“The wind is with us, but I wish it was the force.” This was a quote by a nice man in California City, one of many interesting characters we encountered this weekend while performing outreach. This 4-day mini-hitch consisted of hanging out with our local off-roaders, to educate them about the Rands Mountain Management Area permit program. We met folks of all ages, from seasoned couples who have been riding the Rands area for years, to 6 year old boys riding dirt bikes no higher than our knees. Seeing people roll up in their loud, neon, vamped-up dune buggies was like a commercial before our eyes, and many of us have been sold on how fun riding these desert trails must be. After this weekend, it is clear to us that a lot of people enjoy this area of the desert in many different ways, whether it is from behind an engine, or on their own two feet. Overall, we felt good that we were able to connect with such an expansive crowd.
Many of us learned a lot about how motorcycles and OHV’s (Off Highway Vehicles) work. We used this to our advantage by then including the lingo we learned to communicate with our off-roading aficionados. Some hot slang includes the numbers 250 and 450, phrases like “straight away” and “grand prix,” and shouting “roll it back on the trailer!” We felt pretty savvy using lingo like this, but really what it all boiled down to was connecting with the OHVers. It was a lot of fun to talk with the people of the area about their off- road passion, and very comforting to see how many people were interested in how they could help the area. Public Outreach was long, hot, cold, windy, and at times, boring, but it was a great success to have the public and the BLM (Shout out to Kat for organizing this!) come together to try and protect the Desert Tortoise, and fragile fauna of the Mojave.