Outdoor recreation in America has come to a crossroads and three possible paths are offered.
If given a choice, which of the following visions would you select?
If you'd select "The Traditional," then you'd better be prepared to fight for it.
If you'd select either of the other choices, then by all means relax. They are roaring our way and will be upon us before we know it.
Vision One -- The Traditional
You bounce down a wash-boarded forest road for what seems like an eternity until you come upon your favorite lake. Once there, you are treated to a magnificent setting, a pit toilet, a few rustic tent sites and maybe a hiking trail that leads into the backcountry. The lake itself is totally peaceful and so pristine that you can easily imagine this is how it's always been. That afternoon you'll do a little fishing from your canoe, or maybe go for a swim, or a hike, or simply enjoy a picnic while you marvel at the setting. Later that evening you'll set up your tent, get out your cooler and camp stove and prepare for a night under the stars and a rare opportunity to become one with the Great Outdoors as nature provided them.
Vision Two -- Industrial Strength Recreation
You race down a freshly paved forest road in your $150,000 RV to that same lake; having first made reservations for a premium site at the new KOA campground. The old tent sites have all been freshly upgraded and turned into pull-through ribbons of concrete, complete with water, sewer, electrical and internet hookups (which you'll use to make your next night's reservations). Once you've leveled your motorhome, you unhitch the trailer, unload the ATVs, put on your helmet and go for a look around. Perhaps later on you'll play a quick round of golf before enjoying cocktails at the marina. You might even rent a jet-ski for an hour before returning to the RV and microwaving a quick dinner. After dark, if you've the energy, you may visit the amphitheater and listen to Ranger Rick's wilderness presentation.
Vision Three -- Industrial Tourism
You cruise down that same paved road, this time stopping frequently to explore hardened nature trails and to learn how active forest management creates wildlife habitat and maintains healthy ecosystems. After several stops you'll reach a parking lot and pay $19.95 to take the monorail to the lakeside visitor's center. At the center you'll purchase reserved seats for the 3:00 PM showing of "The Lake." While you wait you'll visit the gift shop, eat in the restaurant, capture a few Kodak moments at the Kodak Photo Stop and perhaps look at still more interpretive displays. Years later even with your memories, photos and home videos to remind you of that wonderful visit, you will note with sadness that nothing can begin to compare with having seen "The Lake" in person, on the giant IMAX screen.
Scott Silver, Executive Director
248 NW Wilmington Avenue, Bend OR 97701
Phone (541) 385-5261 E-mail: email@example.com