Protect, promote and provide 4x4 opportunities worldwide
August 2016 â€˘ Volume 43 â€˘ Issue 2
Board of Directors President Tom Mandera– firstname.lastname@example.org Past President Jim Mazzola III– email@example.com Vice President Steve Egbert- firstname.lastname@example.org International Vice President Peter Vahry – email@example.com Treasurer Bob DeVore – firstname.lastname@example.org Director of Membership Richard Hiltz - email@example.com Director of Public Relations James Dixonfirstname.lastname@example.org Director of Environmental Affairs Jerry Smith - email@example.com
Extended Board of Directors
4WD Awareness Coordinator Craig Feusse - firstname.lastname@example.org Website Administrator Milt Webb Design – email@example.com
Legal and Marketing
Legal Counsel Carla Boucher – firstname.lastname@example.org Business Development Manager Ray Stanley- email@example.com
Editorial and Design Editor, Peter Vahry
UFWDA Office and Contact PO Box 316 Swartz Creek, MI 48473 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 1-800-44-UFWDA
Introductions: Tom Mandera Steve Egbert Peter Vahry James Dixon Ray Stanley
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Comment: Loving YOUR 4x4 Trails Independence Day Can We Really Combat Trail Closures? State VS. Federal Management Carlton Lake
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News and Events: UFWDA in Alaska Proposed 166 mile four wheel drive trail would connect western Colorado to eastern Utah Crawl 4 the Cure 2016 Twin Mountain Off Road Adventures San Rafael Swell Off Road My First Day At 4XKids Day UFWDA President assists Helena Ultra Runners League Forest Service Survey Finds Record 66 Million Dead Trees in Southern Sierra Nevada MAFWDA Potomac State Forest Volunteer Weekend
Business Members Member Organizations
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Cover photo; Alaskan Foray Action Photography Stories and articles are submitted from various Association Members and other contributors. The views and opinions expressed in the stories and articles within are solely those of the individual, or individuals who submitted said stories or articles. United Four Wheel Drive Associations may neither advocate, endorse, nor recommend any of the said views or opinions.
Tom Mandera UFWDA President
Another AGM is in the books. We had a little “excitement” at the last minute, when we suddenly had several nominations and candidates appear (yippee!) but it all came together a bit “late” to satisfy the bylaw requirements for running for office. Have no fear! When there are willing participants, there is a way to incorporate fresh volunteers into the BOD - so following our short affirmation of the “valid” nominations for the open positions, the new (which was the old) BOD’s first order of business was to fill the still-vacant positions, and we just happened to fill them from the ranks of the late nominations. Maybe folks didn’t land quite where they were aiming, but every willing participant found a chair to occupy at least. I’ve often pondered if President is the most, or least, powerful position on the BOD. On the one hand, I’m essentially responsible for everything, but on the other, I have the most clearly defined role, and feel the most beholden to adhere to the bylaws. (By comparison, a committee chair has substantial flexibility, within the confines of the committee’s charter). Thus, the conundrum of capitalizing on the willing participants when the bylaws were pretty clear on what we couldn’t do - but as usual, some additional scrutiny finds the loop holes necessary to effect change within the boundaries defined in the Bylaws. In any case, with a little creativity, we now have Steve Egbert in the VP chair, Jim Dixon filling our long vacant Public Relations, and Ray Stanley has agreed to be the Business Development Manager. Three new additions to the BOD with energy and new ideas to be implemented, and we all look forward to the assistance in furthering the UFWDA’s Mission, and how we can deliver on it. For those that need a refresher, the Bylaws state:
“Section 1. PURPOSE. UFWDA shall be a non-profit corporation organized for the purpose of promoting the continued growth and organization of recreational four wheel drive motor vehicle activities and maintaining access for recreational opportunities through education partnerships, stewardship and political awareness. “ We do believe that we need to address our low membership numbers, to address our low revenue and to address our lower-than-desired spending on furthering that mission. Volunteers go a long way, but volunteerism is seldom the first priority in anyone’s life - usually there’s a mix of work and family that gets in the way of more altruistic pursuits - but make it someone’s work to do so, and we’ll meet with more success. That is what the anti-access crowd does, with paid solicitors, paid attorneys, paid grant writers, paid presenters, and so forth. What do you think is the greatest asset UFWDA does - and could - supply? What do you think can be done to reach out to new members and add them to the family? Thank you all for your support. I look forward to any responses, and I look forward to this opportunity to rejuvenate the BOD and UFWDA.
the plan will be key. Steve Egbert UFWDA Vice President
I would like to introduce my self, I am Steve Egbert and the new Vice President of the United Four Wheel Drive Associations. I am also the President of the California Four Wheel Drive Association(Cal 4 Wheel) I have been on the the Board of directors of Cal 4 Wheel for many years. I have served as Central District Secretary/Treasurer and Central District Vice President before becoming the President in 2013. Cal 4 Wheel was formed in 1959 and is a strong and important representative in land use issues in California. Cal 4 Wheel has two full time contracted consultants working with state and federal land management agencies. We also have a contractor that publishes our bi-monthly magazine and manages our web presence. We have a full time office manager that process our memberships and keeps the financial records along with many other duties. Our office is in Sacramento California in a building we own. We have a great volunteer base that puts on our 9 events throughout out the state. In addition we give away a Jeep every year through our Win-a-Jeep program. From the balance of income from membership, events and the Wina-Jeep program, we have built a solid financial base to keep our mission of keeping public lands accessible to all types of recreation. I am proud of the work I have done over the last 3 years as President, but without the dedication of our contractors, staff and volunteers none of it would have been possible. Currently both membership and income are up and increasing. We are currently working closely with other organizations in the state to reauthorize our states OHV program, which is a challenge in a very liberal state. With three other partners we retain a top lobbying firm in Sacramento which will be key moving forward in the legislative process. In the future I see returning United to a viable and strong organization on the national level very important. We need to work to provide value to the members and member organizations to ensure a strong future. I look forward to helping in this effort and thanks the current volunteers for their efforts. Mapping out plans for our future and implementing
Thank you; Steve Egbert
Peter Vahry International VP Editor With UFWDA Board roles filled for the first time for several years, I look forward to a scenario where we are able to better achieve strong 4x4 advocacy, rather than being constrained by a lack of people power to focus on tasks. Many members have wondered about our lack of ‘engagement’ with them in areas like renewals etc. Like a lot of volunteer organizations we’ve been trying to find affordable software to automate many of the routine, but time consuming, tasks around member management. We recently found what we hope will solve that and testing is underway. Such membership management automation using web based tools should change many things for the better, but we are still unique with our vitally important ‘fully paid’ organizations who collect member data and payment for us and forward to us in bulk. How we manage those members is one of the areas that we want to get right so we don’t offend or complicate matters. We need to make things simple to encourage more organizations to bring all their members into UFWDA and create the vital stable financial base and four wheeler representation needed into the future. I’d like to think too that our increased capacity to work on advocacy projects might mean that the MOU agreement with the Off Road Business Association (ORBA) can perhaps finally come into play, as it’s been around a year now without any clearly identified value. Now, back to the UFWDA Voice, we do need your help with content, as unlike ‘commercial’ publications we can’t fund travel to cover events or even pay for articles and photos... we know there are some great photos taken and reports written and it would be nice to publish them here too. It’s easy, email to email@example.com
James Dixon PR DirectorUFWDA
Hello everyone, My name is James Dixon but go by Jim. I grew up in White Lake, Michigan and moved to Northern Colorado in 2009 with my wife. I started my love for the OHV Community when I was 7 years old with my first dirt bike and it just grew from there. I currently have 3 Jeeps that range from nearly stock to moderate-heavily modified and currently working on an all out rock crawler. Currently I am the Vice President for the Larimer County 4 Wheel Drive Club as well as the Public Relations Officer for the Colorado Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs and decided to join the Board of Directors here at United Four Wheel Drive Association and the Public Relations Director. To me this is one of the most important roles of any Organization, as it does not matter what any person/organizations accomplishes; without a good relationship and exposure to the public it goes unnoticed, especially in todayâ€™s age of social media. My current thoughts on the future of UFWDA are that we need to showcase the importance of organized groups and organizations. There are many individuals that do not see the need, as they are able to just log into their favorite social media account and talk to other enthusiasts and plan trips. Where that is just a very small portion of what we as an OHV Community need to be concerned with. Without a well-organized group/ organization we do not have a solid foundation to fight for open-public access to the areas we all love and enjoy. I hope that through my role as the PR Director here with UFWDA I can help in these areas. Some of the first items I would like to address are coming up and implementing new ideas to attract others into joining through memberships, as well as getting other local and regional Associations to join either through supporting memberships or entire roster memberships. This will just be the beginning of bringing UFWDA back to where it once was and needs to be. Thank you and Enjoy the Back Country! James Dixon PR Director- UFWDA
Ray Stanley Business Development Manager My thanks to all my off road friends and Southern family as we add another chapter to this journey today as we embark on a road to refocus the United Four Wheel Drive Association. A little about me! I am currently President, Southern Four Wheel Drive Association. I am married to my wife of 40+ years, Gwen Stanley, and have two children and five grandchildren. We lived in North Georgia near the first gold rush area and home of the first Federal Mint in the United States. Professionally we own a manufacturing business with specialty Graphic Arts niches in the consumer packaging segments. This year we are celebrating 25 years in this business. As many of you are aware, SFWDA embarked on a major rebranding of the Southern Four Wheel Drive Association in 2014. Our efforts have created new energy, new enthusiasm and a renewed commitment to our core values. SFWDA has grown today to nearly 3,000 members, 40+ clubs, 100+ Business Members and a Facebook social media footprint nearing 6,000 followers. SFWDA has been an active supporter and resource for many projects in recent years at the Uwharrie National Forest, Beasley Knob OHV and the Daniel Boone National Forest. We are very proud to be a leading partner in the reopening of the Daniel Boone Backcountry Byway. And our association is preparing to celebrate our 30th anniversary in September, 2016 as we host Dixie Run 30, a legacy event for both our association and the Southeast US. On a personal note, my family are all wheelers and life time members of Southern Jeeps. We have been members of SFWDA since 1995; and I have served in various leadership positions since 2004. We are supporters of Tread Lightly!, Blue Ribbon Coalition, Off Road Business Association, Friends of Uwharrie and Friends of the Daniel Boone Backcountry Byway. I look forward to helping shape a vision, a strategy and a plan to move the United Four Wheel Drive Association forward with a national focus on land use initiatives, building partnerships across all entities and breathing new life into UFWDA to support our off road communities.
