In 2008, environmentalists lined up behind the presidential campaign of Barack Obama, assuming that, if Obama were elected President, he would put a stop to George W. Bush’s destructive, anti-environmental policies. That’s not how things are working out, though, in the Kaibab National Forest.
The U.S. Forest Service, as part of the Obama Administration, is continuing with a Bush-era plan to allow off-road vehicles to drive over almost all of the Kaibab National Forest in Arizona. The area’s desert soils have a delicate structure, so that ATVs can permanently degrade the land, making a marginal environment even less hospitable to life. Archaeological remains also are destroyed by off road vehicles, crushing the remnants of past civilizations that have survived natural weathering for hundreds of years.
An alternative plan has been drafted by a coalition of conservation groups, but it has been ignored under President Obama, just as it was ignored under Bush.
The excuse: Elk hunters need to use off road vehicles to carry the carcasses of their prey back home to be butchered. The assumption is that hunters demand off road vehicles. However, in a recent study of hunting in Arizona, 54 percent of hunters asserted that off-road vehicles disturb their hunting experience, rather than enhancing it.
Wow. By going forward with the Bush plan for off road vehicles all over the Kaibab, the Obama Administration has managed to ignore the will of conservationists and hunters alike.