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Discussion Starter #1
After recently being exposed to some really bad off road behavior (not you MG, I understand you're on private land), my mind got percolating and I thought I'd bring an idea out here, figuring it can't do any harm.

I'd like to try and start a notion at sort of a grass-roots level. I wonder if folks could buy into the idea that every off-roading group, whether it's hikers, bikers, quads, trucks, what have you, whether it's a club "event" or just some buddies out for a good time, should have a "Designated Light Treader". I'd model it after a designated driver. That guy or gal who's your REAL friend in the group and knows it's their JOB to take your keys when you're unfit to drive, and who everyone EXPECTS to perform in that role.

A Designated Light Treader would be the one responsible to be the voice of reason when folks are thinking of bypassing an obstacle, or driving off-trail. The one suggesting we find a way to strap this guy through rather than cut a new, easier route. The one who helps the group realize that it really IS the prudent thing to back out or turn around rather than push through situations that will harm the land. The one who's reminding folks in the party to leave the land better than they found it.

The idea is NOT to absolve the rest of the group of all responsibility. On the contrary, it's to designate a point person for reminding every individual of their responsibilities.

I'd like it if every group elected a Designated Light Treader at the trail head, and then at the end of the day, let him or her know how they did in the role. The more militant greenie, the better. Hell, get some green Tread Lightly caps made up and let the DLT (gosh it sounds too much like DOLT, doesn't it?[:)]) wear the cap for the day.

Okay, maybe the cap bit is over the top. But do you see my point? We have to do something. Act at the source. Keep it simple.

It COULD start right here.

Thanks for your time.

-Dave G.
 

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Great Idea

Hipine - 4/28/2005 11:12 AM

After recently being exposed to some really bad off road behavior (not you MG, I understand you're on private land), my mind got percolating and I thought I'd bring an idea out here, figuring it can't do any harm.

I'd like to try and start a notion at sort of a grass-roots level. I wonder if folks could buy into the idea that every off-roading group, whether it's hikers, bikers, quads, trucks, what have you, whether it's a club "event" or just some buddies out for a good time, should have a "Designated Light Treader".
It's a great idea, although the DLT might have to carry armament to protect him/herself from other less concerned 4WD folks on the trail.

Bill Burke has an awareness deal going on right now. See:

http://www.bb4wa.com/default.html

He's also asking folks to contact Tread Lightly

http://www.treadlightly.org/

to ask them to go after some of the 4WD manufacturers and their ads which are showing irresponsible behaviour. Minor conflict is that Tread Lightly gets some of its funding from 4WD manufacturers; so asking manufacturers to clean up their ads might not be in their own self interest.
 

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Great Idea - No Future

Tread Lightly had a promising start - I used to be a charter member - it has sunken to a career club for women and the manufacturers use it to appear in a favorable light. They dump insane amounts of money into Tread Lightly. It makes them appear on the "right side".
Tread Lightly reaches the responsible users and spends its money partially on restoring damaged environments.

Ironic - Jeep donates $500,000 to Tread Lightly to restore some pristine environment, and then they spend 500 million for TV commercials tearing up the back country. But they need to in order to stay in business. And don't we all want a healthy economy? SUV ads need to be very dynamic. Proper driving would not make anyone buy a Jeep. Notice the more an more aggressive "young" music in SUV ads? Let it rip! Tomorrow is so far away. We'll fix it when we get there.

tread Lightly and all other organizations and clubs have the same effect - they reach the responsible among us. The reach the ones willing to listen. Bill Burke reaches the ones willing to listen. And to educate the concerned among us is good - but we all have failed where it counts. We have failed to find a way to get through to the growing number of guys who give a damn.

The challenge is, how to reach the ones who define freedom as "my freedom" - meaning, "I am free to do what I want." I have not even a clue how to do that. Have no idea how to keep them from ripping up the back country. Nobody has. Until we do, all Tread Lightly restoration programs and Bill Burke's poetic contest have only one good effect - PR for themselves.

The task would be to keep the yahoos from doing harm, not more policing and punishing them after they failed. Anyone out there with a concept?

I am almost ready to accept the militant environmentalist's proposal - lets lock it all up until the human animal is able to treat his surroundings respectfully and responsibly. Not much hope though.

Harald
 

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Make people carry a license in order to be able to go offroad. Before granting them the license (after passing tests), make them take an 8-10 week course which teaches/explains in depth the ABCs of offroad traveling, it's affect on the enviornment, how to use your rig, etc.

Those who do not have a license could face some serious penalties.

That's just my two cents.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
But that's exactly what I'm talking about......

"....The task would be to keep the yahoos from doing harm, not more policing and punishing them after they failed. Anyone out there with a concept?...."

The concept is to build a grass-roots suport network of folks expecting better behavior from their peers, encourage it and let it grow.

