Saturday, September 05, 2009

To: Esquire Magazine, New York City - 11 September 1976

Dear Sirs:

I read with interest your two stoires in the September issue promoting "Traction" - ORV's or "escape machines," as your writers call them.

Let me tell you what a lot of us who live out here in the American West think about your goddamned Off-Road Vehicles. We think they are a goddamned plague. Like the snowmobile, in New England, the dune buggy on the seashore, the ORV out here in the desert and mesa country is a public nuisance, a destroyer of plant life and wildlife, a gross polluter of fresh air, stillness, peace and solitude.

The fat pink soft slobs who go roaring over the landscape in these over-sized over-priced over-advertised mechanical mastodons are poeple too lazy to walk, too ignorant to saddle a horse, too cheap and clumsy to paddle a canoe. Like cattle or sheep, they travel in herds, scared to death of going anywhere alone, and they leave their sign and spoor all over the back country: coors beer cans, styrofoam ups, plastic spoons, balls of Kleenex, wads of toilet paper, spent cartridge shells, crushed gopher snakes, smashed sagebrush, broken trees, dead chipmunks, wounded deer, eroded trails, bullet-riddled petroglyphs, spray-painted signatures, vandalized Indian ruins, foulded-up waterholes, polluted springs and smoldering campfires piled with incombustible tinfoil, filter tips, broken bottles, Etc.

It is not the bureaucrats back in Washington who are trying to stop this motorized invasion of what little wilde country still remains in America; on the contrary, the bureaucrats are doing far too little. What feeble resistance has so far appeared comes from concerned citizens here and there who are trying to prod and encourage the bureaucrats to do their duty: namely, to save the public lands for their primary purpose, which is wildlife, habitat, livestock forage, watershed protection and non-motorized human recreation.

Thank God for the coming and inevitable day of gasoline rationing, which will retire all these goddamned ORVs and "escape machines" to the junkyards where they belong.

Ed Abbey - Moab

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