"March Newsletter"


 In Utah's San Rafael Swell

OHV Poker Ride
(ATV's and Motorcycles)

  April 8, 2000

First hand $10.00 Additional hands $5.00
    Register 7a.m. to 3 p.m.
  Prizes will be drawn, 11 a.m., 2p.m. 5p.m.
Call for information
Food Concession
Bring your camera!

All proceeds will be donated to USA-ALLand the Blue Ribbon Coalition


Club Ride
New/prospective members welcome

Saturday, March 4, 2000

On the road from Castle Dale to Woodside -
6.3 miles east off well-house on Buckhorn Flat
--do not go south toward the swinging bridge--

Schedule: 9:30   Riders Depart
3:30   Potluck Dinner

Bring your own meat and a potluck dish for the sharing.

      This world is full of good people, but it also has plenty of Jerks. Have you ever heard of the
"Jerk Factor?" Basically this is a theory that says there is a certain percentage of the human
population that qualifies as Jerks. Some say the percentage is as low as 5% while others say it is
as high as 25%. Whatever the correct percentage, it is obvious that the Jerk Factor does exist.
During the month of March 1999 I lead a small group to one of my favorite riding areas in the
Chimney Rock area of Emery County. I always enjoy introducing people to an area that they
have never seen before. This time I had Brian Louw of the Utah Trail Machine Association with
me and was showing him what the North San Rafael looked like. We challenged ourselves on the
race trails of previous motorcycle races and then I planned to show him some of the historic
cabins and interesting sites of the region.                                                                                                           As we approached the small picturesque wooden "sheep wagon" cabin that is hidden away in a
narrow canyon there was nothing to suggest that anything was out of the norm. The rocks were
neatly piled against the door so the wind couldn't open it and the wooden peg was properly
situated in the lock hasp to provide further security. While removing the rocks and the peg, I
described the old stove, pots & pans, firewood, a cupboard and bedding that is always stored
inside. But as I swung the door open my heart sank to my stomach as I found that the stove was
no longer there. Everything else seemed to be in place but the stove was gone. Stove pipe was
laying on the floor and the pots and pans still hung on the wall. Could it be that the owners of
the cabin had removed the stove in order to do some repairs and they would soon bring it back?
Or, had someone stolen the stove but then taken the time to replace the rocks and peg? As we
investigated the area, we noticed tire tracks at the door with fresh ashes still lying on top of the
dry sand. Obviously whoever had taken the stove had done so recently and they had used an
ATV to carry it out of the canyon.
    Once I returned home, I started making phone calls to cattlemen in the area to find out who
owned the cabin. First I called Mr. King in Green River but he didn't know who the owner was.
He suggested that I call Mr. Staker. After describing the location, Mr. Staker suggested that I
speak to Mrs. Muth. Although she does have a sheep wagon in the area, it was decided that it
was not the one in question. Strike three! So I gave up on finding the owner and forgot about it
for a while.
    A few months later while attending the BLM Open House in Castle Dale a friend of mine
noticed a man talking to the BLM Ranger and Emery County Sheriff Deputy concerning a stolen
stove form his cabin on the desert. I didn't hear about this until we were traveling back to Price
so I didn't have a chance to talk to him. Soon after I was able to contact him and confirm that
the stove was indeed stolen. It was at this time that I realized that this man was one of the
grazing permit holders who had vocally opposed our club's suggestions of improvement to the
Jump Trail. He had voiced his concerns about bringing any more people into the area and felt
that the more people who visited the area the more problems there would be for his cattle and
property. (The jerk factor in action)
    I explained to him the time frame as to when I had found the stove to be missing. I also
promised to do what I could to recover his stove or find a replacement. Evidently the only other
item stolen was a metal cupboard. It "wasn't anything fancy, but it kept the critters out." When I
asked about the stove, I was told that "it was 40 or 50 years old and that the cabin wasn't much
good with no way to keep it warm." He didn't sound bitter but he was definitely disgusted and
    It took me about six months to finally finish up on my promise to put a stove and cupboard
back into the cabin. On December 31, 1999, Lee & Jennifer Madsen, Lee Swasey and myself
delivered the stove, grate, pipe, fire brick and a metal cupboard into the canyon and placed them
inside the cabin. Our actions will never overcome the damage done by the Jerks who stole this
man's property which rendered the cabin worthless.
    The Jerks of the world seem to get all of the attention. Laws are passed and lands are closed
because of their actions. Those of us who try to do the right thing and to get along with our
neighbors are the ones who suffer the punishment. The Jerks and criminals are not affected by
laws and regulations because it is in their nature to disobey.
    As representatives of motorized recreation we are faced with the challenge to overcome the jerk factor. This time we were able to replace some items that were stolen from a man who was
already against us. I can't argue the fact that as you increase the number of users you also
increase the number of Jerks. But, I am confident that if the responsible users will look out for
the interests of those with whom we share the lands we can overcome the Jerk Factor. They are
still the minority and with proper education of all land users we can keep it that way.
Alan J. Peterson

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