Our national defense is top priority, if they need the land for military, fine. But free up wilderness areas for motorized recreation. Wilderness areas don't do the country any good, except keep the tree huggers happy, and they are generally useless.
The issue isn't a lack of patriotism. I'm about as supportive of our military as anyone gets, but even I have had enough.
We live in the largest county in the continental U.S. (San Bernardino county is larger than any of our 9 smallest states) most of it already occupied by government in some capacity.
We figger we're already doing more than our fair share. I didn't move to Big Open to end up confined to my own backyard and nearly every day we find ourselves embroiled in some new encroachment. At least the government is honest enough to just take it over. "Environmental" causes use it as a place to test their legal tactics, then if successful they employ them in YOUR state, town or county. Never mind my motorcycle, my horse isn't even welcome in much of this county for "environmental" reasons, and unwelcome in the balance of it simply because guys will aim M-16's at us.
The rationale for the land grab is logistics. Currently troops are shuttled and convoyed to and from Camp Pendleton to 29 Palms for various training exercises, which is neccessary but somewhat wasteful of resources.
Once claimed these lands have nearly always proven to remain in the hands of government, off limits, forever. Do you think for one minute that they'll relinquish an inch of Pendleton in the bargain? Not a chance.
It's a pretty hot issue around here and will be difficult to reconcile satisfactorily. Admittedly those of us directly affected by it have a bigger stake in this than just the closure of a riding area, but I thought some background would help. Signing the petition provides much needed ammunition in the big picture. It matters.