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Protect, promote and provide 4x4 opportunities worldwide

May 2015 • Volume 42 • Issue 1

Board of Directors President Tom Mandera– Past President Jim Mazzola III– Vice President Pat Brower - International Vice President Peter Vahry – Treasurer (vacant) Bob DeVore – Director of Membership Richard Hiltz - Director of Public Relations Director of Environmental Affairs Jerry Smith -

Extended Board of Directors

4WD Awareness Coordinator Craig Feusse - Website Administrator Milt Webb Design –

Legal and Marketing

Legal Counsel Carla Boucher – Business Development Manager

Editorial and Design

Editor, Peter Vahry Consulting Editor, Phil Hanson

UFWDA Office and Contact PO Box 316 Swartz Creek, MI 48473 Email: Phone: 1-800-44-UFWDA


Viewpoints: Tom Mandera Peter Vahry

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Comment: Don’t Just Preach Conservation Working Together to Save Trails “Quiet Users” or Conflict Seekers? Recovery Done Right Living with Greater Sage-Grouse Antenna

11 15 18 25 43 45

News and Events: The 21st Annual Sno* Blind Photographing in Wyoming? You May be Breaking The Law A Few Reasons for Four Wheeling VA4WDA Earth Day Clean Up 2015 VA4WDA ‘Members Only’ Ride at Big Dog’s The Grand Mesa Jeep Club Active Fire Year Forecast fot North-Central U.S. A Rover for all Reasons BFGoodrich® Tires Launch 2015 Outstanding Trails Program Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival 2015

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Lists: Business Members Member Organizations

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Introductions for the incoming Director. Tom Mandera UFWDA President

Also up for election is Director of Environmental Affaris, Treasurer, and we could use a Store Keeper. I am also in need of a delegate or two to serve on the Nominating Committee. Ideally, we’ll get some strong nominations submitted and the Committee’s job will be picking between the numerous fine candidates, and we won’t have to resort to “encouraging” our friends to join the BOD.

If you’ve been reading your eNews, then you already know we had our January quarterly meeting on the 13th, and instead of leaving some empty slots in the conference, we opened up participation beyond Delegates to include general membership as well. I hear it all of the time - what is <insert club> doing and why is it relevant to me? Here’s your chance to eliminate some of the middle-persons and get in on the action and hear it first hand. The more the merrier, and the more fun we can have. You can listen on your computer, or via an app on your tablet or smartphone - I’ve successfully done all of the above, right down to using the same accursed bluetooth ear piece that reminds me so much of my day job. Just please remember to “mute” yourself when you’re not actively speaking - too many of our computers have microphones we didn’t know about, and you never know what sounds they pick up. Do please plan on attending our next delegates meeting if you can. It certainly isn’t the same as gathering around the local waterhole to tell “fish stories” about your worst stuck, but it is informative and the BOD welcomes your participation. Speaking of participation, as noted in the eNews, we have some volunteer awards to decide on and we need your nominations. Who in your club or association has a compelling story to share with the rest of us? Who should be recognized? In that same vein, we also have some positions to fill this summer at the next annual meeting. Vice President is at the top of that list - do you know of someone that would be a good fit? Do you want someone from your club or your association actively managing UFWDA for the better of all of us? The more diverse representation within our group, the more varied our skills. Please send us your nominations for consideration. We have a vacancy in the Director of Public Relations position as well – do you have a bit of a knack for promotion and advocating for our cause? Outgoing PR, Liz Wirgau embarked on a plan to write a feature on one of our clubs or associations for each Voice. That’s a great start on a PR Plan

4WD Awareness is generating some renewed interest. I think we could all benefit from a bit more application of it. In an ideal world, we’d each put on semi-regular classes, and the car dealerships would either encourage participation, or “sponsor” a trip through the class with every new 4x4 sold. That puts a lot more people on the road that have an understanding of how to use their four-wheeldrive, and it would give us a chance to woo them to join us on our next trail ride - and see how much fun even a graded Forest Service road can be with the right group of people and the right attitude. All work but no play - someday soon I’ll get some fun words of my latest adventures in here, but I just haven’t put my rig back together yet. I have had my two daughters helping in the shop - working on that next generation. They’ve been installing valve covers, and checking the spark plug gaps. Like most of you, my preference is to be out playing, or second best, in the shop wrenching on my latest creation – or repairing my latest “whoopsie” - yet here I am writing an article instead. A year ago I wiped out the 345 in my Scout II. I may have been pushing it a little hard – and the clutch fan may have failed as well. A little over two weeks ago, I was back driving it around, for all of perhaps 50 miles. On Sunday I pulled the valve covers off, and had a look at the valvetrain, only to find 2 of the 16 lifters didn’t have a flat bottom any more – but instead had deep slots carved in them. I’m told even with the right additives and such in my oil, they’ve just removed too much Zinc from our oils, and I need to try a different flavor of motor oil for the break-in. Oils for flat-tappet camshafts seem to be going the way of leaded fuel, open trails, and leaf springs. I could have been installing another camshaft .the following weekend and putting the Scout back on the trail (this time with break-in oil, not break-in additive), taking my wife and daughters on another adventure – but instead, I found myself rousting the girls before 5am to drive 240 miles that morning to serve as the Treasurer of the Montana 4x4 Association at our Annual General Meeting. I’d rather have been wheeling. I’d rather have

been wrenching. I’d rather have been racing. Heck, I’d rather have been cleaning out my shop (long overdue). But if I don’t put in the time with my local club, my State Association, and with UFWDA, I won’t get to enjoy much of that for long, and my daughters might as well forget what wheelin’ is like (as it is, the youngest gets squeamish when the back end breaks loose in the winter time – she knows I do it on purpose – we need to fix that). Wednesday nights are “shop night” around here – allegedly my night to mostly guilt-free spend in the shop trying to further one of my projects. Frequently it gets disrupted by things like ballet practice (I said I have two daughters, right?), or a need to work late – this week, I will forgo shop night so I can attend my local club meeting. I brought home some awards from the M4x4A AGM that need distributed to the locals, and that’s more important than getting my Scout back on the road – it’s been down for a year, so what’s another week? So like the rest of you reading this, I have plenty of other things to be doing, but do please consider volunteering for one of the positions with UFWDA. Many hands make light work, and it is good work, necessary work, and something you can do to better your children and grandchildren, if you want to think that far down the road. If you turn around and look behind – it has been fun to read some of the comments about the American Bantam project and what makes a “real Jeep.” By some cruel twist of fate, I am an International Harvester fan, but I do have an appreciation for the mighty Jeep. I look forward to learning a little more history of the Bantam Jeep – designed and manufactured in my home state of Pennsylvania – and how it went on to help the Allies win the War. But to the “Real Jeeps have Flat Fenders” and “Real Jeeps have Round Headlights” crowd – I wonder if Real Jeeps have black-out headlights, and were made by Ford – since Ford built the GP, while the Willys-Overland model was the GPW – GP sounds more like Jeep than GPW – but then, that assumes “GP” is where Jeep comes from – maybe the documentary will shed a little light on it for us all – since I can at least confirm I wasn’t there when the first Jeep rolled off the line. Shoot, my dad wasn’t around for it either. -Tom Mandera, President

This being the last edition for 2014, UFWDA wish everyone a Happy New Year and one that makes a difference for four wheeling.

Peter Vahry International VP Editor

Wearing my editors hat, I apologize for the delay in getting this edition of Voice to you. In this time of millions of photographs being taken and people writng up their activities on social media, it seems to be getting steadily harder to get a flow of material to compile publications like UFWDA Voice. Thank you to our regular contributors. I reported briefly in the April eNews about a meeting held In Melbourne Australia of UFWDA, Fpour Wheel Drive Australia, New Zealand Four Wheel Drive Association and the Indonesia OffRoad Federation. Those respective organizations are still to confirm their participation following formal meetings, but a joint statement has been released that included a list of common topics, issues and ideas that may sound familiar to many four wheelers; • Awareness of the numbers of people who use four wheel drive vehicles – Those in clubs and those who are not. • Inconsistencies in government agencies regarding vehicle specifications and allowances for vehicle modifications. • The differences between countries in the role that the national associations play in providing advice to government authorities and land managers. • Funding arrangements and the differences between associations. • The increasing use and reliance on 4WDrivers during searches, emergencies and recovery roles. • The different management styles and methods of land management agencies. • The ongoing challenge to keep access to tracks and public land. • The opportunity for information sharing and swapping ideas. • Maintaining club membership levels. • Communication and time zone issues. 4x4 issues are pretty much the same everywhere and UFWDA is working to help. Please support UFWDA however you can.

