Sunday, December 30, 2007

Extending the backyard

In Colorado and Utah forests, off-roaders are transforming federally owned lands into recreational areas according to a NC News & Observer article entitled "Illegal Off-roaders Stir Dust." This article is along the lines of some of the previous articles discussed regarding rural development and coalitions that address urban recreational visitors.

Apparently, outdoor recreationists flock to lesser-known forests and other public lands where administration of justice is lax, presumably due to the lack of law enforcement in rural locations. The federal government is having trouble adequately enforcing the law due to a lack of "manpower." A deputy state director for the Bureau of Land Management in Salt Lake City said "you'd have to have Patton's army."

Due to increased rural development, more than 28 million homes sit approximately 30 miles or less from federally owned land. According to the article, people now view those lands as "extended backyards." Arguably, ranchers have had this view of these areas for some time, but now ranchers are competing with ATVs and climbers for this "extended backyard space." Perhaps, its not that the urban newcomers or exurbanites are introducing a new "extended backyard view," but rather are using the public lands in a different manner.

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