The only way is to grow the level of peer pressure from the bottom up. Like you say, top-down stuff doesn't stand a chance in our lifetimes. Licensing programs are just as infeasible to enforce as any other form of trail policing, unless we do want to lock it all down.

Tread Lightly, The Blue Ribbon Coalition, and Rachel Burke, as well as other on other lists I've recieved responses from seem to be universally positiive about the idea's potential.

And I guess that's teh beauty of it. There will be plenty of people saying "forget it" in one form or another, but if even a few more people remember it, it's doing some good.

I personally feel that this issue won't be solved by some giant policing or enforcement effort, but rather by peer pressure and a gradual winning of the hearts and minds. The folks at Tread Lightly and the BRC seem to agree from what they tell me. Having some central points of disemination, like driving trainers and ATV retail outlets and things, will help boost it, but they're not necessary The REAL deal will be with the individuals.

We can't eat the whole elephant at once, but we can start some folks taking a bite at a time.

-Dave G.
 

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RE: But that's exactly what I'm talking about......

Dave,

as much I appreciate your efforts to create another wonderful tool to make the world a better place, and I am not saying you should not do it, plus everyone else truly concerned applauds you - BUT..
the guys causing the damage do not want to be peers.
They talk a different language. They hate anything that is is organized or even remotely related to government. They will definitely not listen to me or you. As I wrote here before - I have had their guns in my face more than once. They claim to be for democracy and freedom - but I suspect, what they want is anarchy (without understanding what that really means) since they only want their freedom.
The simple fact that one of their powerful groups (even yahoos get organized nowadays) gave itself the name "Pirates of the Rubicon" tells us that they don't really want to be bound by the restrictions that create a free society.
They have mellowed down somewhat after discovering that there is even money to be made with tearing up the back country and after noticing that some of the open acces has been taken away. So, some of them are now sitting in committees to fight closures - but the majority just moves on to remoter areas to continue the destructive games.

http://www.pirate4x4.com/

Harald
 

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If they want to play dirty, why doesn't someone pin them against the ELF?? Two very different groups, two different extremes. [}:)]

We should find a way to make it known that there are actually a group of people who respect and care for the enviornment very much, but also know how to have fun and enjoy the trails without doing damage to the enviornment.
 

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In North Carolina, majority of the trails have been well marked and very well maintained for off-road use. The trails are very well defined and often do not allow you to very off course. Places where you shouldn't be are simply closed off. On top of that, some of the trails require a "park fee" for the day. The money is used to maintained the trails.

If these guys want to "tear it up", they need to find or buy private property to do it... and keep it there.


We had an issue during the last Land Rover Rally I attended with over 60 vehicles.
The two largest issues were disorganization and people going in restricted areas.
To resolve these issues in future events, some changes are going to be made.
1. Tread Lightly seminars - creating certified trail leaders.
2. Manditory Drivers Meetings before hitting the trals - for the next few events, we are inviting the local Foresty Rangers. We have been told that they will be happy to attend.
3. We will have a "Club Sheriff" on all runs to keep an eye out on everything.
4. The club will be adopting new by-laws and strictly enforcing them.

The problems are often caused by a very select few. Since we belong to a "club" that meets on a regular basis, we can actually create some "peer pressure" and influence. This also makes everyone involved more aware of thier environment.
 

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All that is fine and dandy. But what are those club members doing when they are not part of an organzied (policed) run? What are the guys doing that do not even belong to a club? Do not want to be in a club?

We are preaching to the folks who already believe in preservation and claim we have good results - but what about the guys refusing "to go to church"? That was my initial point - how do we reach those few bad apples?

Actually I don't believe it is just the "few bad apples" - it is the easy way out for the "good apples". I think, it is a pretty strong number who does not follow the rules. I have even seen club members (wearing Blue Ribbon Coalition T-shirts with the imprint "keep trails open") using their winches to willfully destruct a trail to make it more difficult. I called the Sheriff on them.

Possibly all this is reflecting the makeup of our society. It is not just the 4-wheeling community.
And in a way we are in a tricky position - we want everyone to follow the same rules, but we want to be exempt - we want everything to be lawful, but we root for the outlaw.

Remember those popular TV shows where some kids pulled outragous stunts, almost getting killed? And then the next day copycats blew their brains out attempting to do the same thing. And people do not simply copy because they saw it on TV. They saw it and loved it!

Now look at the change in extreme fourwheeling and some guys becoming famous and rich over it. No wonder my 17 year old neighbor wants to do the same thing in his Toyota pickup. It is super cool. Well, he breaks his truck and kills a couple of bushes, damages a tree. But man was it fun! He'll rebuild and go at it again. The more extreme the better. Isn't that what you see every single minute on TV - "extreme"?

And maybe he is right. Who cares about a couple of bushes and a tree, if we old farts have trees cut down to have burl wood in our Mercedes? Are we right - is he wrong?

Dunno

Harald
 
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