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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: BACKPACKING LIGHT SEEKS PARTNERSHIP WITH OHV/ORV COMMUNITY TO PROMOTE MULTI-USE HARMONY IN AMERICAN WILDERNESS

Backpacking Light (www.backpackinglight.com), an internet-based community of hikers known for their pro-wilderness values, is forging partnerships with organizations such as the pro-trails Blue Ribbon Coalition (www.sharetrails.org) to join forces in the fight for American Wilderness preservation.

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by Backpacking Light Staff | 2009-04-01 00:00:00-06

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  BACKPACKING LIGHT SEEKS PARTNERSHIP WITH OHV/ORV COMMUNITY TO PROMOTE MULTI-USE HARMONY IN AMERICAN WILDERNESS

Bozeman, Montana (April 1, 2009)

Ryan Jordan, Backpacking Light's founder and publisher, was surfing the Internet one day when he came across ShareTrails.org. "When I read the opening statement on the home page, 'The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national non-profit organization dedicated to preserving responsible recreational access to public lands and waters,' I was bursting with excitement, because that's our mission too!"

Jordan immediately recognized a number of parallels between Backpacking Light and the BRC:

  • Both organizations participate in the process of evaluating public land management agency travel plans;
  • Both organizations love trails;
  • Both organizations believe that America's wild land gems should remain accessible to all humans;

"But the real harmonic potential transcends all that," Jordan said, "and we have some pretty powerful ideas for getting hikers and ORVers to use public lands in harmony."

Backpacking Light's proposals, currently being investigated in a lengthy feasibility study, include:

  • The development of completely noiseless ORVs with zero emissions of any type, zero sound of any type, and zero fuel consumption. Jordan notes that Wikipedia provides great latitude in its definition of a vehicle, which opens up a number of possibilities for creating the alternative ORV of the future. He notes that some of the outdoor industry's most innovative companies are developing alternative ORVs that meet Jordan's criteria, including Inov-8, Alpacka, and Wenonah, to name a few.
  • Creation of the new niche industry of "hiker-taxiing," by which ORV owners receive money from hikers for taking them on rapid tours of their favorite trails. The benefits to this program would include fewer blisters, faster reconnaissance, having to invest less time into personal fitness, and the opportunity to "hug" an ORVer by riding on the back of his (or her) motorbike. "There are serious risks of increasing conflict with this program, but the rewards of intimacy could lead to long-lasting partnerships. Opposites attract, and we can't fight that," says Jordan.
  • Being mentored by the BRC in a new partnership with EA Sports to develop a series of video games to promote hiking. "ORVers have forged incredibly successful relationships with video gaming companies, and we want a piece of that action too," says Jordan, who won the 1982 Donkey Kong tournament at the El Dorado Casino Hotel in Reno, Nevada, and hikes a lot too. "It's time that the hiking community is recognized for their intensity and excitement among our screen-addicted youth, but we can't do it without those who've paved that road ahead of us." Jordan will model the new game series after PlayStation's MX World Tour, but focus less on riding motorcycles and more on doing things motorcycle people could never do, like hike through a forest of blowdowns or haul all your stuff out to an island camp at the middle of an alpine lake using just a Therm-a-Rest and some duct tape. "Hey, we have a lot to offer too. Just give us a chance to rock your XBox, OK?"

Because these are long term projects that provide significant logistical, philosophical, and political challenges, Jordan is eager to promote harmony out of the gate with more realistic short-term endeavors. For example, Jordan advocates distributing earplugs at multi-use trailheads from minimum-impact dispensing machines disguised as permit kiosks. He hopes this project will lead to a complete virtual-reality sensory equipment package that will deaden all senses to surrounding ORV activity, including vision, hearing, smell, and the general awareness of the surrounding environment. Jordan noted that some pretty sophisticated devices are already on the market, with manufacturer Bell and others leading innovation in this area. The goal here is less about creating harmony and more about eliminating the awareness of each other. Jordan says that this may be a "unique first step to a long term solution because right now, we're pretty much total aliens to each other. We don't even drink the same brands of beer."

Jordan hopes that a BPL-BRC partnership is forged on the horizon soon. "The opportunity to maximize the enjoyment of wild lands for all is too good to pass up and now is the time to make it happen."

The tides of change may indeed be rising. A few weeks ago, as snow began to melt from Montana's trails, Jordan encountered an ORVer and BRC member - walking - back to his car on a muddy trail. "What happened, are you OK?" Jordan asked.

