This isn't your regular letter to the editor. I won't wax prophetic about too much of one brand versus another, or ask for advice from Péwé about how I can convince the missus to allow another project in my driveway, or ask about getting a picture of my rig in your mag. I am here to voice my concerns over a threatened piece of 4WD heritage, the Bantam factory, better known as the Birthplace of the jeep (and all things flat-fendered for Péwé). Regardless of brand locality, we can all agree that the Bantam design/jeep spurred on a new type of vehicle and brought off-road enthusiasm home after helping win World War II. Therefore, it is important to all ORV enthusiasts. The factory, located in Butler, Pennsylvania, is vacant, and both current owner AK Steel and a number of local volunteer and civic organizations are trying to preserve the site and building. My hopes are that you will publish this in your next issue and that other loyal readers and advertisers may read it and see how they
4x4 magazines and the vendors that pay for the ads need to take some of the blame for the public's view of "jeepers gone wild" tearing up public land. Certainly you can't be responsible for the carelessness and disregard of others, but the photos of vehicles hanging off a large chunk of granite or hood-deep in mud are the instigators for many to try out those 36-inch tires and the Dana 60s. Thousands of miles of plain old gravel backroads where we all used to go to get away and enjoy a little nature in our Jeeps are disappearing because of the misguided notion that closure is the only way to protect it from "crazed" 4x4 drivers and motorcyclists.
So yes, we are losing ground. Voting is only part of the picture. Education on the responsible use of the outdoors is the other part, and 4x4 publications need to do more.
can help. To learn more, visit the website my.preservationnation.org/site/News2? page=NewsArticle&id=9491&security=28 62&s _interest=3225. Another good site is www.butlerdowntown.org.
© Scott, we were there on our 2009 Ultimate Adventure and agree with you on the importance of saving the factory. Thanks for the link. It's up on our website as well.
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