2023 LANDUSE AND ACCESS OUTLOOK
By Del Albright, ASA Social Media Manager, Supporter
Where will we be riding and exploring this new year? What
effect will our recent political history have on our access to public lands and
dunes? Are we going to see changes in our favorite duning areas? Allow me to
give you some insight.
The mess we call 2020 is now mostly hindsight, with 2021
and 2022 rough but better years. But our riding, exploring, and adventures for 2023
are not by any means guaranteed.
The Administration’s policy changes, as is usual in a
democracy, have flooded the world we live in. However, federal and state
agencies are adapting to the “new” normal just like they did a few years ago
with other agency/administration changes. Still, access to our public lands and
dunes is tenuous at best.
Land closures and restrictions will get headlines in almost
all states, especially in the west. New Monuments, new Wilderness, new Areas of
Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC), new this and new that. I predict we will
not be able to keep up with the pages of reading to review and comment.
In 2022 the environmental movement worked with the
Administration to orchestrate the 30 x 30 America the Beautiful initiative –
proposing to conserve (some say lock up) 30% of America by 2030. Right now,
about 12% of our American lands and waterways are “conserved” or protected
(locked up). ASA is watching this one closely!
Then we can throw in the many things that distract us
daily. Gun rights will be highlighted and in the news a lot. How our kids are
taught in school (or should I say brainwashed) will bug parents daily. The war
over “American-made” or foreign-made will hit the top of the charts. Insurance,
bills, trying to recover from the pandemic, and many other financial bites will
nibble at us all year.
So, what does this mean? Does it mean you probably aren’t
thinking much about keeping dunes open or saving our sports? And does it
suggest that this trend of not joining clubs and associations is the
easier way to do things – virtually, if at all?
WRONG! I can’t say that strongly enough. If we do not
unite, speak up, stay engaged, stay tuned into what is happening with our
trails, and FIGHT BACK, we will end up parking our rigs in the garage to look
at a few times a year. We cannot just be virtual, and we cannot let daily
distractions numb us into apathy.
Exactly what do we do?
JOIN: Get your joining back on! Join
ASA and your state and regional associations/organizations. They need our
membership dues to make a difference and do what dedicated, knowledgeable riders
Sure, if you want to stay with your virtual group, ok.
But do not make that your go-to. Virtual groups do not go to state capitals or
Washington, DC, to fight for us (unless I missed something). But, on the other
hand, brick-and-mortar groups do show up where it counts – in person, face to
DONATE: Send somebody some
gas money! Donate to a group so they can send someone to those meetings where
decisions are made about YOUR trails. Buy raffle tickets to organization raffle
vehicles. If we are not at the tables, ALL of them, the head of the table will
make decisions without us and not necessarily in our favor.
VOLUNTEER: Put a trash bag to
work in your favorite duning area! Donate your time and volunteer to help keep dunes
open. Help your association/groups on a project that needs time and effort
(strong backs). Show up! Yes, I’ll be trite – the world is run by those who
BUY SMART: Support businesses
that support our sport. Buy from those outfits who do something for land use,
such as donating to raffles, joining associations as a business, and
contributing in some way to keep dunes open or helping a club doing just that.
Join, donate, volunteer, and buy smart. If
you start doing those things with all your heart and ability, we can turn the
tide in 2023 into a year we can be proud of and keep our right to ride alive
START by joining (or renewing your membership in) the American
Sand Association here: https://americansandassociation.org