Friday, August 9, 2019

Thank goodness for public lands

Imagine what it's like living in a state that has no public lands.

It's hard for many locals to comprehend this scenario. The camping, offroad, adventure life we love so much, wouldn't exist. No trespassing signs would litter the backcountry narrowing your choices to a few select campgrounds and privately owned offroad parks. Hunting would only be allowed under the supervision of outfitters and guides or permission from landowners. Nearly every acre of land and historical place would be owned by someone.

The off-road park

The off-road park must be a joke. Imagine going to the same place every single weekend. That's got to be boring, overrun and expensive. My Texas friend told me you better be prepared to spend $500 to have a good weekend on the trails. They must be like Arizona's OHV Recreation areas. Overrun, full of people, and a place that I'd like to avoid.

We are fortunate enough to live in a state where only 18% of the land is privately owned and the rest is open for our enjoyment. Like Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Montana and the rest of the Western States, the wide-open lands have shaped our culture. This is why we have fought hard to keep these lands open to all.


We are die-hard adventurers. The fun doesn't stop at a four-wheel-drive trail. Fishing, camping, hiking, mountain biking, and prospecting are all things we enjoy. Four-wheel drive is simply a tool to gain access to those places we love the most. It doesn't define who we are or what we're about.

Our public lands allow us to live the lifestyle we enjoy. It brings us together in common ground. We can forget our differences politically and religiously. Putting theses differences aside, we are able to have the time of our lives.

Home of the best

Arizona is home to some of the best outdoor opportunities in the United States. It's not surprising that we are a focal point for the entire world. People come from all over the world to visit our natural treasures such as the Grand Canyon and Sedona.

Less then 60,000 people a year visit the Parashant National Monument. It's the most isolated place in Arizona. To reach the north rim of the grand canyon requires 4wd and superb offroad driving skills. You must navigate over 150 miles of dirt road ranging from the maintained county road to technical, narrow trails suitable for highly modified rock crawlers.

In the Prashant National Monument, OHV use is promoted and a prerequisite to visit the natural treasures within. It's almost like the largest OHV park in the US. Recreational opportunities are reserved for those who have a 4-wheel drive. It's such an isolated place and hard to access, it keeps many people away. The only problem with access for us is having enough fuel to get out.

Moral of the story

We should feel lucky because not everybody has it this good. Be a steward of your public lands. Protect it, cherish it and embrace it. Our lands are for everybody. Not just you or me, but every man and woman.