Loving YOUR 4x4 Trails By Jerry Smith
Take a “virtual” Jeep trip with me for a moment, if you will. If you can close your eyes and read this too, it will be easier for you to go on this trip, but do the best you can. Daydream a little. Now, think about a very special trip you’ve been craving to do, but just can’t find the time and money to make at the same time. Maybe you’ve always wanted to go to somewhere special like… Moab. Okay, let’s go to Moab. Picture yourself turning south off of I-70 heading from Crescent Junction. You look out at the desolate desert scene and wonder, “Where are all of the slickrock and the red canyons you have seen in pictures. This gray, sparsely vegetated land looks nothing like those red rock cliffs and deep canyons. This looks more like a lunar landscape. Fast-forward about ten miles. Off in the distance, the terrain is beginning to change. There are dark, strange looking shapes jutting up from the earth. After a few minutes, these dark and ominous looking shapes begin to grow dramatically in height. The dark colors are turning to a red hue as they reach ever higher.
About ten-miles from the town of Moab, on your right, there are 800-900 foot high red cliffs rising nearly vertical above the road. Yes, the red rock canyons do exist. Off to your left, the red rocks begin growing into what is Arches National Park. Soon you pass the entrance to the park. The next feature you will recognize is the crossing of the Colorado River. Looking down from the bridge, the river is nearly the color of the cliffs surrounding you. The river is almost like a large, flowing chocolate milk. After crossing the Colorado River, you begin encountering hotels along the highway. Moab is a tourist destination deluxe. Known for Jeeping, ATVing, UTVing, mountain biking, canyoneering, rock climbing, and overwhelmingly beautiful countryside, Moab is a recreational mecca. Tonight, you will unload your non-trail-gear and partake of a wonderful dinner at one of the Moab eateries. There you will meet up with other people here for the same kind of adventure you came for. The next morning you join forces with some of the Red Rock 4-Wheelers for their weekly trips as
advertised on their Facebook page. This way you will not be going out alone and will have someone leading that knows the trails and history of the area. Learning to drive slickrock is best done with experienced people leading the way. At the meeting place, you learn the CB channel the group will be running on. This will give you a chance to get informed of the local chatter that goes with a trip like this. You’ll learn the names of individual obstacles and how best to approach them on the radio. These make for some great photo-ops, and you brought your camera just for such opportunities. Heading out to the trailhead, the CB talk is of what to expect. Anticipation rises to a fever pitch. You know this will be a day to remember, but you also don’t want to make a fool of yourself, or worse, breakdown. At the trailhead, everyone airs down and mingles for some chat. You begin to be included in the group and learn some names. Camaraderie is always a common course within the wheeling community. This is why you join clubs and associations. Being an ACTIVE part of these organizations is important. There is more fun when you can say, “I’m a member of ---“. It establishes your credibility right from the beginning. At the trailhead, you see some O.P.T. and pick it up. Your pride in having clean trails further establishes you as a friend and group member. O.P.T., by the way, is Other People’s Trash. After a bit, it’s time to head out on the trail. At the first obstacle, the rig ahead of you has some
difficulty. Everyone gets out and begins working to get them over this one. Soon, it’s your turn to take on the challenge. With a little struggle and some good spotting, you make it up and over, thankful for the help. Having experienced people guiding you through is not just welcome; it’s provided you a good learning experience. Knowledge of the trail, the area, and “how-to” negotiate individual obstacles makes the whole trip much more pleasurable. At the end of the day, because you JOINED in with others, the trip was significantly more enjoyable. You made new friends and learned some valuable tricks about how to drive on the slickrock. Your day on the trail became more valuable by having all of these experiences. Your love of the trail has just been taken to another level. You cared enough to pick up some O.P.T. You learned that having experienced people willing to offer a hand when needed makes for a more safe and enjoyable trip. And your experience level has risen to the next step in being a true trail leader. If you are not already a member of your local Jeep club, JOIN it. Support keeping our trails clean, safe, challenging, and open to motorized use. This will increase your love of the trail and your desire to go again. It may be the support that makes the difference between having access to that favorite trail… or NOT!!
Words by Pat Brower Pictures courtesy of Alaskan Foray Action Photography
Earlier this spring, UFWDA was invited to Fairbanks, Alaska to hold a Four Wheel Drive Awareness Class hosted by the Fairbanks Off Road Lions Club (FORL). The classroom portion was held at the Ken Kunkel Community Center just outside of Fairbanks. While the driving and extraction skills portions were held at the Fairbanks Off Road Club ORV Park. The FORL ORV Park is a new facility being developed as a public/private partnership between the Alaska Department of Natural Resources and the FORL Club. This relationship grants the FORL Club nearly free reign over the layout and development of the trails and obstacles in the Park, while it will be operated by, and is located on, ADNR lands. Fifteen members of the Club joined in the Awareness Training. This included approximately four hours of class room instruction coupled with parking lot discussions and examples involving some of the member’s rigs. An absolutely wonderful lunch was provided by some of the club members, some of whom weren’t involved in the class. After lunch, participants made a short trip to the FORL ORV Park for the hands on portion of
the training. Extractions, including winching and strapping, were practiced and reviewed. A driving course was laid out the previous day to include the proper traverse of hill ascent/ descents, off camber situations, gullies and ditches, and a variety of other terrains. There were also seven members interested in the 4WD Awareness Trainer class that was to be held the following day. This portion is relatively brief, consisting of three to five hours of instructor-centric information. Several of the interested parties had traveled rather far to attend for the weekend class, so it was agreed that rather than have everyone reconvene the following day for the Instructor’s portion, we would have dinner together and present the material over and following dinner. While it made for a rather long day, it would also save everyone the return trip and seemed to be greatly appreciated by many. This twelveish hours of class has netted the FORL Club fifteen UFWDA Four Wheel Drive Awareness graduates and both UFWDA and the FORL Club seven new Instructors. WELL DONE FORL!
How is YOUR independence serving YOU? The 4th of July… the American “Independence Day”.
King to “stuff it” as a group. That was building for some time.
What does that mean to you?
Next, I see a lot of that basic attitude today. We have a “would be King” telling his faithful followers to close our public lands to motorized recreation in the name of “preservation”. There are times when I think he and his faithful followers should be withheld from oxygen for about 300 years, that’s how my “Independence” rises up.
I was reflecting on that question early (about 3AM) this morning. Some thoughts about what “independence” came to me. First, I am quite certain that our “Founding Fathers” were quite an “independent” bunch BEFORE pursuing our national independence from the British. You don’t just decide one day to tell the
But that would only lead to the taking of my independence.
