Bikernet Blog Search Bikernet
Ride Forever -
Saturday Edition


We're Headed in Lots of Directions

By Bandit, Rogue, Wayfarer, Sam Burns, Bob T., Gearhead, Joe Smith, Stealth, the Redhead, Laura and the rest of the gang

Share this story:


It’s a quirky day.
I’ve got deals and wheels stuff happening all around me. A brother’s house burnt down in the northern California fires. Another brother, Bill Dodge, is in the hospital fighting motorcycle injuries (you’ll see the report in the news).

I’m scrambling to save and make more money in trying times and I would like to head back to Deadwood. On the active front, I have most of the pieces to finish the fender mounts on the Salt Torpedo. I started to write the 90th Episode of the Cantina Series and sorta like it. I’m playing with the Covid, homelessness and much of the bullshit society is struggling with right now.

Sam Burns sent me more encouraging photos of bikes and girls. Maybe it’s a hint to write more about the story line of my life. I’m still struggling with it. And I’m about to start another chapter of the third Chance Hogan books. Plus, Gary Mraz stopped by and stayed for a week. He is writing a series of books about the Midnight Rider or the Midnight Writer or Zac or Zachary, he can’t decide.

So, what does all of this tell you? I told Bob Bitchin that he’s about to start a new adventure after his beautiful Berry Creek mansion burnt down. I like to think motorcycles and freedom are at the heart of everything I do. And finally, there are so many wonderful things in life to do. Just smile and go after them. But do it with grace and style, compassion and benevolence. Let’s hit the news.

Check the Iron Trader out.
Check the Iron Trader out.

The Bikernet Weekly News is sponsored in part by companies who also dig Freedom including: Cycle Source Magazine, the MRF, Las Vegas Bikefest, Iron Trader News, ChopperTown, and the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum. Most recently Quick Throttle Magazine came on board.

Click for Quick Action.
Click for Quick Action.

Restoring Outdoor Majesty: New Law to Reduce Maintenance Backlog on Federal Lands

Congress passed and President Trump signed into law the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA). This SAN-supported law will dedicate $9.5 billion over the next five years to address the maintenance backlog on federal lands by creating a national parks and public land legacy restoration fund, enabling the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, and several other federal agencies to rebuild and improve trails, roads, docks, campgrounds and more.

The bill will also appropriate $900 million annually to the Land and Water Conservation Fund for projects that help to protect natural areas, water resources, cultural heritage sites and to provide recreation opportunities. The GAOA will benefit SAN’s off-roading community in addition to those who use RVs and boats to enjoy the nation’s parks and recreation areas.



DIRECT FROM THE TWISTED ROAD--The 7 Differences Between Driving a Car and Riding A Motorcycle

Most people incorrectly think that riding a motorcycle and driving a car are fairly similar activities. Both vehicles have a key, an engine, and a seat, and both are used to move the passenger from one destination to another. Same same. Right?

Not so fast, Speedy.

These activities couldn’t be more different.

Twisted Road

Click for Action!
Click for Action!

HOT FROM DAVID UHL-- What a crazy year this has been for everyone! Quite some time ago, we launched the idea of a new series for David, celebrating the female figure. We are happy to announce the release of the first in the series, titled "Female Figure on Motorcycle 1".

The back story - - David and a small group of artist friends in Denver have been meeting weekly for years to paint classic female figures with live models.

In David's words, "I have been asked many times over the years to do tasteful classic female figures with the motorcycle theme. I found the time recently and now plan on doing a series. I am very interested in exploring this as an artistic expression, not sensationalistic clickbait. Most any serious artists have portrayed the nude - in fact I started in art school with nude models in life drawing. Interesting that nobody has tried this's almost impossible to find anyone who has put these two together without falling into the centerfold trap. Fine line I know, but I'm going to try.

I really look forward to exploring the limits of this, it becomes so much more about the "painting" than a story or subject. Makes you look at "how" it's portrayed. With this approach I'm trying to play one of the oldest games ever... hide and seek. Makes the viewer use his/her imagination rather than rendering it all out so it's like a photo. Becomes more about the way it's painted than the subject matter."

