Promoting quiet recreation in Wisconsin.
Opposing the coming attempts to sell off Wisconsin's natural heritage.
Fighting denial about climate change. When are we hitting the streets?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Thursday, March 22, 2007

"Snowmobile deaths drop sharply"

This is good news. Snowmobile deaths dropped considerably this year from the last two years, more in line with previous years. The byline reads "reduced speed limit, weather cited in drop"

Lets hope reduced speed was a factor. But lets remember that the snowmobile season didn't really start till late in the year. Here are the desultory facts from the DNR:

In 2006/2007 season, the first death didn't occur until December 29th. The last death occured on March 8th.

The year before, in 2005/2006, the first 6 deaths had already happened by the date of the first death in 2006. And the last three deaths occured after March 8th. So it would be safe to assume that if we accounted for the length of the season, this year was not much safer a year for snowmobiling than the year before.

Of course I am using "seat of the pants" methodology (just like those who suggest speed has actually been reduced). But lets give the idea the benefit of the doubt, and say that the DNR's campaign was part of the reason for a reduction in deaths.

Another bit of good news here is the response of snowmobile clubs, who are encouraging the State legislature to renew the speed limit rules. I find that very encouraging. Family snowmobilers must know they have to get the "yahooism" out of the sport.

And once again, lets thank the River Valley State Bank's "Don't Race on the Trails!" campaign

Saturday, March 17, 2007

For the price of a video game....

The two young men who shot a trumpeter swan last summer were each fined the price of a video game. I don't know the personal story of these young men, and would be more interested in what was done to teach and correct them. But to the extent that we can quantify natural resources, are trumpeter swans worth no more than the latest version of Grand Theft Auto?

Monday, March 12, 2007

Dennis McCann on the Three Lakes Military Road controversy

"Muscular" sports...and competition...

This morning I was reading a book about the importance of controlling how political debates are framed. And then I thought about the image of silent sports versus motorized sports.

There is an "image inversion" in the idea war between silent sports and motorized recreation. In the land of mental associations, motorized sports comes across as the more "muscular" of the sports. How does that happen?

Silent sports needs to compete in the marketplace of ideas. To that end, we certainly need to emphasize environmental values, sustainability, healthiness, and the broader appeal of silent sports. But I think we also need to restore silent sports as the activity that really mentally and physically active people do.

What silent sports lacks, image wise, is the muscularity that comes with focusing on competition. If I had a television advertising budget, I would figure out a way to create an association in people's minds between the marathon runner and the hiker, the way that ATV and snowmobile advertising constantly sells machines by associating them to competition.

My "storyboard" would look like this: Marathon runner looking at her time, hiker along the North country trail looking at his map, Kayaker in competition at the Wausau whitewater park, scouts challenging rapids on the Flambeau, mountain bikers on a WORS trail competition, a family riding on the Elroy-Sparta trail , Skiers finishing the Birkie, a young child gets up on her first pair of cross country skis.

The tag line would be "Courage and Strength Live On in Wisconsin's Silent Sports Traditions. Grow strong with us!"

Parade Magazine's worst inventions....

If you haven't thrown away your Sunday paper, read Marilyn Savant's list of worst inventions, submitted by readers. I will post a link when it is online tomorrow.

Guess which watercraft made the list? Hint: It wasn't a canoe or kayak....

Monday, March 05, 2007

Competitive and non-competitive silent sports...

I still can't find where I put February's Silent Sports magazine, but from looking at March's issue, I gather someone wrote to complain that the magazine covers too many competitive silent sports.

Those of you who read this blog know I fit on the side of the "non-competitive" end of the silent sports continuum. For me, the purpose of getting out there is not about the training, or equipment, or beating a time. (What is it about? I wonder) Two years ago, I wrote about an incident in the U.P. where I was passed by someone on cross country skiis who was too busy looking at his watch to respond to my friendly "hi". That guy, I thought, might has well get an Arctic Cat. We both had skis on, but we were doing different sports.

But I want to defend Silent Sports from the accusation. My experience is that the magazine is willing to publish articles about non-competitive silent sports. But this kind of writing is much harder to do! Competition, or focus on equipment, or even focus on place, is to silent sports like bread is to a sandwich, it is what you "hang" the real stuff onto. "The real stuff", whatever that is, isn't about the competition, or equipment, or even the place. But that is what we write about, to give a glimpse of the real stuff.

I wrote a year ago that I had a near mystical experience of timelessness at a boat landing. Could one write an article for Silent Sports magazine about boat landings?

"This Machine Screams"

Snowmobile Ad observed in a gas station in Green Bay. When will motorized sports confront itself seriously about its noise problem?

New Business model for quietnorth?

I have found once again that I have quite a readership among ATV enthusiasts. Perhaps I should take advantage of this by scoring some appropriate advertising revenue. How about some of these? Of course, noone actually would use aftermarket performance mufflers on an ATV trail. They are just sold as collectors items, I imagine.

Noises Off!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Capital Times: State debates how best to get into growing market

Good "Roads Travelled" article.

Here is my suggestion to the state for how to get into the ecotourism market: Don't put in new ATV trails!