Thu, 17 Dec 2009:

Subject: Happy New Year!

Dear Mike

Have a very good year of 2010! and thank you for sharing with me your wisdom.


Wed, 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:

Subject: 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.

Tue, 15 Dec 2009:
Subject: Re: Happy Holidays

Congrats, Mike.


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.




Tue, 15 Dec 2009:

Happy holidays!
You are sooo amazing.


Thu, 12 Nov 2009:
To: Mike Vandeman <>
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:


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.


Mon, 02 Nov 2009:
Subject: Re: [Grizzly-Commons] Does hunting benefit the hunted?

Hi Mike,

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:

Subject: Re: ANOTHER Mountain Biker Dies of a Heart Attack!

Hi Mike,


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!


Subject: 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

they can't."


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?


Sun, 17 May 2009:
Subject: Re: Paul Hawken's brilliant commencement address - and isn't it commencement time for us all?

Dear Mike


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:
Subject: Hi!



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 

surrounding highway.


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!


Wed, 22 Apr 2009:
Subject: Re: ANOTHER Young Person Killed by Mountain Biking!

Hi Mike,


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!


Best Regards,


[a friend]


----- 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-mail

FLORENCE, AL (WAFF)  Investigators say 21-year-old Jesse Hill died Tuesday after falling about 30 feet from a bluff on Cypress Creek in Florence.  He was mountain biking with a friend at the time.

Hill's friends came back to the location to reflect on his life.

"He was just a great person," said Regina Nobles, a family friend. "He did enjoy life.  He had big dreams."

"He had his goals set," said Amy Russel, a high school friend. "He was going to reach them all.  He was invincible."

Hill graduated from Florence High School in 2006, and was a student at the University of North Alabama.  He was a member of the Army National Guard, and had worked at Applebee's in Florence for several years.

"We love him and miss him," added Nobles. "Our hearts go out to him."

Hill's accident has put a spotlight on the dangers of mountain biking.

"If nobody knows the trail," said Matthew Askew, a Florence Bicycle Patrol Officer, "if you could ride slow, not ride full out."

Askew said it is a good idea to go with someone who has been to the area before.  Besides the bluffs, roots, trees, and rocks can be potential dangers.

Riders should make sure to tell someone where they are going.  It is also a good idea to bring a cell phone in case of an emergency.

One of the most important things about bike safety is wearing a helmet.

"I know from personal experience," said Askew. "If I didn't have that helmet on I would have been seriously injured."

"It's a fun sport, but it can be hazardous at times," said Cynthia Infanger, a bicycle rider from Florence. "You have to be cautious when you're biking."

Hill was not wearing a helmet.  Investigators do not suspect any foul play in the accident.

©2009 WAFF. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Thu, 26 Mar 2009:

[Re: High School Mountain Bike Racing]

Really enjoyed reading through this letter. You no doubt have learned from long experience to give no quarter. That is pretty much what I have learned too. If you give an inch, they will take a mile.


Sat, 28 Feb 2009:

Subject: Re: "Because It Hurts", March/April 2009 "Sierra" Magazine

Dear Mike:


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.


Thank you for the role you are playing and keep up the good work. All the best.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Mike Vandeman" <>
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
you thinking?!

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.