd within the OHV comunity is the most roudy, because, all of the OHV groups have those that get extremely roudy! 

I think if we work on our trail patrol programs, and help patrol the trails, and tell people to knock it off, we can help our image. 

Todd


'Monstrous' problem?
Rowdy OHV crowd alleged
Report says Utah's 1,336 violations is second only to California since 2004
Correction: The only hit-and-run citation for an off-highway vehicle on BLM land from 2004 through the first half of 2007 was in California. A story in Thursday's Tribune incorrectly suggested there were some in Utah.
   Off-road vehicle drivers are becoming a "monstrous" law enforcement problem in the West, particularly in Utah, according to a federal crime statistics analysis released Wednesday.
    Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, an advocacy group of current and former federal workers, crunched U.S. Bureau of Land Management off-highway vehicle crime statistics for the past four years and found that only California posted more violations than Utah.
    "America needs stronger penalties to deter reckless off-roading," said Southwest PEER Director Daniel Patterson, an ecologist in Tucson, Ariz., who formerly worked with BLM. "The rangers are frustrated. They are on the front lines."
    The numbers show that from 2004 through the first half of 2007, federal rangers on BLM land in Utah issued 1,336 off-road violations for reckless driving, driving under the influence of alcohol, illegal off-roading on closed trails or off-limit areas and other crimes.
    But OHV advocates scoffed at the statistics, saying they reflect BLM law enforcement priorities, so naturally the numbers would skew to OHV abuses.
    The violations "are more or less the only crime because there's not much crime on public lands," said Steve Jackson, president of Utah Shared Access Alliance.
    "If hikers are up there committing crimes, they're not likely to get tickets because that's not where [rangers] are focusing," added long-time OHV advocate Rainer Huck, now a mayoral candidate in Salt Lake City.
    The PEER report is the second pointing out OHV abuses released since the BLM reported near-riot conditions at Juab County's Little Sahara Recreation Area during the Easter holiday in April, when an estimated 35,000 people visited the dunes.
    Two nights in a row, melees involving about 1,000 people each took rangers several hours to control. Rangers ejected about 200 people from Sand Mountain, where ATV riders are allowed to motor 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Family areas away from Sand Mountain weren't affected.
    Ed Patrovsky, a PEER member who retired from BLM law enforcement after more than 15 years on the job, said his experiences as a ranger in the West were mostly confined to issuing tickets for OHV infractions and light misdemeanors. More serious encounters included vandalism, felony warrants, fights and assaults.
    "I've had bottles thrown at me, things of that nature," he said. "It can be awful scary out there when you're working by yourself and there are hundreds of these people and a riot mentality can develop."
    BLM statistics for 2004-2007 obtained by PEER under the Freedom of Information Act show in the five-state area of California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah there were more than 6,600 off-road violations for hit and run, reckless driving, and other crimes, and more than 2,300 incidents of illegal off-roading on closed trails or off-limit areas.
    But compared with the number of OHV users, those numbers look small to Huck. In Utah alone, he estimated that in addition to the more than 200,000 registered OHVs, there are at least that many more that aren't registered due to the expense.
    Add in four-wheel drive trucks and cars, dual-sport motorcycles and other off-road vehicles and the number comes to 600,000 OHVs in Utah, Huck said.
    "The BLM refuses to accept that and plan for that. Their only response is to close land," Huck said.
    Jackson of the Shared Access Alliance said his group and others are working to educate OHV riders about their legal obligations.
    "We feel there is an opportunity for everyone to work together and share the West, not close off any area to any one group," Jackson said. "You don't want to be the guy riding off-trail when a responsible group passes by."
    I've had bottles thrown at me, things of that nature. . . . It can be awful scary out there when you're working by yourself and there are hundreds of these people and a riot mentality can develop.
    - Ed Patrovsky, a PEER member who retired from BLM law enforcement after more than 15 years on the job
    If hikers are up there committing crimes, they're not likely to get tickets because that's not where [rangers] are focusing.
    - Long-time OHV advocate Rainer Huck, now a mayoral candidate in Salt Lake City
« Last Edit: July 16, 2007, 09:44:23 am by Todd Ockert » Logged

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Dave Logan
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« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2007, 11:05:05 am »

Todd, I think we need to counter this media BS with our own perspective.  My analogy is that all motorcyclists are not outlaws and all OHV drivers are not abusive to the environment.

