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Where Did You Get That Name?

Editorial by Darryl Harris,
Founder of Harris Publishing
Associated Image

Looking back at the founding of the BlueRibbon Coalition

I began publishing SnoWest in 1974, shortly after purchasing my first snowmobile. I was already in the publishing business--I had founded Potato Grower Magazine in 1972. As SnoWest (originally Snowmobile West) grew both in terms of circulation and the number of pages printed, I found myself devoting a lot of space in the effort to keep lands open for riding. My staff and I became multiple-use advocates.

Back then my title was publisher and Steve Janes served as editor. Both of us felt the need to do more stories about the land use issue, but we were handicapped by the size of our issues. After considerable thought, I announced to the Harris Publishing staff that we were going to launch a new publication aimed at helping to fight the multiple-use battle against environmentalists. I decided the name of the new publication should be "BlueRibbon Magazine," because it connoted a favorable public image and the thought of being "first rate."

During preproduction planning, it became increasingly apparent that the effort also needed the support of an advocacy group. I learned about Clark Collins, who had put together the Idaho Public Land Users Association. He was doing a tremendous job of working with Idaho legislators on the multiple-use issue.

To make a long story short, I contacted Clark and suggested that we combine BlueRibbon Magazine and the Idaho Public Land Users Association together into a national organization. After thinking about it and talking to others in his organization, that's what we did and the BlueRibbon Coalition was born. A month later, the first issue of the BlueRibbon Magazine was published.

Clark did a super job in bringing in other groups into the umbrella of the BlueRibbon Coalition and focusing attention on a national level. The BlueRibbon Coalition grew into a respected national organization. It became awkward, however, trying to publish the magazine independently (Harris Publishing being the publisher and the BlueRibbon Coalition being the organization). I felt the two ought to become combined officially. Therefore, I gave the rights of BlueRibbon Magazine to the BlueRibbon Coalition and withdrew as publisher.

Under Clark's leadership, BlueRibbon continued to grow both as a national organization and as a publication. As I look back, I believe the BlueRibbon Coalition exceeded my original expectations. It has become a highly respected organization. Even the "other side" respects its efforts and its people.

At Harris Publishing, we still continue to be multiple-use advocates through not only SnoWest (current circulation 140,000 copies), but through other publications we have started up (Sledheads, a snowmobile publication for the younger generation; Houseboat, Pontoon and Deck Boat, and Riverjet--all boating publications), and of course through our two agriculture publications, Potato Grower and The Sugar Producer.

I remember the retreats we held at our cabin in Island Park years ago as we began the joint effort with Clark. We not only had some excellent meetings, but some wonderful visits and exciting snowmobile rides. One time we had the Secretary of Interior, James Watt, on an overnight stay at the cabin to speak to us and ride with us. I also became a trail biker and went on some neat motorcycle rides with Clark and others up into many mountain locations.

I am proud of the BlueRibbon Coalition, its publication, and all the Coalition has accomplished over the years. It has an excellent reputation with all of its member advocacy groups across the nation. I believe it has succeeded in bringing people together on the issues and making state and regional organizations more effective in reaching their goals to preserve our natural resources for the public instead of from the public.

--Darryl Harris is co-founder of the BlueRibbon Coalition and founder of Harris Publishing. Questions or comments about this article may be directed to: 4555 Burley Drive, Suite A, Pocatello, ID, 83202. Phone: 208-237-1008, Fax: 208-237-9424. Email .

June 1, 2016 3:10 PM

POCATELLO, ID (June 1, 2016) – Coalition (BRC) is pleased to reveal that its long-time partner in the fight to protect recreational access, Rocky Mountain ATV-MC (RMATV-MC), has agreed once again to generously match each dollar* raised to support BRC at the upcoming annual COW TAG event hosted by Klim, another long-time partner for access.

April 26, 2016 9:54 AM

POCATELLO, ID (April 26, 2016) -- Coalition (BRC) is pleased to announce the recent release of issue #4 of the BlueRibbon Magazine. This issue is packed with outstanding winter articles and a variety of recreation topics.

Hard copies of the BlueRibbon Magazine should be arriving at doorsteps this week (if they have not already arrived). If your copy has not yet arrived, there's no need to wait! The digital edition of the BlueRibbon Magazine is available today, in FlipZine or PDF versions.

April 13, 2016 10:04 AM

It's time once again for the annual COW TAG event! Please join KLIM and the Sharetrails/BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC) at this one-of-a-kind ride to be held on Saturday, June 25 at Kelly Canyon, ID. Proceeds benefit trail organizations and Sharetrails/BRC. Enter to win a 2016 Beta 300RR Race Edition!...

March 31, 2016 12:13 PM
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