Oil paint historically has been the ideal medium for depicting the nude. By blending and layering paint, the surface can become more like skin. Its slow drying time and various degrees of viscosity enable the artist to achieve rich and subtle blends of color and texture.


He is pricing the original oil, measuring 24x32, at $9,500 which is a GREAT price for a David Uhl original (some have sold for as much as $90,000).

We will also be offering a VERY SMALL edition of canvas prints, hand-signed and numbered, with Certificate of Authenticity.

** Image size 18x24, edition of 12 plus 2 Artist Proofs and 2 Hors d' Commerce, $895 framed

** Image size 24x32, edition of 12 plus 2 Artist Proofs and 2 Hors d' Commerce, $1,295 framed

David is excited about this new series! Those collecting this first piece will have first right of refusal for their matching edition number on future additions.

You can place your order by return email, or by calling me at 303-913-4840.

--Greg Rhodes
International Sales Director

Uhl Studios
15801 W. Colfax Avenue
Golden, CO 80401


THE BILL DODGE UPDATE--On Saturday, September 12th Bill Dodge was involved in a motorcycle accident where the driver of a car made a left turn in front of him, leaving Bill with multiple fractures to his spine, multiple bone fractures, as well as skull and facial injuries. Bill is going to require a total shoulder reconstruction of his shoulder including a shoulder replacement. Bill also has a substantial amount of road rash everywhere. with a long road to recovery ahead of him.

I thought you might be interested in supporting this GoFundMe,

Even a small donation could help Ray LLanes reach their fundraising goal. And if you can't make a donation, it would be great if you could share the fundraiser to help spread the word.

Thanks for taking a look!

Latest Update:
I just spoke to Denise and she asked me to make a post and let everyone know what’s going on with Bill. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but..

Bill is not doing very good due to the brain trauma he sustained. They aren’t sure what exactly is going on, but the bleeding has pretty much subsided, which is good.

However, he’s being very combative and not listening to anyone including Denise. We all know Bill is the kindest human and doesn’t have a nasty bone in his body. He fell as he was trying to get out of bed, which is not allowed, with the severity of his spine fractures of the C6 and C7.

He’s completely sedated at this point to help his brain rest and keep him from moving so much. If he doesn’t rest and continues to try to get up and keep moving, he could become a quadriplegic. So, PLEASE EVERYONE, say the prayers and more! Pray for him to rest and stay still and get that brain injury and spine injury healed up quickly so he can start the road to recovery!!!

I love you so much Bill and Denise and family and friends and we’re all here for you and know that you’ll get through this, and we will all do whatever it takes to help!!!

--Steve Garn

This morning he’s much more coherent and concerned about his customers.

Senior Editor™

ANOTHER EVENT CANCELLED--We regret to announce that this year’s Smokey Mountain Chopper Fest is canceled.

If you have ever been to SMCF, you know that the beautiful land and family that own it is a huge part of SMCF. This year has been tough across the board and it has been especially taxing on the family. (A big portion of the proceeds from SMCF benefit a scholarship in the memory of their beloved son and brother, Brandon Stiwinter.)

The family’s difficulties combined with the current limitations on the number of people allowed to gather in North Carolina led us to make this difficult decision.

Along with the hardships everyone has faced this year, there is also a history of nosy neighbors who aren’t too fond of the fun we like to have. The last thing that we’d want to happen is folks travel to the event and then have to go home due to the involvement of local authorities in this odd time. People have been making plans to come in from all over the country and world and to have everyone make the trip for nothing would be heartbreaking.

We know a lot of people will be upset about this and we are just as bummed as you are. The heart and soul of SMCF is the family and location. It just wouldn’t be the same anywhere else. Please know that this is a complex situation. Behind the scenes, we considered many other options, but unfortunately canceling is in the best interest of everyone — you, the family and staff.

ALL of the money for passes will be refunded over the next two weeks. You DO NOT need to reach out and request a refund. We are not holding your money hostage until the next event and will have it back to you as fast as humanly possible. Please be patient with us while we work out the logistics. If you are a sponsor, we can't thank you enough for your time, energy, and contributions. Your involvement is greatly appreciated and we will be in touch very soon.

