Here's How to Get CLOUT for Outdoor Sport!
May 14, 2016
Hey, if bikers and canoers and such want to fix their situation instantly just set up a licensing system and excise tax like hunters, fishermen, boaters and ORV drivers use.
OK, here's my rant about it, kitchen sink and all. TL / DR. ...Yeah, too long, didn't read. Both barrels! Let's see what you think and if it makes a dent...
But you say "Hey, I want it free." "Gimme my rights. Rights don't cost!" "Hey, I don't put any wear'n'tear on no roads." "Walkers don't buy licenses -- c'mon!"
I say: If we pay we'll get stuff. A lot of it. We'll get all we pay for. Ain't no free lunch. Money talks and it walks. Is there anything we want? Do we want trails? Do we want all sorts of access everywhere? Do we want a say in everything relating to bikes that goes down out there? Do we want Complete Streets?
Moreover: do we want instant respect from all the cops? Once you pay the cops say "After you, sir!"
Even moreover: do we want instant respect from the PUBLIC?
All we gotta do is start fundin' stuff. Start paying in. Explicitly. To something with our name on it. Anyone who PAYS in the USA gets instant respect. Folks who honk and run us off the road will give us high-fives as soon as we start paying like they do.
For State Game Areas and the like all anyone has to say is "This is paid for by hunting and fishing licenses" and everyone SHUTS UP about who has say and priority and respect. Hey, you pay for the play you get props. End of story. Excuse us. And thanks.
"But, but... We don't cost nuthin! We don't use up no concrete! Cars are the ones that do all the damage and take all the infrastructure."
Well, the more's the better! We'll get even MORE COOL STUFF if we don't have to put our $$$ toward fixing potholes. It's GREAT that we don't wear out asphalt. Who wants to buy asphalt? Let's buy good stuff!
We could get frickin INSTANT KID BIKE PROGRAMS IN EVERY SCHOOL like every year K thru Twelve!
Or we hear: "We bikers already pay in here and here and here. And we deserve x percent because it's the law that x percent should come out of y fund and go to us. And we filled out that grant for our project so please hand it over."
No more arm-twisting! No more begging for a slice of a pie. Want CX courses? Want far easier access to dirt everywhere? Want trailwork? Want bike lanes and fresh bike-safety lane marking repainting?
No more asking! Let's just use our money!
BUY IT NOW WITH LICENSES!
You know the DNR and Dept of Fisheries and Wildlife? ...Would they have either w/o licenses and excise tax?
What we have now with biking and paddlesports and hiking is the laissez faire Tea Party and Libertarians. So if you like the blank slate frontier style that we now have: NUTHIN but what each of us by ourselves can muster, or via volunteer clubs that beg for slim member dues and slimmer officer volunteers.
...Or would ya like a Dept of Bikes, Paddles and Boots w clout at all levels?
Pretend you fish for bluegills. Buy a $15 license. Now instead of (or in addition to) that, ride your bike every day and every where. Pay $15 for that, too. No biggie.
Bluegill fishermen get docks and habitat and biologists and patrols and signage and access and representation and education and specific govt departments and academic study and degrees -- for their measley $15 / year.
All the outdoor people in this nation pay annually, or for every visit, to get all the stuff and services and repping that they get.
And guess what? Outdoor rec is CHANGING. Yet the public still wants to, still NEEDS to get outside and play everyday. So the public still has to pay for that. If we're huntin' and fishin' less and biking more, why not still keep the revenue stream good'n'healthy for the outdoors by having biking and such pitch in!
HEY, GUESS WHAT? In the past 20 years ALL THE OUTDOOR EDUCATION CENTERS THAT MICHIGAN WAS FAMOUS FOR HAVE ***CLOSED***! Those places exposed ALL OUR CHILDREN to the outdoors for DECADES. Let's get those places REOPENED TODAY! Let's apologize to the generations who missed out. Time to play catch-up!