"Yeah," the teenage biker said, "my bike broke down a few miles back, and I got a raging blister from walking in these stupid boots." As Jordan and the young man departed, Jordan's guilt overwhelmed him. He turned, and said, "Hey kid." When the biker turned around, Jordan tossed him his New Balance 802's and a Lara Bar. The biker choked back a tear and muttered a simple "Thanks."

---

The Blue Ribbon Coalition is a non-profit ORV advocacy group that supports the establishment of Congressionally designated backcountry where motorized use can co-exist with ... other recreational uses as well as other management activities while still preserving the backcountry character of the landscape.

Backpacking Light is a media company that publishes a weekly online magazine about lightweight hiking, backpacking, and other human powered sports. Backpacking Light recognizes that the intention of the Wilderness Act of 1964 was to preserve existing and identify continuing opportunities for wilderness land protection in the United States, and that environmentally sensitive backcountry areas should be closed to motorized use. In addition, Backpacking Light recognizes that the preservation of the "backcountry character of the landscape" is difficult in the absence of agreement on the definition of "backcountry character."


Citation

"FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: BACKPACKING LIGHT SEEKS PARTNERSHIP WITH OHV/ORV COMMUNITY TO PROMOTE MULTI-USE HARMONY IN AMERICAN WILDERNESS," by Backpacking Light Staff. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/bpl_ohv_orv_pr.html, 2009-04-01 00:00:00-06.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: BACKPACKING LIGHT SEEKS PARTNERSHIP WITH OHV/ORV COMMUNITY TO PROMOTE MULTI-USE HARMONY IN AMERICAN WILDERNESS
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: BACKPACKING LIGHT SEEKS PARTNERSHIP WITH OHV/ORV COMMUNITY TO PROMOTE MULTI-USE HARMONY IN AMERICAN WILDERNESS on 03/31/2009 21:46:12 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: BACKPACKING LIGHT SEEKS PARTNERSHIP WITH OHV/ORV COMMUNITY TO PROMOTE MULTI-USE HARMONY IN AMERICAN WILDERNESS

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
In trying times, new forms of synergy will emerge. on 03/31/2009 21:56:39 MDT Print View

Bravo Mr. Jordan! You have taken the first step towards healing the divide between two communities with many similar interests.

Jared Cook
(rooinater) - F

Locale: Northwet
Re: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: BACKPACKING LIGHT SEEKS PARTNERSHIP WITH OHV/ORV COMMUNITY TO PROMOTE MULTI-USE HARMONY IN AMERICAN WILDERNESS on 03/31/2009 22:32:24 MDT Print View

I'm glad to hear this! I've been a dirtbike and atv rider longer than I've been hiking, not to mention believe in sharing! I enjoy both and won't give up either. It's good to hear that a group from the Backpacking community (especially the lightweight backpacking community) is reaching out to help bridge the wall between the two sports!

Edited by rooinater on 03/31/2009 22:33:53 MDT.

Jared Cook
(rooinater) - F

Locale: Northwet
Re: Re: In trying times, new forms of synergy will emerge. on 03/31/2009 22:37:33 MDT Print View

I would certainly hope it wouldn't be because of 4/1/09 (even though it was released 3/31 on the pacific coast), even if it seemed a little jovial in parts. otherwise i would have just lost a signifigant amount of respect for backpacking light if they didn't hold to it. A means for change and cooperation, is not something to joke about and i won't renew my membership if that's the case.

Edited by rooinater on 03/31/2009 22:42:55 MDT.

Kathy A Handyside
(earlymusicus) - M

Locale: Southeastern Michigan
ORVs and Wilderness on 03/31/2009 22:47:08 MDT Print View

I'm sorry I can't agree with the use of powered machines in the wilderness. I also think that rushing people along the trails diminishes the nature experience. Isn't there enough speed and rushing in daily life? Do we really need to drag it into the wilderness? There are some uses of the wilderness that simply should not be. There is use and there is abuse and machines definitely abuse the land. For example, ATV scars remain for years and years. One of my favorite hiking areas here in Michigan - Pinckney Recreation Area - has been overrun by the mountain biking crowd and it is impossible to enjoy a hike there now. I'm tired of always having to give way to machines.

We do not drive cars, motorcycles, ATVs, dirt bikes, and ORVs into churches. We should show the same respect for the wilderness for it, too, is sacred.