We held on to all hope of being able to party with y’all this fall for as long as possible, but it just isn’t in the cards for this year. We don’t know what the future holds, but we hope to party with y’all next year. Take care of each other.

RECOGNIZING A STROKE--Thank God for the sense to remember the '3' steps, STR. Read and

Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke.

Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:
S * Ask the individual to SMILE.
T * Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently)
(i.e. Chicken Soup)
R * Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.

If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call emergency number immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

New Sign of a Stroke --------

Stick out Your Tongue!

NOTE: Another 'sign' of a stroke is this: Ask the person to 'stick' out his tongue. If the tongue is 'crooked', if it goes to one side or the other that is also an indication of a stroke.

A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this e-mail sends it to 10 people; you can bet that at least one life will be saved

I have done my part. Will you?

--Joe Smith
Chief Medical Investigator™ Medical Center

BIKERNET GUN NUT REPORT--Engravings in metals that are precious to us can be so meaningful and expressive!

I believe this engraving is especially communicative and I thought you would appreciate it (below).

--Wanda Weber

NEW FEATURE FROM LOWBROW--What do you get when you spend 9 months working in the garage?

Well, if you do it right, hopefullly something as cool as this '62 FL chopper.

Scope out this rad bike (built by Ken), in everyone's favorite color, black (painted by Ken), in some tastefully taken photographs (taken by Ken).
If you enjoy anything about this bike or article (written by Ken), you have him to thank for it! Nice work, Ken!


The motor and transmission came from my friend Michael Geltz who gave me a deal I couldn’t refuse. He also happened to have other parts that I needed such as the Linkert M74B, 1 & ½-inch primary belt drive setup and a few other odds and ends. As soon as I sent him the payment, I started buying the rest of the parts for the bike. I wanted to challenge myself and do it all by myself in my garage which probably took way longer than it should have.

Nine months later, it made its way into the Stag Magazine, issue #11, MamaTried Show in Milwaukee, The Congregation Show in North Carolina, Fuel Cleveland, The Greasiest in Lombard, and the No Show digital bike show by Harley-Davidson. I’m very honored for the invitation to show the bike at all of these great motorcycle shows.

After that tour of shows, I freshened the top end and installed a PSP manifold with the Pangea Zeppelin air cleaner. The bike now usually fires up on the first or second kick. I’ve shaken it down quite a bit and have taken it on a couple long distance trips. One of those trips was this year's Apocalypse Run #13 where I rode it from Chicago to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and back. Aside from a loose wire and a faulty ignition switch, it got me home safely.

It took nine months for Ken to finish this build, but it was totally worth it.

It was originally painted Garnet red and I thought it looked good, until I rolled it out of the garage and into the sunlight. Just something about it didn’t sit well with me. It originally had a re-pop Wassel tank and I had been looking for a Hap Jones tank for some time. As soon as I found one, I used that as an opportunity to re-paint the whole bike black, which is what I wanted to do in the first place.

I’m really happy with how it sits currently, and I find it very rewarding to ride, given that it started out as a bunch of parts. But it wouldn’t be where it is today - an awesome Harley-Davidson FL Panhead, if it wasn’t for my friends who helped along the way.

I get asked a lot about the front end which at first glance, looks like a vintage Triumph front end. I initially wanted to get a 2-under springer but at that time, I had been over my budget. So I modified a narrow glide, cleaned the trees, had my buddy Phil at Bravetown shave the lower legs to fit inside a set of MCM fork shrouds that I got from Ed Zender at Morrie’s Place in Ringwood, IL. I also had him make the spacers to fill the gap between the shrouds and the top tree.

A lot of effort has been put into the front end.

The hand shifter was a piece that I cut from an old sissy bar that came off of my Triumph and the wooden knob was from an old antique file that I found in my garage.

Who would have thought an old sissy bar could become a hand shifter, right?

Who would have thought an old sissy bar could become a hand shifter, right?