Let's re-open Yankee Springs and Mill Creek and put em both on overdrive for both kids and adults!
Does Michigan have an obesity and health problem? Let's fix it!
Hook'n'bullet participation funded a LOT of outdoor ed thru licenses. Those sports are down but others are up. Let's keep those resource funding revenues up! Just coz our sports change doesn't mean we can let our outdoor infrastructure world fall into ruin.
My generation didn't learn about the outdoors by ourselves! We were shown, and not always by our dads.
Licenses aren't the only thing. Let's put excise taxes, too, on all outdoor gear! Outdoor gear doesn't pay any tax like hunting and fishing does. For hook'n'bullet the industry funds the resource. BAM! Gear tax and activity licensing work together to BUY STUFF and GET RESPECT. DONE AND DONE!
Can biking learn from its peers?
Heck, I've long "enjoyed" the free-ness of my outdoor sports, like XC skiing, etc. ... I'm also starting to put two'n'two together! There is ZERO SUPPORT out there for XC, for canoeing, etc. -- and biking is just catching on. I've enjoyed my sports in a lonely unsupported wasteland with most everything made from scratch, begged, cast-offs. Money talks in the USA! ...It's time to BUY IN!
I've always whinged at the thought of canoes paying a license fee like powerboats do. But that's the wrong way to look at it! Look at what powerboaters GET for buying in!!!! Paddlesport would get all that, too!
If we buy licenses and pay excise tax for outdoor sport we don't gotta wait for no bureaucrats to maybe deliver on grants or bids outta their budgets for our peeping beaks which represent a few weaklings out of dozens of chicks clamoring for attention. IF WE PAY WE GET!
I agree that outdoor activities shouldn't REQUIRE a fee -- we should be RUSHING to GIVE the fee. So that we start GETTING TONS MORE STUFF AND SUPPORT! Avoiding fees is the wrong way to go. This is our chance to finally get what we want! It's the only way!
If you don't wanna pay, just know you're going to keep getting what we've been getting and we'll have to keep doing it the way we've been doing it. You like how it's been going? COMPARED TO USERS THAT EXPLICITLY FUND THEIR ACTIVITIES?
Yeah, bikers already pay in and deserve a cut of the pie. Well, car drivers and hunters and fishermen also pay in via prop taxes, etc., but they also pay excises and extras on top of all that -- and they GET STUFF for it.
I've heard that in Germany every year cops come into classrooms and make sure every schoolkid knows how to bike w/ skill. That ain't free!
Again, when you pay you don't have to ASK for anything! You just start writing checks and BUYING. No need to justify anything! There's no "we deserve this or that" or "we already do this or that." You don't need studies to show usership percent changes to get bigger apportioning. If you pay you straight up get a buncha stuff and horsepower. So right now we pay park fees to have parks: so we have parks. If we paid BIKE fees we could have bike stuff, bike parks, bike perks, bike features.
Also, I agree that a lot of hunt/fish fees go to the woods-cops to prevent crime and overkill. And biking, XC skiing, etc., doesn't have that. Overbiking is not a problem -- very true! So we are lucky! We save a ton of $ and can put even more to bike education and promotion. It could go from ZERO to HUGE. We can put all the proceeds to getting everybody out on wheels and off of their couches! Sure, bureaucracies are nastily wasteful: but let's just compare what the hook'n'bullet folks GET to what we GET. If we'd like more, we gotta pay and take our lumps. It's time to get a bunch of cubicle dwellers working for us!
Ha... I know that this idea probably isn't new and may be bad. But it's sounding pretty good to me right now. : ) I recall hearing the Hook'n'Bullet industry whining about their 10% excise tax. It must hurt! Their tea-partiers say it's a liberty-killing commie infringement that puts many of them out of business. Sure, it does! ...And without it they could enjoy their decades of mud-banks for river access like we canoers do. They can look at all the easy clout that biking has had over the years. They can see the respect that bike commuting and mtbiking have been given so gladly based on their merits.