Thu, 17 Dec 2009:
Subject: Happy New Year!
Have a very good year of 2010! and thank you for sharing with me your wisdom.
16 Dec 2009:
Thanks for sending me a link to your web site. Thank you for organizing so many great resources.
I try to get these messages to my students...some are listening.
The Mt. Bikers really hate you! Despite the fact that they flame you on the web, I think some of them
understand you. You've probably planted a seed in some of their heads.
Tue, 15 Dec 2009:
Re: Happy Holidays
Mike - Thanks for the info. I am always amazed
when I find out what you have been doing. Good luck and buon lavoro for next year!
I hope it all goes well.
15 Dec 2009:
Subject: Re: Happy Holidays
You sure have done a lot and I commend you; I'm proud to know you and see you grow.
I'm glad you did the mtn. bike thing; stick-it-to-um!
I, too, wish you happy holidays and a great kick-off to new year.
15 Dec 2009:
You are sooo amazing.
12 Nov 2009:
To: Mike Vandeman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: La Honda Creek Open Space Preserve Master Plan
right on, right on, right on, right on, right on, right on, right on,
right on, right on.....ditto, ditto, ditto, ditto, ditto, ditto,
ditto, ditto, ditto, ditto, ditto, ditto, ditto, ditto, ditto....
On Nov 12, 2009, at 2:15 PM, Mike Vandeman wrote:
Sent to: email@example.com
I am worried that you will make a bad decision, based on politics
instead of science. Unfortunately, the wildlife cannot speak for
themselves, or you would get an earful! It is totally absurd for
humans to act as if the Earth belongs to us. We got here some 4
billion years after the other species. We are 100% dependent on the
existence and welfare of other species. And we should act
accordingly: only allow MINIMAL recreation on wild lands: ONLY ON
FOOT. As much as the mountain bikers would like you to believe
otherwise, they ARE capable of walking. Trails where bikes aren't
allowed are still OPEN TO EVERYONE. There is no need to build more
trails. Trail building just destroys more habitat. Because wildlife
are sensitive to the presence of humans up to five miles away (see
_Ghost Bears_, by Ed Grumbine), a trail doesn't just destroy three
feet of habitat, but more like a 10 mile-wide swath of habitat.
Please do what is right.
Mike Vandeman, Ph.D.
02 Nov 2009:
Subject: Re: [Grizzly-Commons] Does hunting benefit the hunted?
Iím glad you added the paragraph and link below. Lots to read. Will try my best to look at as much as I can.
The concept of areas to be put aside purely for the benefit of wildlife is something Iíve been dreaming of for many years. For mankind to accept this concept as a rational solution would mark the ultimate in evolution of compassion for other species. The only place that I am aware of in North America where this is a reality is the Khuzeymateen.
Many of us (unfortunately not enough) have come a long way from Teddy Rooseveltís concept of killing in the name of preservation - killing animals in order to stuff them and put into museums so that the public could gain appreciation for threatened species and thus want to protect them. Zoos are also becoming distasteful to many and will hopefully will become obsolete one day soon. Even as a child I thought that zoos should be replaced by preserves and rescue facilities and this is becoming more and more of a reality. Although the former were steps in the right direction for their day, hopefully a large part of society has evolved beyond the point where these institutions are acceptable. The latest craze of course is wilderness wildlife viewing, which is definitely a step up, but again it comes with benefits as well as disadvantages. So, like I mentioned earlier, I believe that when the day comes when our species finally understands that setting aside areas purely for the benefit of wildlife, it will mark the ultimate in evolution not only of our environmental intelligence but in our compassion for all those whose share the planet.
Anyway Mike, I ramble on, what can I do to help?
Thu, 29 Oct 2009:
Re: ANOTHER Mountain Biker Dies of a Heart Attack!
An excellent response to a good question. Most mountain bikers do not come to grief via a heart attack, but rather due to a senseless accident of a traumatic nature. But on the other hand, anyone over the age of about 55 should take heed!
Hang it there and keep up the good work!
Re: "Trips for Kids Named 2009 Non-Profit Organization of the Year"
Date: Thu, 15 Oct 2009:
You the man!!!
Wed, 14 Oct 2009:
Heehee! Well, before you give yourself TOO much credit, you should know I've been involved in efforts to save greenspace for 15 years.
