"Yes!" to Wildlife (Frog) "No!" to Using Technology to Invade and Destroy Wildlife Habitat (Mountain Bike)

Wildlife Need Habitat Off-Limits To Humans!

Michael J. Vandeman, Ph.D.

Machine-Free Trails Association

A Pictorial Overview of This Page

"Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much; such men are dangerous." Julius Caesar I. II. 194-5

"The love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth … the only home we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need — if only we had the eyes to see…" Edward Abbey

"Without enough wilderness America will change. Democracy, with its myriad personalities and increasing sophistication, must be fibred and vitalized by the regular contact with outdoor growths — animals, trees, sun warmth, and free skies — or it will dwindle and pale." Ralph Waldo Emerson

"To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, — that is genius. Speak your latent conviction, and it shall be the universal sense; for the inmost in due time becomes the outmost…" Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The human race will not destroy itself from lack of information. The human race will destroy itself through lack of appreciation." Matthew Fox

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." Anne Frank

"As we work to heal the Earth, the Earth heals us. No need to wait." Joanna Macy

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead

"When we were children, we thought our parents were taking care of things. Sometimes they were. As adults, we like to think that there are some very wise people, usually older than we are, taking care of the planet and us." Kary Mullis

"It is not with gentle persuasion that one wrests the kernel from the nut." ("Oju boro ko ni a fi ngba omo l'owo ekuro.") Yoruba proverb

"Only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the last river has been poisoned, only after the last fish has been caught, only then will you find that money can not be eaten." Cree Indian Prophecy

"The Earth is our mother. What befalls the earth befalls the children of the Earth." Chief Seattle

"There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society where none intrudes,
By the deep Sea, and music in its roar;
I love not Man the less, but Nature more"
George Gordon, Lord Byron.

"If we do not speak for Earth who will? If we are not committed to our own survival, who will be?" Carl Sagan

"An animals's eyes have the power to speak a great language." Martin Buber

"This is the true joy of living. This being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one. This being thoroughly used up before being thrown on the scrap heap. This being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod, full of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy." G. B. Shaw

"The traditional Hopi people preserve the sacred knowledge about the way of the Earth because the true Hopi people know that the Earth is a living, growing person. And all things on it are her children." Yumi Horikoshi

"A human being is a part of a whole, called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty." - Albert Einstein

"If Diogenes were to live today, he would look with his lantern for an honest person in vain." - Albert Einstein

"If you want to be good to the environment, stay away from it." Edward L. Glaeser

"You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make." Jane Goodall

"The purest joy of all is the joy of nature." Leo Tolstoy

"What must be opposed is the pernicious belief that the universe is human-centered, that all else on Earth in land, sky and water is of lesser value than human life. No divine providence has given us the right to plough, mine, slash and burn, displacing and exterminating all organisms except our own kind, tormenting the paradise into which we are born, often only to satisfy frivolous wants." Stan Rowe

"I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy." Rabindranath Tagore

"I never give them hell. I just tell the truth and they [especially mountain bikers] think it's hell." Harry S. Truman

"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis." Dante Alighieri

"Environmentalism can most simply be defined as the extension of the Golden Rule to include other species." "Wildlife must be given top priority, because they can't protect themselves from us." "Mountain biking can be succinctly defined as 'cheap thrills attained at the expense of other trail users and the natural world'". Mike Vandeman

"For me I have a strong desire to contribute to a peaceful life through painting. The peace of humankind, this is something really precious. This is something of the utmost importance not just for me but for everyone else. It goes without saying that America is very rich in natural resources. In other words natural blessings. So what can Americans leave for future generations? I'm talking about something the whole of humanity can aim for. Some kind of big objective. After all a real spiritual awareness has to be built in order to build peace. In many ways America is largely wasting what nature is providing us. The great teaching of our Japanese ancestors is do not disobey nature, always go with nature anywhere in any circumstance with gratitude. In the High Sierras in the evening it gets very cold. The coyotes howl in the distance. The moon arcs across the sky. The trees are standing here and there and it is very quiet. You can learn from the teachings within this quietness. Well, you can learn from many things. Some people are taught by speeches or talking but I think it is important that you are taught by silence. Immerse yourself in nature, listen to what nature has to tell you in its quietness so that you can learn and grow." Chiura Obata

"I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race." James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, pp.252-3