Kathy A Handyside
(earlymusicus) - M

Locale: Southeastern Michigan
BPL Partnership cont. on 03/31/2009 22:52:38 MDT Print View

And if this is what Backpacking Light wants to support, I will not be renewing my membership. Why should I have to wear earplugs to cut out the noise of ORVs?? Why should I have to step off-trail to give way to them? I get enough machine noise in my neighborhood from over-loud motorcycles to gas-powered lawn equipment. I go to the wilderness to escape the incessant noise of the city. I refuse to be part of a group that condones taking the noise of the city into the wilderness. There is no way to have it both ways - you can't have both machines and a wilderness experiences.

Kathy A Handyside
(earlymusicus) - M

Locale: Southeastern Michigan
However on 03/31/2009 22:54:53 MDT Print View

However, if this is an April Fool's joke (and I sincerely hope it is), then I have fallen for it. Go ahead and laugh.

Ryan Hutchins
(ryan_hutchins) - F

Locale: Somewhere out there
all in on 03/31/2009 22:55:58 MDT Print View

blahablahablah

Edited by ryan_hutchins on 04/02/2009 10:29:11 MDT.

Jared Cook
(rooinater) - F

Locale: Northwet
Re: BPL Partnership cont. on 03/31/2009 22:56:25 MDT Print View

blue ribbon coalition is not about getting orv's into wilderness areas, the main focus is keeping trails that are open, open. Not expanding into "wilderness" areas. orv's don't belong everywhere, but they do belong where they are allowed.

Edited by rooinater on 03/31/2009 22:58:13 MDT.

Roleigh Martin
(marti124) - MLife

Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Re: However on 03/31/2009 22:59:47 MDT Print View

This is an April Fool's joke, notice they're basically talking about powerless powered vehicles. Kind of like perpetual motion machines. Good one. You fooled a few.

The giveaway is this sentence "The development of completely noiseless ORVs with zero emissions of any type, zero sound of any type, and zero fuel consumption." The idea this sentence allows KTM's zero-emission bike fails because it requires electricity for it's recharging and there is no mention from KTM that it emits zero sound. "Zero sound of any type" can't allow the sound of wheel's turning, braking, etc. The other giveaway was the date, April 1st, 2009.

Hey for those in Australia or Canada, do they have an April 1st there? (if you answer "no", the reply question is "oh, so April starts on the 2nd there?" [grin])

Edited by marti124 on 03/31/2009 23:25:24 MDT.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Re: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: BACKPACKING LIGHT SEEKS PARTNERSHIP WITH OHV/ORV COMMUNITY TO PROMOTE MULTI-USE HARMONY IN AMERICAN WILDERNESS on 03/31/2009 23:16:13 MDT Print View

Does this mean I can now drive one of my Hummers without all the normal flack.

OK, only on 1 April.

Ryan Hutchins
(ryan_hutchins) - F

Locale: Somewhere out there
Wilderness Vs. perceived wilderness on 03/31/2009 23:28:46 MDT Print View

blahblahablah

Edited by ryan_hutchins on 04/02/2009 10:30:01 MDT.

John Brown
(johnbrown2005) - F

Locale: Portland, OR
BPL partnership with Polaris on 03/31/2009 23:40:55 MDT Print View

Ryan Jordan just gave me permission to disclose that BPL has entered a partnership with Polaris to develop a JetPack that burns merino wool. The 7 oz version can jet you up to 7000 feet, the 12 oz version jets you over a 12,000 foot pass.

Edited by johnbrown2005 on 03/31/2009 23:41:38 MDT.

Donna C
(leadfoot) - M

Locale: Middle Virginia
Re: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: BACKPACKING LIGHT SEEKS PARTNERSHIP WITH OHV/ORV COMMUNITY TO PROMOTE MULTI-USE HARMONY IN AMERICAN WILDERNESS on 04/01/2009 03:42:42 MDT Print View

Wow! Now I can take my performance enhancing drugs along with riding a hot motorcycle and really cover some miles!! woohoo!!!

Scott S
(sschloss1) - F

Locale: New England
Fooled me for a minute on 04/01/2009 07:05:16 MDT Print View

But then I read through to the part about the shoes and had a good laugh. Thanks.

Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
Re: Fooled me for a minute on 04/01/2009 07:15:43 MDT Print View

phew thank goodness this is a joke, I was about to cancel my membership!

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: BACKPACKING LIGHT SEEKS PARTNERSHIP WITH OHV/ORV COMMUNITY TO PROMOTE MULTI-USE HARMONY IN AMERICAN WILDERNESS on 04/01/2009 07:20:04 MDT Print View

He never defined ORV in his article? Ditch the ALL CAPS. That is unnecessary.

Oh, I see it has been outed as a joke. I didn't read it closely...hehe.

Edited by jshann on 04/01/2009 07:25:20 MDT.