The 21st Annual Sno* Blind

Words by Liz Wirgau

The Mudchuggers Four Wheel Drive Club of Michigan hosted the 21st annual Sno* Blind Expedition February 20 - 22 in West Branch, Michigan. This annual event consistently draws 130 - 140 vehicles and is open to anyone with a street licensed and insured four wheel drive vehicle with low range capability. Vehicles range from Jeeps to trucks and SUVs, and participants travel near and far to attend. Each year a group makes the approximately seven hour trek from Toronto and in past years, Warn has sent a participating Jeep team direct from Colorado. Pre-registration opens in November and typically ends with a waiting list as the event approaches. The event trails crisscross a series of logging roads that are only open to participants of special events like Sno* Blind. Trails with names like Big Money, The Grid, Snow Snake, Devil’s Tongue, Devil’s Tail, Pin Ball Alley and Camel Back offer a variety of adventure from tight, twisty tree filled trails to off camber maneuvering through valleys. There are open bowls, rocks, logs and cement culverts to test driver skills. Each year presents a new set of challenges depending on the weather, and trail conditions can range from icy to drifted, deep snow. This year had the added bonus of temperatures hovering around

-20 degrees F at times. Early Friday morning registered a cool -23 degrees F and made for a rough start for a few vehicles. After two full days of trail riding, participants and family members come together sans Carhartt bibs and down jackets to exchange stories and laughs over dinner at the annual banquet. Awards are presented for event favorites such as Frost Butt Mechanic (best parking lot or trailside fix), Snow Bound (worst stuck getting to or during the event) and Saint Bernard (Good Samaritan). The Trail Kill Cuisine Award is given to clever cooks that have made header burritos, roasted hot dogs over a “campfire in a box” and shared sugar cookies decorated like Jeeps. It is hard to walk away from the banquet empty handed, with numerous giveaways including winches, gift certificates, light bars, recovery kits and more from sponsors like Bestop, Unlimited Offroad, Katzkin, DTS, JCR Offroad, Rip Tech, Quality Inn, America’s Most Wanted Offroad and Red Rock Rod Shop. It’s even harder to walk away from the event without a smile on your face, as much from the snow covered trails, as from the camaraderie developed among the attendees both during the weekend and ever since the first event in 1994. Hope to see you next year!

Don’t Just Preach Conservation By Jerry Smith Director of Environmental Affairs – United Four Wheel Drive Associations

Live Conservation!

In general, we of the organized motorized recreation of Jeeping, 4-Wheeling, Wheeling, or whatever your favorite moniker; tend to be as conservation minded as ANY group proclaiming the title. The big difference is, some “Conservation” groups (read “Preservationists”) claim that motorized recreation is destroying our public and even private land. We pollute the air and land and make noise! There are reasons why they are 100% wrong! Before we get into some of those reasons, in fairness, let’s assume that we are talking in very general terms here. Not ALL Preservationists nor ALL Motorized Recreationists are good or bad. Each side has their own problems. Now, let’s explore some of those reasons. 1. Reason #1 When was the last time (or even the first time) you saw a hiker or equestrian carrying a large trash bag full of O.P.T. (Other People’s Trash)?? Personally, I can’t remember the first time.


Think about who benefits from ANY trail maintenance, single or double track. Except for the occasional motorcycle, no motorized traffic benefits from ANY single-track trail maintenance. On ATV double track trails, hikers and equestrians benefit. Everyone benefits from the maintenance performed on a full-size double track. In some cases, even the surrounding land and water quality improve. (water bars and wash improvements). 5. Who are the first to lose access? With few, if any exceptions, the full-size motorized recreation users are always the first to lose access to trail closures. Yet, who have we just shown does the most “conservation” to improve our trails to the benefit of ALL user groups? Do we hear; “The full-sized motorized users?” 6.

Some Facts

Yet on most (well over 95%) of the Jeep trips I have been on in over 40+ years, I can remember myself and many others who have returned with O.P.T. in one or more bags.

Reason #2 2. When have you ever seen a hiker packing a chainsaw?? Again in fairness, I believe they must carry tools on trail work parties.

Some in the Grand Mesa Jeep Club do carry a chainsaw, power trimmers, and such… especially on planned trail work trips. Reason #3 3. Have you ever seen a hiker or equestrian with a winch? My winch has moved too many trees and rocks to remember them all. Trail access often requires objects to be removed from the trail.

A man in a full-size motor vehicle

exerts about 6-lbs./sq. in. on the ground.

A man walking in boots exerts about

2-lbs./sq. in. on the ground.

 I have seen a multitude of tree cutting tools, brush trimming tools, and other trail maintenance tooling on many 4x4s. My personal arsenal is a little archaic (all manual tools), but has served me well. (I don’t like oil leaking and smelling gas fumes all day)

Who Benefits?

A man on a mountain bike exerts

about 25-lbs./sq. in. on the ground.

Mountain bikers pass me all the time. Does this mean they cause more erosion problems just based on the PSI on the ground and their ground speed combined? Which user groups are potentially causing the most environmental damage? Also consider that the full-size motor vehicle is restricted to a road/ trail already built for that use. Hikers have no such restrictions—they can go anywhere. Now for the unexpected curveball. Personally, I do not care one bit who’s doing the most damage. We ALL do our fair share!! What really matters is who is doing their fair share to improve or at least maintain the status quo. The other issue is; “Why can’t Preservationists

admit that you don’t have to “preserve” everything to manage it properly?” Much of the “preserved” lands have proven the folly of this practice. Just one of these areas produce more water quality issues after a wildfire, than all the wheels ever produced. How about “preserving” trail access for motorized users? We out-number the non-motorized users by a staggering number and do no more damage to the environment (with some renegades being the exception). We pull our weight and then some, doing trail maintenance. The end story is that we all need to work together to improve our environment. But we also need to provide equal access to ALL user groups.

Off-Road Business Association, Inc. and United Four Wheel Drive Associations, Inc. Working Together to Save Trails! By Jerry Smith Director of Environmental Affairs United Four Wheel Drive Associations The United Four Wheel Drive Associations have begun working with the Off-Road Business Association, better known a ORBA, to form an “Advisory Committee” with the main goal of affecting a single voice (One Voice) to relate and represent the sport of 4-wheeling to our law makers, land management agencies, and the public in general. These talks are in the very preliminary stages, but the consensus of the UFWDA Board of Directors is to vigorously pursue this opportunity. More details will be offered as they become available. For now, below is an article from the ORBA publication, “National Advocate”, which may be viewed in it’s entirety at: ORBA STRATEGIC PLAN ORBA Staff and Board Members began the revision process and update of the ORBA Strategic Plan. The strategic plan included key initiatives and updates; from succinctly defining ORBA’s mission, to outlining long term objectives for the organization over the course of the next five years. The last plan was implemented in 2011. The 2014 plan outlines several objectives that ORBA will be striving to achieve through education, outreach, growing the membership, and greater participation in Washington DC lobbying efforts. While these objectives have been generalized, a separate action plan will be drafted with key indicators and methods of how the objectives will be accomplished.

