Fremont County is large, diverse, and filled with opinions, or “talk in the 10.” “Talk in the 10” is an opportunity for you, our readers, to articulate and share your thoughts about what is happening in the community with the community. Letters may have been edited for clarity and length, but generally have been published exactly as received. The views expressed in the following are solely those of the author. Send your letters to our editors by emailing opi[email protected]
Let us opine about . . . non-profits since it is, once again, the Challenge for Charities (CFC).
When I first decided to participate in CFC I perused the brochure, selected several that sounded interesting and then I researched them to determine if they were worthy of my hard-earned dollars. First, I looked them up on the Secretary of State (SOS) website to confirm their legitimacy. Then I reviewed the organizations’ websites and reached out to a Board Member or an Officer and had a conversation. I chose my preferred charities and I feel that my money is well invested.
This is the absolute best, and should be only, way for non-profits to be supported; in a manner in which the tax payers decide which organization receives their hard-earned dollars, rather than through a program, say the 1/2₵ Economic Development Sales Tax, that lumps tax dollars into a fund that is then doled out to the organizations preferred by the fund administrator, like the City of Lander.
Lander has become a mecca for non-profits as evidenced by 9 . . . count them . . . 9 new ones! Being a non-profit is very lucrative, especially in “business friendly” Wyoming where the LLC business model was born. Throw in a highly desirable location and voila, we now have a total of 51 non-profits of all sorts, in little ole Lander, Wyoming, no less! Here are a few things I learned in my research.
Just for fun, while reviewing my preferred organizations to confirm their continued legitimacy, I decided to research the 2023 Participating Non-Profits in the Challenge for Charities. First, at the launch of the 2023 Challenge, only 2 of the 9 new non-profits had any public information available on the SOS website. As of 5:00 p.m. this 22nd day of June, 4 are still unknown entities: Bookmarked Literary Arts Festival, Lander Boxing Club, Lander Creative Arts Club, and The Soldier’s House. It is very interesting that The Bossert Collective, an “established non-profit”, also has no public information available on the SOS. Two established non-profits, Anam Cara Caregiving & Central Wyoming Climber’s Alliance, have both been dissolved by the SOS. And, the coup de’grace of the Participating Nonprofits list is a Sheridan entity; the Wyoming Youth Now Foundation, has a principle office in Sheridan and its entire Board of Directors are located there.
I believe that The KOVE/LCF Challenge for Charities interview series presents: Wyoming Pathways posted on County 10 is a very interesting read for those of you who are unaware of what this organization’s ultimate goal is. I participated in an email conversation with the former director when Wyoming Pathways was still located in Jackson in which it was revealed to me that the goal of this organization is to remove motorized, wheeled conveyances – except electric bicycles, of course – from the trails & roads on our public lands (there was no mention of ATV, UTV or Jeep usage as part of their interview). Multiple-use of public lands is Federal law. However, this organization, and other mountain biking groups across the country, are lobbying for acceptable multiple-use and ATV, UTV & Jeep usage are not acceptable to these organizations. These lands are supported by tax dollars and for those of you who are unaware, the trails and roads on both State and Federal lands are supported by the sale of Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) stickers that ATVs and UTVs users are required to purchase. These State Trails monies are then used to help build, repair and maintain the trails & roads that all recreationists use on both Federal & State lands. Mountain bikers DO NOT pay into this system, yet still want these funds to continue while forcing the source of these funds off of the public lands (kind of a taxation without representation scenario). Wyoming Pathways and the Lander Cycling Club (another anti-motorized-wheeled-conveyance-except-electric-bicycles group) want you – ATV & UTV riders – to continue to pay taxes (to the Federal land management agencies) & OHV fees to support an elite user group AND they want you to contribute your hard earned money to them through the Challenge.
Not every recreationist is able to enjoy public lands by biking, hiking, or even horseback riding, and recreating with an ATV, UTV or Jeep is the only way that they can enjoy the public lands that they support financially. It is extremely exclusionary – rather than inclusive – to want to push certain groups off of these lands and deprive them of the enjoyment that the mountain bikers want to have. Mountain bikers actually do not appreciate horses (due to the manure) on their trails because “their trails are not engineered”. (See reference above) Imagine . . . century old trails needing to be engineered. They have also been witnessed harassing grazing cattle, the owners of which actually pay for the privilege of grazing on public lands, because they do not like cow manure, either. Again, mountain bikers DO NOT pay additional fees to use public lands. Also, the hypocrisy of mountain bikers’ claims that they are more environmentally friendly than motorized conveyances is dispelled by the unbelievable ecological damage inflicted upon (what is now erroneously known as) Johnny Behind the Rocks – public land now behind a locked gate – by the private construction of a “downhill optimized trail” that the ecosystem will never recover from. Here are also some exceptionally researched articles on the negative impacts of mountain biking: Silent Fright: ‘Non-Consumptive Users’ Disturb Wildlife by Patrick Durkin; The New West: Prominent griz scientist weighs in on mountain bikes, bears and wilderness by Todd Wilkinson; and Impacts of Mountain Biking by George Wuerthner, The Wildlife News, June 18, 2019.
You should be concerned about how your Challenge donation could be used to negatively affect you, your community, and the environment. And, remember, any of these Participants could also be eligible for 1/2₵ Economic Development Sale Tax monies.
The devil is in the details.