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Old 04-04-2009, 11:50 AM   #1
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the importance of wheeling etiquette...

WF and the wheeling community have enjoyed an influx of new people who want to enjoy the trails and outdoors just as we do. Sometimes, these new wheelers are uninformed or misinformed to the value we place on the lands we use and the way responsible off-roaders wheel. It is regrettable when those who truly want to know are not able to find the information.

We're also responsible to help those who have only come in contact with the very small group of off-roaders who feel no need to respect the trails or property owners that they are not the measure of our community and that we also would like to see those wheelers off the lands we use and love.

So, in light of that, I'd like to open a discussion of the things, big or small, we do, both on the trail and off, to keep our lands clean, protect our trails, and keep ourselves a contributing member to the outdoor community as a whole.

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Old 04-04-2009, 12:37 PM   #2
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i think that is a good idea. perhaps people will read this and realize that our intention is not to tear apart the land it is to have fun and share a common interest with a fantastic group of people. on the Jeep Jamborees the trail guides explain the philosophy of "Tread Lightly" while continuing on down the trails we (the participants) pick up garbage that is along the trail and dispose of it properly. we leave the trails cleaner than we found it every time we go out. every year local off road clubs make a point of going out and cleaning up the environment in which they live. this is not only to keep trails open, it is an effort to live in a cleaner environment. all too often people overlook the good that is being done.

if any one has any pictures or stories please post them here!

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Old 04-04-2009, 12:40 PM   #3
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I think this is a great idea for a thread, Tiny. While I am rather new to Jeeping, I have been using lands for quite some time with dirt bikes and mountain bikes. I have seen/been involved with disputes of land use with sharing trails with equestrians, hikers and mountain bikers.

I had a couple of people on horses state that mountain bikers were the cause of land erosion and that we [mountain bikers] should not be allowed on the trails. I tried to explain that it was a downhill bike racing path that we were on at the moment (not shared use) and we were careful to not leave anything on the trail and even clean up others trash. Unfortantly, the discussion did not end as well as it should have when I commented that my 30 lb mountain bike with soft rubber tires left less impact than her 1000 lb. horse with metal plates nailed to its feet. At no point did I tell her or her riding partner that they had no right to the trail.

I have always taken more trash with me than I produce when I am in the outdoors. As I amsure many others will state, it is a very small percent that make the big group look bad as a whole. Alright, enough of my short rant. I think I may go wheeling locally today.
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Old 04-04-2009, 12:47 PM   #4
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alcohol and motorized vehicle use do not go together

do not litter, and pick up garbage like everyone has said

do not alter trails, cut down trees and so on

trail repairs, be as neat as possible, keep fluids and parts for proper disposal

almost all clubs are gonna sponsor trail clean ups, easy to get involved.

the best thing to do is involve yourself with a club that has clear set out rules and regulations they stand by, and contribute to the comunity and trails. i've participated in parades, trail clean ups, and meet and greets, that make us more understood by the comunity.

oh yeah, recovery...don't pull a tree down trying to get your dumb butt out of a hole
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Old 04-04-2009, 01:20 PM   #5
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Two rules that I remember to follow. Are to always use a tree saver strap when winching and if you need to stack rocks put them back when your done.
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Old 04-04-2009, 01:22 PM   #6
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Tread Lightly has a fantastic list of guidelines. I call them guidelines because we have to police ourselves for the most part.

Quote:
Travel responsibly on designated roads and trails or in permitted areas.
*Travel only in areas open to four-wheel drive vehicles.
*For your safety, travel straight up or down hills. Don’t traverse the face of a hill; you may slip sideways or roll your vehicle.
*Drive over, not around obstacles to avoid widening the trail.
*Cross large rocks and other obstacles slowly, at an angle one wheel at a time.
*Cross ravines slowly at a 45-degree angle.
*Straddle ruts, gullies, and washouts even if they are wider than your vehicle.
*Cross streams only at designated fording points, or where the road crosses the stream.
*When possible, avoid mud. Save wet, muddy trails for another day when they are dry. If you do come upon mud on the trail, don’t widen the trail by going around it. Drive through it by going easy on the gas to avoid wheel spin, which can cause rutting.
*Don’t turn around on narrow roads, steep terrain, or unstable ground. Backup until you find a safe place to turn around.
*Stop frequently and reconnoiter ahead on foot.
*Go easy on the throttle and avoid riding the brake or clutch.
*To help with traction, balance your load and lower tire pressure to where you see a bulge (typically not less than 20 pounds).
*Know where the differential or the lowest point on your vehicle is.
*Maintain a reasonable distance between vehicles.
*Comply with all signs and barriers.
*Travel with a group of two or more vehicles. Driving solo can leave you vulnerable if you have an accident or breakdown. Designate meeting areas in case of separation.
*Choose the appropriate winch for your vehicle size.
*Attach towing cable, tree strap, or chain as low as possible to the object being winched. Let the winch do the work; never drive the winch.

