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VTAC Needs A Field

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Post  Cleaver Sat Mar 24, 2012 8:06 pm

It was made apparent to us today that our presence in the Jefferson National Forest is no longer desired, at least, not in its current state. The Park Ranger staff is no longer aware of us and what we do. I feel it is safe to say that we should not resume normal course of play until we are once again approved by those Rangers. This is no longer an issue we can afford to dodge.

Problem is that there's no guarantee we're ever going to get that approval. Discussion with the Park Ranger that inquired about our activities today certainly left us with feelings of doubt.

That said, I feel it would be in our best interest to heavily consider options of private land. I know such discussions have come up before and people have mentioned areas of private land, now is the time to contribute once again.
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Post  k30 Sat Mar 24, 2012 11:04 pm

Two options I've heard mentioned in the past are Amber (I think) having private land, and contacting AGR. I have no idea what happened to either of these, but right now they're looking rather attractive.

Failing that, I've looked through Craiglist, and nothing posted there is really a viable option, at least that I've seen. Everything's much more expensive than we can afford, over an hour away, or both. Looking on landwatch.com, everything for sale closer to here is at the very least in the $40K+ range and usually much higher.

Another option I know has been discussed in the past is getting in contact with a landowner, farmer, or someone who would be willing to let us play in exchange for payment every weekend. This would, obviously, require a weekly field fee of sorts to pay them, and I would not at all be surprised if we were only permitted to use biodegradable BBs. I am willing to draft up an ad for posting on Craigslist to that effect, but other ways of getting in contact with people might be more effective.

If we are, somehow, permitted to return to the national forest, we need to be far more cautious. No more standing around by the road with what looks like an assault rifle. I've been guilty of this, and most of us have, and most of the time nothing happens and we go on our merry way. But all it takes is for one random person to drive by and flip out. Gun bags are something like $20 at Dick's.

Personally? I'd support finding someone willing to let us play on their land. It'd cost money, yes, but so do the commercial fields that comprise the majority of airsoft fields, and there's probably someone around here willing to let us play for a reasonable amount per person weekly. (In all likelihood, it'd be a better AO than the gun range field anyway.)

Any suggestions or information on options would be great.

</soapbox>


Last edited by k30 on Sat Mar 24, 2012 11:09 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post  Papa Bear Sat Mar 24, 2012 11:05 pm

all of this I support this ^
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Post  Bad Decision Sat Mar 24, 2012 11:20 pm

Made two attempts at getting a hold of AGR fraternity but neither one proved fruitful so I have already checked through their site again and will draft another email to them. Also working on contacting Jefferson National Forest Rangers.
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Post  Slice Sat Mar 24, 2012 11:24 pm

Another option you guys are missing is travel. I know gas is expensive, believe me I know. But all sorts of great airsoft games happen in this state, including the one coming up in April in Afton which is maybe a 2 hour drive if you go the speed limit. Itsahak puts on games in Lynchburg occasionally, there may or may not still exist a group of guys in Bedford, etc.
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Post  Papa Bear Sun Mar 25, 2012 7:44 am

Slice those are great options at the moment but they do not offer a long term solution to the problem what about locals who just want a quick pickup game or lack means of transportation.

Tl;Dr
travel is a short term solution for trigger time, we need to figure out the long-term one
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Post  Prophet Sun Mar 25, 2012 8:17 am

There is a guy on the way to Floyd who ran a place called wolf's ridge paintball. He had a pretty nice set up and may be willing to do airsoft there. I dont know if he is still in business, someone who has ties with the paintball club may know...
http://www.wolfsridgepaintball.com/node/2
nevermind, looks way to expensive. 20 bucks/day or 150 bucks for a field reserbvation.
Maybe he would go 10 bucks...
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Post  Papa Bear Sun Mar 25, 2012 9:06 am

Wouldn't mind p.aying i suppose have to do that at Ballahack anyways .
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Post  EthicalSneak Sun Mar 25, 2012 10:55 am

I wouldn't mind paying a little, but $20 sounds pretty steep. Also, since we'd be doing Airsoft at the paintball field, we'd probably have to reserve it for a day to prevent other paintballers from showing up and expecting to pay $20 to play. Something about mixing airsoft and paintball players/guns doesn't appeal to me...

Anyways, I don't have many connections in the area, but I'll keep my eyes and ears open. Heck, maybe even check if someone in my church has land.

I love to play, and I hate that stupid stuff like ignorance of the sport and disrespectful people hurt my chances, as well as the chances of all the the other honest, reliable, respectful guys (Which is pretty much everyone in VTAC. We've got our points of disagreement, but at the end of the day we respect the location, other people, and each other).
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Post  Oden Sun Mar 25, 2012 11:30 am

i love traveling to games but i agree that it is a short term thing (and we are getting more and more travelers to go now which makes trips even more enjoyable)

i also would not mind paying, except that there are 52 weeks in the year and I probably spend half of them at VTAC games and at $20, thats $520 per person. As a student, that's more than I can possibly make a paycheck and almost more than i can make in a month; all of this at the student maximum 20 hours per week.