2014 LEADERSHIP SUMMIT & ONE VOICE ORBA organized and initiated an unprecedented Leadership Summit in Reno. On July 14, 2014, leaders and professionals representing the motorized industry and community met for a one-day session to discuss efforts and strategy in keeping public and private lands open for motorized recreation. After a lot of discussion and collaboration, attendees identified several points: the need for more representation at the national level, and the desire to better connect all of the voices (local, state/regional, national) so that the message being conveyed to lawmakers, regulators and the community is clear and consistent. ORBA volunteered to develop a business plan for establishing an umbrella organization (generically referred to as ‘One Voice’) and the plan was circulated to the summit attendees for comment. A second meeting was held at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas to discuss, review, and address comments on the plan. The consensus at that meeting was to move forward with the plan, refine its structure by adding specifics and details, and reach out to stakeholders for further participation. It was also agreed that ORBA would lead this effort. The structure of One Voice is similar to ORBA’s; the Association will be governed by a Board of Directors and lead by an Executive Director or CEO. It will be financially supported by industry and contract with a group of professionals that specialize in education, public relations and marketing, applied science and information technology. An Advisory Committee will be formed that represents the grass roots efforts and divided into regions around the country. ORBA is honored and eager to continue this exciting development of a national organization that represents the many facets of the OHV community.

Join our community of Adventurers

Photographing in Wyoming? You May be Breaking The Law!

Sunrise at Schwabacher Landing in Grand Teton National Park. Photo: Flickr user Diana Robinson (Creative Commons) According to the magazine Popular Photography, a new Wyoming law restricts photos on public lands, including National Parks. The author, Jeanette D Moses states “ under a newly passed Wyoming statute, which was signed into law this spring, taking a photograph on any land outside of an “incorporated city, town, or subdivision” without written or verbal permission from the owner is now illegal—well, sort of. Senate Bill 12, also known as the Data Trespass Bill, isn’t actually concerned with nailing photographers making pictures of the state’s pristine landscapes, but if you are photographing something for the sake of science, you may be in trouble. The bill’s broad language reads as a catch-all for citizen scientists collecting “resource data” from private, public, or federal land—such as evidence of a visibly polluted stream. Under the new law, “collect” is defined as “to take a sample of material, acquire, gather, photograph or otherwise preserve information in any form from open land which is submitted or intended to be submitted to any agency of the state or federal government.” Doing so could result in up to $5,000 in fines and a year in prison.” How will that affect 4x4 recreation? Thinking of putting together a proposal to improve an existing trail on public land and you take a series of photos

to describe the condition and location of that trail and didn’t get formal permission from the land manager, could have you answering some awkward questions and possibly a conviction. Many areas of public land have restrictions on photography for commercial purposes, but Wyoming’s approach does not appear to have such reasoning. The Popular Photography article suggests that the reason is to restrict images of dirty waterways, supposedly caused by the grazing of cows near the state’s streams. Let’s hope that this particular law does not spread to other regions!

“Quiet Users” or Conflict Seekers?

By Jerry Smith Director of Environmental Affairs UFWDA

“If ‘Quiet Users’ can’t find somewhere ‘Quiet’, they aren’t looking for ‘Quiet’, they are looking for conflict!” – Jerry Smith Many of you may have heard some or all of this before, but it deserves to be heard again. Many, if not most of the Preservationists like to be called “Quiet Users”. I am going to call a big steaming pile of Bull Stuff on them for that moniker.

Let’s take a look at a few of these definitions. 1. Making no noise or sound, especially no disturbing sound. Does conversation disturb silence? 4. Restrained in speech, manner, etc.; saying little; Who in this group “restrains their speech” and how do they do it – QUIETLY?

In many meetings and conversations with “Quiet Users”, I have asked; “When you go out on a trail, do you go alone, or do you go out with others?”

5. Free from disturbance or tumult; tranquil; peaceful: When you are complaining about every other user group in the vicinity, is that FREE FROM TUMULT, TRANQUIL, or PEACEFUL?

Nearly every time, the answer is something like; “We go with others.” or “we take the dog.”

8. Making no disturbance or trouble; not turbulent; peaceable: Is complaining to land managers MAKING NO DISTURBANCE or TROUBLE? Is that being PEACEFUL? 10. Free from disturbing thoughts, emotions, etc.; mentally peaceful; How FREE FROM DISTURBING THOUGHT, EMOTIONS, AND BEING MENTALLY PEACEFUL are you when all your thinking about is the noise of someone else?

When was the last time a group of people with likeminded interests were quiet? Huh? And when has anyone taken their dog for a walk that they didn’t have to constantly call the dog back or keep the dog from chasing wildlife? Is there ANYTHING quiet about disturbing wildlife? First, let’s look at the definition of “quiet”. says: As an adjective: 1. Making no noise or sound, especially no disturbing sound. 2. Free, or comparatively free, from noise. 3. Silent. 4. Restrained in speech, manner, etc.; saying little; 5. Free from disturbance or tumult; tranquil; peaceful: 6. Being at rest 7. Refraining or free from activity, especially busy or vigorous activity: 8. Making no disturbance or trouble; not turbulent; peaceable: 9. motionless or moving very gently: 10. Free from disturbing thoughts, emotions, etc.; mentally peaceful: 11. Said, expressed, done, etc., in a restrained or unobtrusive way: 12. Not showy or obtrusive; subdued: 13. Not busy or active: As a verb: (used with object) 14. to make quiet. 15. to make tranquil or peaceful; pacify: 16. to calm mentally, as a person. 17. to allay (tumult, doubt, fear, etc.). 18. to silence.

We have said it before, and will again; “We are happy for anyone who is out in the Great American Back Country. It matters not one bit by what mode they enjoy it, the experience and outcome CAN be the same.” That word “CAN” is the qualifier. Those looking for a reason to be disagreeable can find that reason… if only in their own mind. There IS one way to satisfy these conflicts. Anyone have a guess what that might be? My guess is that “trail closure” was your answer. Wrong! Think about this; was a road built for pedestrian use or for vehicle use? Was any two-track trail created for pedestrian traffic, or was the idea for vehicles to travel on it? Even a single-track open to motorcycle and bicycle uses, do you see that being built and maintained by and for pedestrians? Maybe it is time to disallow foot traffic on motorized routes. Think about the “quiet” that will occur when THAT becomes reality!! But odds are that the reports of user conflict will go away. Your feed back on this idea would be appreciated. Go to FaceBook and the page; Director of Environmental Affairs – United Four Wheel Drive Associations

As a verb: (used without object) 19. to become quiet (often followed by down).

Leave us a comment on whether you think this concept should be proposed to the land managers or not.

A Few Reasons for Four Wheeling

A few pictures showing some of the reasons we go off-road. The fall pictures were taken in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula during our club’s annual Fall Color Ride. The sand dune picture were from Michigan’s Lower Peninsula at Silver Lake Sand Dunes and one from MOAB as well. Photos: Mike Gasman

VA4WDA EARTH DAY CLEAN UP Union Springs Road GWNF cleanup project in October. The tentative date is the weekend of the 10th. Look to the next newsletter for final details, and please come out and give us a hand!

As the crowd grows larger, an even bigger pile of trash and filth disappeared this year. In 2014 we had 17 volunteers turn out for a much smaller dump, and this year we had 37 volunteers - but the result was the same: in well less than two hours we hauled about fifteen yards representing years of illegal dumping up a sheer ten foot rock face, and almost filled a twenty yard dumpster. While scouting the site and talking to home and property owners along the way, I thought at first I might meet some resistance to “do-gooder” outsiders, but nothing could be further from the truth. They were unanimous in their praise for Virginia 4-Wheel Drive Association for even daring to tackle this project. The North River Forest Ranger told me “I am very appreciative of all the work you have done for us.” Your membership dues pay for the dumpster rental and haul off, VA4WDA also provides a hot meal with a cookout Saturday night for all volunteers. VA4WDA is eyeing a site off Route 33 filled with discarded tires for our next

Special thanks to Christopher Rockhill for the donation of a case of extreme duty trash bags and a half dozen implements courtesy of VDOT’s Adopt-a-highway program. Words and photos supplied by Sandy Schneirla

UFWDA and several other 4x4 linked organizations are doing what we can to encourage financial support for this TV mini-series about the origins of the 4x4 vehicles that we take for granted now and are the basis of our recreation. The aim is to produce a world class TV production that will also generate revenues to be shared among our organizations. Click on the ad above to find out more and how to be involved.