Respect the rights of others
including private property owners and all recreational trail users, campers and others to allow them to enjoy their recreational activities undisturbed.
*Be considerate of others on the road or trail.
*Leave gates as you find them.
*If crossing private property, be sure to ask permission from the landowner(s).
*Yield the right of way to those passing you or traveling uphill. Yield to mountain bikers, hikers, and horses.
*Do not idly ride around in camping, picnicking, trailhead, and residential areas.
*Keep speeds low around crowds and in camping areas.
*Keep the noise and dust down.
Educate yourself by obtaining travel maps and regulations from public agencies, planning for your trip, taking recreation skills classes, and knowing how to use and operate your equipment safely.
*Obtain a map of your destination and determine which areas are open to off-highway vehicles.
*Make a realistic plan, and stick to it. Always tell someone of your travel plans.
*Contact the land manager for area restrictions, closures, and permit requirements.
*Check the weather forecast before you go.
*Prepare for the unexpected by packing necessary emergency items.
*Buckle-up! Seat belts are mandatory.
*Know your limitations. Watch your time, your fuel, and your energy.
*Take an off-highway driving course to learn more about negotiating terrain in a four-wheel drive vehicle.
*Make sure your vehicle is mechanically up to task. Be prepared with tools, supplies, spares, and a spill kit for trailside repairs.
*Avoid sensitive areas such as meadows, lakeshores, wetlands and streams, unless on designated routes.
*Other sensitive habitats to avoid unless on designated routes include cryptobiotic soils of the desert, tundra, and seasonal nesting or breeding areas.
*Avoid disturbing historical, archeological, and paleontological sites.
*Avoid “spooking” livestock and wildlife you encounter and keep your distance.
*Motorized and mechanized vehicles are not allowed in areas designated Wilderness.

Do your part
by leaving the area better than you found it, properly disposing of waste, minimizing the use of fire, avoiding the spread of invasive species, restoring degraded areas, and joining a local enthusiast organization.
*Carry a trash bag on your vehicle and pick up litter left by others.
*Pack out what you pack in.
*Practice minimum impact camping by using established sites, camping 200 feet from water resources and trails.
*Observe proper sanitary waste disposal or pack your waste out.
*Protect the soundscape by preventing unnecessary noise created by a poorly tuned vehicle or revving your engine without need.
*Following a ride, wash your vehicle to reduce the spread of invasive species.
*Don’t mix driving with alcohol or drugs.
This list is from Tread Lightly a great organization focused not only on four wheeling but on everything outdoors. They have tips for the whole spectrum of outdoor activities.

Tread Lightly - Responsible Four Wheeling
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Old 04-04-2009, 01:34 PM   #7
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These principles apply to anyone who uses the resources. I get ticked all the time when I go hunting on private land and realize that the other members of our club leave trash behind, leave gates open, and generally show a lack of concern and responsibility to take care of things. It also happens on the streams. How can you spool off a tangle of fishing line and leave it behind so birds and small animals get tangled up in it and die??? Nothing gets under my skin like seeing tires, aluminum cans, and all kinds of other trash on the bottom of one of the best trout streams in the nation!!!
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Old 04-04-2009, 01:38 PM   #8
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Trash is a huge problem I think. From the time I was little I've fished, and my father taught me not only to take my line, weights, and waste, but to take other's. Fishing line is particularly irritating to me also. It takes up no room. Just ball it up and stick it in your pocket.

I noticed when we were out in Borrego, Jerry had a mess bag for trash attached to his spare tire. I've always carried a trash bag, but I like the visible mess one on the back.
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Old 04-04-2009, 02:04 PM   #9
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So far everyone has commented on a lot of very useful ways to protect our trails.

Here's where I ruffle some feathers and sit here with baited breath praying that anyone who singed up here at the WF only to complain about off-roading reads this and get's irritated. See, I LOVE to stir the pot!