"Those who have the privilege to know have the duty to act." Albert Einstein

"I'd rather be a corpse than a coward." Mary Ellen Pleasant

"There are none so blind as those who will not see." John Heywood (1546)

"You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make." Jane Goodall

"Great spirits have always encountered opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly." ? Albert Einstein

"We do not believe any group of men adequate enough or wise enough to operate without scrutiny or without criticism. We know that the only way to avoid error is to detect it, that the only way to detect it is to be free to inquire. We know that in secrecy error undetected will flourish and subvert." J. Robert Oppenheimer

"We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes. I realized then, and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes – something known only to her and to the mountain. I was young then, and full of trigger-itch; I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters’ paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view." Aldo Leopold

"I pledge allegiance to the soil
of Turtle Island,
and to the beings who thereon dwell
one ecosystem
in diversity
under the sun
With joyful interpenetration for all." Gary Snyder, Axe Handles

"He prayeth well, who loveth well
Both man and bird and beast.
He prayeth best, who loveth best
All things both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all."
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner"

"Few are altogether deaf to the preaching of pine trees. Their sermons on the mountains go to our hearts; and if people in general could be got into the woods, even for once, to hear the trees speak for themselves, all difficulties in the way of forest preservation would vanish." John Muir

"Lots of people talk to animals, " said Pooh. "Maybe, but ..." "Not very many listen, though," he said. "That's the problem," he added. Hoff, Benjamin, The Tao of Pooh


These are essential works for understanding and preventing the destruction of the Earth's ecosystems, including our own. What could be more important?!

Lectures Given at International Environmental Conferences

The Anthropocentric Management of Our Parks and Wildlife - Taking Wildlife's Point of View

"A step beyond Primeval management would be human exclosure zones: large areas where no human beings, including scientific researchers or rangers, would be permitted." Dave Foreman, Confessions of an Eco-Warrior, p.68.

"Other wildernesses might well be uninhabited by humans - perhaps even off-limits to humans: buffered by surrounding, more accessible lands." Anthony Weston, Back to Earth, p.132.

"People and condors don't mix." David S. Wilcove, The Condor's Shadow, p.239.

"Laws may prevent exploitation or permanent occupation of wilderness areas, as in the case of national parks, but they cannot protect them against the damaging effects resulting from the mere presence of innumerable tourists", Rene' Dubos, The Wooing of the Earth, p.29. "There is no evidence ... that early humans always lived in ecological harmony with Nature out of respect for it", ibid., p.63. "The wilderness is being loved to death. The conflict between preservation and recreation is becoming more intense as more people seek the wilderness experience", ibid., p.136. "The only solution to the overuse and degradation of wilderness areas is in restriction of visitors", ibid., p.138.

"Cities should be built on one side of the street" Bob Kaufman.

"The fossil record shows that the arrival of human beings in an area has always coincided with a wave of extinctions" Reg Morrison, The Spirit in the Gene, pp.147-8.

"Instead of islands of wilderness in a sea of humanity, we should have islands of humanity in a sea of wilderness", Thomas Lovejoy, Life stories, Heather Newbold, ed., p.49. "Although humanity is part of nature, it is no use just saying that. We have to work out how we harmonize with nature." Max Nicholson, Nature Conservancy, ibid., p.119.

"Deep Ecology is about living in closer relationship to the earth. It's also about respecting the wild and leaving some of it alone. To be in close relationship with the earth do we have to physically touch each rock? Do we have to zealously guard our option to step on each blade of grass?" Tom Warren, Tomzbox@hotmail.com.

"A true environmentalist thinks of how he can accommodate nature, not how it can accommodate him." Chris Maddy, CMaddy@HycorBiomedical.com

"Did you know that feeding or closely approaching any park wildlife is prohibited by federal law? Your food is a threat to the survival of park animals. It can damage their health, make them vulnerable to death from cars, or lead to dangerous behavior. Treat your food as if it were poison to animals, because the result is often the same. Even though animals may look tame - especially when searching for a hand-out -they are capable of inflicting serious injury, and in extreme cases, causing death. Never attempt to touch or closely approach any park wildlife. Instead, view them through binoculars or telephoto lenses. If an animal is aware of your presence, you're too close." (from the Yosemite National Park web page, http://www.nps.gov/yose/guide/yguide4.pdf - a pretty strong statement, for a public agency!)