But you are a tremendous inspiration and motivator. I'm even borrowing your "newsletter" style....planning to send out missives once a week to a 30+ email group of office holders of local environmental groups and others. I don't know over half the people on the list and will keep sending whether I hear back from them or not. Squeaky wheel and all that. But GREAT news! The president of the most influential local environmental org just wrote back to say she agrees with me! If I can get that org on board, it could make a huge difference.
You have no idea how far your inspiration spreads.
Thank you for the work you do!!!
Tue, 13 Oct 2009:
You are one of our all time heroes!
I really applaud your bold stand. The middle ground is never going to
be acceptable unless somebody stakes out a far pole. But it's true, a
problem is education. Here in Missouri, though, the Department of
Conservation does an admirable job of, not only educating the public
about preservation, restoration and conservation of Missouri
ecosystems, but also bringing together two opposite sides.....the
sportsman and the treehugger. Hard-nosed old farmers are restoring
vast acres of their land for quail habitat and shoring up streams.
Hunters and fishermen are realizing their sports depend on
conservation. Really, we must have one of the better Depts of
Conservation in the country.
It is schools that are failing the public, I think. Honestly,
sometimes I wonder what they teach in biology classes. A lot of
people don't know what natural selection is, much less an ecosystem.
They don't even know what scientific method is. Or even logic.
(Don't even get me started about all these idiots screaming at the
town hall meetings these days!)
On Aug 11, 2009, at 5:15 PM, Mike Vandeman wrote:
At 02:50 PM 8/11/2009, you wrote:
"I agree! But unless you have some endangered species poster child,
human-free zones are probably a hard-sell. It is probably easier to
accomplish indirectly by making access difficult, rather than
officially designating "human-free zones." Cause as soon as you give
it that kind of title, EVERYBODY will want to go there and be irate if
Yes, of course. But being a hard sell doesn't bar us from TALKING
ABOUT IT! I feel that I am planting the seeds of ideas.
"From my (limited) experience watching how things work, I can see the
difficulty of being a public land manager. It's impossible to please
everyone, but everyone's a taxpayer and they all think they have a
right to access public land. Imagine yourself a park director or
conservation agent or other public land manager. It's your job to
deal with a lot of different people, a lot of special interest groups,
and if you don't manage it fairly and diplomatically, you could lose
your job. So how would you approach it? Science, facts and logic
don't impress some people. Some people are unreasonable. Yet, as a
land manager, you still have to deal with them, and you can't tell
them they're all a bunch of idiots cause don't want to lose your job.
It must be very difficult."
Sure, but they all have preservation mandates. They COULD use that to
justify human-free areas, if they had the guts. They do it indirectly,
by just not putting trails everywhere. I want it explicit & open, for
the sake of the educational value.
More later. Gotta run.
On Aug 11, 2009, at 11:02 AM, Mike Vandeman wrote:
At 10:04 PM 8/10/2009, you wrote:
"With the terrain in the photo....yeah, I bet any human alteration is
noticeable. The geological effects look very fragile.
Do I talk with land managers? Well, yes, my boyfriend is on Park
Board. He's also on the Trail Subcommittee that's currently
overseeing the issue of an asphalt bike/hike trail through the
of our two nature parks here.
Given that we're an inner-ring suburb, the priorities here may be
different than wilderness areas, state and national parks. Our parks
are pretty small by comparison and most are heavily used. But
somebody always seems to want to do one damn thing to them or
another. It must be some perverse side of human nature that sees
natural areas as just wasted space."
That provides a golden opportunity to talk to people about more
important priorities, such as the preservation of life on the
Earth! :) People need their myopic view widened. Asphalt supports oil
companies and exudes toxic chemicals. Asphalt- or concrete paths
enable an unlimited number of humans to invade wildlife habitat. Why
would we want to do that?! Dirt provides a natural limitation on that
deluge: when it gets muddy, fewer people will use it. Good. :) We need
to experience nature, in order to appreciate it, but equally
important, we need to STAY OUT of nature, in order for it to thrive.
The latter FACT is never acknowledged! The presence of people drives
out the animals. The plants aren't capable of moving, but if they
COULD, I'm sure that they WOULD! :) What do you think?