I'd say 99% of the people on this forum are responsible, light treading wheelers. .5% are Trail-tards and the other .5% are Prius driving eco-tards who complain about us whilst driving the smallest car to ever have such a large carbon footprint which is systematically destroying the world one acre of Canada at a time just so they can say "I'm helping the environment"!!! <inhale>

One problem is the fact that the "environmentalists" are in some instances uninformed. It's really easy to jump on a band wagon and spend your days protesting something you really don't understand or have knowledge of just to be "heard". Lets face it, just about every freshman in college these days loves to hug trees in order to be accepted by their peers. And just like Muslim extremists, they like to go around and sabotage the rigs of those who would threaten their precious "holy" land. I've heard stories of folks having their lug nuts loosened when no one was looking. At what point is it feasible to endanger a life to promote your cause? I guess human life holds no value compared to saving the freakin' purple crested mountain fern!

It goes both ways. IMO eco-tards should study what they are fighting for and maybe ride along with or calmly talk to the trail riders before they go off the deep end. Education is the best weapon. Of course this will never happen. Most of these people have never had anything they like to do taken away from them. Therefore they have no relevant perspective of what it's like to have their hobby destroyed at the hands of others. And frankly, they don't care as long as they get their way.

I in NO WAY condone trashing trails. But one could argue that it's the old "toilet seat" debate. Why do I always have to put the seat down? Why do we have to bust our collective asses to loosely hang on to the thing we love when in reality we (for the most part) are responsible wheelers?

Well, I'll tell you why. Billy Bob who is 17 and his cronies like to take a case of Schlitz into the woods, drink it and play Dukes of Hazzard with their pretty 4x4's which Daddy gave them while tossing crap out of their windows and puking on the wild life. They have NO concept of how to work the skinny pedal and like to dig ginormous holes when they get stuck. And all of this just happens to take place in the back yard of some hemp wearing, hippy, eco-tard! These people need to be shot in the face and have their household pets raped!

Now, I'm NOT saying that ALL young people are irresponsible. And, I'm NOT saying that ALL adults are responsible. What I'm saying is "the few" are ruining it for the rest of us and it pisses me off! But, as we all know, the few make the rules for the many. You and I have things we need to do all day and the "few" have nothing better to do than file complaints and set all day in public hearings.

What most people are unaware of is that (in most cases) public lands can't just be shut down willy-nilly. The county or state usually hold public hearings to propose land use restrictions. It is vital for this hobby that those involved on both sides be heard. The only problem is that most public hearings are usually posted in super fine print in the back of the news paper and happen without a lot of people knowing it.

So, Be proactive, clean up after yourself and others, tread lightly, do no damage, stay calm and be informed.

With so many newly listed "protected" species on the planet, I'm really surprised that they haven't made most bugs endangered. tiny and I were talking about this in respect to a certain cactus in the desert. There are literally tons of these things choking out the landscape. tiny said they are probable vital to the survival of a certain species. My argument was, if it's a bug, why are we allowed to drive down the highway collecting thousands of them in the grille and on the windshield? Oh the horror!!! I guess the environmentalists are too lazy to walk everywhere. They want to push things for certain groups but have no want or need to ruin things for themselves. It's not a fair conflict. And don't get me started on the freakin' "Rain Forrest"! I flew over that damn thing for 17 hours and still didn't see 1% of it. The "environmentalists" want you to believe that there are only 2 acres of it left!

It's just like all of those who are against hunting and want the Whitetail deer population to grow exponentially. They don't want you to "shoot Bambi" unless of course "Bambi" comes crashing through their sliding glass door and starts trashing their living room. Then, the ONLY words you'll hear from them is "Kill this F*&%in' thing!".

So, now all you "environmentalists"... How does it feel to all be lumped together in one big, misbehaving group? After all, that's the hand you deal us on a daily basis. Take a big bite and enjoy it!

OK, I'm done. I'll leave you with this... Pick up your trash and trail lightly or I will hunt you down and kick your ass!
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Old 04-04-2009, 02:14 PM   #10
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Don't take this wrong Cain....

Calling people "ecotards" and lumping them all into the same uninformed group is exactly what they do to us.

Just sayin.

Otherwise, I pretty much agree with your assessment.
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Old 04-04-2009, 02:15 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dare2BSquare View Post
Don't take this wrong Cain....

Calling people "ecotards" and lumping them all into the same uninformed group is exactly what they do to us.

Just sayin.