The rear fender is special to me. It’s made by my dear friend Ron Brefka at 7 Metal West who forms these by hand based on your specs, rear wheel/tire size. He’s a hardworking guy and takes great care when making these fenders. Honored to have one of his fenders on my bike.

Words and photos by - Ken Carvajal

Click for action.
Click for action.

BIKERNET READER COMMENT--Cool intro into your beginnings. It sounds like a lot of us during those times. Dads that would kick our asses and we couldn't wait to get out of the house. We deserved those ass kickings sometimes though.

Some of us went to war, some of us went to the ship yards, and some of us went to work the Alaskan pipelines back in the day. I can't wait to read the next story line.

Looks good and sounds good.



Brand Fitment: Saddlemen
Model Fitment: RoadSofa's with Driver Backrest Seat Models
Year Fitment: all (Harley-Davidson)

Rain Cover is for touring seats with driver backrests.

Convenient, easy-to-use design
Folds into itself for storage
Fully waterproof
Protects expensive seats from sun or rain
Fits most seats up to 38" L x 18" W


--Buster Cates


SUPREME BIKERNET INTERGALATIC HEADQUARTERS FOR SALE—We are trying to move our headquarters to South Dakota. Talk about an adventure…

So, our current headquarters are a biker’s dream. It has 440, 3-phase wiring, a massive shop, a giant loft to live in. Retail space is available up front for use or rental income. It has a large one-bedroom apartment for rental income. It’s very secure and the Port of Los Angeles is across the street. Total square footage 8,515.

This is a place for a guy who wants his own shop and doesn’t want to commute. Wake up in the morning, grab a cup of joe and walk out to your office overlooking your shop.

It’s basically between two freeways on the coast between Long Beach and San Pedro and the Port just broke ground on a long-awaited waterfront effort, which is across the street. At some time in the near future it may be across the street from the Wilmington restaurant district.

Here’s a link to the listing:

BIKERTOBERFEST NEWS—Biketoberfest At Bruce Rossmeyer's Destination Daytona
Oct 15 at 8 AM – Oct 18 at 6 PM

Bruce Rossmeyer's Destination Daytona and Daytona Harley-Davidson are preparing to hold our Biketoberfest event while implementing recommended safety measures. The scope of the event is planned to include vendors, daily live music, bike shows and much more at our open-air venue. For all information and a schedule of events log on to

Senior Editor™

LEGISLATIVE WATCH--Congress is moving legislation quickly, and federal agencies are enacting sweeping regulations that will impact our right to ride. Your help is needed now to support motorcycle-friendly lawmakers in Washington, D.C., and ensure they are elected—or re-elected—in this critical election year.

The most cost-effective way to make a difference is to donate to the American Motorcyclist Political Action Committee. AMPAC exists for one reason: to financially support federal lawmakers who will fight to defend your freedom to ride. Every dollar given is used precisely for that purpose.

Give to AMPAC Today

Every donation counts, and with just $25 or more, you will help support:

• Ensuring automated-vehicle technology does not put motorcyclists at risk
• Your right to modify your own bike
• Responsible off-highway vehicle access to public lands
• Restrictions on high-ethanol fuels that are unsafe for motorcycles
• The defeat of a proposed 100 percent tariff on certain European motorcycles
• A greater voice for motorcyclists in federal government
• Ending discriminatory motorcycle-only checkpoints and equipment laws

With the election season fast approaching, this is a critical time to give to protect and expand our rights.
Give to AMPAC Today
Politicians and unelected Washington bureaucrats are under constant pressure from powerful lobbies encouraging them to permit unproven highly automated vehicles on our highways, expand the availability of unsafe high-ethanol fuels and prohibit responsible access to public lands. Our support through AMPAC counters that pressure!

Without your involvement, new legislative and regulatory victories will be impossible. Politicians understand strength in numbers. Help build the roster of elected officials standing up for the rights of all motorcyclists—donate to AMPAC today!

--Michael Sayre
Director of Government Relations
American Motorcyclist Association

P.S.: Donate $25 to AMPAC to protect your access to everything motorcycling. In this election year, we need your help more than ever. Your donation is needed now!