Motorized recreationists are an “independent” group. So we who love motorized recreation must take a different direction from hostilities. We must approach many things with the same “independent” thinking that we approach a significant obstacle on the trail with. Some of us approach an obstacle with great trepidation. We fear that something bad might happen if we attempt to overcome it. Others of us see that same obstacle as a challenge. Our driving ability and the capabilities of our ride are being tested… and we cannot, will not, be turned away. Road and trail closures are another kind of obstacle. To overcome these obstacles, we are required to use our thinking abilities rather than our physical prowess. A very wise man once said something to the effect; “Any obstacle can be overcome with the right application.” Okay, I may not be all that wise. If you think about it, though, there are very few obstacles that man has not been able to overcome. The ones yet to be conquered are still just waiting for the right idea to materialize. I see that same scenario in what most of us call “land use”. The word “use” being the focus word. Motorized recreationists wish to “USE” the land. Preservationistas wish to “preserve” it… they can’t tell what for, but they want to preserve it at ANY cost. But maybe the word “use” is not the proper verb. Most of us only wish to appreciate the land and all it has to offer. It is not our intent to “use” the land. “Use” sounds like we want to use it up, and discard the leftovers. Nothing could be farther from the truth. We only wish to “experience” the land. There is the same spiritual need in us as in the hikers and bikers and the equestrians. (the non-motorized – anti access crowd). We ALL love the experience of Nature. It has a tendency to ground the average human. The day-to-day rat race means little out in the Great American BackCountry. Whether you hike, bike, horseback, motor cycle, ATV, UTV, or Jeep the backcountry, the ultimate reward is the exact same experience. The big differences between the motorized and non-motorized crowds come down to about 3-things. First, the numbers of people willing to make a difference. The “anti-access” crowd has great
numbers willing to write letters, sign petitions, and attend meetings. Second, the money in their bank accounts. The “anti-access” crowd has many millions of dollars to use for lobbying and filling campaign coffers. Gaining an audience with politicians is easy when you offer them money. The motorized community barely scrapes by with a few thousand dollars. What does get accomplished is often done at the expense of the individual volunteers. Third, the dedication to do what is necessary to complete their mission. The “anti-access” crowd has an almost cult-like dedication to “preserving” the entirety of public lands. They may not stop there either. The motorized community seems satisfied with what few trails are still available. To fight for them just takes too much effort, time, and money. Let someone else do that. The alternative isn’t very good. Take a lesson from the eastern side of the country. The vast majority of their wheeling experiences take place on comparatively small, private properties. And even those “private” properties are under fire for “pollution” of water, air, and noise. Many entities are constantly attempting to shut them down. At the present rate, many alive presently will see the end of wheeling as we know it. The last round of Resource Management Plans and Forest Plans closed up to 75% of existing trails on public lands. In about 20-years, this “planning” will begin again. How many times can we lose 75% of the trails before we have none? The ONLY way to combat this is for YOU to become INVOLVED. The very least you can do is JOIN and SUPPORT a local club, your state association, or a national organization like the United Four Wheel Drive Associations. Making these organizations viable requires your vote and your funding to remain in the game. Your time and support writing comments and attending meetings would be a great help, but realistically, that isn’t going to happen. Please, don’t go into your shell and ignore this call for your support. YOUR trails are depending on YOU DOING SOMETHING!! Demonstrate your INDEPENDENCE!! Fight for your trails!!
Join our community of Adventurers expeditionportal.com
Proposed 166-mile four-wheel-drive trail would connect western Colorado to eastern Utah By Molly Marcello The Times-Independent
Montrose County, Colorado officials are making headway on the “Rimrocker Trail,” a 166-mile continuous route from the Montrose area to Moab, open to four-wheel drive, off-highway vehicles, and bicycles. In a presentation to the Grand County Council on Feb. 16, Montrose County officials called the route a potential “relief valve” for motorized use in Moab, and said they hope the trail will bring more tourists into the western Colorado area. “To the extent that there’s an overabundance of motorized use in Moab at any given time, we’d offer this as a relief valve. Feel free to send those folks over the hill into Nucla and Naturita,” said Montrose County Government Affairs Director Jon Waschbusch. “I mean it sincerely that those communities are making an effort in being more accommodating to outdoor recreation and tourism and we’d certainly be glad to have the overflow.” With an elevation variance of 6,500 feet, Waschbusch said the route would pass through two national forests — the Uncompahgre and MantiLa Sals — as well as Dark Canyon Lake, Dolores River Canyon and Paradox Valley. “We started to piece together the route based on user suggestions, the folks already doing it,” Waschbusch said. “The intent was to designate a continuous route west of the City of Montrose, the Uncompahgre Plateau, through the Nucla-Naturita area and then eventually up into the La Sals ... There is a hope to market this as an attraction to
bring visitors to the area and introduce them to places they wouldn’t see otherwise.” Waschbusch said the entire trail would use existing roads, requiring no new additional construction. On the Montrose side, many roads have fallen into disrepair, which he said is a good thing for off-road users. “Those roads were historically for uranium mining and they have fallen into disrepair to an extent, which actually makes them more attractive, we’re told by the users. They like that they’re a little rougher and a little more challenging,” Waschbusch said. “It’s one of those rare instances where government gets a pat on the back for the roads being in a bit of degraded condition. It’s certainly beautiful red rock and canyon country with limited maintenance required on the part of the county.” Waschbusch said Montrose County is currently working with several Grand County-based groups, including the Bureau of Land Management Moab Field Office, the Manti-La Sal National Forest, the Moab Area Travel Council and Moab Friends for Wheelin’, to determine the trail’s route once it reaches the Utah border. “A route over the La Sals still has not been determined for sure,” said Grand County Council member Lynn Jackson. “There has been some discussion of using La Sal pass as opposed to Geyser Pass. So these [Montrose representatives] have been really good about listening to user groups on our end and the agencies involved.” Brian Murdock, recreation, wilderness, and trails manager for the U.S. Forest Service, said the Forest Service currently has some concerns about additional traffic on heavily used roads like Geyser Pass. However, in the coming months, Waschbusch said Montrose County will continue working with the Forest Service and other Utah stakeholders to determine the best route. “From the onset we have stressed that we are open to any and all input on how this project might work on the Utah side,” Waschbusch said. “Certainly Grand County, San Juan County and other Utah stakeholders know the area and issues and are in a position to provide the best guidance on routing or travel management. For that reason, we’ve left the Utah
portion of the project open-ended and have asked everyone for their input. The knowledge of those entities is essential to a project like this and we’ll keep those lines of communication open as we progress.” Calling the Rimrocker Trail “a good thing,” council member Jackson said it takes a more regional approach to tourism, something Grand County should remain open to in the future.
“To me this accomplishes — this and some other trails like this — a really good thing. As the Old West is transitioning away from traditional industries — mining and agriculture — tourism seems to be where things are going,” Jackson said. “Instead of sending all the impacts to one place, let’s look at a more regional approach to recreation, where small little towns like Naturita and Nucla can enjoy the benefits of what this will bring.”
e h t 4 l w a r 6 1 C 0 2 e r u C
Crawl 4 the Cure is a fundraising event held at the Iron Range OHV park in Gilbert, MN to support the Multiple Sclerosis Society – 2016 was the twelfth year for the event, and the second time my son Johnathon and I attended. In late 2014, my mother (who suffers from MS) found an article in a MSrelated publication about this event, and suggested it to us as a summer vacation opportunity. We drove our Jeep to the 2015 event (approximately 700 miles each way) and had a great time – new place to wheel, new friends, and supporting a cause close to our family. Our original plan was to make our first trip to Moab, UT this summer, but life threw me a curve ball – I received my own MS diagnosis on October 2015, and even though my symptoms have been well managed over the past several months, I do not have the stamina to make the 25-30 hour trip to Moab trip, have a good time, then drive home. We therefore decided to make a second trip to Crawl 4 the Cure this year…because a 14 hour drive is more manageable than a 30 hour drive? Our adventure started before we even left Michigan. We stopped for the night on the first day of our travels in Ironwood MI, and learned of severe road flooding and impassable bridges in northwestern WI. Our second day included a significant detour around the affected areas, travelling state highways and county roads, but by dinner time we were in Gilbert with our camp set up. Like most large events, there were wheeling
trips planned for both Friday and Saturday, and we signed up for “medium” level trails for Friday. There were enough participants looking for a “medium” level experience that we split into two groups – “medium low” and “medium-high”. The Iron Range is a fairly large park, with numerous trails of varying difficulty available, so we were happy to be able to follow a trail leader who would keep our vertically challenged Jeep out of too much trouble. Our “medium-low” group was fairly large, but our leader and tail gunner kept us together and moving throughout the morning. Somehow we got turned around at lunch time, and the group we followed out of the lunch area was only part of our original group. Unfortunately, several of our group decided the “medium” level of trails were not appropriate for them, and they headed off with the “easy” trail group with us unintentionally in tow. No offence intended to those that want that level of trail experience, but we quickly realized our mistake, and looked for a quick exit. Fortunately, at our next stop to regroup we encountered a small portion of our morning “medium” group and switched groups again. We spent the rest of the afternoon slugging through one of the rare muddy sections of the park where we found good use for winches and tow straps. Saturdays at C4C are very different from the organized events we typically join here in Michigan
– Saturday brings out all of the pink shirts for the ladies’ run, where all of the vehicles leave the assembly area piloted by ladies, and some of the trail leaders and sweeps were also ladies. C4C gets such a great response for the ladies’ run that our men’s “mediums” were folded into a very large single group, but just as we were heading out into the park one of the event organizers asked if we would mind splitting off into a smaller group, which ended up being the same guys we had wheeled with the afternoon before. Saturday also saw a change of driver in our vehicle, with Jonathon behind the wheel. I wish I was better at remembering all of the trail names we encountered at Iron Range, but one will be forever engraved in our minds: Jim’s Rocks. We probably should have considered backing off and bypassing around the obstacle, but what fun is that? With the help of the others in our group we stacked some rocks, repositioned Jonathon and enlisted some spotting help and got him through. Unfortunately, one of the challenges of playing in the rocks with a nearly stock Jeep is the flimsy construction of the stock control arms – little stamped and folded sheet metal things that do not benefit from being bounced in the rocks. Although we were not driving the Jeep home this year we
still needed it to track straight behind our truck in order to flat tow it home, so we made the decision to call it quits for the day. We hung around with our group while the others played on an obstacle called Table Top, then followed everyone back to the gate for lunch, and for us at least a final trip to the campground. Our Saturday evening was spent in typical 4x4 event fashion – great food, door prizes, silent and live auctions, a Jeep raffle, and old and new friends. The unofficial attendance for the event was 162 Jeeps, trucks and buggies, and over 500 participants. Almost $100,000 (after expenses) was raised to support Multiple Sclerosis research and patient support programs, and over $800,000 in the twelve years of the event. And in case you were wondering, our 700 mile trip wasn’t even close to being the longest to attend this event, one couple travels every year from their FL home to attend! For more information on Crawl 4 the Cure visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/46966542631/ For more information on Multiple Sclerosis visit http://www.nationalmssociety.org/
Can We REALLY CombatTrail Closures? By Jerry Smith Can we REALLY combat trail closures? Over the last few years, I’ve been asked that question many times. Seems that we all dwell on the fact that many of our trails have been made off-limits for usually some unknown reason. Land managers aren’t prone to discussing their final decisions. The facts about road and trail closures are not in most ways positive at all. In the last 10 to 15 years, most BLM Field Offices and USFS Ranger Districts have closed upwards of 50% to 75% of the roads and trails within their jurisdiction. The Resource Management Plans (RMP) and Forest Plans have been a disaster for the motorized user groups. So… how do we effectively combat this kind of onslaught? There are some positive steps the motorized trail users can take to turn this craziness around. Many of us are successfully working these plans already. The problem is, some of this works at the typical speed of government bureaucracy…. “DAMN SLOW”. The United Four Wheel Drive Associations (UFWDA) is working hard to develop a network of people who are actively involved in what we all affectionally know as “Land Use”. We have been emailing, calling, and texting ANYONE who seems even remotely interested… mostly with zero response. This is nothing new really. I’ve had this exact experience practically every week since the mid ‘70s.