Recovery Done Right By Jerry Smith Sunday, April 29th began as many, with a Grand Mesa Jeep Club Jeep run scheduled. Sleep curtailed at about 04:30 AM. What is it with a Jeep trip that one cannot get a full night of sleep? At the appointed meeting time and place, I had barely come to a complete stop when people began showing up at my rolled down window with questions about whether I was going on a Jeep rescue… one that I knew nothing about till now. Seems a Jeep was off the road up on the Sheep Creek road and reports from the Gateway Canyons Resort and Search & Rescue, were that the road was impassable from the bottom.

as Sheep Creek. The turn in the picture looked familiar to me. A quick meeting was held and the decision was that Tom, Paul, and Jerry (me) would be splitting off from the planned club run and they would take the trail through Glade Park in the direction of Sheep Creek and Gateway, CO to hopefully recover the distressed Jeep. We were told that the couple involved did have camping gear and had spent the night on the trail. That was the good news. Approximately 3 hours later, we encountered our first obstacle in this rescue drama.

Historically speaking, Sheep Creek in early spring (most years) is very difficult and often will have one or two places that rock falls or winter runoff erosion will require some work before you will successfully traverse the entire trail. This made the “road was impassable from the bottom” statement very believable.

From the top of the Sheep Creek road, you begin a steep descent on a loose rock and sandy surface that provides some spectacular views between the Utah Juniper and Pinon Pine trees. The Delores River Valley far below can quite literally be breath taking.

The picture the stuck party had sent through the phone showed a Jeep well off the road and precariously clinging to the steep shelf road known

The road is quite narrow, sometimes off-camber, and the rocks vary from small to large with many that reach up to cause that sickening thud on the

differential as you pass. A few hundred yards from the top, there is an old shack on a wide shelf in a small-forested area that signals the last level spot you will see for some time. Below the shack, the road and the mountain gets even steeper… steep enough that several switchbacks in rapid succession keep your steering wheel going from lock to lock as fast as you can turn it. Some are tight enough that you WILL be required to back up to make the turn. Below these first switchbacks, the shelf road runs along the base of a sheer cliff, rising above the road for hundreds of feet. Nearly every spring, there are large rockfalls blocking the road in varying degrees. These large rocks come from the cliff above and make one wonder if this is a place you want to spend much time. This year, there are two sizeable rocks. One is on the outside edge and the other is mostly right in the middle of the road with almost the width of a Jeep between the rock and the cliff. “Almost” being the word you may want to remember. As you try to sneak past the rock in the middle, you are tipped into the side of the cliff and your rocker guard (you DO have rocker guards) scrapes along the rock on the driver side. The right fender flare begins to fold under and the decision to back off is too late. By the way, we found that Dan (the driver of the stuck JK) had done this same damage trying this… but he doesn’t have the rocker guards --oooops! Happy Trails (my ’06 TJ Rubicon) and Tom’s Rubicon LJ were fully capable of going over the middle rock, but Paul’s YJ on the smaller tires and no lockers was out matched, so we stacked some rocks. Not long after, we rounded the corner of a ridge and there in front of us was Dan’s JK. Beached on the belly pan and straining to keep a foothold on the outer bank of what used to be the road. The day before at about 3 PM, he admitted that he had been “sight seeing” and had slipped over the side. Before getting stopped, the JK was precarious in the extreme. Sitting at nearly the tipping point on an estimated 60+ degree mountainside slope with a chute of mega rocks lining the v-notch of the bottom of the usually dry wash was a scary sight.

Dan had run his winch line to some long straps circling a huge roadside boulder to secure the JK from any further slipping and set up camp for the night after making a call for help. We don’t know the source of the information relating the “impassability” of the trail, but even the Search and Rescue apparently discounted the trip as not doable. That alone would be reason enough for guys like me to WANT to go. We love a good challenge, don’t you?? After some serious assessment of the situation, it was decided that two winches would be required to haul the wayward JK back onto the road. One winch pulling the front at the same time another one pulling the rear up. The greatest problem was that by pulling the Jeep directly sideways, we would also be pulling the lower side of the road, literally trying to move the mountainside. We needed to be pulling up and over as much as possible.

After digging around the sides of some large rocks above the road, long straps were looped around them for our anchor points. From the anchors, two snatch blocks were attached. Then, from the front and rear bumpers, another snatch block was attached. By running the winch cables through all these blocks, we effectively doubled our pulling power directed to a sideways pull from the upper roadside to the Jeep front and rear. It was very elaborate, but necessary as winching goes. Our first pull attempts were thwarted by the rear strap slipping off the rock as the pull tightened. Once the strap held, the next pull brought the JK sideways about two feet. By then, the front winch lines were beginning to dig into the JKs top. This halted operations. After some jockeying of the winching Jeeps, and swapping the front and rear pull lines to the opposite Jeeps, the new configuration finished the recovery without any further mishaps. About halfway through this process, two ATVs that had come up from the trail bottom earlier in the day appeared and had to wait for the finish of our operations. From them we learned that the lower

trail was indeed difficult, but passable. After loading all the camping gear, we all proceeded down to the big town of Gateway where most aired up and then split up in different directions. This is a prime example of the kind of members that the Grand Mesa Jeep Club is made up of. Many of us have given up days of work doing trail maintenance, trash pick up, and reopening of trails long closed by Mother Nature. We do it for the love of doing it, not for remuneration. This recovery of a fellow Jeeper in distress was done as a part of our Jeeping experience being enhanced by the opportunity. The reward came when Dan committed to joining the GMJC. We made a new friend and gained a new club member. How cool is that?? One last thing to remember; when you come to a fork in the road‌ Take it!! You never know where adventure is waiting for you. Copyright Happy Trails 4wd 2015 All rights reserved.

2015 VA4WDA ‘Members Only’ Ride at Big Dog’s

Words and photos supplied by Sandy Schneirla

This year’s ride was moved to the first weekend of May, where it will stay. The change of date brought out a few more wheelers. No less than four Virginia Board members attended, and a good number of experienced runners who wheeled their first time at the Cove. Judging from my discussions with those drivers at Saturday night’s dinner, I believe we will grow by word-of-mouth as they bring friends out to experience what I think are the top trails in Virginia. Alan Staimen from Off Camber Crawlers founded this event eight years ago and ran it with us again this year; he confirmed to me it was the largest turnout yet. Attendance was 23 in 2013, 32 in 2014, and with 42 rigs this year, 2015 is our largest turn out to date. We launched Saturday morning with four strings ... Easy, Moderate, Advanced, and Ludicrous ... they averaged eight to ten rigs per string. No waiting at the end of the line!

There were no rollovers reported, but there were plenty of stories of busted axles, control arms, mirrors and reversed leaf spring shackles, circling round the campfire. The biggest advantage of this being a small event is the driver de-briefs! These fire side chats culminated in a great number of suggestions that will be rolled back in for immediate improvement in future Member Only Runs. The Saturday night meal was hot and the best yet, all the way from brisket, pulled pork, bbq chicken, and fixin’s, down to the ice cream for dessert. The Members Only Run is not a profit maker for VA4WDA, it is run as a member benefit for your membership dues. Consider making bookends of your annual wheeling season every year - kick it off with the MOR in May, and finish with the Annual Trail Ride in September

The Grand Mesa Jeep Club Grand Junction, Colorado By Jerry Smith

Nestled at the “Grand Junction” of the mighty Colorado and Gunnison Rivers, you will find a vibrant and fun loving group of people… the members of the Grand Mesa Jeep Club (GMJC). Going on their 53rd year of existence, the GMJC is showing the world what is possible when likeminded people put their commonality together with purpose.

