I know this is probably something that has been talked about to death, but it is something i feel very strongly about, and that is the tread lightly initiative. For those who may not know what it is, it is a program designed to allow for outdoor recreational activities, while providing tips and suggestions on how to keep the areas where these activities take place from being destroyed, and to ensure those areas will be around for future generations to enjoy. I recommend everyone become a member of Tread Lightly. Their website is www.treadlightly.org.
Posted 04 August 2013 - 08:38 PM
As we're well into another motorized back country summer, thanks for bringing up Tread Lightly...I am more than familiar, having served on the Tread Lightly! Board of Directors as the Media Representative for several years in the 'nineties. My membership dates to the earliest days, and I saw the organization grow...Bill Burke (4-Wheeling America) and I co-instructed the national Tread Lightly 4WD Clinics across the country under the sponsorship of Chevrolet, and I spoke and trail guided at new 4x4 vehicle launches on behalf of Tread Lightly!, Inc.—including Chevrolet, GMC, Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz.
I am a strong advocate of 'Tread Lightly!' and its motorized vehicle ethics position. What I like most about Tread Lightly! is its non-political, on task approach to protecting the off-road environment. The theme is universal and inclusive of every off-pavement vehicle type and watercraft users as well. Bill and I often shared Leave No Trace ethics at our 4WD clinics and trail runs, and Tread Lightly! supports my dirt motorcycle interests and those of ATV owners, horseback riders, hikers and anyone else who appreciates outdoor recreation and the natural world.
Tread Lightly stay-on-the-trail ethics and the notion of minimizing environmental impact each sends a clear, straightforward message. I have promoted low environmental impact four-wheeling and single track riding for over four decades and am very pleased to have worked on behalf of Tread Lightly!, Inc.
I also enjoyed representing the Tread Lightly USA/UK Team at the 1996 Land Rover Trek competition, a mini-Camel Trophy physical challenge. I trained for that one, and we earned a podium finish with the combined four-wheeling, winching, riding an ATB in Georgia clay mud, ropes, canoeing and orienteering...Yes, I'm even known to hike, snow shoe, fly fish, horse pack and hunt on foot when the opportunity arises! Four-wheeling is often our access to hiking trailheads.
As for liking 'Tread Lightly!', guess this makes two of us, Biggman100! Thanks for bringing 'Tread Lightly!' up...
Posted 12 August 2013 - 08:49 PM
The work that Bill and I did together was funded by a grant from Chevrolet to Tread Lightly, specifically for this purpose. Yes, we did protect the land where we conducted the clinics, whether it was private or public. In fact, we taught several classes in which BLM and U.S. Forest Service personnel, in addition to members of the general public, were present for training.
I, too, am not clear whether Tread Lightly has the current funding for these types of clinics. Bill and I each went on and taught four-wheeling skills, including safe driving methods and vehicle recovery, always with low environmental impact as a primary topic and demonstrated technique. We have each worked with vehicle manufacturers, private corporations and agencies. In all cases, our particular style of teaching involves low environmental impact driving and protection of the environment. For those interested, Bill operates 4-Wheeling America as his business. As a consultant, I make myself available to private parties, groups, agencies and corporations for 4WD training, trail guiding, vehicle testing, marketing needs, destination tours and new product launches. For more information, see my portfolio website.
In my view, if damage to the environment is likely, find another route or come back when weather and road conditions will permit safe, low-impact travel. Occasions like rainy weather, snow and mud can turn a relatively easy, low-impact route into a disastrously damaging and scarring blight on the land.
Low-impact four-wheeling is about ethics and skills. Ethics like Tread Lightly principles should be fundamental for all off-pavement drivers and riders. Technique should be cultivated, as the effects of poor driving habits or ignorance of how to operate a vehicle under tough, off-pavement driving conditions, can only lead to needless environmental damage.
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