But there ARE some positive things going on. The largest of these positive projects is the One Voice program of the Off Road Business Association (ORBA). One Voice is a collaboration of motorized trail users and the members of ORBA. Those members recognize that if there are no more trails to explore, there will be no more reason for people to buy their products. This is a very simple concept. ORBA, through One Voice, has begun an effort to make changes in land management laws and rules that will make them much more “Motorized User Friendly”. Lobbying efforts are underway to either change or replace certain land use laws and rules. This will be the primary way to slow or even stop the “Preservation” of every square inch of public land. Next, it is up to motorized recreation to step up. Sitting around complaining has resulted in only bad feelings and wasted time. It’s time to change course. Course change requires we put our brains to work. We need some positive ideas that everyone can get behind and support. Take the “21 Road Toad” project as an example. You’ve heard of the 21 Road Toad, haven’t you? The Endangered Species Act (ESA) has been at the heart of many road and trail closures for years. Most of the motorized trail users look upon the ESA as the “enemy”… mostly for good reasons.
Near Grand Junction, CO, there is an extreme 4wd trail called 21 Road. It is nationally known as a terrific place to take your modified rig or buggy.
the BLM. In the RMP, the 21 Road trail will NOT be closed to motorized use and the papers for the official “Adoption” of 21 Road are being processed.
For years, the Grand Mesa Jeep Club (GMJC) has tried to “Adopt” 21 Road… with no positive response from the BLM. The upper end of 21 Road had been proposed as a “Lands with Wilderness Characteristics”, so the BLM was under tremendous pressure to close 21 Road to motorized uses. During the RMP process, a new reason to close the trail was brought to light. An Endangered Species lives there. There is prime habitat in the wash, which is the trail up 21 Road, for the Great Basin Spadefoot Toad. Up until recently, there had never even been a sighting of this species.
THIS is how you work with land management agencies. You don’t simply go in demanding what you want. You go in with a solution to an existing problem. There are often simple solutions, but it requires some extraordinary thinking.
Jeff Bates, President of the Grand Mesa Jeep Club (at the time), came up with a brilliant idea. Where we had been unable to “Adopt the Road”, the club would now “Adopt the Toad”. With no promises of any kind from the BLM, the club took on the responsibility of caring for the habitat of the “21 Road Toad”. Even if the trail was to be closed, the GMJC committed to protecting the toad. For over 10-years, not one thing had been done to protect the toad. How do you think this was accepted by the BLM?
When you walk in to an agencies’ office and most of them know you by name, you have a working relationship. When you can walk into an agencies’ office and YOU know all of them, then you have a very good working relationship.
First was an effort to educate the public of the plight of the toad with an informational kiosk at the trailhead. It took most of two years to get final approval to erect the kiosk, but it now stands proudly. The next step(s) will be to cordon off the habitat so that trail users will no longer have motorized access to those areas. Post and cable will be placed around the critical areas to keep traffic out. This effort has resulted in a change of attitude by
Even BEFORE the ideas though, a good working relationship with your local land managers will get you in the door with your solution. You need to be on a friendly basis to begin with. Trust is not always easy to gain and keep. Work with the managers on small projects. Even just picking up OPT (Other People’s Trash) is a good start.
Put your “idea” cap on and sit and think a while.
Twin Mountain Off Road Adventure Twin Mountain Off Road Adventure is a brand new park located in the picturesque mountains of Williamsport, West Virginia. It is dedicated to the off-road enthusiast and provides a wide variety of trails and obstacles to challenge OHV and UTV drivers of all experience levels. The park opened to the public in April of 2014 and has been drawing in adventurists from all over the country to enjoy Twin Mountain’s spectacular views and diverse terrain.
Coast. The property currently offers 57 acres of private, well-marked trails and has big plans for future expansion. The trails offer a wide range of conditions, muddy hill climbs, log bridges, and offcamber crawls that provide a fun challenge for all vehicle types. Both stock vehicles and built rigs can find their own adventure, and if you are lucky you may see John running through the trails in his Unimog!
Owner and Founder, John Bradshaw, has been off roading as a way of life in England, Africa, China, Pakistan, and the United States, driving an array of vehicles from Toyotas, to Land Rovers, to bulldozers and dump trucks. After countless hours off road driving, and in an effort to create a dedicated and challenging place for fellow adventurists, the idea for Twin Mountain Off Road Adventure was born.
In addition to its 4x4 trails, Twin Mountain offers many amenities and activities to make your visit fun and relaxing. With 12 vehicle-accessible campsites, two of which are fully accessible by tow rigs, and bathroom facilities with hot showers, Twin Mountain is the perfect destination for a weekend of camping and wheeling. It’s located just minutes from many local establishments, farmer’s markets, and breweries, and within an hour of several major outdoor tourist destinations such as Dolly Sods and Seneca Rocks, WV. It also offers a range of hiking trails which you are free to enjoy at your leisure, and a large community fire pit to gather around
Since it opened, Twin Mountain has become a major tourism draw in the Williamsport area, and a premier wheeling location on the East
each night and recount the adventures of the day. John Bradshaw is a Tread Lightly! certified instructor and is a major advocate for safe and legal off-roading. He provides training courses by appointment and the property offers an expansive obstacle course to familiarize yourself with the capabilities of your vehicle and test your abilities as a driver. Itâ€™s also a great way to wrap up a fun day on the trails and splash another layer of mud on your truck! Twin Mountain is also one of only a few distributors in the U.S. for MAXTRAX - the lightweight, handy vehicle extraction device that fits on or in your vehicle. At Twin Mountain you can try them before you buy them and purchase onsite to avoid shipping costs. Twin Mountain is currently open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays, with Friday night camping available for Saturday guests. Weekday appointments are also available for fire, rescue, and law enforcement employees. Currently the cost of a day pass to Twin Mountain is $40 per vehicle and camping is available for $15 per night, per vehicle. Firewood is available on-site for free. More information about Twin Mountain Off Road Adventure can be found on their website at www.twinmountainoffroad.com. On the website you can register for your trail pass and camping reservation and be sure to check out their event page to keep up to date on upcoming events such as the annual Guy Fawkes bonfire weekend in November! West Virginia offers some of the most picturesque and varied wheeling on the East Coast and Twin Mountain Off Road Adventure is excited to provide another fun and family-friendly destination to the off-roading community! They are eager to share their beautiful property with other off-road enthusiasts and look forward to seeing you and your rig on the trails soon!
WELCOME TO OUR SANDBOX. NO RULES APPLY.
