Executive Director Bi-weekly Update September 24, 2018

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Hello Friends and Supporters,

This is a very special biweekly update. I want to begin by talking about our veterans initiative and how you can help.

Recently Sharetrails.Org/BlueRibbon Coalition (ST/BRC) initiated its Veterans Program. Our new Veterans Ambassador Andrew Weger hit the ground running, helping us reach out to our Veterans community. There is a reason we are so passionate about this cause. “An average of 20 veterans succumbed to suicide every day,” according to a Veterans Administration (VA) Report.

In its newest version, the VA was more specific. The report shows the total is 20.6 suicides every day. Of those, 16.8 were veterans and 3.8 were active-duty servicemembers, guardsmen and reservists, the report states. That amounts to 6,132 veterans and 1,387 servicemembers who died by suicide in one year.

Many of us have been personally affected by this tragedy. We have friends and colleagues who ended their own lives because of PTSD related issues.

In a 2013 study in the journal Military Medicine, researchers argue that, “Participation in Outdoor Recreation Program Predicts Improved Psychosocial Well-Being Among Veterans With Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.” We believe that we can help our Veterans by getting them out on the trails.

We know that we can’t solve this crisis alone, but we want to do what we can. We will be doing two big fundraisers a year to raise money that will support outdoor recreation programs for Veterans with PTSD (including our own!). Our goal is to create ride groups that will get veterans outdoors with peer mentors and counseling.

We created a metric on the website that shows 1) how much many we have raised and WHERE we are spending that money. (LINK) “Trust but verify,” said President Reagan–we believe the same! Let us show you that we can be trusted to do the good we believe we can do!

We want you to be a part of this planning process. Over the next week we will send out notices on our fundraisers and how you can help. We are reaching out to other Veteran groups to double our efforts. Part of our legislative agenda is making sure disabled vets receive free admission to national parks.
Let’s keep trails open for those that gave so much to preserve the freedoms we enjoy!

Legal and Administrative Updates:
OREGON – Ochoco NF’s Summit Trail System objections to Magistrate’s Findings and Recommendations are being filed today by our attorney.

UTAH – there is a 10th Circuit argument on Tuesday, September 25, 2018.  This is a UT case originally filed in 2008, which involved travel plans for 6 BLM field offices spanning 12 million acres.  BRC intervened in the case, along with TPA and COHVCO (they have members and keen interest in Moab riding).

CALIFORNIA – Stanislaus OSV comments are being prepared for the upcoming October 9th deadline. This is Forest 4 in a series of 5, the Tahoe, Eldorado, Lassen, Stanislaus and the Plumas National Forests.

Sharetrails/BRC on the Road – Spencer’s Travel Plans
Spencer Gilbert, Ric Foster and BRC Board member John Stewart will be in Rancho Cordova, CA, on Friday September 28, for the Joint Commission Meeting.

Spencer will be in Southern California at the Seal Foundation Impact Forum for the Veterans PTSD program October 1st and 2nd and will attend 4Wheel Drive meetings with Board Member John Stewart.
October 3rd and 4th Spencer will be in Northern California at fundraisers while also hosting the first of the Silicon Valley Off-Roaders events.

Spencer will also be in Denver, CO, with BRC Board member and Snowmobile Ambassador Jack Welch at the Rocky Mountain Snowmobile Expo on October 6th and 7th.

Spencer will be at NAXJA 35th Anniversary October 11th through the 13th in Moab Utah.

Contact us at brc@sharetrails.org to schedule a get together in your area!

Sincerely,
Spencer Gilbert
Executive Director
Sharetrails.org/BRC
brspencer@sharetrails.org
208-237-1008 Ext 1