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Discussion Starter #1
Sorry to put you on the spot Mr. Shirley, but you did say you would announce something by the end of last week... perhaps I missed it or misunderstood.

Anyway, WV public radio says the permit apps for the rally were pulled, while the apps for the hillclimb remain (or that's how I understood it from WV native Nick Polimeni). Sorry to hear it if true. Enlighten us?

Rob
www.hrm-usa.com
 

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Rob:

John is on the road. He asked me to reply to your message.

The app was pulled for the event. Correspondence received during the scoping process and discussions with the Forest Supervisor, local chamber, environmental groups, and Snowshoe revealed a very antagonistic relationship between a lot of the players at the local level. Instead of adding fuel to this fire, it was decided to pull the app, and work on getting everybody on board for 2005. It wasn't an easy decision, especially since the event has been in development since last Fall.

The WV Motorsports Council has been a big help since day one, and rallied its members to back us during the scoping process. In addition to continued development in Pocahontas County and the Monongahela Forest, other areas within the state are being explored as alternatives for 2005.

NASA Rally Sport is working on a number of Fall events in the Northeast and Southeast, so stay tuned.

Regards,

Wilson
 
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Wilson-

Will your organizational group have access to the commentary opposing the road use permits?

It would be valuable to know which arguments against use of the forests are being used, along with whatever statistics they may be using against the group, in order to form a more pointed cohesive argument supporting the rally.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Well, good effort anyway and good luck with future discussions.
A rally an hour from my house would have been nice!

I would think everyone should have access to the comments that were sent in. It was a public comment period after all, right?

Rob
www.hrm-usa.com
 

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Four tree two remember Andrew
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>
>Wilson-
>
>Will your organizational group have access to the commentary
>opposing the road use permits?
>
>It would be valuable to know which arguments against use of
>the forests are being used, along with whatever statistics
>they may be using against the group, in order to form a more
>pointed cohesive argument supporting the rally.

From my understanding, we do have access, but JKS will have to confirm.

Here's one from a Sierra Club person:

Sara Schell
Monongahela National Forest
HC 59, Box 240
Petersburg, WV 26847

Dear Ms Schell:

This letter is to comment on the request by Rally West Virginia to use
Forest Service roads for an automobile rally on September 3 and 4, 2004.

This is an inappropriate use of the Monongahela National Forest, because of the impact it would have on those who have come for recreational experiences that would be violated by the noise and dust of cars racing through the forest. It?s obvious that it would be too dangerous to allow a rally at the same time on the same roads as mountainbikers or other cars driving to trailheads or fishing holes, which makes this an exclusive use, shutting out other users. The closure of roads to mountainbikers, fishers and other users would be unfair and have a very negative impact on the small businesses that depend on these visitors. This would be true at any time, but particularly on a major vacation weekend like Labor Day. I know firsthand that FR 24 and FR 55 would receive many mountain bikers that
weekend.

This kind of activity also raises questions about how much it would disturb wildlife or impact streams; and, if the conflict with other users and recreational businesses is not enough to deny the request, I request that an environmental assessment be done.

Sincerely,

NAME REMOVED

Here is some of the online activism:

http://www.ohvec.org/action_alerts/2004/06_23.html

http://www.petitiononline.com/fom001/petition.html


The rally community really needs to start an education campaign regarding the sport. Anybody want to make up some "Rally - The Green Motorsport," or "Rally Cars Are Not Off Highway Vehicles" bumperstickers? :)

I say this in only half-jest.

Wilson
 

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Ah this is so very unfortunate. It would have been good if the rally community had seen the various petion and environmental alert sites before the comment period was over. It's clear that the perception the environmental groups was trying to bolster was something like NASCAR cars blasting through the woods.

Too bad that I consider myself an environmentalist. Groups like this do very little to help. I feel strongly that recreational motor use of _existing_ roads is a fair use of the National Forests. Performance rally is fairly trivially invasive and the road closures are _very_ short term. At least the rally community now knows what the issues are. We'll be better able to counter
this in the future now.

John, how are relations with the Forest Service in Cherokee NF? Would the comissioner there consider a letter of support to his colleague in Monenghala?

As an aside, I thought it ironic that the petition site had this banner ad: "Driving Days UK driving days..." and "Supercharge any Car..." :)

--Kevin H.
2003 WRX
 

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Some very interesting and impassioned views expressed in the signatures of the petition that Wilson posted--click on the "View Current Signatures".

Here's a couple of my favorites...

"National forest are meant for preservation, not exploitation, don't take the payoff, do your job. Teddy Roosevelt would fire you for even considering such a stupid thing."

"This is the height of silliness. Ah, the tranquil wonders of the forest: carbon monoxide, road dust covering the bushes, ear-splitting noise, and that's just from the spectators! Somebody in the Forest Service needs to be immediately tested for chronic crack abuse if they're even giving fifteen seconds' consideration to this request."
>
http://www.petitiononline.com/fom001/petition.html
>
>
>The rally community really needs to start an education
>campaign regarding the sport. Anybody want to make up some
>"Rally - The Green Motorsport," or "Rally Cars Are Not Off
>Highway Vehicles" bumperstickers? :)
>
>I say this in only half-jest.
>
>Wilson
 

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RE: Silly People

Would these be the same people who move to the country for peace and quiet only to destroy habitat for wildlife? Wouldn't they have a better fight at urban sprawl and revitalize the slums or abandoned industrial parks? Seems logical as urban sprawl not only hurts the environment but the social structure and econimc issues of the country.
 

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>Too bad that I consider myself an environmentalist. Groups
>like this do very little to help. I feel strongly that
>recreational motor use of _existing_ roads is a fair use of
>the National Forests. Performance rally is fairly trivially
>invasive and the road closures are _very_ short term.