Most motorcyclists you see today ride a bike that cost 15k or more.  Many are professionals who enjoy the freedom of riding.
Most of us are the same.  When we meet in Colorado next week, let's look around the table.  By a large, a group of pretty upstanding citizens. Grin


So maybe we need to look at what the motorcyclists have done to change the public perspective?  I have advocated creating a 3 to 4 minute video showing the family aspects of our hobby and the trail maintenance/ clean ups/ charity runs, etc. that we do. If we can get United solvent, we could pay for this.

Position the anti-recreation folks as the "Grumpy Old Men" Vs. the responsible family fun kinda OHV people. There are some RV commercials on TV showing how much fun it is to get away and camp.  They show "Fun Hauler" trailers with ATV's, jet skis, etc.

Gene and his Club members have FEAT.  Some of our Clubs have annual Toys for Tots events. There is very little publicity associated with this great work. 

Part of the solution is to create the right image with young people.  After all, they'll be the next generation of LEOs, Park Rangers, Media editors, etc.  Let's create an outdoor program/summer camp that makes them comfortable in the outdoors.  Many of them are afraid to leave their video games and come outside.  Tread Lightly! is the perfect organization to do this.

Let's face it kids like Monster trucks and 4WD Trucks. So, at what point are they corrupted?  Wink

We won't have time to discuss this much at the AGM, but maybe at the Land Use conference Huh

Just some rambling thoughts...Dave


« Last Edit: July 14, 2007, 11:07:15 am by Dave Logan » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2007, 02:09:25 pm »

I agree 100% - the vast majority of wheelers, even the most hardcore still want away from the crowds and will do the right thing... it is a small minority that cause the issues.

It costs money to advertise and create even the simplest PR campaigns.  Currently UFWDA members will barely pay $15 and complain that they can't afford more... so where is it that we should look for this money?  (Actually I think part of the new business plan is to address some of this).

For years I have been asking BRC, UFWDA and others the same question - why not something similar to "Taking me fishing.org" - a national public pr campaign - show people who we really are before other groups show only the minorty doing something wrong.

- Shawn (Just thinking out loud)
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Dave Logan
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« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2007, 02:29:47 pm »

Shawn, I agree.  Traditional ad campaigns can be expensive.  But, maybe we could get creative.

I know the $ that some eco-groups pull in.  But, one little squeaky wheel working from a home office suddenly becomes the State chapter for some obscure splinter group and gets a lot of free press through writing inflammatory Press Releases. Roll Eyes

What if we created an inexpensive video (Muchado or someone helps us out) and put it on YouTube or some similar free site.  Eventually it will get around.  It could be sent out to the media to counter bad publicity.  It could be sent out pro-actively to the "good" media. Grin

A simple tri-fold brochure to list the objective facts for the media could be produced.  Maybe Marti Pugh has some ideas.  A Print sponsor might be found.

These are real actionable ideas.  Maybe we can get something started at the AGM ?
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« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2007, 06:28:08 pm »

Dave those are good ideas.  I hope you bring them up for some discussion at the AGM.  Perhaps at the Land Use Conference or even just in some side conversations with the delegates and bod.  Either way - bring it up.

I think the board has a new brochure (I think they are bringing them / samples to the AGM)... but I think we need national impact ads of  sometype - and yes they would cost money and time... but the problem with brochures and such is that they touch people interested in what we do - we need to reach out and touch people who could care less what we do but are part of the voting populous.. they need to know who we are and what we do and why we do it. 