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State vs. Federal management By Jerry Smith
Award-winning columnist Martin Hackworth is a physicist, writer and motorcyclist who lives in Pocatello, ID. I am going to take some quotes from his article ‘Be careful what you wish for’ (below) and then comment on them. “You’d be hard-pressed to find many rational players in the recreation community who deem state takeovers of Federal lands to be a good idea. I am not sure who Mr. Hackworth is talking with, but many of the “informed” people who spend time working in land use/trail use issues, are definitely in favor of the Federal government handing the land they manage back to the states, as was supposed to have happened according to most of the western states charters. The major reason is that too many decisions, laws, rules, and mandates from congressmen, senators, and the President all originate in the east. Most eastern people have no personal interest in western lands. They have never been west, have no intention of going west, and they have no concept of what we have. They also have no personal economic impacts from their desires to “preserve” something they know nothing about. They have no “skin” in the game. Unlike local people, their personal income has nothing to do with how these lands are managed. Local people are often affected by these management decisions. A great example of this is the Grand Staircase National Monument. Small towns the Preservationistas swore would prosper from the naming of this National Monument are nearly ghost towns. The promised tourism never materialized. Does ANYONE from the east care? “States are bound by things like limited budgets (and the need to keep those limited budgets balanced) that would seriously impede their ability to adequately manage swaths of land suddenly dumped into their laps.”
I’m sorry, (actually, no I am not) but what kind of dumbass thinking is this? Just because the federal government cannot or will not balance a budget, that is acceptable? “The Federal government has, for all intents and purposes, unlimited resources when it comes to regulation enforcement and participation in the legal system.” Well, Mr. Hackworth, how is it that the National Park Service that has “unlimited resources” has over $14 billion in deferred maintenance they cannot pay for? When over 50% of the National Forest Service budget is earmarked to fight the extreme wildfires, which are largely caused because of the “Preservation Movement’s” interference with every management decision made by professional foresters. Courts make very poor forest managers. As for “regulation enforcement”, when you have one ranger for about one million acres, how effective is your “regulation enforcement”? And add to that, technically, only a county sheriff has jurisdiction to enforce the laws, even on federally managed lands. “Now consider a state or locality with far more limited resources than the Federal government attempting to defend a spate of well-funded lawsuits or other challenges brought about by interests antagonistic to recreational access. Most states would be forced to deal with such a barrage of litigation by settling on terms that many of us might find objectionable.” If you take into account state managed forests and school trust lands, you will often find well-managed “state” funded lands. They don’t necessarily manage according to the rules of the preservation movement and eastern philosophy, but the lands are being managed for “Multiple Use and Sustained Yield” of the resources available. Wildfires are not as extreme as federally managed lands, and the resources are not being wasted by burning them to the ground.
So, you see Mr. Hackworth, the western states can manage their resources, often much better than the federal government that is typically an eastern and urban run entity. The people who live nearer to the resource have much more to lose if they do a poor job of managing their resources. We got along just fine before every living thing became an “Endangered Species”.
Be careful what you wish for Utah lawmakers recently passed legislation establishing a fund for what could potentially be a $14 million lawsuit to seize control of federal lands in the state. This is one of the biggest actions to date in a series of skirmishes throughout the West involving a burgeoning movement to transfer Federal lands to the states. As much as I think that the Feds sometimes exhibit overreach in their stewardship of public lands I believe this to be a misguided effort. As much as many of us may not like the current state of Federal land management it’s extremely difficult for me to imagine a scenario where state takeover would make any of that better or provide a benefit most of us – especially those of us who prize public land for recreational purposes. This is a case, if ever there was one, for being careful what you wish for. You’d be hard-pressed to find many rational players in the recreation community who deem state takeovers of Federal lands to be a good idea. States are bound by things like limited budgets (and the need to keep those limited budgets balanced) that would seriously impede their ability to adequately manage swaths of land suddenly dumped into their laps. The Federal government has, for all intents and purposes, unlimited resources when it comes to regulation enforcement and participation in the legal system. Because of that a kind of status quo exists that’s not entirely bad. As much as any of us may not like it, the same inertia that makes it difficult for the recreational community to initiate sweeping changes in management practices on Federal lands beneficial to us makes it similarly difficult for those who favor restrictions on access. This détente between opposing forces is, again, facilitated by the sheer size and bulk of the juggernaut that is the Federal Government. The Queen Mary doesn’t exactly turn on a dime. When you’re traversing the edge of a waterfall there might be some benefit to that.
Now consider a state or locality with far more limited resources than the Federal government attempting to defend a spate of well-funded lawsuits or other challenges brought about by interests antagonistic to recreational access. Most states would be forced to deal with such a barrage of litigation by settling on terms that many of us might find objectionable. My own hunch is that a lot of public land would quickly cease to become public in the sense that we perceive it now. Public land in this country is our birthright. We’ve never had a noble class carving up prized natural resources exclusively for their own benefit. There is a lot of it and there exists out there somewhere a place where you can go and have as much fun as you can handle. Public land belongs to all of us, and a few twists and turns aside it’s a pretty good deal for everyone. As far as I’m concerned all of that is a source of considerable pride and something I’m not eager to surrender without a fight. We simply have a much better chance of protecting our interests in public lands if they continue to be managed by the Federal government. Right now I have a say, albeit a small one, in how riding, climbing and skiing areas are managed all over the country because though I’m a resident of Idaho I’m a citizen of the United States. Because of that I can, through my vote, influence public policy concerning those lands. If those areas are seized or transferred to the states I lose that ability outside of Idaho. My own hunch is that in many cases state seizures of public lands have little to do with keeping those lands public and everything to do with an eye toward transferring those lands to private interests. While I don’t have as much of a problem with grazing, logging, mining and other private interests on public lands that others might, I think that we are all better off if these activities are managed by agencies with the clout to make sure that things are done right. We need natural resources and as long as they are managed responsibly I’m OK with it. I’m just not so sure that the resources to ensure that they are reside in any individual state. Award-winning columnist Martin Hackworth is a physicist, writer and motorcyclist who lives in Pocatello ID.
San Rafael Swell Off Road Jerry Smith
For those who have not had the pleasure of wheeling the San Rafael Swell, may I say; “You don’t know what you are missing!” What is the San Rafael Swell? Only some of the most beautiful and remote country you will ever have the pleasure to explore. For many of you who have been to Moab from the western US, you likely passed through the “Swell” as you traversed I-70 between Salida, UT and Green River, UT. The very eastern side of the San Rafael Swell is so unique, you likely noted that it is very strange and rugged looking country without even realizing it. The up thrust rock comes out of the earth at a seemingly impossible angle that the eye is drawn to automatically. This is a wild and awesome land that has some incredible sights and unique assets that will have you wanting to return to see what you missed the first time. Recently, Ed and Janice Helmick spent a huge amount of time exploring, mapping, and documenting many of the trails and highlights of the San Rafael Swell in a most interesting book. Having explored a good share of the “Swell” north of I-70 in several trips, I thought I knew it pretty well. Turns out, I had missed the majority of the most interesting sights and had definitely driven by some historical places with no idea of that history.
As someone who does a fair amount of Jeeping, I like to do some research on places I have just been to. The internet is a wealth of information about most places you will roam if you just take the time and interest to look. Ed and Janice have very similar interests. But they have taken this interest to another level. Ed has an extreme interest in trivia. In fact, he has a published book of Jeep trivia that makes an entertaining read. You will know things about Jeep that you had never heard of if you read his book. Ed adds some of that kind of interesting trivia in the new book; “San Rafael Swell Off Road, A trail guide to 42 destinations for automobiles, 4wd trucks, & ATVs.” In the book, Ed describes many of the more interesting roads and trails like you may find in other books of this kind, but then tells you about historical places along the way that you could drive past many times with no knowledge of what you are missing. That alone makes your trip stand out from most you have ever done. But that’s not enough for a guy like Ed. He has gone the extra mile and found some trivia that you will find nowhere else to make memories of this land of extremes even more memorable. You will find yourself going home and raving about your time adventuring in the San Rafael Swell. Your friends may not believe a place can be THAT interesting, but they will want to go with you the next time you plan a trip. They will crave your knowledge of the area as you lead them from sight to sight. You may have your own copy of this outstanding book by contacting; AYJ Books Box 235 Provo, UT 84603 Or contact Ed at; Ed.firstname.lastname@example.org Once you have your copy, give it a quick read. Then plan your trip to the San Rafael Swell. When you get there, read the section on the trail you plan to run just before you depart. Then follow along in the book as you drive the trail. Take your camera and lots of pictures that you will want as you relate your trip to friends. Trust me, you haven’t driven a trail in the “Swell” until you have this book along to guide you. You will wish Ed and Janice had written this kind of book about EVERY trail you frequent.
I-70 Bridges over Eagle Canyon
Rock Art in Black Dragon Canyon. Tight I-70 underpass
The San Rafael River Bridge
MY FIRST DAY AT 4XKIDS DAY By Frank Javorsky- First time event driver and participant
This past July, I had the opportunity and privilege to be part of the 4XKids day at Camp Riley. Camp Riley is a 2 week camp for children and young adults who have various physical and mental disabilities. The camp offers an environment for these individuals to experience little pleasures of life that we often take for granted. Last year, I heard Scott Sperling and Mike McCoy talk about the camp at the Hi-Lift Days at Redbird State Recreation Area. They explained that their Jeep group, Fat Boys Jeepers, would attend the camp for a day and give Jeep rides to the campers. Having a sister-in-law with special needs, I know first-hand that some kind gesture or a simple gift can make such an impact on their lives, I decided to volunteer my time this year and join the group in giving Jeep rides. What made this year so special, it was the dedication of the Low Ropes Challenge Course. The FUNdraiser was finally complete and we were on hand to help turn it over to the campers and staff at Camp Riley. Shortly after an awesome lunch served by Jimmy and Doc Johnson for all in attendance, Cara Lathrop (Assistant Vice President, Development, Riley Children’s Foundation) and Shay Dawson (Director, Bradford Woods) unveiled the signage at the new Low Ropes Challenge Course. Following the unveiling, Scott, Max Soliday, John Clarke, Ron Mattox and Gill McBride proceeded to cut the RCF ribbon- official dedicating the 4XKIDS Low Ropes Challenge Course. A DREAM COME TRUE FOR MANY!
