My activities with the Oregon High Desert Grotto out of Bend, Oregon frequently find me using public lands for caving. As a caver affiliated with the National Speleological Society I hold values of preservation and education.
Personally, I frown upon the large minority of ORV/ATV users that frequently drive their vehicles on undesignated trails or make new trails, while in the process destroying the beautiful scenic landscape.
Unfortunately, the user base for ATV trails is a rather large number, and their demand for more and more trails seems to be imbalanced with the need for preserving land for all to enjoy. Their niche hobby destroys the land and nearly limits the use of the land for the rest of the general public.
As a caver, I am for the Badlands Wilderness just east of Bend. The beautiful tumuli and pressure ridges have nearly all been bulldozed or buried in the city of Bend in the name of development. The badlands is one of the last beautiful examples of wild lava terrain and juniper forest in Central Oregon. With a wilderness designation I'm happy to learn that a handful of lava tube caves existing in the badlands wilderness area will be protected.
One other facet of public land use is geocaching. While on the surface it's a sport/hobby that appears easy on the land, by its very nature, it focuses and concentrates users to specific locations. By concentrating users to specific areas, this increases the amount of wear and tear on locations. Its akin to having a grass field on a university campus and allowing the users to find their own paths and ultimately what you have is worn trails to and from locations. This leaves you with no grass and compacted earth. The damage occurs quicker than the landscape can rehabilitate. While geocaching does have a good ethic of "cache in trash out", it only takes a few users who don't abide by this rule to desecrate unique out of the way places. Geocachers should realize that certain locations don't fit well into the framework.
Like I've said before, convenience breeds lack of respect. If you have trails and roads allowing for easy access to remote areas, then those areas will be highly susceptible to vandalism and illegal activities.
For more information regarding our grotto, visit our website: http://www.ohdgrotto.com
posted 4 years, 4 months ago
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