The little old lady from pasadena who only drives to and from church needs to see that we are a committed family environment and group of people that care so that the next time she gets a card from the SXXXXX Club or whomever that says save a trail from OHV destruction by submitting $$.$$ she can already have a tick in the back of her head that says "now wait a minute, these are good people... why should I deny them".

In my opinion (and only my opinion) these are the people we need to convince - we don't have the money to fight the eco nazis.  We need to get the power of the public on our side so when it comes to local votes to close trails, create wilderness areas etc - the public will help us.  And the way to do that is to let them know who we are.. that we are not a group of rioting, red-neck idiots.

And then of course we need to internally police ourselves - trail patrol, adopt-a-road/trail etc. And live up to whatever campaign we put out there.

- Shawn

« Last Edit: July 14, 2007, 06:32:14 pm by Shawn Pagan » Logged

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Todd Ockert
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« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2007, 07:02:37 pm »

Here is a video that the club that does big brothers/big sisters in the Sierra's, and they put it on YouTube for all to see.

I think if we can do something like this, and get the material from members of different areas.
Make a 5 minute video for YouTube and promote it on all the different forums, and it will get around.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FieN5xQzDf8

Windows XP comes with movie maker, and it is easy to take video from someones movie camera to convert it into a movie like this.
For those that are interested, I have some that I made for the Navy, and they are on my laptop that I will have there.
Easy to do, and even easier to post.

I agree that we need something to counter this free advertising that the anti-access groups are getting with this kind of mis-representation they are putting out about us.

I will put it on my agenda list for the Land Use Conference at AGM.
If we all put our heads together and come up with some ideas, I think we can start to counter this bad image that is being published.

Todd
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« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2007, 07:25:02 pm »

Dave those are good ideas.  I hope you bring them up for some discussion at the AGM.  Perhaps at the Land Use Conference or even just in some side conversations with the delegates and bod.  Either way - bring it up.

I think the board has a new brochure (I think they are bringing them / samples to the AGM)... but I think we need national impact ads of  sometype - and yes they would cost money and time... but the problem with brochures and such is that they touch people interested in what we do - we need to reach out and touch people who could care less what we do but are part of the voting populous.. they need to know who we are and what we do and why we do it. 

The little old lady from pasadena who only drives to and from church needs to see that we are a committed family environment and group of people that care so that the next time she gets a card from the SXXXXX Club or whomever that says save a trail from OHV destruction by submitting $$.$$ she can already have a tick in the back of her head that says "now wait a minute, these are good people... why should I deny them".

In my opinion (and only my opinion) these are the people we need to convince - we don't have the money to fight the eco nazis.  We need to get the power of the public on our side so when it comes to local votes to close trails, create wilderness areas etc - the public will help us.  And the way to do that is to let them know who we are.. that we are not a group of rioting, red-neck idiots.

And then of course we need to internally police ourselves - trail patrol, adopt-a-road/trail etc. And live up to whatever campaign we put out there.

- Shawn



Shawn...You're right.  We will never get the eco-freaks to understand what we do and why.  They don't want to listen. 

But, the general public may.  There are a lot of people who haven't formed an opinion yet or who may give us the benefit of the doubt. 
If we can portray what we are about they will at least be exposed to both sides of the story.

The fringe Greenies might be seen as a minority of eccentric wackos.  The Tree Sitters named "Mossy Fungus" by their hippie parents.

If we were to publicize the good work we're doing locally, it would be easy and inexpensive.  Gene has gotten press with his FEAT program.  Our club does charity work, but virtually no one knows about it.  We need to be seen as mainstream and responsible citizens.

If each Club had a PR person on their Board who simply filled out a Press Release from a template after each positive event and published it, we might improve our image. I know that template has been developed, but we need the Leadership of our Clubs to act and assign this PR task to someone in the Club.

In the "Old Days" the Hot Rod clubs would help stranded motorists in order to help improve their image.  As they left they would hand the motorist a business card that said "You've just gotten assistance from a member of the XYZ Car Club."  I'm not saying we would do that, but its an effective analogy.

