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©2009 by Del Albright, Use freely given by Permission Only, All Rights Reserved. Page 1 View from the Locked Gate A bit of sarcasm about an access lesson By Del & Stacie Albright, BlueRibbon Coalition The gal in uniform with the big gun on her hip smiled and waved as she installed the recessed pad lock on the gate. I guess she thought we were happy about the road being closed. Her rugged 4x4 government‐bought pickup truck that was kinda parked in our view had all sorts of signs and decals declaring she was a public servant. We figured it must be true. She had sent us an official‐looking letter a while back asking for comments, but the fish were a’bitin’ so we missed out on the letter‐writin’. We figured someone else would write those darn letters. We figured wrong on all accounts. It was a heck of a view we had – trees, rocks, trails, roads, wildlife, mountains, creeks, and vast open areas beckoning to the adventurer in all of us. It’s easy to recall my Dad, Elmer, telling stories of roaming this kind of back country area 40 years ago with the freedom of a jack rabbit in the Mojave Desert. He always told us to get outdoors and have fun while taking care of the land. He figured we would all have the same freedom. He figured wrong. The ability, and most importantly the opportunity that my dad had to take his kids out and teach us how to fish, hunt, hike, play and breathe in the fresh air is all but gone now. My mind wanders off and I think of what can happen if we continue down this dangerous path of management by closure. Soon it will be just a happy memory of our nine year old when she was able to see nature, hike, take pictures and jump in and out of our 4 wheel drive while we were on the hunt for a new camp spot. Soon she will not have the opportunity to teach them the same lessons and family traditions that came naturally and innocently in her youth to her tots. Our view now is tainted, to say the least. Padlocks, iron pipe, closed signs, reinforced hinges, and small‐print letting us know under no uncertain circumstances that the land beyond the gate is CLOSED to access – unless of course you want to haul your buns in there via boot rubber. Now, as I stand here watching that same gal in uniform jump back into her four wheel drive (that I paid for) and drive on down my old favorite trail I get a lump in my throat and I get a little teary eyed just thinking about the view our kids are going to have from this same locked gate that’s in my backyard. I don’t think I’m figuring wrong anymore. Article: View from Locked Gate Back to the future: in reality, there are things we can all do to prevent this (sarcastic) scenario from happening. You’ve read tons of articles on getting involved, joining groups like BlueRibbon Coalition, and ensuring your family and friends have a place to ride. Just do it. Visit Land Use, Access and Rubicon Trail Home Page by Del Albright including Volunteer Training and Outdoor Photography and BlueRibbon Coalition: Preserving your recreational access to public lands. for more things you can do right now. Make a difference and help prevent closures from blocking our “view” any more. Join up, donate and get in the game. Please, before we have nothing left to figure on... The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible use of public lands and waters, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. It represents over 10,000 individual members and 1,200 organization and business members, for a combined total of over 600,000 recreationists nationwide. 1‐800‐258‐3742. BlueRibbon Coalition: Preserving your recreational access to public lands.
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It´s one debate that doesn´t seem to be going anywhere fast. If you´re buying a brand new winch like the Superwinch Terra 45 or maybe it is just time to replace your old cable. Which way do you go: steel or synthetic? Let´s take a look at the pros and cons so you can decide once and for all which is better for YOU.
Life of the Cable
After an extended period of time depending on use, a steel cable can start to crimp, get rust spots or develop frayed strands of steel cable which can give you nasty cuts and also decrease the reliability of the cable. In the short term, the steel cable can take a lot more abuse than the synthetic variety. However, synthetic cables can have a much longer life. That is of course only if it is taken care of and carefully prevented from fraying on the edges. Fraying edges on a synthetic cable is the beginning of the end for this more costly type of cable. The more affordable steel cables might be more attractive for the rugged wincher who doesn't mind replacing a steel cable at the first signs of wear.
Potential and Kinetic Energy
You don´t need to be a science major to recognize the danger of a cable under extreme tension. Whether it is due to overbearing the cable or a replacement cable is well overdue, it can be a potentially very dangerous situation. In terms of this, Synthetic is generally the winner as it doesn´t become a dangerous projectile. It is also easier on the hands and actually provides more pull per inch. Bear in mind however, that your maximum pulling power is still limited by the winch you select. It´s downside is that if it is in contact with a sharp edge, it has the possibility of slicing or fraying the edges, which is very unlikely with a steel cable.
Some users of synthetic cable have made complaints about UV damage causing weakness that leads to a decrease in strength. Newer synthetic lines are being manufactured UV resistant, and a winch cover is also a cheap solution to this problem.
About 95% of new winches are being shipped by their companies with standard steel winch cables. This can be taken as just because they are the cheaper option of the two for them to make the most profit, or a signal that it is still the best choice of cable.
As I mentioned before, Synthetic does provide you with more pounds per inch. Which means more pulling power for less cable. Even though pulling power is generally determined by the winch, check out this article with tips for both types of cables on how to double your pulling power.
Synthetic is the latest and more expensive cousin, that still has a few kinks to iron out before it really replaces steel cables completely. Steel has been proven in every condition. It is tried and tested and cheaper. For reliability and cost, definitely your cable of choice.
Sam is an ATV enthusiast and updates his adventure website with outdoor tips and articles, including a review on the Superwinch Terra 45 (1145220)
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