I was going to stay out of this discussion, but, I just could not anymore.
Here is my opinion on this issue.
Any organiziation needs to change with the times to remain competitive for the consumers dollars. United is no different. This organization has to remain competitive with all the others out there selling the same product or service, and people expect something for their money: For this orginazation, that means that it works to keep trails open, and accessable by all.
Without digging to far into my basic college marketing class, United has to provide the following to their consumers/users:
Solution, Cost, Convience, and Communication.
Solution - They work to keep public lands open for our continued enjoyment.
Cost - What we pay for our yearly dues, I think I paid 30.00 this year via the main page web.
Convenience - how we access, or use the services provided by United. For me, the public lands are still open here in Cali, and other places that I recreate.
Communication - United Voice is what I read, along with the enews, and this forum. For me, electronic media is my preferred method of delivery. But everyone is different.
And these are different for everyone within United's membership base. For someone to join United, it has to fit into their life at the present time. How many other people do we know that recreate on public lands, and are not members of ANY organization or association? I know of at least 20 that I work with, and I talk to them all the time. And, how many other groups out there recreate on public lands, with minimal organizations, or associations that do very little to promote their choosen sport? Take a look at the mining community? They talk about issues with access to land all the time, and I see very little organized solutions put before them, that are fighting to keep lands open for them!
So, back to us here: the BOD's need to keep the membership informed of what is going on with land access issues within their respective areas. I know that Cal4wheel is an association that is part of United, but I have not heard what Cal4Wheel is doing to support United in the fight to keep lands open, or other issues. Granted, Cal4Wheel for the most part is only concerned with California, and they should be since 95 percent of their membership is from California. The clubs within the Cal4Wheel organization are pretty good about passing out info from Cal4Wheel. But we also have quarterly district meetings with the leadership/BOD, and I think it is easier to put the information out the the people in the weeds. With United, this is a little harder, since this is a Global organization. I am not a member of the BOD's, and I do not know if they have monthly, or quarterly meetings to pass info out to the people in the weeds, other then using e-news, United Voice, or the Forum here.
With the current voting structure, I think it would be easy for a couple of organizations, or associations to steer United in a wrong direction, or make changes that the individuals to not agree with. This is always a possiblilty, even with letting the membership individual vote. Look at our whole election process in our country. I think with the change that has been proposed, it will look more like the form of government we have, and allow for checks and balances within this organization. With this being a global organization, it is hard to please everyone, and keep everyone informed or potential changes needed to keep the organization running smoothly and efficiently.
Speaking of running smoothly and efficiently, from the little time I have been associated with United, I have seen somethings here that I like, and the way they go about working to keep access to public lands. But this is done with volunteers, and after a while, if the volunteers get burned out, they will leave the organization, and possibly even the sport. Look what happened with the Nevada state association! Only a couple of people where doing anything there, and they got so burned out, they closed the doors on the association. Now take a look at some of the land grabs that have taken place over there since they closed their doors. They have no one with a unified voice there to speak up for them and work with the BLM and Forest Service to keep access to the public lands.
How many other states have no state association for the OHV users there to support, and work to keep access for them.
This is a hard, and time consuming fight that is only going to get harder for the next couple of years since we had a big change in Congress with the Democrats.
We all need to speak up, and voice our opinion on what United is trying to do, and about what the government is trying to do to our land access rights.
Overall, I think United is headed in the right direction, and looking to the future. If you do not look to the future, you will become part of the history, and the books will be closed on you.
Question about the current changes though? No Director of Environmental Affairs postion within United. In the current by-laws, there are three directors at Large?