Otherwise, I pretty much agree with your assessment.
That would be why he posted this...

Quote:

So, now all you "environmentalists"... How does it feel to all be lumped together in one big, misbehaving group? After all, that's the hand you deal us on a daily basis. Take a big bite and enjoy it!
at the end of his "rant".
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Old 04-04-2009, 02:28 PM   #12
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I understand.... but I find it much easier to debate an issue if you place your standards above the other party when it comes to name calling and taking cheap shots in the arguement.

Once again, that's my opinion.
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Old 04-04-2009, 02:39 PM   #13
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Quote:
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I noticed when we were out in Borrego, Jerry had a mess bag for trash attached to his spare tire. I've always carried a trash bag, but I like the visible mess one on the back.
Just a note:
Those bags are given out free at most or all CA4WDC sponsored events. I have one I keep in my jeep permanently. If you wear one out they will happily give you another.
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Old 04-04-2009, 02:57 PM   #14
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Just a note:
Those bags are given out free at most or all CA4WDC sponsored events. I have one I keep in my jeep permanently. If you wear one out they will happily give you another.
I'm a member, but I've never been to an event. I need one, I like it.
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Old 04-04-2009, 03:21 PM   #15
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Calling people "ecotards" and lumping them all into the same uninformed group is exactly what they do to us.
Yeah... I know I should be the better person... I just get fired up too easy I guess. And that's exactly what I was trying to do. Lump them into one group. Hell, why not? They all believe the overall outcome of our wheeling is the end all evil. Even when the bulk of us are careful, responsible people who care about the environment just as much as they do. I mean, after all we ALL live on this planet and if bad things happen to it, we ALL pay.

OK, I'm done crapping up this thread.
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Old 04-04-2009, 03:41 PM   #16
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OK, I'm done crapping up this thread.
You better be, or I'm going to pinch the hell out of you while you're asleep.


Ok guys, back on track. What's the most important thing you feel you do on the trail to keep them open?

We always clean up trash left behind. I'm also big on not cutting the trails wider. We spent a couple hours clearing a fallen tree from the trail and placing it over the fresh path a couple of out of touch offroaders had cut.
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Old 04-04-2009, 03:49 PM   #17
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Get to know rangers, game wardens, local leos and landowners PERSONALLY. Once they know you, and that you are responsible you will have a much easier time with your wheelin, or other land use options. Report abusers. And as was already mentioned, undertake projects on the land you want to use.

Your reputation among those who control lands is almost as important as what you actually do on the trails.
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Old 04-04-2009, 04:20 PM   #18
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I do not belong to a club because of the demands and pressures imposed usually conflict with my job. I do however belong to a several different organizations all of which fight for my right to use public lands in various ways. I am active in all of them as time allows. Get involved with at least one.

In the area of CA that I live in I go on trail repairs, cleanups and openings. Cleanups are the only thing I can do as an individual. Trail repairs and openings are performed with the sponsoring club and local authority of the land. Here where I live its the US Forest Service. You cannot legally repair or alter any trail without USFS permission and the "adopt a trail" sponsor being present. You and your vehicle have to registered and approved by the USFS to even be there. If you are clearing trees you cannot use chainsaws unless you are certified by the USFS. Everyone must wear proper clothing and use proper safety equipment pertaining to the task which you are working on. Hard hats, boots, full length pants and gloves are required at all times. I know this sounds like a pain in the ass, but thats the way its when working with and on govt lands. We still have a good time and I've never had a bad experience. You get to do some wheeling and get to know some of the people who police the area you play in. The different clubs that I go help really appreciate the extra help.
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Old 04-04-2009, 07:20 PM   #19
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Many well made points.... As a "scouter" we teach our boys the principles of "leave no trace"... ya take it in... ya bring it out.... stay on established trails/paths and clean up after those who are not as "responsible"...
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Old 04-06-2009, 08:27 PM   #20
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a few of the things i do when i wheel is..

a) wheel on property APPROVED to be wheeled on, stay off land that doesnt belong to you and isnt a orv park
b) make sure i have plenty of trash bags with me in case i have to repair my jeep on the trail, lay them down to make sure i dont lose fluid all over the ground..
c) if i use a come-along, make sure i use a tree saver or something that will protect the tree, or use another vehicle if i can
d) never liter, id rather drive around with empty bottles in my jeep than toss them out
e) if you smoke, use a ashtray, cigarette butts take forever to decompose
f) only use existing trails
g) dont cut anything down, if something is in the way, either move it or go around/over it

im sure theres more if i can think of them later
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Old 06-24-2009, 01:08 AM   #21
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I hope these help.