Activities of this group are many and diverse. Like most “Jeep” clubs, they do runs/trips into the Great American BackCountry on a very regular basis. Some weekends, there will be anywhere from 1 to 4 or 5 different trips happening. These trips accommodate folks from the very mild stock machines to the extreme “buggy-class” with all midclasses covered very well. GMJC membership is NOT limited to just Jeeps. Trips can be day-trips or multi-days. During late spring through the fall, at least one multi-day trip is scheduled each month. Great friendships have developed from these overnight outings. Sharing a camp, campfire, and food is a wonderful time with good people. The trails aren’t so bad either. Even though there are many “local” trails, Grand Junction, Colorado is only 100-miles from some of

the more famous Jeeping capitals like Moab, Ouray, and the central Colorado mountains with all their majesty, history, and trails reaching to altitudes most people will never experience. From the desert to the deep canyon lands to the high Rocky Mountains, there is a diverse and challenging trail to meet your needs here. One or two of the major projects occupy most of each year in various planning stages. The GMJC annually sponsors “Rock Junction” and the “Rocky Mountain Off-Road Expo”. The Rock Junction event is held the three-days prior to the first Saturday of June. Those three days are filled with club lead trail runs to some of the premier trails of western Colorado and eastern Utah. Trails from mild and scenic to extreme and scenic are on the docket each day for the pleasure of our entrants who come from all over the United States. At the end of the Jeeping day, a club member sponsors a BBQ and get together for sharing the day’s experiences. Participants have found these to be a great time. The Rocky Mountain Off-Road Expo is held on the 1st Saturday of June on the Mesa County Fairgrounds in Grand Junction. Several industryleading vendors of Off Road accessories display their products to the roughly 3000 folks that come from far and wide. A swap meet and “Show and Shine” competition for trophies also bring some rigs built to extremes to ogle and get ideas for your next “build project”.

And don’t forget the Obstacle Course! Each entrant is asked to donate to the “Crawl to a Cure” organization for supporting local cancer patients. The crowds have been large watching various llevels of talent try their luck at a challenging course. In 2014, Tony Pelligrino of GenRight offered rides in his “King of the Hammers” Ultra4 racer. Smiles were wide all over. Speaking of “King of the Hammers”, the GMJC also holds an annual “King of the Hammers” movie event, also to raise money for the Crawl to a Cure organization. Other annual events like the Desert Cleanup, “Jeeping the River”, and parade participation keep things active. The Desert Clean-up comes the Sunday after the Rock Mountain Off Road Expo. In 2014, over 5-tons of OPT (Other People’s Trash) plus a trailer full of recyclable material and another large load of old tires were removed from the desert north of town. “Jeeping the River” is a trip with about anything that will float the Colorado River. Kayaks, canoes,

membership, many also came from the public at a club sponsored “Pizza for Comments” party held at the fairgrounds. There they had maps along the walls with knowledgeable people helping the public with questions and answers regarding trails that were subject to potential closure. The BLM recognized the GMJC for their unprecedented participation at an awards meeting. Word from the Dept. of Interior says even they were impressed.

rafts, inner tubes, and other conveyances make their way from Grand Junction to Fruita with lots of fun along the way. The Grand Junction and Fruita “Parades of Lights” have become a spectacle for the large crowds. 4X4s all lit up for a city block or more are a welcome sight to the crowds.

Land use, believe it or not, is a very serious topic with the GMJC members. For the recent (by government standards) BLM Resource Management (RMP) and Travel Management Plan (TMP), the club generated over 800 comments in support of keeping motorized access to roads and trails. While most were directly from the

The GMJC has several members who regularly attend meetings with the BLM and USFS and other land use entities. They are always current on what’s happening and represent Motorized Access to Public Lands. Annually, the GMJC members must “pre-run” many of the trails used for Rock Junction and later on our “Adopted Trail” on the Grand Mesa. Mother Nature

is not always kind to our trails. It is common to encounter downed trees, rock falls, overgrown brush, and washouts that slow or stop forward progress. Club members show up in force for each of these “work days” making the work easier and much more fun. As a standard practice, we always remove OPT (Other People’s Trash) on every outing. In 2013, the Billings Canyon extreme trail was awarded the BFG Outstanding Trails award with a grant of $4,000 for trail maintenance. Some of that money has been earmarked to build a “Trail Maintenance Trailer” to keep club owned tools and other trail related things in one portable place. Once it is built, advertising of companies that have made it possible will be displayed on the sides in appreciation for their help and support of land use. For many years, the GMJC has attempted to “Adopt” the 21 Road trail that is on BLM lands. One major obstacle to this rejection finally surfaced in 2014… a “Threatened Species”; the Great Basin Spadefoot Toad to be exact. Because adopting the road was turned down, the GMJC elected to adopt the toad… the “21 Road Toad”. In the near future, the GMJC will be erecting an informational Kiosk near the mouth of the 21 Road trail. It will inform the public of the presence of the 21 Road Toad and how the GMJC will be protecting the habitat of the toad. Post and cable will be erected to keep vehicles out of the three or four critical areas and bypasses will be in place to maintain access to the rest of the trail. How’s that for “creative thinking?”

Last, but far from least, the GMJC is very active with the children of the members. They are encouraged to attend meetings, trips, and the annual banquet. At the banquet, they are not forgotten or just tolerated. They are featured with their own prize drawing, and every child WILL receive a prize. We hope this will encourage them to participate as the next generation of Motorized Recreationists. This is the Grand Mesa Jeep Club… very proudly,

Active Fire Year Forecast for North Central U.S. WASHINGTON, May 5, 2015 – U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell presented the Forest Service forecast on the upcoming 2015 fire season in testimony today before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Forest Service researchers expect 2015 to continue the trend of above average fire activity. “Above normal wildland fire potential exists across the north central United States and above normal wildland fire potential will threaten many parts of the West this summer,” said Chief Tidwell. “We anticipate another active fire year, underscoring the need to reform our wildfire funding.” The forecast indicates there is a 90 percent chance that this year’s Forest Service fire suppression costs will be between $794 million and $1.657 billion, with a median estimate of $1.225 billion, potentially forcing the diversion of funding from other vital programs to support suppression operations. Any costs above the median is greater than the “10 year average” and would force the Forest Service to leverage funding from other land management programs. Diverting funds to cover the cost of wildfire suppression affects other critical Forest Service programs and services, said Tidwell, including efforts to reduce wildfire risk through mechanical thinning, prescribed fires, and other means. Wildfire suppression costs have increased as fire seasons have grown longer and the frequency, size, and severity of wildfires has increased due to changing climatic conditions, drought, hazardous fuel buildups, insect and disease infestations, nonnative invasive species, and other factors. Funding has not kept pace with the cost of fighting fire. Over the last 10 years, adjusting for inflation, the Forest Service has spent an average of almost $1.13 billion on suppression operations annually. The President’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget includes a proposal to reform the way that wildfire suppression is funded. Aligned with the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act, these reforms are necessary to ensure the Forest Service continues to deliver the full scope of its mission.

Chief Tidwell said the Forest Service has the capability and responsibility to protect life, property, and natural resources. The responsibility to respond to wildfire is not isolated to the Forest Service. It works extensively with partners within the Department of Interior (DOI) as well as State, tribal and local firefighting organizations to support wildland fire management operations. These cooperators are essential to ensuring that every wildfire receives an appropriate, risk informed, and effective response regardless of the jurisdiction. Within the Fiscal Year (FY) 15 appropriation for Wildland Fire Management, the Forest Service will be able to mobilize approximately 10,000 firefighters for the upcoming fire season, as well as up to 21 airtankers available for operations on exclusive use contracts, additional air tankers available through “Call When Needed” contracts, and the capability to mobilize cooperator air tankers, if available, through agreements with the State of Alaska and Canada. In coordination with the military there are also eight Mobile Airborne Firefighting System-capable C-130’s available to meet surge requirements, as well as an extensive fleet of more than 100 helicopters available to support operations. The Forest Service has worked collaboratively with its partners to develop the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy, of which fuel treatment is an essential component. In 2015, $32 million of the Hazardous Fuels appropriation was allocated to 50 projects in areas with a likelihood of high intensity fire within populated areas or near important watersheds for municipal water supply. The Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program also assists in the agency’s work with partners to conduct hazardous fuel treatments and ecosystem restoration that encourages economic and social sustainability, leverages local resources with national and private resources, reduces wildfire management costs, and addresses the utilization of forest restoration byproducts to offset treatment costs and benefit local economies. The mission of the Forest Service, part 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.