It is difficult to put into words what the experience was like, both for me and the campers. Kids and young adults with a multitude of disabilities were at the camp. My first passenger was a sweet 18 year old girl named Danielle. She was carefully hoisted up and secured in the back seat of my Jeep, a camp counselor also joined us on our ride. Danielle commented on how nice my Jeep was, as we drove she would comment on how nice it felt to ride with the top down and how great it felt to feel the wind in her face. She said that her father had a Jeep but not as nice as mine. She smiled and withher limited mobility raised her arms over head and said “WEE”!!!! When the ride was about over she said that she wished that she could go around again. The counselors once again carefully got her out of the seat and back into her motorized wheel chair. She must have thanked me 5 times, each time with a smile that I doubt that I’ll ever forget. At that point it was very difficult for me to choke back my emotions. I gave several rides that day to boys and girls alike and the results were almost always the same, they would comment on how neat it was riding in an open topped vehicle, unlike the vans that they are usually transported in. One young man asked me if I had kids and did I take them for rides in my Jeep. At the end of the day, we all congregated in a large parking lot and each driver was given several handmade “Thank You” cards made by the camp-
ers. I received several cards but the one that stuck out most in my mind was from a little girl. The card read; Thank you for giving me a ride. I love your Jeep and I love you! Please come back next year.
Trail Rods, Jasper Group, Joliet Mudturtles, DKM Embroidery, Doty Graphics, Clover Patch Inc., Mama & Papa Roux Po-Boys and Cajun Eats and Fat Boys Jeepers.
If it wasn’t for the generous donations from the following individuals, clubs and businesses, a check in the amount of $1774.28 and over 200 4XKIDS DAY event t-shirts would not have been available. With this donation, a total of $6000.00 will be held in a special fund for the maintenance, testing and upkeep of the new Low Ropes Challenge Course.
I look forward to next year to be able to participate in the 4XKids event. It was so much fun for these
Richmond Casting Company, Joyce FullerCAMPBELL SCRAMBLE, Hill’s Pet NutritionRichmond Facility, ITD Engineering, LLC, Iron Horse 4x4’s, Randy & Jo Brooks Foundation, HiLift Jack Company, Meyer Distributing, Off Road
kids and it made a huge impact on my life as well.
Carlton Lake Jerry Smith
In a minute, I’m going to admit something that, even though we are divorced, might get me killed. This all started back in about 1972-3. I lived in the beautiful Bitterroot Valley of western Montana. As a native Bitterrooter, there are still things long missed, but Grand Junction, CO, has filled most of the voids except for family. After being released from the US Navy in December,1972, there were some months of travel time spent in Montana, Oklahoma, and California. After over 5-years of being away from home had left me rootless. Returning to the Bitterroot sunk at least one of those roots again. After reestablishing a long-time friendship, we began what was to become my final baptism into the world of Jeeping. I traded my ’72 Chevy 3/4-ton 4x4 for a brand new 1973 Jeep CJ5. The first few weeks (November and most of December), there was no top on “Blue”. Some mornings I took on some of that “Blue” hue on the 17-mile drive to work. After a few paychecks, I had saved enough to buy a new white Bestop soft top that made those trips much more comfortable. Winter in Montana is tough on wheeling opportunities. Once you leave the valley floors, the snow can be too deep for much forward progress. As spring approached, we began going deeper and deeper into the woods. This became an annual ritual. Nearly every summer and fall weekend was spent exploring new-to-us trails. One of the more challenging trails we were able to find was the trail into Carlton Creek and Lake. Carlton Lake is just within the boundary of the Bitterroot/Selway Wilderness Area. The B/S is one of the original 15-congressionally designated Wildernesses. I have backpacked into it a few times. The Carlton Lake trail began as a typical wide logging road. But once you left the road, the trail became a very long, steep, narrow two-track that had rocks that grew into granite boulders as you gained altitude. The first year we traveled up to Carlton Lake, we were the first vehicles to bust through some dandy snowdrifts. There were no bypasses, so it required some work to get through. Busting snowdrifts on a steep, off camber mountainside can be a seat cover tightening experience.
I can recall more than once hanging on to the roll bar and while acting as a counter balance just to maintain wheels on the ground. It was Jeeping nirvana. Winching was required occasionally. That first year, we decided this would become an annual trip – to be the first vehicles to reach the top. The first few years, we managed to reach that goal. Then my working conditions changed from being a heavy equipment mechanic to selling parts and service all across western Montana. This changed my availability dramatically. Not too long before I left Montana for work in Denver, the logging road up to the Carlton Lake trail suffered a landslide. One the Forest Service elected to ignore. This was one of the many reasons I got deeply involved in Land/Trail Use issues. This kind of neglect of our trails was not to be tolerated. This is the attitude that has allowed me to reopen 5-trails in western Colorado. (Three of them on my own, two I enlisted some help with). This represents about 85-miles of trails that had been closed by Mother Nature for several years. Many years later, on a trip to visit relatives in the Bitterroot, I took an afternoon and followed my nose to Carlton Creek in the family Suzuki Vitara. (I just ducked the first flaming arrow). Though this car had 4wd, it also had about 4” of ground clearance. Definitely not a Jeep. (There goes the second flaming arrow.) Years before, a rancher had begun what I believed to be a foolish attempt to build a ski area on the mountainside where the old Carlton Lake trail existed. As luck would have it, this day, the gate was open to the ski area and my nose told me that access to the trail could be had through that gate. Up to this time, I had not heard about a law about marking “No Trespassing” with orange paint on a fence post or trees. No signs necessary. The road through the potential ski area eventually took me to some trail that I still recognized as the one to Carlton Lake. JACKPOT!! I drove the Vitara as far as was sanely possible before turning around. Literally less than 100 feet from going through the gate, here comes a pickup full of men. They stop and I stop. This was my first encounter with the rancher whose name I had heard over 30 years prior. Of course, the first question was; “What are you
doing here?” After telling the story about the Carlton Lake trail, we did a short introduction and then I got the low-down on the orange paint. We ended up parting with a “Don’t come back.” kind of attitude in the air, but as far as I was concerned, “Mission accomplished”. The point of this story has to do with old trails that have been closed for a long time. The Carlton Lake trail never had an official closure. Access to it was simply eliminated. In certain instances, the land managers do NOT close trails like this. They are technically still open. All that is required is to regain access. Because of my personal working relationship with the Grand Junction BLM Field Office, I felt comfortable reopening those 5 trails BEFORE reporting them open. Not once was I questioned about the legality of reopening any of the trails. They HAVE since asked to be informed of my exploits prior to the work being done, and I will work to make that happen. So far, only reporting our Jeep club work details prior to going out has been needed, but I may find another trail one day that needs some attention. Building a strong working relationship with your local land managers will pay some serious dividends if you learn to limit what you ask for and OFFER to DO SOMETHING that they haven’t the time or funds to do. Volunteering your time and efforts have a big impact when you DO need to ask for something. Just make the ASKING far less than the volunteering. If every club and association of motorized users would practice this, we would all benefit.
One other thing on the volunteering subject… you want to DOCUMENT the volunteer hours and then turn them into the land management agency by the first of September every year. Volunteer hours benefit the agency in their budgeting process and are just one other way you can support them. When you find a trail that has fallen trees or rocks, a washout, or other obstacles that have stopped vehicular travel for sometime, get out, look the situation over, take a walk beyond to see if your work to remove the obstacle is worth the effort, and then get to work. IF you do not know that this trail has an official closure or not, you might want to confirm that fact before beginning your work as well. I have spent a lot of hours filling in washouts to make them passable, cut numerous trees, and rolled tons of rocks and boulders off of trails. It’s a work of love when you can say you’ve just reopened a trail. There ARE trails out there that have not been used for years that are still legal to travel if you are willing to do some work to reopen them. Still no arrow in my behind, so I guess all is well. But don’t forget --- when you come to the fork in the road… take it!! Real adventure is where you find it. PS. I don’t have any pictures of the actual trail or trip. These are from other places.
