Some Fan Mail (minus identifying information and some spelling errors)


Tue, 16 Dec 2003:
Subject: Re: Travelling for the Holidays?
Greetings to you too, Mike. I appreciate your bulletins and suggestions.


Thu, 20 Nov 2003:

Subject: REI ads

Here is a copy of my email to REI:

I am very disappointed in REI bike ads that indicate an apparent lack of understanding of trail maintenance and preservation. It is well known that single track trails widen to double track trails after use by trail users ignorant of basic trail maintenance dynamics. Single track trails generally occur on slopes. The soils on slopes are highly susceptible to erosion. Other trail users needing to move out of the way of bikers are often forced off the trail onto native plants. This is particularly damaging after rains and during seed sprouting.

I implore you to encourage riders not to tear up trails and to be aware of their impact on our disappearing native resources. I find bike riders to be courteous in greetings to other trail users while being destructive and certainly discourteous to the land and discourteous to hikers by their lack of awareness in how they instill fear in other trail users as they tear down the hills at dangerous speeds.

Wed, 5 Nov 2003:

Subject: Your articles and letters
Recently an access law has been passed in Scotland which enables the public to go anywhere in the countryside and the government, through its unelected agencies called "quangos" (quasi-autonomous nongovernmental) are promoting National Nature Reserves as visitor attractions. I think this is totally wrong and I like you, have been opposing National parks for years and describing them as National Playgrounds devoid of all conservation value.

I have read some of your articles and would like your permission to reproduce them to try to persuade the general public that wildlife needs exclusive. Unfortunately I can't pay you for the facility as I am only an activist. My main interest is in protecting wildlife from human intrusion both by recreation and by hunting.

Hope you'll agree to my request.

Mon, 03 Nov 2003:

Subject: Re: The Park City Agreement between IMBA and the Sierra Club
Mike: I agree completely. Recently hiked the Rim Trail at Lake Tahoe

(Toyabe N.F.) where bikes supposedly allowed only on odd-numbered days

of the month. On an even-numbered day I encountered more than a dozen

bikes the first hour! The trail was ankle deep in dust from their tire

action. Hillocks alongside the trail were laced with tire tracks where

they went off-trail for a few extra thrills. The vehicles carrying the

bikes were openly parked on the main highway at the trailhead, with no

Forest Service personnel in evidence and no interest apparent in

enforcing the odd-day "rule." I'm sure many promises were made before

bikes were allowed on this trail that are now brazenly and routinely



Mon, 3 Nov 2003:

Subject: RE: The Park City Agreement between IMBA and the Sierra Club
Right on!


Mon, 03 Nov 2003:
Subject: Re: The Park City Agreement between IMBA and the Sierra Club
I could not agree more!


Sat, 4 Oct 2003:

Subject: Re: The (San Francisco) Bay Trail -- A Disaster for Wildlife
I agree with you!


Wed, 1 Oct 2003:
Dear Mr. Vandeman:

I enjoyed your column in the Sept. 29th Chronicle. I was especially glad

to see the reference to Roderick Nash's Wilderness and the American Mind.

It was a book I treasured in my own grad school days (30 years ago) and

thought a profound and seminal work. Glad to know it is still in


Wilderness is oft best enjoyed in absentia!


Wed, 01 Oct 2003:

Subject: Bay Trail Forum

At last! Someone who speaks my language!

In 2000 I published an article … in which I asked the same question you do.

I thank you for standing up for wildlife, because even though there are many voices in that community, they don’t speak in a language we understand.

Tue, 30 Sep 2003:

Subject: The Bay Trail
Dear Mr. Vandeman:

I just want to thank you for your article in the September 29, 2003 Chronicle entitled The Bay Trail - Disaster for Wildlife. I wonder if you have any interest in forwarding it to the Press Democrat...?

We have so many issues in Sonoma County regarding trails (the Bay Trail in particular), many editorials being written on a weekly basis in the Press Democrat and Petaluma's Argus Courier. I would love to know everyone in the County had the opportunity to read what you have to say.


Tue, 30 Sep 2003:

Subject: RE: California State Parks Mountain Biking Policy & Bibliography
Thanks. By the way, nice op-ed piece in yesterday's Chron.

Mon, 29 Sep 2003:

Subject: Re: SF Chronicle
Good work, Mike.


