Get Involved With Your Local Off-Road Trails
Recently, several off-road magazines have run big headlines on their covers about land closures and closed public off-road areas. This has been an on-going problem for over 40 years! If off-roaders throughout the land hadnít become involved with the political process, weíd probably be restricted to watching old videos of our adventures and seeing our Jeeps in museums today.
First off, if youíre not in a club, join one! Safety is in numbers, in more ways than one. In order to have political clout, you need numbers. Local off-road clubs are the first level.
Then the club needs to join the state association, if there is one, and/or a national organization such as the Blue Ribbon Coalition, which is comprised of many different off-roading groups that include four wheelers, ATVs, UTVs, motorcycles, buggies, mud boggers Ö well, you get the idea. United 4WD is an organization of four-wheelers only.
Next, participate in community events to place your sport in front of the voters. If you can, sign your group/club up for parades (crowds love it when Jeeps start climbing tires, flying flags, etc.) and you might even make it into the newspaper.
Make sure several membersí phone numbers are in the hands of those responsible in cases of emergency (floods, earthquakes, wild fires, etc.) so that your club can assist in evacuations, rescues, etc. One of our members is on our county sheriffís search and rescue squad and many others are on call if needed.
Maybe one of the most important things is to adopt a trail. Work with the BLM, USFS, etc. on maintaining trails, providing free labor for campground improvements, fencing in dangerous mineshafts, trash cleanup, etc. In todayís economy, many government agencies cannot afford all the projects that need doing, but those same agencies may be able to afford the materials for those projects if clubs and individuals can provide the free labor. I remember back in the Ď70s and Ď80s we built gabions at the direction of the US Forest Service for trout stream protection and enhancement. With the BLM, we installed fire rings in desert campgrounds, and after a Blazer drove into a vertical mineshaft, we encircled many mines in the high desert with fences to protect the area users.
My club, the Walapai (pronounced WALL-a-pie) Four Wheelers of Kingman, Arizona, has participated in a very easy off-road trip and picnic for kids with special needs. We gave them an experience that they, and we, will never forget.
One of our members got himself appointed to the countyís fairgrounds commission. Now we have motorsports on the fairgrounds including a rock-climbing demonstration at the recent county fair, and we have upcoming motocross races and a W.E.Rock competition at the fairgrounds.
Letís face it, Jeep clubs, off-road groups, dirt bikers and ATVers everywhere are being assaulted on all sides by so-called conservationists who want to seal off huge tracts of land to all types of motorized sports. Their aim is to preserve the backcountry for the viewers, not the users. Get involved with your local trail systems and riding areas and make a positive impact for off-road users everywhere.