Mar 13, 2001
Idiot at large, Fred LeBrun from the Utica (NY) Times Union is shooting his mouth off about ORVs again. PLEASE email, call or mail this guy. The press has the power to shape public opinion, the ecos understand this, we are learning. We can't let negative press like this go unchallenged!


Congratulations, List Members.
Being on the "wrong side" of this issue, you are now a "lobby" according to Mr. LeBrun, a term usually associated with an industry rather than a group of like-minded individual persons, which I would call a "community," a "cause," or maybe a "movement."

In this latest column, he does acknowledge that there are good people among us and recognizes the raw deal we get on registration, but blows the good will in misstating facts and casting aspersions again, in my personal opinion. Make of the following what you will; it is the latest salvo showing that we are not being ignored anymore. But is this the kind of press we want? You decide, and send your thoughtful comments to the editor of T-U. You can submit your comments online at or write to Times Union, News Plaza, Box 15000, Albany NY 12212.

Thanks again to those who responded to Mr. LeBrun's last expression of distaste for our pastime at

--Alex Ernst

-----Original Message-----
Subject: Not on my terrain, thank you
Albany Times Union
Published May 1, 2001 by Fred LeBrun
Not on my terrain, thank you
From the howlin'-mad responses I've gotten for suggesting they go play with their noisy toys out on the Jersey Turnpike, I guess the all-terrain and off-road vehicle lobby has decided I'm not their best friend.

Well, they're right about that. I am not a fan.
By and large, I find ATVs an arrogant intrusion on any public lands. They terrorize man and beast alike, trample the flora, gouge out the earth and generally raise hell. In the Catskill and Adirondack public forest preserves where motorized vehicles are either prohibited or strenuously regulated, ATVs have mocked the law, wandered about willy-nilly, and left all manner of devastation in their considerable wakes.

This is not just my opinion, this comes from state forest rangers fed up with seeing the damage first hand, from Environmental Conservation officers frustrated with trying to track down offenders, and from private land owners who complain bitterly that trespassing and mangled property are routine occurrences.

It's a problem approaching out of control in many places in the mountains. So for the ATV lobby to get huffy and accuse me of depriving them of the respect -- and trails -- they deserve is absurd. I'll state again what I said before though, that most ATV and off-road vehicle users are perfectly fine folks who are safe and considerate. My ire is raised not by them, or even the sophisticated vehicles they drive, but by the small but destructive minority that at this juncture is holding the majority hostage in terms of any positive public recognition.

I knew I hit a raw nerve when inside of a couple of hours, I receive outraged e-mail and phone messages from Staten Island, the middle of Pennsylvania and Watkins Glen, but not that many from locals. It tells me I'm poking a hole in somebody's Big Picture strategy.

What the general public ought to know is that the ATV and ORV crowd is mounting a national offensive to intrude legally on the public recreational map. They want trails to ride on, at public expense and on public lands, from federal parks on down. They want standing.

Here in New York, their argument is that since they pay a $10 yearly registration fee, it is owed to them. Plus, they argue that by creating such trails, frustrated riders will get off posted and off-limits areas and we'll all be winners.

Our own state Legislature is fiddling with a bill or two that just might give them access to trails. The one point that must be conceded to the ATV and ORV crowd is that the registration fee bill originally included a pot to be set aside for the creation and maintenance of a trail system, but years later the trails concept was rescinded.

So maybe fair is fair, and we should allow ATV and ORV riders the opportunity to be annoying only to each other on a complex of trails which they've helped pay for anyway. I do realize that by doing so, we would be allowing the nose of the Polaris into the tent and that inevitably they would ask for more later.

In return for giving them legal recognition, let's be adamant about what's fair for the rest of us. For one, let those trails happen only on private, leased or bought lands, never, never on public land.

I am also deeply skeptical that a trail system will do much to curb current illegal ATV activity. That is a skepticism shared by law enforcement, incidentally.

So a further concession to us should be a statewide extension of a little law passed in Suffolk County. Currently, traffic and vehicle laws and the state conservation law are invoked when an ATV or off-road bike abuser gets nailed, and fines are pretty light.

But down in Suffolk County, they've decided that if an ATVer goes off the reservation and doesn't pass muster after due process, his $6,000-to-$10,000 machine can be confiscated.

Sounds fair to me.
Contact Fred LeBrun at [518] 454-5453.

My response:

Once again Mr. LeBrun has opened his mouth and removed all doubt over exactly how stupid he is. Mr. LeBrun I again state that I am a proud member of the Off-Road community (not lobby, community), when will you admit to being a extreme-left, radical environmentalist? You still don't get it do you.

When the ORV registration act was passed the funds collected were to fund new trails and trail maintenance on PUBLIC lands. If I only ride my vehicle on private lands with the permission of the landowner why the heck should I have to register it with the state? A couple of years after the passage of the act the state decided to raid the trail fund and recsind the trail funding part of the act. Where I come from we call it theft and fraud when you pay for a service you do not recieve.

You continue to slander ORV users with out right lies Mr. LeBrun. The tire pressure on an ATV is a startlingly low 10 psi. An ATV has less environmental impact with its very light tread than does a horse. ORVs DO NOT "terrorize" wildlife. Most animals flat out ignore ORVs. Studies have proved that hikers are the most disruptive visitors to animal habitats. The animals interpret hikers as a threatening predator and hikers stay in the area much longer than an ORV. The truth is that slander is easier for you than facts isn't it Mr. LeBrun.

You also continue to judge the entire community by the actions of an extremely small percentage of its members. Perhaps it would be just as fair to say that ALL environmentalists are terrorists who go out and kill and injure ORV users with caltrops, kill and maim loggers by spiking trees and disrupt cities with riots.

What people SHOULD know (but you wont tell them) is that the true goal of the "environmentalist" movement is the "re-wilding" of 50% of North America! Including confiscation of family lands and forced resettlement of rural residents into already overcrowded urban areas. "Environmentalists" are anti-technology, and anti-human. They are not about responsible use, they are about NO use, for anybody. No boats, no ORVs, no horses, no mountain bikes, no snowmobiles, no hunting, no cars.

For real information on responsible land use policies why don't you contact NYSORVA, or the Blue Ribbon Coalition. Public lands were to be protected FOR the public, not FROM the public. Just because I ride off road does not make me a second class citizen. The state has gotten millions of dollars from the ORV community in registration fees and taxes. Its well past time for them to do the right thing.

Since your column continues to be biased, inflammatory, and ignorant I believe that it doesn't "pass muster" and should be confiscated.

Sounds fair to me.

Dave Kennel

Take a few minutes and write this loser! Please!


Sponsoring Member<BR>Club Moderator
Damn Yankees
Oct 13, 1999
Dave - Thanks for the info. I'm going to walk across the street and stick my reply in this guys face... literally! The Times-Union building is across the Northway from our plant.

Me and Freddie boy gonna' go have a little chat! :p



Oct 7, 1999
Here's my letter-to-that-editor that I sent:

"I am a fairly smart, fairly well-read / well-written, fairly sensitive-to-the-needs-of-others, fairly sympathetic to the tragedy-of-the-Commons, fairly successful Yale Law graduate, intimately familiar with the competing positions regarding the use/preservation of our "environment." Yet the response to Mr. LeBrun's rants(proposing that he, and he alone, should be allowed to determine how one may enjoy the outdoors), that keeps rising to the surface as the most appropriate seems to be of the most base sort: "You're an idiot." I am ashamed. Okay. Not really."
Top Bottom