I talked to Tim (VT_Knight) and he said that the agreement was made before his time at tech.
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Post  Dutch Sun Mar 25, 2012 2:12 pm

i've actually contacted wolf's ridge before, never got a response back from the guy in several attempts.
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Post  itsahak Sun Mar 25, 2012 2:19 pm

BedSOG is dead, and the field falling apart. There is another group in Bedford,, but I question their safety practices. They posted on the BedSOG site that they don't have FPS restrictions...

I hold monthly games at one of several different fields. All of which are two hours from you guys. You guys are always welcome at anything I produce...

There are several groups in the Roanoke area. You can find them on FB.

Roanoke Area Airsoft
Roanoke Mercs
Rush Airsoft

They hold regular games.

AS for private land. Take a look around your area and see what would be a good, private field. Then check with the local City/County registrar's office for land owner info. A letter and personal visit never hurts, and the worst they can say is No....
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Post  Bad Decision Sun Mar 25, 2012 4:12 pm

At this point with me working full time and going to school full time, the likelihood of me being able to do much more than call or email people is quickly disintegrating. Thats why I dont want to be pres any more, I simply dont have the time for it. I would really appreciate it if the club could actually come together and try to work out some solutions because, to put it bluntly, I can't anymore. I can admin the forum and help when I am out there, but trying to acquire these things and work for the club is more than I can take on anymore.
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Post  Cleaver Sun Mar 25, 2012 4:59 pm

I'll do what I can, but I'm a bit stretched myself.

A couple people I work with in the office are outdoorsy country-type folk. Tomorrow I'm going to ask if they or anyone they know have large tracts of land we may be able to play on.

I encourage you all to use any connections you may have to see if we can borrow private land. I'm not saying we shouldn't try to regain land in the Jefferson National Forest, because we totally should. But I expect such approval to be quite a process. Finding private land will simply have to be a provisional measure.
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Post  Slice Sun Mar 25, 2012 5:22 pm

Cleaver wrote:I'll do what I can, but I'm a bit stretched myself.

A couple people I work with in the office are outdoorsy country-type folk. Tomorrow I'm going to ask if they or anyone they know have large tracts of land we may be able to play on.

I encourage you all to use any connections you may have to see if we can borrow private land. I'm not saying we shouldn't try to regain land in the Jefferson National Forest, because we totally should. But I expect such approval to be quite a process. Finding private land will simply have to be a provisional measure.

That last sentence struck a cord with me. The only real advantage to Jefferson National is the proximity to Blacksburg. If you can get private land that's about the same distance away (maybe a few more minutes) then it's better than Jefferson National in every way. Private land will ALWAYS trump public land, regardless of permission given as far as the public property goes.
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Post  Cleaver Sun Mar 25, 2012 5:55 pm

Yes, private land is better, but it still has its considerations.

Obviously we do not have the resources to own land ourselves. We're going to have to answer to SOMEONE, whether it be Rangers or a Land Owner. And since no one has come forward yet regarding usable private land it's seems to me that if we do manage to acquire land it's going to be a stretch, probably through someone to which we have only a loose link.

The Forest is always going to be there. It's not going to change ownership. The Rangers aren't going to leave. I would much rather answer to Ranger staff than a land owner we don't really know. We aren't going to have liberties at either location. In the long run, I feel it would be more beneficial for us to create a good relationship with Park staff.

Either way, if those we answer to no longer wish our presence, we sit in the position we're in now. The question becomes which is a safer bet to affiliate with.

Most ideally we would need to find a landowner that shares our love of this game. I simply don't think we have that in or around Blacksburg.

EDIT: On that note, I'm also digging way back to a guy I know to once have been president here, before Tim. If we can recover documentation or evidence of those permissions we once had it may help our cause a lot.
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Post  Slice Sun Mar 25, 2012 7:26 pm

If you're talking about Chewie aka John, I already talked to Zach about contacting him. The thing is, the story I was always told is that there WAS no documentation; the Ranger they spoke to gave them verbal permission only (probably to cover his own ass) and that such written permission would only be provided if problems arose. It was hinted at that if this was the case then it might not be given because it would indicate problems. And remember, this was all BEFORE the events of 4/16 and the general paranoia that created.

I'm not trying to be a negative nelly or anything like that, but I AM trying to be realistic and the realistic fact is this:

I've been expecting this for years.

VTAC has always had a decent but tenuous gig as far as the playing field goes. In fact, VTAC has been a unique situation. The common sense "rules of airsoft" have always said airsoft and public land DO NOT MIX. Yes, it will be difficult for you guys to find your own private land with a favorable owner. But if you don't, there ARE other options, it's not the end of airsoft. It's just the end of the irregularly cheap airsoft you have all grown accustomed too.
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Post  Oden Sun Mar 25, 2012 8:09 pm

Slice wrote:If you're talking about Chewie aka John, I already talked to Zach about contacting him. The thing is, the story I was always told is that there WAS no documentation; the Ranger they spoke to gave them verbal permission only (probably to cover his own ass) and that such written permission would only be provided if problems arose. It was hinted at that if this was the case then it might not be given because it would indicate problems.

