YOUR LETTERS ARE IMPORTANT - Letter Writing Tips and Talking Points
Some people feel that their voice is so small it won't be heard so why bother. Wrong! The "voice" not hear is the one not spoken.
Now is the time for everyone to speak their mind about access to public lands. WE (as in everyone with a vested interest in access to public lands) MUST get involved.
Few people actually take the time and effort to write and call about issues. Those that do make the effort are the ones that are heard and the ones that influence the decision.
The "anti-access" groups know this and are constantly pushing their members to write and call. While they make up only a small percentage of people, they portray themselves as "the public".
We need to engage the same tactic if we expect to influence the management policy to keep access to public lands. The lack of response indicates agreement with restrictive management policies.
SILENCE IMPLIES CONSENT!!!
* Write a letter, make a call. Personal calls and letters have much more impact than petitions or form letters.
* Use logic. Not emotion.
* Make your letter short. Address only ONE major point. Make that point in the first sentence of the letter. Three short letters have more impact than a single long letter.
* Let the reader know your concerns, be specific.
* Emphasize your recreation is something of value to you and others
* Mention your love of the outdoors and the concern for the environment.
* Add something personal/family orientation. A photo of you and your family on a trail is important. Show that you and your family have been visiting this place for 20 years and closing the road will hurt family values.
* Get others to write or call. Get your family, friends, parents, club members, and neighbors to be involved. Help them write letters. Show them what THEY are losing by road closures.
* Ask for a response and request that you be given the opportunity to discuss the related issues in the future. You need to establish yourself as an interested party.
* Ask to be put on their mailing list.
* Don't be nasty, negative, angry, or personal. This immediately sets up an adversarial situation which is counter-productive.
* Don't tell the politician/bureaucrat you are their boss (taxpayer). It is proper to mention you are one of the politician's voting constituents.
* Don't attack the opposing view point. It is proper to disagree with others or with the interpretation/implementation of a law. Opposition must be for rational and logical reasons -- not emotional reasons.
* Access to our public lands is what everyone needs to use and enjoy them. Without access, these lands may as well be in another country.
* Roads are a valid access for the majority of citizens. Without them, only the extremely capable hikers with lots of time can use and enjoy our public lands.
* The very young, the old, and the disabled are definitely being discriminated against when their access by roads is taken away. "Road-less" equals "access-less" for the majority of citizens. This is just as bad a form of discrimination as gender, religion, or ethnicity.
* You are an environmentalist too! The opposition will claim that they stand on the "higher moral ground". Their cause is more noble than yours. Keep the discussions based on rational facts. Opinions and feeling are important; a little emotion is OKAY.
* Many groups claim to represent "citizens". Underscore that your feelings and beliefs are not being addressed with the opposing view point.
* OHV use is a valid a form of recreation on our public lands. Stress that OHV recreation is OFF HIGHWAY recreation and depends on access to routes of travel.
* Support wilderness areas that meet the criteria as being a special place to preserve with strict guidelines.
* Closing areas and roads is NON-management. Push for MANAGEMENT including law enforcement.
* Include photos, GPS satellite data, old maps showing roads, pictures and anything that documents continued use over time by families.