"Only by keeping our distance from wilderness - some wilderness, at least - can we keep from fouling the wellspring of our own life" Evan Eisenberg, The Ecology of Eden, p.97.

"Adult eagles decreased some activities by as much as 59 percent per day when humans were near. The amount of time nesting areas were left unattended increased by 24 percent. Some of these behavioral changes may have direct effect on the survival of nestling eagles, the researchers note. When humans were near the nests, the amount of prey consumed by the eagle chicks decreased by an average of 29 percent per day. The number of feeding rounds at the nest decreased by 20 percent per day." Environmental News Network, March 7, 2000

"One might think that it would be best if humanity rejoined nature as quickly as possible. With our present billions, that would devastate what little non-human nature remains. Quite the contrary, we must separate humanity from what is left of nature. We must quarantine this dangerous species from other life. We are now starkly different from all other life - truly unique - and will remain so. The human cultural genie cannot be stuffed back into nature's genetic bottle. Our presence will forevermore be unnatural and have to be controlled. Haven eaten the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, we cannot return to the Garden of Eden without careful supervision." Russell Merle Genet, The Chimpanzees Who Would Be Ants, p. 175.

"The mere presence of people has been shown to be sufficient to cause harassment to some species whatever the recreational activity or number of people involved. ... The occurrence of even a few people inhibited the little tern ... from returning to its nest [sometimes leading to] breeding failure." Wildland Recreation - Ecology and Management, Hammitt and Cole, p. 82. "Species of wildlife that are secretive and sensitive to the presence of humans may become permanently displaced from recreational areas. ... In Colorado bighorn sheep were forced into higher elevation ranges during lambing season, resulting in weather conditions that caused 80 percent incidence of pneumonia and a resultant decline in population." Ibid., p.87. "The simplest, most effective means of minimizing recreational impact is to prohibit all use". Ibid., p.205.

"The history of fire, especially in the context of the increased dominance of humans, has produced a progressively fire-adapted ecology, which argues for human-free wildlife areas and against prescribed burns under many circumstances." N. Caldararo, "Human ecological intervention and the role of forest fires in human ecology".

"Conservation efforts in the forested regions of Africa, the last and only home of the three African apes, are failing because of a couple of myths ... the myth of the noble savage ... [and] that economic improvements necessarily lead people to protect their forests and wildlife". Craig Stanford, Significant Others, pp.195-6.

"People have been climbing Fuji-san for over 1,000 years, but until just over 100 years ago this was an activity for Shinto or Buddhist priests and pilgrims only." Hiking in Japan, Paul Hunt, p.119.

"In all the Earth there is no place dedicated to solitude." Chief Seattle, The Suquamish Museum, 1985:36.

"Egg collectors and researchers have noted that even one visit within sight of a nest may cause desertion and abandonment of eggs." Nonconsumptive Outdoor Recreation, Fish & Wildlife Service Special Scientific Report - Wildlife # 252, p.82.

"We should live off nature's interest, not her principal." Boo Heisey

"Florida's most destructive nonindigenous population ... will probably continue to be the 14 million people derived from foreign ancestries." Strangers in Paradise, Simberloff et al, eds., p.315.

"All plants, flowers, natural scenery and animal life are protected by law from human disturbance of any kind. They are the principle attractions of most parks and are integral parts of the natural community." California State Park System Rules and Regulations.

"The chief characteristic of habitat needed by [the wolverine] is its isolation from the presence and influence of humans", "In Brief", Winter, 2003, p.15 (Earthjustice).

"Humans are as qualified to be stewards of the Earth as goats are to be gardeners." James Lovelock

"This mountain would be a superior place if people stayed off it altogether." Barbara Kingsolver, Prodigal Summer, p.248.

"Humans, even in low numbers, are incompatible with the persistence of megaherbivores and top carnivores, two groups of animals that are among the most crucial to maintaining normal ecosystem functioning." John Terborgh and Carel Van Schaik, Making Parks Work, p.7. "As a matter of principle, people-free parks [no human residents] should always be the ultimate goal. It is the only goal that over the long run is consistent with the requirements of biodiversity conservation. Thus, all relevant policies should be directed to reducing the human presence within parks." p.310.