A must watch video as a case study on the Rim Fire

34° 24’ 12” N 116° 35’ 33 ” W




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A Rover for all reasons!

Words and photos by Bill Burke

All things considered, in the world as we know it, some sad news has given me a reflective perspective to this column! The auto industry has decided to cut production of two vehicles this year! Yes, 2015, the year of the Sheep in Chinese mythology is the last for the Toyota FJ Cruiser – a respected and reliable unique vehicle. But, more so, we will very sadly see the demise of the Defender line – as we know it. Which really bums me out big time, as I suspect it does you dear reader! I bought my D90 in November 1994. It was built in Feb (my birth month!). I guess you could call it karma or charisma but now with just over 200K miles and more trail hours than reliable miles, it has been a wonderful workhorse for me. It was a strange beginning indeed. I ended up riding my bicycle through the Veteran’s Day parade crowd to gain access to the dealership in order to plunk down my hard earned cash on the counter. Giddy I was as I drove it home and picked up Rachel for our inaugural drive around Denver. That first month I contacted my friend Jim Allen and asked him if he was interested in helping me “fix up” this new to me and new to the US D90! Heck yeah! I contacted my friends at ARB, Superwinch

and a couple others interested in modifying a Land Rover D90. And the build-up began! Jim was going to do a story about it all in Four Wheeler magazine since it was “officially” the first NAD D90 to get such a major face lift. We installed ARB lockers, Old Man Emu suspension and the Superwinch in the ARB bumper. There really wasn’t much aftermarket equipment available for a 90 at the time so we built, improvised and adapted items along the way. The first trip out to the snowy mountains the lockers got me sideways on a snowy track and the 90 slid onto a stump. So much for the pretty side panels under the doors. Back to the drawing board! I designed a set of sliders and with the help of Sean at Tuffy Security Consoles we fabbed up a stout set of sliders – which was the template for about 100 other sets over the years. I then built rear corner protection and started experimenting with the suspension to fine tune what I still run today using a mix of shocks and springs from OME. Old school extended shocks, spring spacers and sturdy rope to hold the springs in place. Of course the first thing to come off was the Anti-Sway bars. The next few months found me shaking down the built up 90 in Moab. On Behind the Rocks trail I tested the crawl ratio going off White Knuckle, Yeehaw! Back to the drawing board for more homemade protection under the frame and axles!

It took a few years for the garage start-up welders and fabricators to catch on, but the 90 was a huge success for the aftermarket builders. I added quality protection and other goodies from them over the years.

that covered the windscreen vents and wipers so the ice and sleet of the mountain storms wouldn’t hinder the wiper function or let the cold air seep through the vent flaps. I suppose those flaps are air-tight to Rover spec though!

Just about 80% of the miles on the 90 (any of my rigs actually) is off pavement and rough off pavement at that! Early on I wasn’t shy about driving the 90 all over the US for work. Rachel was very patient about those runs. It was common for me to drive from Denver to So. Florida, up to the New England coast then back to Denver, then to the PNW and then work the desert SW all in the same year. It was one February when I was working in Borrego Springs CA and the temps were, well, hot. So the rear plastic windows were out. On the drive back to Colorado I didn’t much think about it until I hit the Fish Lake National Forest in central Utah and the drive got chilly. It was too late to get the windows back in! So the back plastic windows haven’t been put back on since that spring of ’97! They just didn’t seem needed anymore.

I customized the rear load space to accommodate the ARB refrigerator and to separate the soft gear from the hard gear, all the while allowing room for my dog. The small roof rack I kept slim for a dry bag and fire wood, but now the MaxTrax reside up there. On the rear tire carrier I installed the Pull-Pal, a shovel and axe holder. The poor old stock carrier is still holding up. A bit wobbly, but does the job of carrying the weight of the plow and tools. I store the hard-door tops in the back in a custom holder that is part of the load space I built. I rarely use the windows, but they are handy when needed. As Rachel will oft remind me: “no such thing as bad weather, just incorrect gear!” It still bites me in the arse!!

I built a half cab divider out of Cordura with my sewing machine, fashioning holders to secure the divider behind the seats. Since I had a custom load space in the back, the divider, along with the door top windows, gave me plenty of protection from the nasty weather. I also sewed a winter front

The Premier Power welder under the hood has come in handy more times than I can count. Although I did use it to build many sets of slider for folks, it has welded a few clutch bell-crank units on old Jeeps, welded a prop-shaft, leaf spring and frame along the way. I’m pretty sure the front steering control arm has a bit of angle welded on from a field repair that somehow has been good for a few years now! The bicycle shift lever on the

tranny stick helps when I’m winching or welding to raise and hold the engine RPM. It has come in handy when a student is having a tough time managing the clutch but rare that is! The dents, scrapes, bits, pieces and doo-dads gathered along the way from various regions, trails and encounters have attached themselves in odd fashion. The Disco boot on the bumper, the Medicine bag, the gargoyle, all have stories, but, it is the “cow tag” that gets people interested! That, my friends, is a fireside chat! Nowadays I am ecstatic when I turn the key and it starts, burbles to life, groans a bit and chuckles before it hits the trail. Whether it is with a student or me driving, the 90 sure loves being a work horse! I don’t, can’t ever, imagine selling it. And now, well, there is no legitimate replacement for it anyway, is there? Just like any old Rover, with binding wire, duct tape, decent gasoline and “pick-a-part,” it will run forever! I’m glad I still have my Whitworth spanners though! See you on the trail my friends! Bill Burke’s 4-Wheeling America

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Living With Greater Sage-Grouse USFWS photo If readers have been following the UFWDA Facebook page, or our forum on the UFWDA website, you may have noticed a Fish and Wildlife Service notice from the Federal Register on April 23, announcing that they withdrew the proposed rule to list the bi-State distinct population segment (DPS) of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) in California and Nevada as threatened under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act), as well as the proposed rules under section 4(d) of the Act and to designate critical habitat for the bi-State DPS of greater sagegrouse. Throughout the western states there have been many articles published about that topic and the prominent OHV advocate Don Amador recently stated; “While there might be cause for some sort of small celebration (at least for OHV)… the 5 area managers at last week’s Central CA BLM RAC meeting told the RAC members and public that the agency will continue to actively manage habitat for sage grouse, regardless of listing and that OHV should continue to support the grouse related OHV management tenets we submitted earlier”. In that same vein, John Stewart, the Resources Consultant - California 4 Wheel Drive Association and the President of the CA4WDC Conservation

and Education Foundation, takes up the topic… “For clarity, my understanding is that even if the listing prohibition is successful, while the grouse will not be listed for 10 years, management practices will be implemented to protect the habitat as if it were listed. That same philosophy is showing on the frog and toad issue in the Sierras. FS officials assured everyone that nothing would change as they had been implementing management prescription with eventual listing in mind. The same is happening with the Pacific Fisher....” John Stewart goes on to state that the core point in Amador’s comment, identifies a major concern. “While the agencies are planning for the future, they are creating plans under the assumption a species will be listed. This is problematic as the assumptions today may not match the reality of the future when the species is listed. Given that the agencies are operating in a “risk aversion” mode with regard to potential lawsuits, it does create a problematic situation. How can you plan today for a situation you know will change tomorrow?

