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Get Involved: The 5-Minute Activist

By: John Stewart
Managing Editor, MUIRNet-News and 4x4Wire.com

Organizations exist because people care about their outdoor recreation opportunities.  In the beginning,  organizations formed for social reasons which soon became political reasons to maintain outdoor recreation opportunities.  Organizations exist because of members.  Members are volunteers and important for the success and effectiveness of any organization.

Volunteers can be activists.  More and more, members becoming activists for a few minutes a month are making a difference.

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Stay recreation healthy, exercise your right to vote

Stay recreation healthy, exercise your right to vote

Much is said today about exercise as a way to stay healthy. Well, "exercise" and "healthy" come with many meanings. As 2008 is an election year, your best exercise to stay "recreation healthy" is your right to vote.

Time for a little "election year" pontification and starting from top down...

Federal:
The President does set an agenda. Also, the President does appoint some critical positions that can have a significant impact on access to public lands.

The Senate is a slow deliberative body that is prone to rhetorical discussion and seldom moves fast on any issue.

The House is a wildcard. They are up for re-election every two years and have a tendency to be more reactive to publicity issues of the day; especially, if they can turn it into a vote.

State: (this specific to California, other states are similar)
Governor: Like the President, they can set an agenda and they do have a number of appointments that can have an impact on access and recreation.

Senate: Similar to the federal in that the Senate is a slow, deliberative body that is prone to rhetorical discussion and little action. They are heavily influenced by special interests and public opinion polls.

Assembly: Similar to the federal in that the Assembly is more responsive to public opinion and polls than the Senate. They are prone to endless discussion and very responsive to special interests.

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501(c)(3) and Lobbying - The Basics

501(c)(3) and Lobbying - The Basics

The basic tenet is 501(c)(3) organizations have a strict prohibition against lobbying activities. The premise of 501(c)(3) organizations is they must serve a public purpose and social activities must be "insubstantial". However, there are two sets of rules that apply to lobbying by 501(c)(3) organizations; based on whether they have chosen to file Form 5768 with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

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Public Land Access Platform

Public Land Access Platform

1. Access to Public Lands for Multiple-use


We support the concept of responsible multiple-use access to public lands. Multiple-use includes resource development and outdoor recreation (motorized, mechanized and non-motorized). In general, we believe that public lands should be available to benefit all citizens.

We support efforts to identify reasonable limitations based on seasonal or emergency issues. Such limitations need to reflect a clear and present adverse impact to the environment or the public rather than an assumed danger to the environment.

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Top Five Issues - 2008

Top Five Issues - 2008

The only constant is change. We are in the midst of rapid and massive change that will have a lasting impact on recreation. Now is the time to become involved. Membership in many organizations is falling off. Now is the time to examine your priorities and make your voice be heard.

As we move forward, the below list of five items represents my view of issues that will be major factors in the legal, legislative, and administrative processes affecting recreation opportunities.

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