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More than 44 million Americans used off-road vehicles in 2007, up from five million in 1972. The rise in popularity of off-highway, motorized vehicles or OHVs is a growing threat to wild public lands, waters and the plants and wildlife that live on those lands. Not only are OHVs a threat to our environment but a threat to the health and safety of people as they rely more and more on these loud machines for “recreating” in nature. Though just a fraction of the users of our wild public lands, OHVs have a far larger impact than others. WildEarth Guardians is working through administrative process, education and organizing campaigns to limit OHV use and impacts of public lands.
One of WildEarth Guardians' priority campaigns is to reform public lands policies regarding wildland fire. Though much more ecologically complex than policy debates acknowledge, fire is a fundamental element in every forest ecosystem in the Southwest.
While the Park Service has long realized the utility of fire, fires and fire policy are now the catalyst for increased logging and changed budget priorities for the U.S. Forest Service, as it claims it can log these forests back to health rather than allow natural processes such as fire to take place.
WildEarth Guardians is working to transcend this paradigm of fear-driven fire policy by promoting positive economic and biological values of forests ecosystems. Our forests were born of fire and, just as rainforests need rain, forests need fire’s rejuvenating properties to perpetuate and thrive.
Livestock have done more damage to the Earth than the chainsaw and bulldozer combined. Not only have livestock been around longer than developers, miners, and loggers, but they have grazed nearly everywhere. On public land across the West, millions of non-native livestock (including cattle, sheep, goats and horses) remove and trample vegetation, damage soil, spread invasive weeds, despoil water, deprive native wildlife of forage and shelter, accelerate desertification and even contribute to global warming. Former Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt has written that livestock grazing “is the most damaging use of public land.”
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