I agree. I also consider myself an enviromentalist. So its frustrating to see these groups and individuals fighting everything they see as possibly damaging, even though we go out of our way to minimize the effect on the roads/area. Mandatory Spill Kits anyone? It would be a much better use of thier time to fight urban sprawl (like Jake suggested) and fight harder against industrial pollution. We're the least of thier worries. Seems to me a PR campaign is in order...


Nick Polimeni
[email protected]
www.odysseyhouseonline.com
www.hrm-usa.com
 

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RE: ORGANIZED People

The most disturbing thing about this issue is how well organized, focused and determined these groups are to not let people use the national forest for anything except activities they approve of. IE Hiking, Biking, fly fishing, Bird watching and other NON MOTORIZED activities.

According to the U.S. Congress all of the US Forests are multi-use facilities. They do not specific only environmental uses only that it must satisfy the recreational needs of the community.

This is not a isolated incident! If our sport is to survive we will need to counter such activism with education and our own organization.

Steve
 
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the only legitimate complaint that anyone has is that the roads would be closed to other users. I think this is an important point to acknowledge.

Would moving it off of a Labor Day weekend be a better choice in the future?

There are a few commments that the forests are meant for preservation, which is simply not true. apparently the "greens" don't understand the difference between conservation and preservation.
Don't they have logging trucks out there to jolt them back into reality?

It's at least nice to see what kind of ideas the opposition has- makes it much easier to deal with them. Some folks may even come to realize rally isn't a bad thing, although there will always be non-thinking knee jerk reaction specialists who will oppose anything.


It would be amusing to get accident statistics for backpacking and mountain biking and show that statistically, those forest users are (probably) more likely to be injured than a rally particpant.

Number of Rally drivers mauled by Mountain Lions: 0

See how safe it is?


Edit:
My favortie quote from the petition
Myra Bonhage-Hale
While you are at it, why don't y ou have a machine gun fair too? Is nothing sacred or peaceful in this violent world? Can't each of us do something to bring peace to others instead of violence, noise and cacophony?
 

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This is very disappointing news.
I also consider myself an environmentalist, hiking, mountainbiking, camping, etc.
However, urban sprawl and logging are much more serious concerns than an organized, tightly regulated group driving their cars down a few forestry roads. How about the new presidental plan to open more National Forests for logging?

The bulk of the petition signees are obviously knee-jerk reactions. It's highly questionable that all but one or two have any idea what a rally is.

However, this is the future for us motorsport enthusiasts.

Racetracks being closed down because the residents that moved 1/2 mile from the track don't like the noise, even though the track was there for the past 10 years, before the neighborhood existed.

Solo 2 events that can't get asphalt parking lots because the owners have a fear of 'legal issues'.

I used to dirt bike in the deserts of southern Califonia. Vast quantities of that BLM land is now gone for motorsports.
(I think that we were endangering a turtle....)

Rallying is even worse. We're just viewed as a bunch of lunatic '*******' racecar drivers out to tear up the countryside, start fires, litter, dump antifreeze/oil/contaminants in the streams, etc.

So, where does that leave us?
Will we be able to convince these people (someone referred to as 'greens'?) that we're not that bad?
Maybe a few, but the knee-jerks have the majority,
and our government tends to listen to the majority.

Logic doen't win, the squeaky wheel wins.

Where is it written what the forests are to be used for?

Would an environmental impact survey help or hinder our cause?

If you haven't already, please read Eric Burmeisters post:
http://www.specialstage.com/forum/cgi-bin/DCForumID2/2652.html
Motorcyclists have already seen what's happening, and are rallying (!) a response.
Let's not wait until it's too late to be heard, prescedents are being set.....
 
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>Would an environmental impact survey help or hinder our
>cause?


An impact survery is part of the way things are done.

There are numerous state schools that teach forest management and other types of environmental sciences.

It could be useful to find a group of students or a grad student who is interested in studying the effect of rallying on the evironment. Have them work on a study as part of their thesis or other coursework.

In some cases, results are going to need to be localized, but it would clearly be useful to have some general scientific data to back us up.

And, in the case that there are shortcomings we need to address, we can take care of that, too.



I'd take a rally event over tourists on 2 cycle snowmobiles any day.
 

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>I used to dirt bike in the deserts of southern Califonia. Vast
> quantities of that BLM land is now gone for motorsports.
> (I think that we were endangering a turtle....)

That kinda put a dent in the Grand Challenge race also... kinda stunted the wide-open path idea.

For Grand Challenge, they actually had sweep teams that went ahead of the race and collected any turtles that were in the way, held them until after the race so they wouldn't get run-over.


-Aaron
ClubRally Scirocco Mk1
 

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Rob,

Sorry to not responded more quickly but I have been on the road and not available. Please see the official notice thread I am posting.

John
 

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Matt,
The problems we suffered under are really not with extreme comments made to the forest service. Our problems lay at the feet of our local partner, gaving us poor advice and not communicate with the local community. Please do not blown this out of proportion.
John
 

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We have very good relations with both the Monongahela and Cherokee National Forest. This problem is more local and has nothing to do with Cherokee.
John
 

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Kent,
The future of rallying is not as bad as you might describe. We are working an several new events. The problem is not the locations but the time it takes to go through the legal procedures. In the last couple of years the politics has gotten better not worse. We as a motorsport can not go out into the distant woods, hind and do out thing. We have to act like professionals and work with our communities and show them what we have to offer. I work in real estate development business and we have a saying that all the easy deal where done years ago. That just life.
John
 
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