Surely we collectively can come up with an affordable, practical solution.

 
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« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2007, 07:44:56 pm »

Here is a video that the club that does big brothers/big sisters in the Sierra's, and they put it on YouTube for all to see.

I think if we can do something like this, and get the material from members of different areas.
Make a 5 minute video for YouTube and promote it on all the different forums, and it will get around.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FieN5xQzDf8

Windows XP comes with movie maker, and it is easy to take video from someones movie camera to convert it into a movie like this.
For those that are interested, I have some that I made for the Navy, and they are on my laptop that I will have there.
Easy to do, and even easier to post.

I agree that we need something to counter this free advertising that the anti-access groups are getting with this kind of mis-representation they are putting out about us.

I will put it on my agenda list for the Land Use Conference at AGM.
If we all put our heads together and come up with some ideas, I think we can start to counter this bad image that is being published.

Todd

Thanks, Todd.  Now we're thinking.  We'd have to be very politically correct in what we film.  Maybe film on private land.  You know, I bet there would be some good stuff to film at the All 4 Fun event.  Large gathering of OHV enthusiasts.  Maybe film vehicles on established roads and the incredible scenery.  Ride the Mount Antero trail above tree line.

Shawn, I mean no disrespect, but the Rock Crawling events get good press on the testosterone channels.  I love those shows too.  But when I tell people I'm taking my Jeep out for the weekend, they ask if I will roll it over.  They think the majority of 4 wheelers race Baja style or roll over & catch fire. 

For example, the state of Tennessee has NO OHV trails for full size vehicles on public lands.  In TN, OHV = less than 54" wide ATVs and motorcycles only.

One of the state agencies decided to consider adding full size trails.  Some of the (carefully chosen) members of  Southern gave them a scenic tour of Tellico on the easy to moderate trails.  Some of the guests were even allowed to drive.  They were astonished. They thought they would need helmets and would be racing "rally-style" through the woods.

We can laugh, but that's a typical misperception people have that have never been to an OHV trail system.

I was once asked by a National Forest Supervisor how many miles we needed to have a viable OHV trail system.  She was thinking that we'd need lots because of her ATV mindset.  They fly around and want miles and miles.

I told her that we could be happy with one mile if it was really challenging.  Grin

Unfortunately the Land Managers who control access don't understand what we do and what we want.  Maybe a promotional video might help a little.

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« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2007, 08:21:25 pm »

ALL GREAT  comments and Right where we need to be Heading.

Indiana FWDA has been doing trail rides for disabled kids at Camp Riley, out side of Indianapolis for a few years.  The Campers and staff LOVE it!  I don't know where we are with publicity but I believe we have had local TV coverage.  Scott Sperling is the Organizer for IFWDA.

Great Lakes and/orTwo Trackers recently hosted a trail ride with some local government officials/city/county/chamber/business folks who also were amazed at what it is we like to do.  A pleasant, slow, tool around in the woods.  Now they GET IT and they also enjoyed it very much.  Pat Brower can shed more light on this activity at the Land Use meeting in GJ.

Public education of the family, charity and volunteer aspects of FWDA is needed very much and would go a LONG way in telling the story about our sport.

Thanks,   ---Doug
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« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2007, 09:46:55 pm »

Okay so here is my challenge - let's start listing all this good work that is being done!

I started this thread: http://www.ufwda.org/smf/index.php?topic=1042.msg5228#msg5228 - let's encourage everyone to add to it!  Then we can start listing and using some of these things in the Voice!

- Shawn
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« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2007, 10:49:38 pm »

I know you want more details, we'll have to get the word out.

I know Two Rivers Jeep Club also does alot of community support in the Pittsfield, IL area.

Mudchuggers makes donations in the West Branch, MI area during their Sno*Blind event.

Mud, Sweat and Gears has done the same on Drummond Island, MI with their DOA event.

Two Trackers has been doing National Forest trail cleanups in the spring for many years.

I know there are more, these in the Midwest, just come to mind at this time.  I don't mean to leave others out.