Walter Isenberg
(wisenber)
It would be Foolish to miss this opportunity on 04/01/2009 08:41:07 MDT Print View

Hopefully this will help foster harmony among ORVers and hikers. The ORV forums are filled with complaints about bear bells and whistles diminishing their ability to enjoy the soothing sounds of an unbaffled two stroke engine.

Constant trail maintenance by the backpacker crowd has also lead to the ongoing destruction of ruts dug into trails that provide needed traction.

By opening the channels of communication between these groups, hopefully we can open channels on the trails and end the noise pollutions created by bells and whistles.

Walter Isenberg
(wisenber)
It would be Foolish to miss this on 04/01/2009 09:26:42 MDT Print View

When will we be able to begin booking the ORV "shuttles"? I am trying to ween myself from performance enhancing substances, but I would still like to maintain my 40 mile per day average.

Edited by wisenber on 04/01/2009 09:31:23 MDT.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE on 04/01/2009 09:29:52 MDT Print View

A slightly more accurate graphic for this article was suggested but ultimately dropped by the PC-BPL editorial staff.

truth

Charles Reneau
(charley289) - F

Locale: Cascades and Oregon Coast Range
April Fool's? on 04/01/2009 09:31:18 MDT Print View

This is pretty edgy guys. . . "hiker-taxiing"? Hiking video games???
I hope Blue Ribbon doesn't take this the wrong way. On the other hand. . . I have been laughing my tail off.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
For Immediate Release on 04/01/2009 09:50:56 MDT Print View

LOL @ Bob and his graphic. It was a hard decision to go with the final version I assure you.

Joseph Boyd
(boydman) - MLife
Complete waste of bandwidth and time on 04/01/2009 10:16:11 MDT Print View

Well I could have saved a lot of precious bandwidth this week by deleting the Backpackinglight.com e-mail before even reading. Not one real story in today's edition. Even the pants appear fake. Thanks for wasting my time.

Jonathan Boozer
(anywayoutside) - MLife

Locale: South East
Re: Complete waste of bandwidth and time on 04/01/2009 10:34:36 MDT Print View

sad puppy

atleast he feels sad for you...

Edited by anywayoutside on 04/01/2009 10:35:34 MDT.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE on 04/01/2009 11:23:50 MDT Print View

How's that phrase go? Something about the worlds smallest violin...?

jim bailey
(florigen) - F - M

Locale: South East
"FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: BACKPACKING LIGHT SEEKS PARTNERSHIP WITH OHV/ORV COMMUNITY TO PROMOTE MULTI-USE HARMONY IN AMERICAN WILDERNESS" on 04/01/2009 12:24:18 MDT Print View

Thanks BPL, was howling on this one.

Loved the part with Ryan throwing the biker kid trail runners and a energy bar, still chuckling.

Leia Olsen
(hrhjuniper) - F

Locale: southeast Utah
NIce, guys on 04/01/2009 13:37:29 MDT Print View

You totally had me until the bit about the motor tours of hiking trails. Although apparently I didn't pay too much attention to the perpetual motion machine.

Also, I weep at the prospect of offending the Blue Ribbon Coalition.

Brian Doble
(brian79) - MLife

Locale: New England
Let's get serious and discuss hiking. on 04/01/2009 15:05:54 MDT Print View

I'm planning on doing the PCT with a 3 pound base weight, including my gameboy and a dozen games, one of which is Donkey Kong. Just wondering if BPL will be offering lessons during future Wilderness Trekking courses.

Frank Perkins
(fperkins)

Locale: North East
LOL on 04/01/2009 17:09:13 MDT Print View

LOL! I love it. Good job guys

Joshua Billings
(Joshua) - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz,Ca
Funny stuff on 04/01/2009 19:52:09 MDT Print View

Awesome job.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
ORVs on 04/02/2009 00:47:05 MDT Print View

I propose that the ultimate Leave No Trace ORV would be the helicopter. You wouldn't even have to set foot in the wilderness, yet you would retain all those magnificent vistas! Heck, you'd get BETTER vistas! BPL needs to partner with Sikorsky to develop a hybrid-electric personal helicopter!


Speaking of development, Boyd needs to develop a sense of humor... Remind me never to hike with you. ;)

Edited by acrosome on 04/02/2009 01:04:53 MDT.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Re: ORVs & Donkey Kong on 04/02/2009 09:46:00 MDT Print View

Since it's now April 2, I can communicate about this issue more seriously.

