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 Trek: The Teams

Team: North
Dana Bell
Dana and Mike by a beaver dam.

Dana and Mike by a beaver dam.
Courtesy Rob Carlo

Dana Bell

Dana Bell

Dana Bell

Dana Bell

Dana Bell is the Project Coordinator for the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council since 1999. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree (1970) in Biological Sciences from California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo.

From 1992 through 1999 Dana was employed as the Western States Representative for the American Motorcyclist Association. She served for seven years as the recreation representative on the Bureau of Land Management California Desert District Advisory Council, and currently is a member of the California Off-Highway Vehicle Stakeholder Roundtable and an Executive Board member for American Trails.

Dana works extensively with off-highway vehicle recreationists and land management professionals to develop collaborative solutions to recreation and environmental concerns. Formerly a nationally ranked enduro-competitor Dana now enjoys exploring backcountry roads and trails on her dual sport motorcycle and doing volunteer trail maintenance work.

****2004 Update****

Dana Bell, North Team Trekker from California, went on her first backpacking trip on the American Frontiers Journey. While she was having her fun, her employer, the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council, may have wondered if she would turn in her wheels for boots. An off-road junkie, now with the American Frontiers experience behind her, she wears rubber on both and has an expanded commitment to working with land managers and recreation stakeholders on collaborative management efforts. “Public lands are becoming an ever more important resource for all kinds of quality outdoor recreation. At this same time natural resource concerns are restricting recreation areas, urban sprawl is destroying it, and shrinking budgets are reducing recreation management staff, facilities and desperately needed maintenance.”

While Bell works to collaborate with others to find solutions to the problems, she is overwhelmed by the slow to no progress made by the powers that could make a huge difference to those same problems. “Unfortunately, Administrations, Congresses, and special-interest groups are expending more energy blaming others than in seeking collaborative solutions. My belief has been and remains that public lands can provide an outstanding selection of recreation opportunities and well-protected natural and cultural ones if people are willing to work together.”

For Bell, measuring the success of American Frontiers comes on two fronts. First, on the national front, she concurs that national exposure fell short of expectations: “The time seemed right with the American public turning back to family and home following 9-11. It appeared to have audience interest with so many reality adventure shows dominating prime time. But, big media didn’t get it. The five o’clock news, repeated headlines or columns in major papers, interest by Congress, and buy-in by a multitude of national public lands’ stakeholders would have been a measure of success. It didn’t happen.”

On the personal front: “For those of us who had the unique opportunity to be part of it the Journey is one of those experiences that is a highlight of our lives. For those we met along the way, the small communities, the land managers, the people hiking and riding and driving and enjoying our outdoor treasures, and the small newspapers, they got it. But, then, they already knew it. With time as each of us continue to tell of our adventures and go about our lives, maybe we, or one of us, will be able to cause a spark that will light the fire.”

Bell adds that the Journey “was an overwhelming experience. It hurts to say that the Journey was not a success while for me every day had so many special moments, each a lifetime gift. The morning Mike placed a cup of hot coffee just outside my tent, Charlotte’s smile, Rob’s look when he folded up our flag the last time, stepping over the Canadian border back into our country and onto our first trail, reaching the summit of Piegan Pass, climbing the Wall, picking fresh huckleberries, blue pinecones set like candles on green firs, Montana clouds, missing the family so much but not wanting the Journey to end, climbing into my tent at night and snuggling down into my sleeping bag so content, a Bald Eagle flying down the Gray River, walking into spring, through summer and then into fall, how do you share this?”

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Team: North


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