"The tradition of protected areas in what is today the USSR began with the various 'holy places', 'sacred forests' and 'sacred groves' set aside from time immemorial by aboriginal peoples who deified the creative forces of nature. These ritual sites, sometimes quite sizable, where not only hunting, fishing, tree cutting, or any other economic activity was prohibited, but where the mere presence of man was forbidden, were the prototypes of the present-day nature reserves that are strictly protected." International Handbook of National Parks and Nature Reserves, Craig Allin, ed., p.395. "Even national parks and hunting management units, however, have areas where man is admitted under no circumstances, and animals and plants are left undisturbed under strict protection." p.403.

"Between the villages there would be three types of forest patches: forest sanctuaries, dense woodland and sacred groves. The first type was called raksha, 'sanctuary'. This would be left entirely to itself - no human would enter it - as a sanctuary for wildlife. If a bird had made a nest on a tree branch the entry of a single person could disturb its habitat. Therefore this small forest would be completely protected from human disturbances. During the daytime the birds and animals would go into the village or wherever they wished but could return safely to their habitat at night. All of them living in that patch would feel quite safe." Hinduism and Ecology, Ranchor Prime, p.17.

"Basic human ethics suggests that we must not humanize every square yard of the planet" Douglas R. Tompkins, Welfare Ranching

"As a rule around the world, wherever a people entered a virgin environment, most of the megafauna soon vanished. Also doomed were a substantial fraction of the most easily captured ground birds and tortoises." p.92. "The noble savage never existed." p.102. E.O. Wilson, The Future of Life

"For every living creature [including humans!], there are places where it does not belong." p.251 "I believe it is a public responsibility to safeguard what we can of wilderness before the great push of man's numbers; and to safeguard with it ... the shy wild ones that need man-less expanses in which to thrive." p.262. Paul L. Errington, Of Predation and Life

"The earth does not belong to humans." Arne Naess

"Of what avail are forty freedoms, without a blank spot on the map?" Aldo Leopold.

"I am waiting for forests and animals to reclaim the earth as theirs." Lawrence Ferlinghetti

"Man's heart away from nature, becomes hard; [the Lakota] knew that lack of respect for growing, living things soon led to lack of respect for humans too." Luther Standing Bear (c.1868-1939)

"A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone." Where I Lived and What I Lived For, Walden, Henry David Thoreau

"The fault is great in man or woman,
Who steals a goose from off a common,
But what can plead that man's excuse,
Who steals a common from a goose."
The Tickler, 1821

"We need to witness ... some life pasturing freely where we never wander." Henry David Thoreau, Walden

"Two feather'd guests from Alabama, two together,
And their nest, and four light-green eggs spotted with brown,
And every day the he-bird to and fro near at hand,
And every day the she-bird couch'd on her nest, silent, with bright eyes,
And every day I, a curious boy, never too close, never disturbing them,
Cautiously peering, absorbing, translating."
Walt Whitman, "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking", Leaves of Grass

"Go to the pine if you want to learn about the pine, or to the bamboo if you want to learn about the bamboo." Basho

Electromagnetism and Its Effects on Humans and Wildlife

"The present proliferation of wireless technology must be stopped before it does us all irreparable harm." Arthur Firstenberg



My Paintings

Saving Energy and Money

The Scourge of Mountain Biking - Why Mountain (Off-Road) Biking Should be Prohibited - "Wheeled Locusts"

"Off-road vehicles (ORVs). Twenty-five years ago the problems of ORVs scarcely existed. Jeeps, four-wheel-drive pickups, dirt bikes, and snowmobiles [and mountain bikes, jetskis, mountain boards, etc.] were rare. Motorized tricycles and other all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) had not yet been invented. Today, however, millions of these infernal machines are piloted by boys trying to exorcise the demons of their puberty, or by people who want to 'get into the backcountry' to hunt, fish, trap, poach, treasure hunt, prospect, or camp, but are not willing (or in good enough shape) to hike in. ORVs destroy vegetation, disrupt wildlife, erode the land, foul streams and air, and provide access to pristine areas for people who do not respect such places." Dave Foreman, Confessions of an Eco-Warrior, p.82

"A world where one can go more and more easily and rapidly to places that are less and less worth visiting ... is ... a vicious cycle." Alan Watts, Nature, Man and Woman, p.19.

"Wildlife needs to have a life cycle, which includes death" Jeffrey W. Ryan, mountain biker, jeffryan@ispchannel.com

"Mountain Biking is a latter day method of raping nature." Ernie Crist

"There really isn't any erosion," [Mark] Farriester [of Modesto] said. "Bicycles can't cause erosion." Jim Haggen-Smit, California representative for the International Mountain Bicycling Association, agreed. He said off-road trails and environmental protection can co-exist. Haggen-Smit said he wants all parties to come together and help determine how to correctly build dirt trails. He stressed the most important detail is to keep trails well maintained. The real culprits of erosion, Haggen-Smit said, are water and bad maintenance.