1. I have owned, and ridden, dirt bikes in a previous life, and thought it was really fun. I still have dreams of tearing down the trail on a dirt bike, but now, I think I have an appreciation for the bigger picture. Responsible dirt bikers don't bother me too much, and I do appreciate their willingness to work with and listen to hikers. They are out there, but it's not the norm of the dirt biking community, who seems to have a reputation for feeling offending by hiker's desire for silent experiences. To that end, I think the BRC has made significant contributions on behalf of the ORV community and has improved their reputation. I do prefer to hike in areas without dirt bikes, and I generally advocate for the reduction of opportunities for ORVs on non-wilderness backcountry singletrack. But we have cool areas near Bozeman where I like to hike, and people like to bike. The fact that there are bikers there doesn't keep me from hiking there. I just take different trails.

And on less serious notes:

2. The photo is of a BPL staff member on a dirt bike, and he's proud of it, and he still rides. It's not me, and I'm not telling who it is. And no, we're not going to fire him. Of course, he ain't gettin' any bonus pay either (sic).

3. I really did win the El Dorado Donkey Kong tournament in Reno.

RJ

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
That dirt biker is me! on 04/04/2009 00:35:44 MDT Print View

Yep- that's me, your esteemed Associate Editor on the Husqvarna motorcyle and the other kid is my brother Greg who has also helped with several of my reviews for bpl.

I grew up on a bike- my dad actually had me on an Indian 50 with training wheels at the age of 2...and my bro was only 1 1/2!

My first backpacking actually began in high school when friends and I would go motorcycle backpacking in Eastern Wa. But you have to walk to the really cool places, which got me started with backpacking. The love of simplicity and quiet came next. Yes- I still own a dirt bike but I'm not really sure it runs- it's been years since it was started.

But I do enjoy other activities that use trails. I mountain bike and snowmobile on a regular basis, as well as xc ski and snowshoe. I love all of them but I believe that each has its place and I respect the boundaries that exist. I always love hearing about new wilderness desigation and hope to never see internal combustion in these areas. On the other hand, I've seen many dirt or mountain bike areas close due to development and I regret this loss of recreation.

People will think what they will about other trail users and all have the right to their opinion. Just remember that the next time you see another user on the trail that they might also be one of "us"- at least someday!

Now Ryan- how can I get my hands on a pair of those Hammer pants?

I've travelled round the world, from London to the Bay....

dj

Rob Harrison
(robhar54) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
If Only It Were So on 04/04/2009 12:32:49 MDT Print View

Well, a response to an April Fool's post might be as good a time as any to make my first post...;-)

I just joined this online community. I have been VERY impressed with the quality of the writing, the depth of the technical articles, the wealth of practical advice, the civility of the discussion, and the general spirit of sharing and collaboration. For example, I think it's very cool to see Gossamer Gear making a Henry Shires tarptent design...to see accessories for the TrailDesigns Caldera Cone on AntiGravity Gear's website, and so on. Grant at Gossamer Gear and Rand at Trail Designs have been incredibly patient and helpful, answering my newbie questions. As with other pursuits, working together advances the cause, and is just plain nicer. Certainly lowers blood pressure.

My own work (as a green architect since 1992 - http://www.harrisonarchitects.com/ - depends on and benefits from exactly this integrated, collaborative approach.

Knowing before I clicked that the BRC/BPL partnership was an April Fool's joke, I cringed. You see, I ride a dual sport motorcycle, and occasionally find myself ostracized for my eco-freak views in some fora there. I was hoping I wasn't going to find myself equally marginalized here. I was glad to read that both Ryan and Doug have ridden bikes, and to see there are other riders on this board (Hey Jared). I heartily agree with Doug's post.

I started riding motorcycles ten years ago, after an over-use injury prevented me from riding my bicycle, which had been my only form of transportation. In the continuum of transportation choices that starts with walking and ends with jet airplanes, the modern 4-stroke motorcycle is a lot closer to the walking end, in terms of carbon footprint, noise and emissions. I've finally got the ankle sorted, and (through reading Ray Jardine's Beyond Backpacking) realized that by reducing my pack weight, I might actually be able to get back into the backpacking I used to do before the injury. And well, reducing "pack weight" is also beneficial when riding a motorcycle off-pavement. :-)

Rob in Seattle

Edited by robhar54 on 04/04/2009 12:37:39 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: However on 04/04/2009 20:22:50 MDT Print View

Hi Roleigh

Yeah, we do have an April Fools Day in Oz.
And yeah, it took me a short while to cotton on to the gag!

Mind you, the idea of an SF floater with 'zero sound of any type, and zero fuel consumption' does sometimes appeal even to me ... :-)

Cheers