ANOTHER MOTORCYCLE MAGAZINE DOWN--Cycle World print edition ends as Octane buys Bonnier digital assets.

Cycle World, once the largest consumer motorcycle magazine in the United States and now the last remaining motorcycle print publication in the once-large Bonnier Motorcycle Group, will print its last edition in October.

Octane, a powersports finance company, announced that it has acquired the digital assets of the former Bonnier powersports print magazines: Cycle World, Motorcyclist, Dirt Rider, Motorcycle Cruiser, UTV Driver, ATV Rider, and Cycle Volta. While the other publications had ceased appearing in print form, Cycle World was still being published quarterly. "Bonnier Corp. will help produce Cycle World's final print issue in October 2020; existing print subscribers will receive a digital edition beginning in 2021," said the news release.

"Our goal for this acquisition is to ensure that unbiased product reviews, rigorous and objective testing, and informed storytelling will continue to be available to powersports enthusiasts," said Jason Guss, CEO of Octane. "When combined with Octane's financing platform and dealership partners, consumers will soon be able to go directly from researching their dream vehicle to owning it, in a fast, seamless process."

Octane said it would invest in content and web site development of the former Bonnier brands and it seems at least some, if not all, of the same editorial team will be in place, led by Mark Hoyer.

Cycle World Magazine to cease print publication
While print motorcycle magazines continue to thrive in countries like Spain, there is no longer a single, national, monthly consumer motorcycle magazine left in the United States.

From any perspective, Bonnier's relatively short ownership of some of the oldest motorcycle magazines in the country has to be considered a disaster. The U.S.-based Bonnier Corp., owned by the Bonnier Group of Sweden, acquired Cycle World and several other titles in 2011. In 2017, it killed off some of its motorcycle print magazines, including Sport Rider and Dirt Rider. Motorcyclist, the oldest motorcycling magazine in the country, got a new editorial focus and switched to six issues a year in 2017 and then the print edition was eliminated in 2019.

Early this year, before the COVID-19 epidemic disrupted the U.S. economy, Bonnier had already hired a firm to try to sell its U.S. magazine titles, which included not only Cycle World, but also some formerly huge print publications such as Field & Stream and Popular Science. Later reports suggested there was little if any interest in the print motorcycle magazines, however.

The wealth of content produced over the years, both in print and online, by magazines such as Cycle World, Motorcyclist, Sport Rider, Dirt Rider and others, still has value, though. If a consumer is considering buying a used street motorcycle from 2015, for example, and searches for reviews online, it's quite likely a Cycle World or Motorcyclist evaluation will be near the top of the search results. If that material also leads to a financing option provided by Octane, then it's easy to see why the financing company would want to own the Cycle World or Motorcyclist brand and archives. It's the same reason that RevZilla finds it to be a good business practice to provide free content to customers and potential customers here at Common Tread.

On the other hand, it's also clear the old model of advertising-supported national print magazines is no longer viable. With Motorcycle Consumer News, Rider and American Iron all ending their print editions this year, there was no national, monthly, consumer motorcycle magazine left in the United States. While we have highlighted some print magazines that have succeeded by serving local, regional or specialized audiences, the general interest national motorcycle magazine is essentially extinct.

Almost the only remaining national print motorcycle magazines are those published by associations for their members, such as the AMA's American Motorcyclist, the Antique Motorcycle Club of America's The Antique Motorcycle and, the biggest of them all, the Harley Owners Group's The Enthusiast. Harley-Davidson recently announced it was returning its quarterly publication to the traditional name, The Enthusiast, after a little more than a decade of being called HOG Magazine.

--Photos and text by Lance Oliver

Cycle Source is still around, I hope. If you read the above, it’s sorta obvious that membership magazines are viable. I still think a sharp magazine that uses the benefits of the internet is a winner, especially if folks are stuck at home and anxious to receive something, anything in the mail.--Bandit


Twin Power Klincher clutches provide increased surface area and torque capacity while maintaining an easy lever pull. They are available for 1937-2017 models with cable or hydraulic clutches (except M-8) and tuneable for any application.

Clutch Hubs

These accurate reproductions of the Big Twin clutch hub feature steel spines and aluminum hub. They are available for selected Big Twins 1984-2006.