UFWDA President assists Helena Ultra Runners League Words and tree photos Tom Mandera I earned my Amateur Radio license in September, 2008. I had meant to a long time earlier, but finally got ‘round to it. One of the “pushes” I had at the time was from reading about too many tragedies on the Rubicon Trail that ended with a friend driving up or down the trail in search for a “ham” that could raise the repeater and bring in emergency assistance (thanks to no cell coverage). I decided I didn’t want my friends to wait for assistance. (I still haven’t made it to the ‘con, but I have the comms figured out now) The Capital City Amateur Radio Club assists the Helena Ultra Runners League (H.U.R.L.) each year with their Elkhorn Endurance Run - 200 runners run 23k, 50k, or 50 miles through the mountainous terrain south of Helena. Cell coverage is sparse in these areas, and the hams provide communications from various checkpoints along the race course, so officials can keep track of where the runners are, and they know where to start any search parties. Many of the hams hike in a few miles, some go in on horseback, and so forth to get to these aid stations and checkpoints to “run comms” for a Saturday. No one seems to want to take the few legal “drive in” locations because the “road is too rough.” Sounds like a job for the club’s resident 4x4 nut, yours truly. On the one hand, H.U.R.L. supports some organizations that have purchased land nearby that I used to wheel, and then reserved it for foot traffic and locked me out, and I have had a difficult time supporting the event. On the other hand, the runners coming through - even after seeing my Scout parked at the checkpoint, have been courteous and appreciative of the service I’m providing. They are all too aware of the dangers of
a 50 mile cross country “hike” and what might go wrong, who might get lost, or perhaps they might think of the mountain lion one of my fellow hams spooked on his way out later that day. In any case, perhaps I’m building some good will, and they’ll think twice about the “need” to lock out fullsize 4x4s from these places, and feel a little more like sharing, after I donated my Saturday to look after them. So, on Saturday, 8/6/2016, I loaded up my wife, Michelle (KF7DYZ), and daughters (Joleigh & Audrey) and we headed up the Tizer Lake’s trail, the “rough road” that for us, was an hour from leaving Interstate-15 until we were “on station” not far from the lakes. We missed the lead runners, and on the way up I was passed by a runner - who I passed a little ways up at a wider spot, and then pushed a little harder to stay well enough ahead of. I did get numerous “thank you”s throughout the day and even a few “nice rig!” comments about the Scout. No one even complimented me on my nice “Bronco.” We spent the day having a picnic, writing down the times runners came through, and relaying status updates back to “base camp.” After the runners had gone through and the aid station had packed up, my youngest daughter got some target practice in right before the skies opened up and it was time to head for home ourselves. It wasn’t until I got home and looked at some of the pictures I’d taken that the quantity of beetle-kill pine trees became so painfully obvious - from the ground, the healthy trees give the illusion that the forest is fine, but it sure looks like every other tree is dead. -Tom Mandera, KE7VUX, UFWDA President
Forest Service Survey Finds Record 66 Million Dead Trees in Southern Sierra Nevada Underscores Need for Congress to Take Action on Fire Budget Fix
VALLEJO, Calif., June 22, 2016 - The U.S. Forest Service today announced that it has identified an additional 26 million trees dead in California since October 2015. These trees are located in six counties across 760,000 acres in the southern Sierra Nevada region of the state, and are in addition to the 40 million trees that died statewide from 2010 to October 2015, bringing the total to at least 66 million dead trees. Four consecutive years of severe drought in California, a dramatic rise in bark beetle infestation and warmer temperatures are leading to historic levels of tree die-off. “Tree dies-offs of this magnitude are unprecedented and increase the risk of catastrophic wildfires that puts property and lives at risk,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “While the fire risk is currently the most extreme in California because of the tree mortality, forests across the country are at risk of wildfire and urgently need restoration requiring a massive effort to remove this tinder and improve their health. Unfortunately, unless Congress acts now to address how we pay for firefighting, the Forest Service will not have the resources necessary to address the forest dieoff and restore our forests. Forcing the Forest Service to pay for massive wildfire disasters out of its pre-existing fixed budget instead of from an emergency fund like all other natural disasters means there is not enough money left to do the very work that would help restore these high mortality areas. We must fund wildfire suppression like other natural disasters in the country.”
Between 2010 and late 2015, Forest Service aerial detection surveys found that 40 million trees died across California - with nearly three quarters of that total succumbing to drought and insect mortality from September 2014 to October 2015 alone. The survey identified approximately 26 million additional dead trees since the last inventory in October, 2015. The areas surveyed in May covered six southern Sierra counties including Fresno, Kern, Madera, Mariposa, Tuolumne and Tulare. Photos and video of the May survey are available on the Forest Service multimedia webpage. Last fall, Governor Brown declared a state of emergency on the unprecedented tree die-off in California and formed a Tree Mortality task force to help mobilize additional resources for the safe removal of dead and dying trees. The Forest Service is committing significant resources to restore impacted forests including reprioritizing $32 million in California to conduct safety-focused restoration along roads, trails and recreation sites. To date, the Forest Service has felled over 77,000 hazard trees, treated over 13,000 acres along 228 miles of roads around communities and recreation sites, and created 1,100 acres of fuel breaks. Work on another 15,000 acres is in progress. Forest Service scientists expect to see continued elevated levels of tree mortality during 2016 in dense forest stands, stands impacted by root diseases or other stress
agents and in areas with higher levels of bark beetle activity. Additional surveys across the state will be conducted throughout the summer and fall. With the increasing size and costs of suppressing wildfires due to climate change and other factors, the very efforts that would protect watersheds and restore forests to make them more resilient to fire in the future are being squeezed out of the budget. Last year fire management alone consumed 56 percent of the Forest Service’s budget. Learn more about tree mortality and the work to restore our forests in California at the Forest Service’s web page Our Changing Forests. The mission of the U.S. Forest Service, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to
sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands managed by the Forest Service contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone and provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply. For an interactive look at USDA’s work in conservation and forestry over the course of this Administration, visit USDA Results: Caring for our Air, Land and Water This is an external link or third-party site outside of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) website.
Joe Moore /Valley Public Radio
MAFWDA Potomac State Forest Volunteer Weekend Every year CORE participates in a volunteer weekend at Potomac State Forest, hosted by the Middle Atlantic Four Wheel Drive Association (MAFWDA). The event is hosted by the Director of Land Use for MAFWDA, Preston Stevens. Preston works closely with the forest managers to put together a project each year that helps us give back and foster a great working relationship with local land managers. We are also given special access to trails for the weekend that would otherwise be closed to 4×4 access. This year several members of CORE attended the event: We arrived at camp on Friday afternoon. It’s unusual for us to set up a tent in the light, so it felt great to take off work a few hours early and head into the mountains. The weather was absolutely perfect all weekend and it made for a great weekend to camp! Every year Preston gets the same group site in the forest, which is large enough to hold several campers and lots of tents. And it’s right near a vault bathroom! We set up camp and sat around the fire as others trickled in to the campsite. Fred and Robert arrived just before dark and everyone had a great time sitting around the fire and catching up. Saturday morning we all woke up bright and early. We planned to be headed out by 9 am to start our work. The forest manager had tasked us with painting the yellow gates used to block trail access. Over the years the paint flakes off and dirt and rust take its toll. We split up into two teams, each with a box of sanding gear, face masks, paint brushes, and paint. Our group consisted of all of the CORE crew and Tom & Deb. We set out with our box and drove down to the first gate we could find. We all began sanding the old paint off. We quickly understood why they had face masks in the box – the yellow dust got everywhere! After we
finished the first one, we decided to leave Tom & Deb behind to paint while the rest of us moved on to start sanding the next gate. We took turns sanding and painting each gate. Before we knew it it was noon and we were wrapping up our fourth gate. We packed up and headed back to camp for lunch. Shortly after the other group came back and said they had also completed four gates! Not too bad for a few hours work. After lunch we decided to go for a trail ride. Each year Preston takes a group out after volunteering and heads down a few of the special access trails. This year we decided to hit a few of the snowmobile trails and had a great time. The trails were fairly dry since we hadn’t had any rain, but we still managed to have a few interesting moments. Not too far into the first trail we came across a downed tree on the trail. We decided to drive over it slowly and one by one we made our way across. Unfortunately as Shawn approached the downed tree in his Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk he didn’t quite have the wheel travel to keep himself steady and quickly slid down the trunk and off the side of the trail. A few more attempts at correcting his course put him even more off the trail. Andrew ending up hooking him up to his winch and slowly pulling him back on the trail. The last little bit require a strap to be hooked up but he was quickly back where he needed to be. Meanwhile, Preston had started up the chainsaw and made sure the downed tree was clear of the trail. Later on we came to an incredibly long hill climb that was fairly muddy and rutted out. We each made our way up the trail with a bit of momentum and made sure to wait until the truck in front of us had made it up the hill. After Andrew and I made
it up we called down to Fred & Robert that it was their turn. We waited and waited and their truck never came up. We called down on the CB and got no response. Andrew jumped out and decided to head back down the trail. The next 45 minutes were interesting. Robert and Fred were having trouble making it up the hill and kept getting stuck in the same spot. After trying several times the truck slipped over the side of the trail and ended up in the woods â€“ very close to slamming into the side of a tree. It took a group effort to maneuver all of the trucks around that spot and up the hill, until Tom & Deb in the Bronco could get to them to hook up. They were able to pull them back on to the trail and everyone else was able to make it up the trail with a bit of work. Several people learned the value of airing down on that one! The rest of the trail riding went smoothly and it was such a beautiful day! When we got back to camp we even set up the camping hammocks and took a wonderful afternoon nap! That evening the CORE group decided to try something a bit different and head into town for dinner. We never took the time to explore the area and thought it might be fun to check out a local restaurant. We decided to go to Long Branch Saloon, about 20 minutes up the road. The drive was beautiful and the
mountain tops were lined with huge windmills. We all got big steaks (with lots of leftovers for Trudi) and amazing desserts and had a great time. We were all pretty beat after a long day and it felt good to crawl into the tent and get some sleep. Sunday morning we unfortunately all had to pack up pretty early and head out. It would have been great to hang out all day and enjoy the forest, but life happens. It was a really great weekend for camping and trail riding. The weather was perfect, despite a rainy forecast, and it was fantastic for camping! This trip is always a highlight each year and it is so important to participate in these positive land use activities and work with local land managers to protect our valuable resources. We truly appreciate everything Preston and the Middle Atlantic Four Wheel Drive Association does in developing and maintaining these relationships with local land managers and advocating for our cause â€“ especially when it involves a fun weekend camping and wheeling! Trail report written by Cherie Taylor. Pictures courtesy of Cherie & Andrew Taylor, Fred Granruth, and Robert Rixham.