If we get the word around, we should be able to make quite a list!

I'll refer them to your NEW post.

Thanks, Shawn!              ---Doug
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« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2007, 05:33:37 am »

It will take me a little while, but I will collect and post what's being done in Southern's territory.  I'll add it to Shawn's new thread.
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« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2007, 09:33:38 am »

All

I had no idea that this thread would take off this way when I posted my original one here. 

I know we have a lot of brain power here between all of us, and will come up with some great ideas for some PSA's. 
Little videos on youtube will also be a big help and I think if we post links to those on different sites, word will get around.

Also, when we see negative comments on the local paper, a quick email to the editor with a link to one of our videos, or a little flyer of what we really do, will start to create the positive image we need.

Tread Lightly has PSA's, and I am sure BRC does also.  So if we create some, we can also work on the positive impact we have within our communities.

Good work here all.
Your all great representatives of our sport, and communities.

Todd
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« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2007, 05:26:52 pm »

Here is a quick slide show with music that I created.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eL1owPo2IJs

If we get true video and make something like this, of people helping people, I know we can change the perception we have in the public's eye.

Todd
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« Reply #14 on: July 16, 2007, 07:57:52 am »

Shawn, I mean no disrespect, but the Rock Crawling events get good press on the testosterone channels.  I love those shows too.  But when I tell people I'm taking my Jeep out for the weekend, they ask if I will roll it over.  They think the majority of 4 wheelers race Baja style or roll over & catch fire. 

No offense taken - I fully understand that.  I can also tell you the majority of people in rockcrawling started on the trails and most of them still trail ride when not competing.  There are of course some who don't get the difference but they are few and far between.  Even the crowds we attract are changing - yes the yougner crowd still shows up but a lot of the spectators are far more influential.

One of the state agencies decided to consider adding full size trails.  Some of the (carefully chosen) members of  Southern gave them a scenic tour of Tellico on the easy to moderate trails.  Some of the guests were even allowed to drive.  They were astonished. They thought they would need helmets and would be racing "rally-style" through the woods.

We can laugh, but that's a typical misperception people have that have never been to an OHV trail system.

Yes it is.. and it is not laughable - they either think we are driving like Baja or that we are crushing things like monster trucks.

However, be careful when you offer ride alongs - I did once, took several journalists to the gradient boundaries in Texas - on someone else's advice - to show them around, show them the families picnicking on the "pocket parks" and such.  Turns out the journalist riding with me was looking for a "shock" value article for the front page of the Wall Street Journal - he got one, by making up stories to go with his pictures and taking comments way, way out of context.

His mother is proud of his article... for the rest of the world what they got was another - these freaks do this because of the glory and don't care about the environment.

Oh well... not that it isn't a good idea.  Just be careful who you take and what their motives might be.

I was once asked by a National Forest Supervisor how many miles we needed to have a viable OHV trail system.  She was thinking that we'd need lots because of her ATV mindset.  They fly around and want miles and miles.

I told her that we could be happy with one mile if it was really challenging.  Grin

Unfortunately the Land Managers who control access don't understand what we do and what we want.  Maybe a promotional video might help a little.

Ain't that the truth - we put in a grant here to build a trail on Forest Service land - they FS wants to trade a trail for a trail but they have "no money" to help.  When we put the grant in the State Parks commission looked at it and said "we can build an mc/atv trail 10 times longer then this for 1/5 the money so "No".  Now we have to go convince them "why".... so a promotional video might be helpful.

I'm still skeptical of you tube type videos and such - the majority of people that will watch them already get it or will watch for the trails excitement.  My opinion is that in order for a video or pr campaign to do good it has to reach those who are not looking for us and what we do... but look for those in the general public.

Almost a two pronged attack I suppose - 1 looking to remind those in the sport and those near the sport what we do, lay a groundwork and emphasis on why we do this... and 2 something that address those items to people who have no idea who we are, a quick gentle vision of who we really are.

- Shawn
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