Clutch Shell

This clutch shell is a "perfect replacement bearing" for '90 and later 5-speed Big Twin models. These are exact reproductions of the OEM clutch shell. They feature hardened components and include the inner and outer ramps. For 2007 and up applications they come with a coupler with clip and three balls.

Clutch Hub Assembly

This 3-stud replacement clutch hub assembly for the stock early clutch hub includes assembled clutch hub, complete with friction disc and rivets, bearing retainer with bearings, spring pressure plate and stud nuts.

Aluminum Clutch Pressure Plate

"Restore-like-new clutch performance with this Twin Power aluminum pressure plate - the perfect OEM replacement" for '90-'97 Big Twins and '91-'15 Sportsters.


Click for action.
Click for action.

New 2021 Motorcycle PinUp Calendars
The PinUp Calendars featuring Iron & Lace Custom Motorcycles and Garage Girls Hard at Work photographed by renown glamour and motorsports photographer Jim Gianatsis make their return for the 2021 Calendar year commemorating 30 years of publication!

Both the new 2021 Iron & Lace and Garage Girls Calendars feature the beautiful Calendar Kittens photographed with many of the world's top Cafe Racer Bikes, Sportbikes, Bobbers, Metric and American Customs. You will want to get both Calendars, one for the house and one for the garage. What better way to enjoy each month but with great photography of the world's best motorcycles and beautiful girls. Order now at

The 2021 Calendars again feature the top custom motorcycles from our LA Calendar Motorcycle Show and the world’s top custom bike builders including this year Richard Pollock & Rex Harris / Mule Motorcycles, Ron Baldonado, Damon Gregory, Sonny Nutter, Ron Simms, Roland Sands, Yasuyoshi Chikawaza / Chica Custom, Shinya Kimura / Chabbot Engineering, and Russ Tom.
This is your exclusive 16-month pit pass to some of the world's top custom and race bike and sexiest models in revealing swimwear and lingerie. Calendars are highest quality full color 15 x 15" wire spiral bound printed on heavy art stock art board.16-month Calendars being with September 2020. $22.95 each.

Also available is the FAST 2021 Calendar Yearbook in OnLine Digital FlipBook or Printed Hardcover Coffee Table Book talking you behind the scenes for an even more exciting look at the incredible Custom Motorcycles and the Kittens who tamed them! Now online at Calendars are also available in the USA at, / 1-800-366-3645; and in Europe at Zodiac Motorcycle Parts /, and Custom Chrome Europe /

SEPARATING FACT FROM FICTION ABOUT WILDFIRES--When it comes to wildfires, to co-opt the immortal words of naval officer Oliver Hazard Perry, “we have met the enemy, and it is, not climate change, but us.”

Due to much of the western United States being naturally arid, high mountain scrub desert, grassland, and dry forest, wildfires are an unfortunate fact of life. They always have been and likely always will be.

And despite what you may have heard, there is no evidence climate change is making the problem worse.

California, where much of the attention on wildfires has been focused in recent years, because it has a large population and major media outlets are located there, was one of the least populated (and lowest population density) regions of the country before European colonizers spread across the continent. Research shows droughts in the region have on occasion lasted on the order of a hundred years. And there is evidence massive wildfires regularly swept through the region in the past.

Indeed, a 2007 paper in the journal Forest Ecology and Management found prior to European colonization in the 1800s, more than 4.4 million acres of California forest and shrub-land burned annually, far more than the area of California that has burned since 2000, which ranges from 90,000 acres to 1,590,000 acres per year.

Although one wouldn’t know it from the news coverage and alarming, but false, claims that climate change is making wildfires more frequent and severe, the opposite is true. A 2012 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found wildfires in the western United States attained “the lowest levels … during the 20th century and during the Little Ice Age (LIA, ca. 1400–1700 CE [Common Era]). Prominent peaks in forest fires occurred during the Medieval Climate Anomaly (ca. 950–1250 CE) and during the 1800s.”

