Election 2008 - Get some exercise

That the population of the U.S. continues to grow is documented by census data.  That the sale of OHVs continues to grow at triple digit rates is documented by industry sales data.  That attendance at events continues to increase every year is documented by increased registrations.  These trends point towards an increasing population growth fueling an increase in demand for recreation - notably, motorized recreation.

Key to supporting the increases in population and recreation demand is access to land.  That is a good news-bad news situation.  Your view of good or bad depends on your understanding of the demographics behind the increasing population.

While the population is increasing, the population is also moving.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau study, there is a population shift from metropolitan-urban areas to rural areas.  This shift is giving rise to conflicting use of land.

On the positive side, the U.S. Forest Service is realigning their structure to accommodate the increased pressure for recreation.  Providing for increased recreation opportunity will be controlled by the need to protect the resources.

On the negative side, the population shift to rural areas is giving rise to the "forest-urban interface".  Within this context, the new residents of the rural areas bring their urban lifestyle and values.  Often, lifestyles and values that are in conflict with rural lifestyles and values.

As the population grows, so does the demand for outdoor recreation, especially motorized recreation.  In a 1960 outdoor recreation survey, OHV recreation was not listed.  From 1982 to 2000, OHV recreation became one of the fastest growing outdoor recreation activities.  In the spring of 2004, 49.6 million people (23.2% of the population) had participated in OHV activities within the previous 12 months.

As with the population shifts, more OHV recreationists (34.2%) are coming from urban areas.

As we move forward into the future, recreation opportunities will face new challenges.  Working through those challenges to preserve recreation opportunity will require a new vision for recreation that meshes with the changing and diverse demographics of the population.  It is about demographics, geography, lifestyle, and values.

The year 2008 is an important election year.  I encourage everyone to learn about your local candidates.  I encourage everyone to register to vote and get out to vote on election days during this important election cycle.  

Have you ever complained that your elected representatives do not care about your issues?  You can do something to change that.  It begins with YOU registering to vote and YOU casting your ballot at the polls.

Too busy to go to the poll??? Here are two good sites with that walk you through everything you need to know about Absentee Voting...

Go Vote Absentee -- http://www.govoteabsentee.org/

Long Distance Voter -- http://www.longdistancevoter.org/

And, That's My View...

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