I was told the same thing as a freshman. I sent Chewie a PM on the old forums (apparently he still checks because he was online last February. If he doesn't respond after tomorrow, I'll send him a email (wouldn't expect an answer though sense you get an email when you get a pm).

the events of 4/16 and the general paranoia that created.
this I don't understand. The following semester was all honky dory. we met at owens parking lot in gear with gunbags everywhere. but every succeeding year it seems like the kids get more and more jumpy. people have reported everything from bundled towels to umbrellas.



I've been expecting this for years.
pics or it didn't happen I love you

it's not the end of airsoft. It's just the end of the irregularly cheap airsoft you have all grown accustomed too.
QTF, but I don't think that's everyone's mindset



also, here is my standpoint. Because people have whims and moods, and these things are easily effected by their daily lives, one act of dbaggery during one of these bad times could get us kicked off easily. Organizations on the other hand can be more stable. It's also easier to give organizations coordinates, borders, and meeting times, then walk away with slip of paper, and show up whenever you want during those planned times. Just showing up on someone's land when their in the Bahamas feels a little sketch to me, even if it was prearranged. On the other hand...we could build things on private land, but that would require work and coordination.
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Post  King_of_the_Rats Mon Mar 26, 2012 1:42 pm

The ranger's have a responsibility to protect the land, animals, and visitors from unneeded damage and stress. The land is not yours, and will be subject to more authority because it is a precious resource. It is protected land for a reason. You walk in and disrupt ongoing work, without ever researching keeping tabs on what is or isn't allowed, and complain when you get lumped into the same group as paintball. What makes you different? Why should you get special treatment? I see you given an immense amount of good luck, which was squandered through disregard and laziness. You lambaste those in power, because of your own failures of responsibility. Respect of the land, and the powers over it, should have been your top priority.

VTAC Needs A Field Ka0az8

*edit*
It may appear harsh but don't let it detract. Blame isn't entirely in the current crop of players hands. You were let down by the ones you inherited the mess from.
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Post  GckMntr Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:06 pm

I find it doubtful that you'll get the Jefferson National Forest land back. I'm surprised that you have had it for as long as you have. Being public land, it falls under public politics. Politics increasingly make firearms (even toys) out to be evil. The public impression of what we do is also quite shady, with pretty good reason. We dress up and play war on the weekends and many people do not and never will understand this. As a result, it is hard to get outsiders to support us. While the land won't change owners, public support will change and you will always be subject to it as long as you are dependent on public land.

Airsoft also dominates the area it is being played. For safety reasons, you cannot really do any other activity on a piece of land while airsoft is being played. This is also not going to be super popular to a public that also wants to use this land on the same nice-weathered Saturdays that airsofters want it.

I think private land is your best option. Private land has always yielded the best opportunity in VA and I don't think your situation is unique here. Commercial land, like paintball fields, looks nice at the start but when the whiff of profit and/or liability becomes too strong, the field owner inevitably begins to set terms that the player base will not support. Anyone aware of our history in VA can give you a list of examples.

Private land does not have to be tenuous. If you approach the owner with the full intention of something long term, you can make it happen. Zuni (I believe) and Afton have changed hands quite a few times. The referral and introduction of the new organizer by the previous organizer has been enough. Some land owners won't go for that, but I think you would be surprised how many will. Winning over one guy who owns a plot of land is much easier than a business or a government agency.

Like Jesse said, airsoft isn't dead. This will simply change the terms you are used to. Just my two cents on the matter.

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Post  chewie Mon Mar 26, 2012 4:27 pm

A couple of things first. I was never the president of the club. My final 2 years at Tech the club never went through the process of being an official club (I am lazy).

As far as verbal permission to play at JNF either gun range or the left side of forest access road. I never spoke with or had any interaction with any forest ranger, I was also told we had verbal permission to play there, and followed the rules that when we saw people we made ourselves seen and put our guns down right away.

We only played at the gun range on days when the weather wasn't great, I never liked playing there due to the close proximity to people. The forest access road offered better terrain for the number of people we had.

Suggestions, as an official club at VT you should get a faculty sponsor. As I told Zach, I'd talk to Sam Cook from the Department of Sociology. From what I remember he's got quite a bit of land.


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Post  Bad Decision Mon Mar 26, 2012 4:52 pm

chewie wrote:
Suggestions, as an official club at VT you should get a faculty sponsor. As I told Zach, I'd talk to Sam Cook from the Department of Sociology. From what I remember he's got quite a bit of land.


This guy is actually one of my professors this semester and is pretty cool. Obviously this doesn't mean we can just go on his land and start doing the usual, but this does seem like a pretty good opportunity. When I am back in class with him , I will talk to him face to face and then try to carry on with email conversations with him.
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Post  chewie Mon Mar 26, 2012 5:10 pm

VTAC Needs A Field Wn7Kb

Topo map of the area, the House to the left of the word National the general area.

There are old coal mines and creeks throughout.

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