Wildfires have declined sharply over the course of the past century in the United States and globally. As reported in Climate at a Glance: Wildfires, long-term data from U.S. National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) show wildfires have declined in number and severity since the early 1900s. Using data on U.S. wildfires from as far back as 1926, NIFC reports the numbers of acres burned is far less now than it was throughout the early 20th century, with the current acres burned running about 1/4th to 1/5th of the record values that occurred in the 1930s.

Globally, the data on wildfires are just as clear. In his book “False Alarm,” Bjorn Lomborg observes:

“There is plenty of evidence for a reduction in the level of devastation caused by fire, with satellites showing a 25 percent reduction globally in burned area just over the past 18 years … In total, the global amount of area burned has declined by more than 540,000 square miles, from 1.9 million square miles in the early part of last century to 1.4 million square miles today.”

To the extent wildfires have grown modestly in recent years, although still far below the modern peaks of the early 1900s, government policies and demographic shifts are mostly to blame.

After the end of Ronald Reagan’s presidency, forest policy on federal lands shifted, and not for the better. After Reagan, forests began to be managed for the imagined good of ecosystems, placing ecological and recreational values above timber production. The result was an abdication of management so that nature was allowed to take its course unfettered.

Under this policy, thousands of miles of forest roads were ripped out, roads built to allow the harvesting of timber, but also used by firefighters to access wildfires in the hinterlands before they spread to populated regions. And timber harvests plunged as much as 84 percent from 12 billion board feet per year to less than 2 billion board feet per year.

The result across much of the western states has been an unnatural tree density. For example, historically, ponderosa pines grew in stands of 20 to 55 trees per acre, but in some areas they now grow in densities of 300 to 900 trees per acre. The unnatural density allowed what were formerly isolated pockets of insect infestations to morph into massive infestations killing large swaths of forests. There are now more dead trees in many federal forests than live ones, drying out and becoming growing stockpile of fuel for wildfires. Indeed, the U.S. Forest Service estimates more than 190 million acres of public land, almost all of it in the arid west, are at risk of catastrophic fires. Too many trees, too much brush, and bureaucratic regulations and lawsuits filed by environmental extremists are to blame.

On the demographic side, populations have grown dramatically in the western states. What were once uninhabited areas or small towns have become major metropolitan areas with suburbs growing out to the edges of wildlands. For instance, in Colorado, where wildfires are raging at the moment, the population has grown five-fold since 1940, from a little more than one million in 1940 to nearly 5.76 million today. Former small mining towns have become cities. Colorado’s population has grown 14.5 percent since the 2010 census, the fourth largest percentage growth in the nation.

Across the west, more people, more buildings, and more infrastructure have created a growing urban-rural interface, meaning more people and property are in harm’s way when wildfires inevitably occur. Indeed, the absolute costs of wildfires have increased dramatically over the past century even as the number of acres burned has declined. When wildfires strike, more people are affected and more expensive property is destroyed. The higher costs aren’t caused by climate change but from the rise in the number of people and value of assets placed in the “bullseye” as a result of demographic shifts in where people live and the lifestyles they pursue.

When it comes to wildfires, to co-opt the immortal words of naval officer Oliver Hazard Perry, “we have met the enemy, and it is, not climate change, but us.”

[First published at The Epoch Times]

By H. Sterling Burnett

Someone pointed out that wildfires in Canada have declined. Did the Climate Change miss Canada?--Bandit

Page 1 of 2

Share this story:

Back to Bikernet News

Reader Comments

Sad to read about losing another magazines. I went by the local news stand last week and the shelves are empty! Only one motorcycle related magazine on the shelf, Cycle source and they have went bi-monthly!

For me I miss the magazines especially Easyriders and The Horse. Don't know for sure if The Horse is still around or not but it turned to shit after all subscribers got screwed. I agree there is still a place for a good chopper and biker life style magazine. There is still a market for that I believe. STEALTH

charlotte, NC
Friday, September 18, 2020
Editor Response It's interesting. I believe there's a formula, but...

Your thoughts on this article

Your Name
Anti-Spam Question:
Please enter the words you see in the box, in order and separated by a space. Doing so helps prevent automated programs from abusing this service.