Business Members UFWDA thank you for your support
4 Wheel Drive Hardware (330) 482-4733 www.4WD.com 4x4 Wire (619) 390-8747 www.4x4Wire.com BF Goodrich (877) 788-8899 www.BFGoodrichTires.com Badlands 4x4 Adventures, Inc. (310) 347-8047 www.4x4Training.com Big Dogs Offroad (410) 440-3670 www.BigDogsOffRoad.com Bill Burke’s 4 Wheeling America, LLC 970-858-3468 www.BB4WA.com
Moses Ludell’s 4WD Mechanix Magazine www.4WDMechanix.com Muirnet.net (619) 390-8747 www.4x4Wire.com Olathe Toyota Parts Center www.parts.olathetoyota.com Poison Spyder Customs (951) 849-5911 www.PoisonSpyder.com Quadratec (800) 745-2348 www.Quadratec.com Survive Off Road LLC (602) 321-0833 www.surviveoffroad.com
Blue Springs Ford Parts (800) 248-7760 www.BlueSpringsFordParts.com
Susquehanna Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep, Ram (717) 252-2412 www.Susqauto.com
Bushwacker (503) 283-4335 www.Bushwacker.com
Tom Wood’s Custom Drive Shafts (877) 497-4238 www.4xShaft.com
California Assn of 4WD Clubs, Inc. (800) 4x4-FUNN www.Cal4Wheel.com Expeditions West (928) 777-8567 www.ExpeditionsWest.com ExtremeTerrain (800) 988-4605 www.ExtremeTerrain.com Hi-Lift Jack Company (812) 384-4441 www.Hi-Lift.com Jeep Action Magazine +61 02 6656 1046 www.jeepaction.com.au
Trasharoo (714) 854-7292 www.Trasharoo.com Turn5 Inc. www.turn5.com X-Treme Mobile Adventures (800) 370-3308 www.XTremeMobileAdventures.com
United Four Wheel Drive Associations would like to thank our Direct Members, Clubs and Associations for their support. 4 Lakes 4 Wheelers, Inc. (Wisconsin) http://www.4l4w.org/
Mesa 4 Wheelers http://www.mesa4wheelers.com/
ACES 4X4 Club (Michigan) www.aces4x4.com
Middle Atlantic Four Wheel Drive Association http://www.mafwda.org/
Arizona State Association of 4-Wheel Drive Clubs www.asa4wdc.org Association of All-Wheel Drive Clubs-Southern Africa http://www.aawdc.org.za/ Badgerland 4×4 TNT Club http://www.badgerland4x4.org/
Capital Off Road Enthusiasts www.core4x4.org
PA Jeeps www.pajeeps.org
Eagle Valley Off Roaders www.eaglevalleyoffroaders.com
Mid-Atlantic Jeep Club www.midatlanticjeepfestival.com
Baltimore Four Wheelers http://www.baltimore4wheelers.org/
Midwest 4 Wheel Drive Association http://www.mw4wda.org/
Between the Hills Trailheaders 4×4 Club http://www.trailheaders.net
MN Trailriders http://www.mntrailriders.org/
California Association of Four Wheel Drive Clubs, Inc. http://www.cal4wheel.com/
Montana 4×4 Association, Inc. http://www.m4x4a.org/
Central North Carolina 4×4 http://www.cnc4x4.org/ Central Ontario 4×4 Club http://www.co4x4.com/ Colorado Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs, Inc. http://www.hightrails.org/ Creeper Jeepers Gang 4WD Club http://www.creeperjeepers.org/ Demon 4×4 Demon4x4.com Four Wheel Drive Australia http://www.anfwdc.asn.au/
New Mexico 4-Wheelers http://www.nm4w.org/ New Zealand Four Wheel Drive Association, Inc. http://www.nzfwda.org.nz/ Rim Country 4 Wheelers, Inc. http://www.rimcountry4wheelers.com/ River City 4X4, Inc. http://www.rivercity4x4.org/ Rock Crawlers for the Preservation of Future Access (RCPFA) http://rcpfa.com/ Rough Country 4 Wheelers http://www.rc4w.com/
Great Lakes Four Wheel Drive Association http://www.glfwda.org/
Scrambler Owners Association http://www.cj-8.org/
Hall of Fame 4×4 Trail Riders http://www.hof4x4.com/
Seven Hills Jeep Club http://sevenhillsjeepclub.org/
Havasu 4-Wheelers, Inc. http://havasu4wheelers.org/
Southern Four Wheel Drive Association http://www.sfwda.org/
Indiana 4 Wheel Drive Association http://www.ifwda.org/
Carolina Off Road Extremists (CORE) http://www.core4x4club.com/
Indonesia Off-Road Federation
Carolina Trailblazers 4WD Club http://www.carolina-trailblazers.org/
Cumberland Off-Road http://www.cumberlandoffroad.com/
Damn Locals 4×4 Club http://www.damnlocals4x4.com/
East Tennessee 4WD Club http://www.et4wd.org/
Extreme Ridge Runners http://www.myspace.com/extreme_ ridge_runners
Bay to Blue Ridge Cruisers www.bbrcva.org
Blue Ridge Rock Mafia email@example.com • Capital City Fourwheelers www.capitalcityfourwheelerssva.com •
Hard Rock Crawlers www.hardrockcrawlers.org
KMA Off Road Jeep Club www.kmaoffroad.org
Middle Tennessee Trailrunners 4WD Club http://www.mttr4x4.net/
Lost Jeepers www.lostjeepers.com
Ohio River Four Wheelers http://www.orfw.org/
Mechanicsville Mudders firstname.lastname@example.org
Rattlerock 4-Wheel Drive Club http://www.rattlerock.org/
Mid-Atlantic Jeepers www.midatlanticjeepers.com
Rocket City Rock Crawlers 4WD Club http://www.rocketcityrockcrawlers.com
Middle Peninsula Jeep Association www.mpjai.com
Rock Solid Jeep Club (No web site)
Off Chamber Crawlers www.offchambercrawlers.org
Rocky Top Trail Riders http://rockytoptrailriders.org
Poor Boys Four Wheel Drive Club www.poorboys4wd.com
Scenic City 4WD Club http://www.sceniccity4wd.com/
River City Trail Runners www.rivercitytrailrunners.org
Smoky Mountain Trail Runners http://www.smokymtntrailrunners.org/
Seven Hills Jeep Club www.sevenhillsjeep.club
Southeast Toyota Land Cruiser Association http://www.stlca.org/
Shenandoah Valley 4 Wheelers www.sv4w.org
Southern Mini 4×4 www.myspace.com/443172858
Southern Jeeps http://www.southernjeeps.org/
Southwestern Virginia 4 Wheelers www.swva4w.org
Trick ‘n’ Traction 4WD Club http://www.tnt4wd.org/
Tidewater Fourwheelers www.tidewaterfourwheelers.org
Georgia Bounty Runners 4WD Club http://www.gbr4wd.com/
Southern High Rollers 4×4 Club http://www.southernhighrollers.com/ Southern Illinois Jeep Association http://www.sija.org/ Southside Jeepers http://southsidejeepers.com/ Sundowners 4×4 Club http://www.sundowners4x4.com Two Trackers http://www.twotrackers.org/ Virginia Four Wheel Drive Association http://www.va4wda.org/
Western Maine Mountain Jeepers http://www.jeepmaine.com/ What Lies Beyond Jeep Club of Michigan http://whatliesbeyond.org/ White Pine 4-Wheelers jeeptrailcat5440 (at) yahoo.com Wisconsin 4 Wheel Drive Association http://www.w4wda.org/ Wisconsin Off Highway Vehicle Association www.wohva.com Wolverine 4-Wheelers http://wolverine4wd.org/
The quarterly online magazine of United Four Wheel Drive Associations Inc.