Right now, there is conflicting information floating around. Sorry to say, but SEMA is adding confusion as they are presenting a rosy picture. They are not looking at the wide range of actions proposed and the conflicting studies that are contrary. Overall, the grouse issue is locked in a state’s rights vs Federal control. complicated by ESA actions that are subject to legislation override, litigation override and conflict with private property rights. Underlying this, is the matter of energy and water rights. It is a complex minefield with no easy way out. My prediction is that litigation will fight with legislation on the critical habitat issue. Keep and eye on the fracking discussion as that is happening within proposed habitat. Also, wolf management is within the proposed habitat. Drought (aka Climate Change) is also a major factor. Wildfire is a major factor. Grazing is a major factor. There is no simple way to explain the variety of factors involved with this issue. It is problematic that all “news” releases are generic and limited in scope of what they cover. But, that goes with the limited attention span of readers. Details are important but nobody wants to hear details.” Stewart notes that SEMA were ‘presenting a rosy picture’ but it seems from an item published in the SEMA eNews on 30 May, that even they are cautious about possible outcomes. “The issue is of critical importance to motorized recreation enthusiasts since the bird’s habitat spans 165 million acres across 11 western states and an ESA listing could threaten closure of roads and trails within that area. The states are working with local communities, private landowners and industry to develop comprehensive voluntary efforts that would provide necessary protections, since they are already familiar with the negative consequences of an ESA designation. In 1990, the Interior Department listed the Northern Spotted Owl and then limited logging in federal forests in Washington, Oregon and California. Tens of thousands of timber workers lost their jobs as a direct result. The owl is

still on the list and its population continues to decline despite the aggressive tactics. SEMA supports an alternative approach that focuses on establishing and managing smaller recovery zones in cooperation with private and public landowners.” Ongoing in the discussions about how to preserve habitat, Amador has noted that at a recent meeting he attended “the CBD, Wild Earth Guardians, and several other enviro groups primarily focused their sights on energy, mining, and cattle. However, OHV was mentioned several times as part of their objections. Green groups would like to see the lek buffer extended from 3 miles to 4 miles for OHV events and also seek to potentially limit casual use too. At this point the FS seems to stand by their OHVrelated management prescriptions. This is one we have to watch, per chance enviros file suit if they don’t get the resolutions they seek.” Sage-Grouse looks like being a bird species that will impact OHV recreations irrespective of its formal listings or not. If habitat protection is going to be implemented anyway, does our recreation be proactive and get involved?


“Bob, are you still back there, are you doing OK?” “Bob?” “Can anyone hear Bob?” I don’t know about the East Coast, but here in the West, where I reside these days, the cellphone hasn’t completely eclipsed 2-way mobile communications yet. Sure, phones work pretty well in the “cities” - when there isn’t a “No-phoneswhile-driving” law to prevent it, but once you leave civilization behind, there are a lot of places that, no, I can’t “here you now.” For those places, the ones where you might have to engage 4wd, we still fall back on boring old 2-way communication radios. It used to be CB radios were the hot ticket, then for a while we tried to get by with FRS hand helds, and now we have a few clubs in the area going to Business Band Land Mobile, or to VHF Amateur Radio (“Ham”) operations.

The antennas we use on our 4x4s are usually of the “1/4 wave ground plane” variety, though there are exceptions for the VHF (136-170Mhz) radios, but for CB we’re all pretty much stuck with the ground-plane vertical. The “right” size of an antenna is a function of the frequency, or wave-length. For the typical US CB radio installation, operating around 27Mhz, the ideal length for a vertical ground plane antenna is roughly 8.5’ with an 8.5’ radius sheet of metal underneath. The closest we’re going to come to that ideal is putting the antenna in the middle of the roof of a Suburban – and even then, you don’t have 8.5’ of roof to the left and right. Thus follows the next truth about antennas – every installation is a compromise.

For a given class of radio service, the biggest difference maker between a radio installed in one vehicle vs another is the antenna installation.

8.5’ whips like to hit every tree branch around – and sometimes bystanders. So we compromise, and use a base or center loaded whip, getting the overall antenna height down to something manageable, like 4’. We lose a little efficiency, but our friends might keep their eyes, and it stops raining tree branches as much.

Antenna installation can be summed up as “Location, Location, Location” - and perhaps “and good contact with the vehicle body”

On the “ground plane” or the roof we’re mounting the antenna to, we can’t do much to make the roof bigger, but we can try to mount the antenna to

They all have one thing in common – the need for an antenna.

maximize the use of our roof. Ideally, we place the antenna in the middle, left to right, and close to the middle front to back. If you offset the antenna to the front of the vehicle, it will actually “hear” and “talk” better to the rear. If you mount the antenna to the rear of the roof, it will talk “forward” better. If you mount the antenna to the right-rear corner of the roof, it will work best when talking to someone off the “left-front” corner of the vehicle.

mount puts the antenna off to nearly one corner, with a cab of metal in the way in what would otherwise be a strong direction. Using a 3/8’ stud mount will require drilling a hole, or perhaps mounting a piece of steel or aluminum strap to something else (here comes our mirror mount again) and then the 3/8 stuck mount to that strap. My current favorite mount for most antennas is the “NMO” mount or Motorola mount.

There are other considerations than “how does it play” - if you mount the antenna on the driver’s side, you may have problems with drive-throughs, which could put a damper on your before-thetrail-ride fast-food breakfast stop. If you put the antenna on the passenger side, you might make it through McD’s now, but when people trim trees, they trim them higher in the center of the road than on the edges – so you’re going to hit more trees. It is all a trade off – just select the best option you can live with. If you can’t put it on the roof, perhaps your hood is a good target. Moving down from there would be things like a rear tire-rack, or the corner of the body, just below where the soft-top or fiberglass hardtop sits. Ideally, your antenna would not be “against” another metal object, and would instead be above all “clutter” and “in the clear” - get it above that topper, and the windshield frame if you can – but we all realize that isn’t always possible. How you mount your antenna is second most important to where you mount it. I have used magnetic mounts for years and years. They are convenient and fairly cheap. They only work on steel parts, which is usually just fine since you need a nice metal ground plane under antenna anyways. One upside to a magnetic mount antenna -when you hit something, it tends to fall over. One downside to a magnetic mount antenna – when you hit something, it tends to fall over. Magnetic mount antennas can wind up doing a lot of damage to your paint, too – particularly if you ever get some debris under the magnet, or leave it in place for too long and water accumulates under it and starts rust. Next after the magnetic mount, you may be familiar with the 3/8” stud mount. This is a part of the old mirror-mount system, which is generally a poor solution for anything but a semi or a truck with a camper that has no better option, since a mirror

The typical mount requires a 3/4” hole, but there are varieties that take a 3/8” hole. The NMO mount slides up from the underside, and then a big “washer” tightens down from the top – the washer is close to 1” in diameter with an O-ring under it. It clamps down, sandwiching the roof under the mount and making a good contact – this leads to higher efficiency/better transmissions and better reception compared to the magnetic mount antenna in the same location. This will improve your signal, and help you reach the front of the ground from the rear. NMO mounts are low profile, hard to see, and if you’re into resale value, they are easy to cap – as well as inconspicuous. NMO mounts were quite popular for a while with the external-antenna-cellphone crowd in fringe areas. The NMO mount also means no more running your coax through the door frame, like you might do with a magnetic mount antenna – this makes your antenna (coax) last longer. One option to consider with the NMO mounts, is the availability of “NMO + GPS” mounts, which have two runs of coax coming from them, mount using the same 3/4” hole, but include an activeGPS antenna in the “base” of the NMO mount – so you can have your radio antenna and your outside-

this-metal-box GPS antenna as well, all with one well placed hole. With an NMO mount on your rig, you can buy base and center loaded “10/11 meter” NMO base antennas, and trim to the right length for your favorite CB channel’s frequency – mine is Channel 4, since “4 is for 4-wheelers.” One more tip for those of you with fiberglass tops. It doesn’t take much of a ground plane under the antenna to make a difference – glue some aluminum foil to the underside of your hardtop, and install an NMO mount through the aluminum and fiberglass, and put an antenna top side. You will be amazed at the improvement in your signal – and your improved reception. If you’re running a soft-top or not-top most of the time – weld or clamp a tab onto the rollcage, and mount the antenna there. With NMO, it is fairly easy to remove the antenna – so put an NMO mount on the hardtop, and one on the rollcage, and swap the one antenna from mount to mount between winter and summer. -Tom Mandera

