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Wild Green

Former Utne Reader senior editor Keith Goetzman on environmental issues from climate change to composting.


Video: Four-Wheelers Tearing Up the Desert

 by Keith Goetzman


Tags: wilderness, public lands, off-road vehicles, all-terrain vehicles, desert, outdoor recreation, Southwestern Utah Wilderness Alliance, Redrock Wilderness, environment, Keith Goetzman,

Four-wheelers ripping through Southwestern U.S. desert landscapes can do a lot of damage to fragile ecosystems. And some of the best evidence comes in the form of YouTube videos made by the drivers and their buddies themselves.

To see for yourself, tune in to the ORV Mayhem video collection created by the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. (ORV means off-road vehicle, a broad class that includes full-size 4x4 vehicles as well as all-terrain vehicles, or ATVs, and motorcycles). SUWA challenged its members to submit videos showing ORV abuse on Utah’s public lands, and they responded with a veritable gallery of jackassery.

Watch in awe as groaning Hummers clamber over boulders, spewing exhaust and burning rubber. Thrill as Jeep Cherokees overturn and clatter down slickrock. Cheer as a helmet-mounted cam follows off-road motorcycles on a thrilling race of destruction through scenic arroyos.

Here’s just one of the videos on ORV Mayhem:

 

You may form some opinions about the folks in the videos. For instance, I found myself thinking, “Golly, that certainly is inconsiderate. Someone should teach those naughty people some manners!” Here’s what a less reserved Edward Abbey had to say about this breed in Postcards from Ed:

“The fat pink slobs who go roaring over the landscape in these over-sized over-priced over-advertised mechanical mastodons are people too lazy to walk, too ignorant to saddle a horse, too cheap and clumsy to paddle a canoe. Like cattle or sheep, they travel in herds, scared to death of going anywhere alone, and they leave their sign and spoor all over the back country: Coors beer cans, Styrofoam cups, plastic spoons, balls of Kleenex, wads of toilet paper, spent cartridge shells, crushed gopher snakes, smashed sagebrush, broken trees, dead chipmunks, wounded deer, eroded trails, bullet-riddled petroglyphs, spray-painted signatures, vandalized Indian ruins, fouled-up waterholes, polluted springs and smoldering campfires piled with incombustible tinfoil, filter tips, broken bottles. Etc.”

Source: Redrock Wilderness (the newsletter of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance), Postcards from Ed 

rusted
12/13/2010 10:22:20 PM

HA. I find it interesting that there is better value and truth in the "used cars for sale" spam than there is in Mr Goetzman's slanted so-called "journalism". True Journalist report the facts not try to spin their own whacked agenda as some sort of factual writing. Shame on Keith Goetzman and Utne both for bad taste and letting false articles get past them.


bo hica
12/13/2010 9:46:48 PM

This article, presented as objective journalism, is such an obvious piece of propaganda for the “green movement” masquerading as journalism that I was possessed to look into the background of this fine publication. What I found was a green movement propaganda machine. Here’s a very enlightening interview with the publisher of not only The Utne Reader, but other publications like Mother Earth News, Natural Home and The Herb Companion. The interview was for Elephant Television’s Walk the Talk Show, “A Talk Show for the Green Movement.” http://vimeo.com/1297104


sosiu942
12/13/2010 7:51:42 PM

I guess after reading the authors bio.....I just have to shake my head. " Utne Reader senior editor Keith Goetzman is a veteran journalist who has worked for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Minnesota Monthly, the Rake, the Twin Cities Reader, and many other publications. He oversees Utne Reader’s arts and environmental coverage and has written about subjects including Afrobeat, midwifery, genetically modified trees, and the FCC for the magazine. He also writes the Wild Green blog, which covers environmental issues from climate change to composting. Keith enjoys outdoor activities from bicycling and canoeing to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and their three environmentally incorrect children." How would you like to go through life knowing your dad who should unconditionally love you thinks that you are enviromentally incorrect? All I can say is WOW.....how sad.


sosiu942
12/13/2010 7:46:11 PM

If I did not check twice, I would swear that I linked to the SUWA website. This article is full of misleading and irresponsible statements. I agree with DJ 100%. Flash floods do more damage to riparian areas in a year than any amount of ATV's do in their life time. I can't think of the last time I saw a flood not tear out vegatation and wash out stream banks. Your logic is flawed and completely inaccurate.


dj gardner
12/13/2010 4:44:41 PM

I can't believe this page just reposted SUWA vomit!!! What a joke! There are few times in ones life when they are absolutely gauranteed to be wrong on a subject. And when one "stereotypes" is at the top of the list. Did you bother to notice that all of those videos are of LEGAL (yes, LEGAL) OHV activity? That means they are on designated trails, and in areas that the BLM has approved them to go. Legal and responsible OHV use, has virtually ZERO impact on the land! Sure, the trail gets used, but the land immediately to either side of the trail/road remains virtually unaffected by the presence of OHV's. The "riparian" areas in SouthEastern Utah are damaged more by Flash Floods than they are by OHV's (a fact that has been studied and supported by many BLM studies). The only time someone has a legitimate case against OHV's, they need to speak SPECIFICALLY about ILLEGAL and IRRESPONSIBLY OHV use (where people are using them on closed trails, or simply trail blazing where no trail exists). This entire post is garbage, manipulative, dishonest, and stereotypical....what a joke!


peter lipson
12/13/2010 3:27:52 PM

“The fat pink slobs who go roaring over the landscape in these over-sized over-priced over-advertised mechanical mastodons are people too lazy to walk, too ignorant to saddle a horse,..." nice. Way to slander a group you don't approve of, en masse. Let's demonstrate that the right-wing frothing stereotyping is a model to follow. There are big issues with the impacts of off-road recreation, and there are a lot of ignorant or careless people who cause a lot of destruction. But there are a lot of people who put a lot of their time and energy into efforts that mitigate the impact of their recreation too. So unless you're extremely pure about living off the grid, avoiding use of commercially produced food and housing, you have no standing to make such blanket condemnation. It's just a matter of degree - you're willing (however regretfully) to accept the impact your choices make on the planet but somehow these guys go too far. Pragmatically, it's stupid to avoid compromise as well. We're reaching a point where many, if not most, in the off-road community feel demonized by what they call "the greenies" and return the favor. This results in rejection of moderate views - it's cultivating a feeling that the off-road community's image is so bad that there's no longer any point in avoiding riding in restricted areas, because ALL areas are going to be restricted soon anyway. As enforcement costs limit legal constraints, you need voluntary compliance, so team up!!