The Ad Council, Forest Service and National Association of State Foresters have pulled a controversial Smokey Bear ATV Public Service Announcement at the urging of off-road groups, including the BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC), according to a Blue Ribbon Coalition press release.
The Forest Service has asked all media outlets to discontinue the airing of the ad, which implied that the proper way for motorized recreationists to prevent wildfires is for them to load up their vehicles and go home.
Don Amador, western representative for the BlueRibbon Coalition, said the agencies had the right intentions, but the message was misleading.
“I honestly believe the agencies had intended to create a positive message regarding safe use of OHVs on public lands,” he said in the release. “However, the (Public Service Announcement) incorrectly conveyed to the ATV rider that the best way for them to prevent wildfires was to stay at home. Instead, the ad should have encouraged the use of USDA Forest Service-approved spark arrestors and limiting travel to approved routes and areas.
“BRC thanks the agencies for listening to our collective concerns about this ad and for taking the responsible course of action by canceling the campaign. It is our hope the Ad Council and Forest Service consult with their trail recreation experts and the OHV community before launching another motorized recreation ad.”