BFGoodrich® Tires Launch 2015 Outstanding Trails Program GREENVILLE, S.C., April 1, 2015 – BFGoodrich® Tires builds tires for any adventure, including those that take drivers off their daily roadways. Through its Outstanding Trails program that promotes sustainable and responsible off-road driving, BFGoodrich Tires will once again award grants of $4,000 each to three qualified and passionate offroad clubs in North America. These clubs will use their grants to continue their efforts that preserve and protect their hometown trails. As Outstanding Trails enters its 10th year, BFGoodrich has selected 4 Wheel Parts as presenting sponsor of this year’s program. 4 Wheel Parts will promote the program and provide a critical outreach extension to four-wheel-drive clubs across North America. The program also is conducted in collaboration with United Four Wheel Drive Associations (UFWDA), Blue Ribbon Coalition and the Off Road Business Association. To date, Outstanding Trails has awarded grants to 36 off-road trails nominated by 35 local clubs throughout North America. The program has provided more than $140,000 in grants in support of these trail conservation efforts. Nominations will be accepted beginning April 3 through July 10, 2015, on the BFGoodrich Tires website at The competition invites off-road clubs from around North America to nominate local trails that merit grants for maintenance or refurbishing. Trails are selected based on uniqueness, terrain type and enthusiast support. “Off-road communities and clubs that promote and preserve this activity are true driving enthusiasts,” said Duane Thomas, brand communications manager for BFGoodrich Tires. “Outstanding Trails allows BFGoodrich Tires and our sponsors to join these clubs in maintaining a robust and responsible off-road culture.” BFGoodrich has assembled a panel of judges comprised of four-wheel industry veterans to evaluate Outstanding Trails grant submissions.

Calling all Jeep Owners! Register your Jeep for the Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival’s Guinness World Records Jeep Parade on June 12 and help keep the record in Butler, PA, where it belongs! On April 26, a Jeep event in Daytona Beach, Florida beat the Festival’s previous record of 1,106 that was set in 2011. We need your help to bring the record back home to the birthplace! Any Jeep model or year can participate. Register by May 17th and be a part of Jeep history! The parade costs $15 to participate and includes a commemorative dash plaque, downloadable photo of each participating Jeep and a commemorative gift. The parade will begin at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, June 12. Jeeps will stage at Butler County Community College between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and then travel north on Route 8 and through Downtown Butler. More information about the Parade can be found here. Up to 1,300 of the first Jeeps in the parade will proceed north through the city, followed by 1,200 that will park downtown to begin the popular Jeep Invasion street party. The Jeeps will be parked at the direction of the Rodfathers of Butler who are once again supporting the Festival. The Jeep Invasion features music, food vendors, and the

camaraderie of thousands of Jeep enthusiasts and regional residents. Complimentary shuttles will transport the occupants of the first Jeeps to the parade and Jeep Invasion from parking lots on the outskirts of the city. “We’ve been planning this event for several months and have many details already worked out,” said Dave Zarnick, Butler Township Commissioner, who along with Butler City Councilman Richard Schontz, is leading the parade planning efforts. “Many meetings have already been held with City and Township Police Departments, the Butler County Sheriff’s Office, the mayor of the City of Butler, City of Butler Bureau of Fire, Butler Downtown, Rodfathers of Butler, BC3 and Festival Committee members. We are all working together to make sure this is a fabulous event for all of Butler County and the thousands of Jeep enthusiasts who come here for the Festival.” Many other activities are being planned for Bantam Jeep’s 75th Birthday Bash. For more details about the 2015 Festival, visit www.bantamjeepfestival. com. Join us June 12-14, 2015 for Bantam’s 75th Birthday Bash and the Guinness World Records Largest Parade of Jeeps that starts on Friday, June 12 at 2:30!

Business Members 4 Wheel Drive Hardware (330) 482-4733 4x4 Wire (619) 390-8747 BF Goodrich (877) 788-8899 Badlands 4x4 Adventures, Inc. (310) 347-8047

Jeep Action Magazine +61 02 6656 1046 Moses Ludell’s 4WD Mechanix Magazine (619) 390-8747 Olathe Toyota Parts Center

Big Dogs Offroad (410) 440-3670

Poison Spyder Customs (951) 849-5911

Bill Burke’s 4 Wheeling America, LLC 970-858-3468

Quadratec (800) 745-2348

Blue Springs Ford Parts (800) 248-7760

Survive Off Road LLC (602) 321-0833

Bushwacker (503) 283-4335 California Assn of 4WD Clubs, Inc. (800) 4x4-FUNN DreamSeat (702) 338-2511 Expeditions West (928) 777-8567

ExtremeTerrain (800) 988-4605 Hi-Lift Jack Company (812) 384-4441

Susquehanna Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep, Ram (717) 252-2412 Tom Wood’s Custom Drive Shafts (877) 497-4238 Trasharoo (714) 854-7292 WinchBin X-Treme Mobile Adventures (800) 370-3308

United Four Wheel Drive Associations would like to thank our Direct Members, Clubs and Associations for their support. 4 Lakes 4 Wheelers, Inc. (Wisconsin)

Middle Atlantic Four Wheel Drive Association

ACES 4X4 Club (Michigan)

Capital Off Road Enthusiasts

Arizona State Association of 4-Wheel Drive Clubs

PA Jeeps

Eagle Valley Off Roaders

Mid-Atlantic Jeep Club

Association of All-Wheel Drive Clubs-Southern Africa Badgerland 4×4 TNT Club

Midwest 4 Wheel Drive Association

Baltimore Four Wheelers

MN Trailriders

Between the Hills Trailheaders 4×4 Club

Montana 4×4 Association, Inc.

California Association of Four Wheel Drive Clubs, Inc.

New Mexico 4-Wheelers

Central North Carolina 4×4

New Zealand Four Wheel Drive Association, Inc.

Central Ontario 4×4 Club

Rim Country 4 Wheelers, Inc.

Colorado Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs, Inc.

River City 4X4, Inc. Rock Crawlers for the Preservation of Future Access (RCPFA)

Creeper Jeepers Gang 4WD Club Demon 4×4 Four Wheel Drive Australia

Rough Country 4 Wheelers Scrambler Owners Association

Great Lakes Four Wheel Drive Association

Seven Hills Jeep Club

Hall of Fame 4×4 Trail Riders

Southern Four Wheel Drive Association

Havasu 4-Wheelers, Inc.

Carolina Off Road Extremists (CORE)

Indiana 4 Wheel Drive Association

Carolina Trailblazers 4WD Club

Mesa 4 Wheelers

Cumberland Off-Road

Damn Locals 4×4 Club

East Tennessee 4WD Club

Extreme Ridge Runners ridge_runners

Georgia Bounty Runners 4WD Club

Blue Ridge Rock Mafia • Capital City Fourwheelers •

Hard Rock Crawlers

KMA Off Road Jeep Club

Middle Tennessee Trailrunners 4WD Club

Lost Jeepers

Mechanicsville Mudders

Ohio River Four Wheelers

Mid-Atlantic Jeepers

Rattlerock 4-Wheel Drive Club

Middle Peninsula Jeep Association

Rocket City Rock Crawlers 4WD Club

Off Chamber Crawlers

Rock Solid Jeep Club (No web site)

Poor Boys Four Wheel Drive Club

Rocky Top Trail Riders

River City Trail Runners

Scenic City 4WD Club

Seven Hills Jeep Club

Smoky Mountain Trail Runners

Shenandoah Valley 4 Wheelers

Southeast Toyota Land Cruiser Association

Southern Mini 4×4

Southern Jeeps

Southwestern Virginia 4 Wheelers

Trick ‘n’ Traction 4WD Club

Tidewater Fourwheelers

Southern High Rollers 4×4 Club Southern Illinois Jeep Association Southside Jeepers Sundowners 4×4 Club Two Trackers Virginia Four Wheel Drive Association •

Bay to Blue Ridge Cruisers

Western Maine Mountain Jeepers What Lies Beyond Jeep Club of Michigan White Pine 4-Wheelers jeeptrailcat5440 (at) Wisconsin 4 Wheel Drive Association Wisconsin Off Highway Vehicle Association Wolverine 4-Wheelers

Please tread lightly and travel only on routes and in areas designated open for motorized vehicle use. Remember, Respected Access is Open Access.

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