17 May 2009:
Subject: Re: Paul Hawken's brilliant commencement address - and isn't it commencement time for us all?
Thank you for making this viral. I am getting emails from many
countries. These are people who know me and have my email. It is
fascinating when you hit the notes that make other strings hum and
vibrate. BTW, there are few listserves where that I look forward to.
Yours is one.
Fri, 15 May 2009:
I came upon your website after having read your comments in a New West
forum following the article, "Hikers, Wilderness Groups Should Re- think Mountain Biking. Though I disagree with many of the opinions
expressed by the mountain bikers, I nevertheless find it a fascinating
debate on the philosophy, definition, use, purpose and spirit of
"wilderness." I loved your satirical letter re/bulldozer racing, and
googled your name to find more. Thank you so much for your website.
I'm finding a lot of quotes and ideas useful for the park issue I'm
I hope you don't mind me telling you about this issue. In many ways
it is like a miniature version of issues you've addressed:
I live in a suburb of ..., where two of our parks have
been set aside as "nature parks", with little development beyond a
parking lot, an ADA-compliant paved trail and some unpaved nature
trails at each park. Back in 2004 a tenth-of-a-cent regional sales
tax (Prop C), promoted by the Trust for Public Land as a "Clean Water,
Safe Parks and Community Trails initiative" passed and became the
funding for Great Rivers Greenway. Great Rivers Greenway's goal is to
create an interconnected bike/hike trail system throughout the region,
and particularly to establish a bike/hike trail along the ...
River from ... down to the Ozarks.
Of course, it seems a very environmentally enlightened and noble
goal. However, here in my town, their goal of connecting an urban
street bike route to the ... River trail requires, according to
Great Rivers Greenway, paving through one or both nature parks. As
is, both parks do not allow bicycles at all! And both nature parks
are important as pathways for urban wildlife, already impeded by a
This is not a mountain bike issue, however I believe that once you
allow any bikes in nature parks at all, you invite a situation open to
abuse and virtually impossible to police. Many trees would be
sacrificed to bulldozers as the asphalt trails are laid. I believe
biking trails are inharmonious to the spirit and the purpose of a
nature park. However, particularly in these times, bicycling for
transportation and recreation has an air of noble cause, and Great
Rivers Greenway has tons of money to support their efforts.
If you have any suggestions on how to approach this issue, please let
me know. I very much respect and agree with your opinions.
Thank you, once again, for your website.
It is an inspiration, and it helps bolster my morale to know there are
people like you out there!
22 Apr 2009:
Subject: Re: ANOTHER Young Person Killed by Mountain Biking!
You are quite right to send news messages like this. It literally takes someone to die in order to make an impression on some. I suspect for everyone that is killed, there are hundreds more who are severely injured.
Keep up the good work!
----- Original Message -----
From: Mike Vandeman
Sent: Wednesday, April 22, 2009 10:50 PM
Subject: ANOTHER Young Person Killed by Mountain Biking!
Friends remember UNA student who died in fall
April 22, 2009 04:03 PM PDT
Mountain biking trip turns tragic for UNA student
By Josh Ault bio|e
You are so right on!! Thank you for the sample letter of protest to the Sierra Club. I too was outraged at their glorification of mountain biking by putting that picture of a jerk on their recent front cover, tearing through the environment. This is the second time that they have glorified mountain biking in recent months.
The Sierra Club is the nation's leading wimp environmental organization, as they frequently cave in to pressures instead of really standing up and fighting for the environment and for common sense. Basically, I keep my membership with the Sierra Club active just so I can keep an eye on them, as they often provide an excellent example of poor leadership.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Mike Vandeman" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: "Because It Hurts", March/April 2009 "Sierra" Magazine
Promoting Mountain Biking
Other than the harm that it does to the wildlife, environment, and
other trail users, what does mountain biking have to do with the
environment and the mission of the Sierra Club? NOTHING! What were
As a long-time member of the Club, I resent mountain bikers using
your magazine cynically to promote their private, minority agenga.
Replacing motor vehicle use with bicycling is where the bicycle can
be used to benefit the environment. Taking bikes into nature
obviously has no environmental benefit whatsoever, and publishing
articles like this only make the Club look stupid and hypocritical.