Mon, 29 Sep 2003:

Hello Mike:

Congratulations on having your outstanding opinion piece "The Bay

Trail -- Disaster for Wildlife" published in today's San Francisco

Chronicle. I am so happy that the paper chose to present your views to its

wide readership, which extends far beyond the audience of our usual Sierra

Club debates.

As usual, you presented your arguments logically and concisely with good

references supporting your assertions, which will encourage interested

readers to explore the topic further. That will help advance the cause you

have so long advocated.


Mon, 29 Sep 2003:

Subject: Open forum article

Well written article for the Chron. Good work on keeping it simple and

non-abrasive- you didn't pick on any one user group but focused on the basic

principles. This stuff will play much better with the general public than some

of our negative sounding complaints about mountain biking.



Mon, 29 Sep 2003:

Subject: The Bay Trail -- A Disaster for Wildlife
Hi Mike,

Congrats on the op-ed.

I've been talking up your perspective on the downside of the Bay Trail with

friends. When I saw the Chron this morning, my first thought was "About

time! Boy, will Mike be happy to see this!" My next thought was, "Wait a

minute, let's see who wrote this...."

Well done. The captions and the photos also helped to underscore the



Mon, 29 Sep 2003:

Subject: Bay Trail - right on!
Dear Michael,

Thanks for your eloquent call for wildlife protection and a limit on trail

building in the Chron today. I've found your website, and will explore it.

It is great to have such a resource. I have spoken against the Bay Area

Ridge Trail and the Steven's Creek Trail in Sunnyvale, the former with no

effect and the latter perhaps effective - at least it hasn't been built.

I'd be happy to meet with you some time to discuss approaches and

priorities on opposing continuous trails.


Thu, 14 Aug 2003:

Subject: Re: Sharing a two-track: cyclists and equestrians

>Yes. Keep bikes off of sandy soils!

Good advice, Mike!


Mon, 11 Aug 2003:

Subject: Fw: Boxer prunes wilderness bill

You may have this (and probably even sent it to me at some point) but in case not, here it is.

Keep up the great work. I keep all your emails in a file for possible use on our next mountain biking battle.


Sun, 20 Jul 2003:

Subject: Re:sustainability
Dear Mike:

Very good work. I have attached a paper I recent wrote on

sustainability, using ethnohistorical and archaeological sources. It appears in this

summer's issue of Anthropological Quarterly. You might find it of interest. Again,

our work is parallel. Keep it up!


Sun, 20 Jul 2003:

Subject: Re: _The Future of Life_
Hi Mike:

I fully agree with your remarks to Professor Wilson and with your paper

on sustainability.

I think that you have identified the most important diversity issue:

genetic diversity. Genetic diversity is the source of variation upon which

natural selection acts in the evolution of new species. Without genetic

diversity, species could not adapt and would become highly vulnerable to


I cannot name a "crop" that enjoys more genetic diversity after human

domestication than it did before the agricultural revolution. It is a great

concern to agronomists that crops, such as rice, have become so standardized

that native varieties, which show remarkable geographic variation, are being

lost. Indeed, scientists are establishing "seed banks" to have genetic

variation available to save various crops from being wiped out globally by

new and foreseen pathogens.

I recall an article from some time back in Natural History magazine that

traced the origin of apples to central Asia. In Kazakhstan (I think),

botanists found a great variety of wild apple trees growing near one

another. Some were infected by a disease or insect, whereas neighboring

ones were resistant.

The word "sustainable" is a tricky concept because it means different

things to different people depending upon their values and agendas. I think

you brought that out well in your observations on "sustainable logging" in

your paper. To the timber industry, the term "sustainable" means

commercially sustainable; that is, a steady supply of marketable lumber.

"Harm" to the forest is important to timber executives only to the extent

that it might threaten profits.


Thu, 17 Jul 2003:

Thanks, Mike. Like your website, and think there is much value in what you're recommending. ALSO think we need to become eco-constructive everywhere. Will look to help as I can.


Thu, 26 Jun 2003:

Subject: RE: Mountain Trail Biking: MTBAccess
Hi Mike,

I have enjoyed the discussion so far.

I teach the environmental impact of recreation activities and have found this discussion great - may even use it as a Case Study for my students. By the way - just where can you go these days for a spot of bulldozer racing?



