I think one of the most serendipitous parts of the Tour for me personally is the opportunity for me to spend some time one-on-one with some of the folks I have always looked up to. William Kaeppner is one of those people I have looked forward spending time with since I set out. The work Bill has done for his home state Ohio has not only been of benefit to Ohio. Bill's work in land use advocacy for responsible recreational access has helped everywhere.
Bill and his wife Sharon were wonderful hosts to me on my trip, giving me a place to sleep, eat, and catch up on work. I can't thank them enough for their generosity.
I also can't tell you how much it meant to me to spend the time with Bill. After over 40 years of advocacy, Bill's credentials and list of what he has done, the volunteer positions he has and continues to hold, and even his involvement with his local community is too long to share here, though I wish I could. From his days as one of the early Presidents of District 11 to one of his present day titles as President and Founder of the Ohio Motorized Trail Association (http://ohiotrails.org/), Bill told me that what keeps him going is the resolve that, "I will never let them win. I'm never going to quit."
Riding on the trails on his property (http://www.kaeppnerswoods.com/) with him on Wednesday (August 29) in his "Pug" as he was doing his post event survey, was an absolute joy for me. He has more sustainably built trail mileage on his land than there is on the 2500 acres that make up the public Richland Furnace Recreation Area in Ohio by 4 times. "And my parking area is bigger to boot. How frustrating is that?" asks Bill.
His input was invaluable. "Greg," he said, "One thing you really need to do is find a way to communicate with folks that BRC is not just a western organization. I know that the issues and lawsuits you have been involved in are often out west are because that is where most of the federal land is, but folks out here might not know that. And what happens out west affects us too. You need to communicate that better." I will take that Bill, and you are right.
"It's all about people and clubs. That is what is going to make the difference. We need to strengthen the clubs."
"When you have the opportunity to tell your story, the OHV story, you need to tell the story because it's a sad dog that doesn't wag his tail."
Well Bill, let me wag my tail a little about you and the other Elder Statesmen of Advocacy like you, I am amazed at your energy and your civic consciousness. I can say without a doubt that, if it weren't for the work you have done and continue to do, folks wouldn't have a place to ride. So, thanks for all your hard work. And thank you for taking the time for me and for getting me to the meetings with District 11 and the OMTA folks while I was here. I am proud to call you a member of BRC and I am proud to call you my friend.