"I object to Pete Siemens' characterization of bicycles as vehicles. According to the State Vehicle Code, bicycles are not vehicles, but are devices with all the rights and responsibilities of vehicles. I would be happy to find the specific Code and submit them to the Board. Therefore, I respectfully request that Pete Seimens retract his statements that bicycles are off-road vehicles - they are not." Danielle Weber, DVM

"We must learn to interact effectively with nature. By simply banning mountain biking, we are avoiding a continual relationship with the natural environment. Mountain biking cannot be banned; if so, future generations will no longer be able to experience the magnificent opportunities awaiting them." Daniel Keefer [They can't WALK?!]

"Remember, access is the is the whole point of our efforts" Jon Sundquist, East Aurora, NY, mountain biker

"Crashing is a fact of cycling. You will fall and you will get scratches or broken bones. A crash can kill you or leave you unable to ride again." Kevin McCallum

"If you observe mountain bikers for a while you will notice that the vast majority don't respect any basic trailquette [trail etiquette]. The vast majority also do claim they know and support good trailquette" sylco85@hotmail.com, mountain biker

"Mountain biking seems to attract some people who have trouble with authority; they don't like rules and restrictions, and feel they should be able to ride and build trails where they please." Mark Flint, mountain biker, markflint@earthlink.net

"To put it bluntly, it would really suck if the top of Nisene Marks were made wilderness and thus exclude any possibility of future bike access." Rod Brown, rodney_e_brown@yahoo.com, President of ROMP

"I agree with you, Mike. I am a bicyclist, but only on roads (where vehicles belong)." (Sierra Club bicyclist)

"Every single mountain bike rally I was in, at least one person got taken away in an ambulance. It made me think." Chris Wonderly, mountain unicyclist

"The impacts of recreational vehicles, when used off roads, are unusually severe." Wildland Recreation - Ecology and Management, Hammitt and Cole, p. 10. "Erosion is extremely serious because it will take centuries to regenerate soils to replace eroded ones." Ibid., p.16. "For several reasons, the potential for off-road vehicles to cause substantial impact is particularly high ... . Because distances can be covered rapidly, they are able to impact large areas on single trips. ... remote areas can be reached, even on day trips. ... The forces that result from spinning wheels, in association with the effect of cleated tires, dislodge soil and vegetation particularly rapidly. This damage is compounded by the tendency for many ORV users to seek out steep, unstable slopes where erosion is easily triggered. ... Other modes of travel tend to avoid steep and unstable slopes. Consequently, problems with erosion - one of the most significant impacts because of its irreversibility and its tendency to get progressively worse even without continued use - are much more serious with ORVs. " Ibid., p.182-3. "Off road vehicles can travel a much farther distance than hikers, and cause large areal impact in a short period of time." Ibid., p.189. "The simplest, most effective means of minimizing recreational impact is to prohibit all use." Ibid., p.205.

"As a diehard mountain biker, I know that I'm in the minority as one who never rides unauthorized trails." John Wood, Missoula, MT, jcwood@pngusa.net.

"The land [proposed Skykomish Wilderness] isn't being locked up. You can use it. Just use your legs and not your bike. If bikes come in, so do ATV's." Erik Schultz rk_tz@yahoo.com, mountain biker

"I note that mountain bikers, heads down, focus granularly on the trail, seemingly oblivious to the flora and fauna around them." Maddy Butcher

"Bicycles are permitted on roads only. Mountain bikes are not allowed on any of the hiking trails. Help prevent erosion and damage to the hiking trails by riding bicycles only on the paved and fire roads." California State Park System Rules and Regulations, Big Basin Redwoods State Park.

Professor Mike Liddle - a world leader in the impacts of recreation in natural areas - has concluded "that mountain biking is incompatible with nature conservation. Mountain biking and other high impact activity should be excluded from core or critical areas."

Transportation and Air Quality, and Their Impacts on Wildlife and People - Why We Should Stop All Road Construction and Expansion


What can I do to help?


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Or a mountain bike.

"All great truths begin as blasphemies." George Bernard Shaw