Thu, 01 May 2003:
Subject: Re: Have you seen my web site?
Looks great! I will share with others.


Thu, 1 May 2003:
Subject: Re: Have you seen my web site?
In a message dated 5/1/03 8:49:33 AM, writes:


I had not seen it, and I think it is splendid. Thank you so much for presenting it to me. May God further your heroic and intelligent efforts.


Thu, 01 May 2003:

Dear Mike,

Thank you for sharing your (our) work so powerfully.


Thu, 01 May 2003:

Subject: Nice Website
Hi Mike,

Just visited the website.

Very impressive. It bespeaks a great amount of work.

Well done.


Wed, 19 Mar 2003:

Subject: Re: WAR!

Mike how great of you and I agree with you 100%. There just have to be some places off limits to humans. What are you doing now?

I am not sure I can do anything but listen at this point as I am up to my eyeballs in Port of … junk.

Take care.


Wed, 19 Mar 2003:

Subject: RE: Have you seen my web site?
No, I didn't see the section on Religion and the Environment. I perused the site briefly, read some of it and was blown away by the little I encountered. I will eventually go through more of it. Keep it up. Good work.


Fri, 21 Feb 2003:

We have a 110-acre conservation property that we purchased a few years ago. Our approach is increasingly characterized by the following policy declaration: "lock it up and throw away the key."


Mon, 17 Feb 2003:

Subject: Re: IMBA "Trail Care Crew" coming to the Presidio 12/03
Excellent letter. Thanks, Mike


Wed, 5 Feb 2003:

Subject: recreation kills wildlife
Your article on recreation kills wildlife was very interesting. I'm doing a presentation to a Wildlife Studies Class on the human impacts on wildlife and this article has completely backed my presentation up. I will be giving the web site address out for those who want to read more about your issues. I think most of what these articles state is well worth recognition.


Mon, 27 Jan 2003:

Subject: Re: _The Animals Came Dancing_ -- Native American and
European Rationalizations for Killing Wildlife -- Do the Animals
Really Care?!
Hi Mike, does this mean that you will not be coming to … and that … is going to present your paper? a pity as was looking forward to your unique contribution. I'm in total agreement with your paper re human arrogance - the more one knows the more one realizes how little we really know and arrogance is not going to get us where we really want to go. In my experience the intellects worthy of respect are humble because due to their stature - let us hope that a critical mass of human being will mature emotionally before it's too late of the species and our Quarternary companions who we will take with us - but life will go on.


Sun, 26 Jan 2003:

Subject: Re: _The Animals Came Dancing_ -- Native American and European Rationalizations for Killing Wildlife -- Do the Animals Really Care?!

Mike, great little essay. Really excellent. Thank you.


Wed, 22 Jan 2003:

Subject: Re: Commercial Water Park at Shadow Cliffs -- the Commercialization of Our Parks

Hello Mike:

I am not familiar with the issue about which you wrote, but I found your letter to be a magnificent example of clear and cogent writing that hits the essential points that apply to so many of the ecological problems from which Nature suffers in America today.

Great job and best wishes


Mon, 20 Jan 2003:

I truly admire your courage in defending the natural world, which we both love.


Mon, 20 Jan 2003:

Hello Mike,

It has been a long time since I emailed you. I have finally found some time to read your extensive email and you make some fabulous points. I really like the quote "The measure of a culture is how well it treats its least powerful members."

I don't understand how we can be so inconsiderate. I guess it's just easier not to think.


Sun, 19 Jan 2003:

We like your site and support your aims. We reckon the private sector is most likely to achieve them. You may disagree but surf on over and take a look.


Wed, 8 Jan 2003:
Subject: Re: Why Is the Sierra Club Advertizing Mountain Biking and Ski Resorts?!


Wed, 8 Jan 2003:

Subject: RE: Endangered Species Act lawsuit to be heard for American Bald Eagles, Yellowstone Bison
We live in dark times, but your little electronic "newspaper" is one of the few bright spots among all the mis-information on the internet keep it up.


Mon, 6 Jan 2003:

Subject: Re: Mountain Bikers' Anti-Wilderness Campaign
Bravo Mike, you always know how to hit the nail exactly on the head.