1. Hide your bolt cutters under your frame, rangers will look for them in the back, but never think to look up under the frame.

2. When changing fluids on a trail, dig a small hole to pour them in, then cover with leaves or dried tree bark.

3. Small endangered animals make for good traction in mud and on slick rocks. Their skins also make cool gear shift knob covers. (I like the small owls and bald Eagle heads)

4. Fresh water streams make good outdoor urinals and waste disposal sites.

5. Make sure and aim one set of aftermarkets lights about 3-4ft off the ground so that when spot lighting small deer you don't have to carry your flashlight...it leave both hands free. (one for beer and one for your gun)


Just kidding...

The best thing to do while on a trail is treat it better than you would treat your own property.
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Old 06-27-2009, 10:09 AM   #22
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Y all bring valid points about trail use.
IMHO, if we dont stick together to accomplish this, the environmentalists will pressure the govt, to close the trails.
Then where are we gonna go?
FWIW, Iv heard they are trying to close Pismo Beach.
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Old 06-29-2009, 05:29 PM   #23
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Y all bring valid points about trail use.
IMHO, if we dont stick together to accomplish this, the environmentalists will pressure the govt, to close the trails.
Then where are we gonna go?
FWIW, Iv heard they are trying to close Pismo Beach.
You are absolutely right. That's why there are more coalitions and groups like mine and also thru forums like Pirate that are seriously taking the fight to the them in order to protect the rights to access public lands.
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Old 09-29-2009, 09:37 PM   #24
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"Remember, join and advocate (that's) the two most important things that you can do", to quote my friend Del Albright from the BlueRibbon Coalition.

The easiest way to become & remain informed is to join your local 4WD club and support your state and national organizations.
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Old 10-06-2009, 04:01 AM   #25
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"Remember, join and advocate (that's) the two most important things that you can do", to quote my friend Del Albright from the BlueRibbon Coalition.

The easiest way to become & remain informed is to join your local 4WD club and support your state and national organizations.
You are absolutely right. I couldn't agree more. You are going to be able to garner more information about your specific area's by being part of member clubs from your state organizations. If your state doesn't have an org feel free to contact either John or myself for information.
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Old 11-22-2009, 04:56 PM   #26
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Here in Alaska the off-roaders tear up some of the trails so bad in the summer they are unusable for mushers, snowmachiners, and skiiers in the winter. If people are concerned about continued access, maybe they should stay off the trails when they are soft, or at least repair the damage they do. Three foot deep ruts make the trails unusable for everyone else. The skiiers and mushers are out in the summer clearing and cutting new trails and grooming them in the winter. The off-roaders do nothing but tear things up, and actually post pictures and video of themselves doing it on the internet. How long can that go on without the privilege of public land use being taken away?
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Old 12-02-2009, 02:10 AM   #27
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Not very long my friend. That's why out here in AZ we have been using seasonal closures as a mitigating factor when need be. There is a time and place for muddin and shreddin, but in today's time and place terrain destructive wheeling is havin to take a back seat.

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Here in Alaska the off-roaders tear up some of the trails so bad in the summer they are unusable for mushers, snowmachiners, and skiiers in the winter. If people are concerned about continued access, maybe they should stay off the trails when they are soft, or at least repair the damage they do. Three foot deep ruts make the trails unusable for everyone else. The skiiers and mushers are out in the summer clearing and cutting new trails and grooming them in the winter. The off-roaders do nothing but tear things up, and actually post pictures and video of themselves doing it on the internet. How long can that go on without the privilege of public land use being taken away?
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Old 12-02-2009, 11:55 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by MikeAK View Post
Here in Alaska the off-roaders tear up some of the trails so bad in the summer they are unusable for mushers, snowmachiners, and skiiers in the winter. If people are concerned about continued access, maybe they should stay off the trails when they are soft, or at least repair the damage they do. Three foot deep ruts make the trails unusable for everyone else. The skiiers and mushers are out in the summer clearing and cutting new trails and grooming them in the winter. The off-roaders do nothing but tear things up, and actually post pictures and video of themselves doing it on the internet. How long can that go on without the privilege of public land use being taken away?
IMHO, if they are dumb enough to post on the internet and dumb enough to show license plates, use that to go after them if possible.
May be easier said than done but worth a shot.

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