Topic: The other side of GPS...  My 2 cents worth.
by Glen S. of Huntington Beach, Ca.

There is much being written lately concerning the wisdom of publication of GPS coordinates for trails and archeological sites. The editors of this web page and the editors of several published magazines have stated that they will not publish GPS coordinates of any sort for various reasons ranging from personal safety, to protection of valuable historical and prehistory sites.

One magazine editor even states that if a trail location is published it is more likely to be targeted for closure by Green Advocacy Groups (GAGS).

To this I say hogwash!

It is in the best interest, of the Off Road Community, to publish the coordinates of every inch of every trail ever traveled by 4X4, Dirtbike, Horseback or foot. I personally feel it is imperative that we do so.

Only the publication of a trails GPS coordinates will prove that it exists, is currently being used, and has not been abandoned, regardless of what anyone (read eco-nazi, Forest Service, BLM) says. Current GPS data and maps dated prior to 1976 will eventually be needed to prove that the trails did exist, do exist and with this small effort on our part may continue to exist. (See February editorial on why old maps are so important.) If you have a favorite trail known but to you, you are but one voice when it comes to proving that the trail exists. But with published GPS coordinates of at a minimum start, end, and major intersections, your favorite trail may be saved from the closures so prevalent today. Trust me the GAGS, BLM, and Forestry Service don't want anyone to know that your trail is there, as it is far easier to close a trail that no one knows about.

Although there is room for reasonable debate, concerning the publication of GPS coordinates of sensitive archeological and other sites. Coordinates that could conceivable attract looters and vandals. One must be ever mindful that even as there are people that require mechanized methods of off road travel, their may be people that require specific coordinates to help them find a site for personal exploration.

At least one other person has adopted this viewpoint and is doing something about it. Visit his web site at http://www.vlj.com and see his contribution to assuring that the trails he rides are known to others.

All that being said I am off to map some of my favorite trails.

Have a happy and safe 4th of July and don't forget to fly the flag.

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