Protect, promote and provide 4x4 opportunities worldwide
December 2018 â€˘ Volume 45 â€˘ Issue 2
Board of Directors President Steve Egbert– email@example.com Past President Tom Mandera– firstname.lastname@example.org Vice President Ray Stanley- email@example.com International Vice President Peter Vahry – firstname.lastname@example.org Treasurer Fred Wiley– email@example.com Director of Membership Tom Mandera- firstname.lastname@example.org Director of Public Relations Ashlynn Smithemail@example.com Director of Environmental Affairs Jerry Smith - firstname.lastname@example.org
Extended Board of Directors
ORBA Representative - Alexis Nelson email@example.com Business Development Manager - firstname.lastname@example.org 4WD Awareness Coordinator Craig Feusse - email@example.com Website Administrator Milt Webb Design – firstname.lastname@example.org
Legal and Marketing
Legal Counsel Carla Boucher – email@example.com
Editorial and Design Editor, Peter Vahry
UFWDA Office and Contact 1701 Westwind Drive Suite 108 Bakersfield CA 93301 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 1-800-44-UFWDA
Introductions: Steve Egbert Ashlynn Smith Peter Vahry
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Comment: Wildfires vs. Using Renewable Resources Who is this Jerry Smith? In Defense of Off-Roading Horsepower? The Honorable Ron Bishop UFWDA Voice 2008 and the message is still valid The Camping of Old So, A Loss of Access is a Problem for Others Too!
News and Events
Trailridge Runners 11th Annual pre-Thanksgivimg trip Let’s be Frank in Oklahoma Helena’s Parade of Lights Steve Egbert even finds time for four wheeling Frontier 4x4 Club Christmas Tree Run U.S. Senators Introduce RTP Full Funding Act The Recreational Trails Program 2018 Virginia Four Wheel Drive Association Trail Ride Building a new trail link ‘Down-under’ Part Two The OHV Park With No Name Yet
Business Contacts Member Organizations
8 19 20 28 30 36 39 48
13 22 27 32 36 37 38 42 46 50
Cover photo and inside; courtesy of Elaine Gray 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 WheelDrive Associations may neither advocate, endorse, nor recommend any of the said views or opinions. Copyright; United Four Wheel Drive Associations Inc. 2018
Introductions been Vice President of United Four-Wheel Drive
Associations and when I began as Cal4wheel President one of my goals was to get us more involved in Washington DC. What happens in California on our public land often happens in Washington DC. I sat through many Cal4wheel BOD meetings talking about Johnson Valley and how we were going to stop the Twenty-Nine Palms Base Expansion and in 2013 the fight was on hard and heavy. At that point I was our new representative to the California Motorized Recreation Council (CMRC). CMRC had been working on the Johnson Valley problem for many years at that point.
Steve Egbert; UFWDA President Most of the time when you hear from me I have my California Four Wheel Drive Association (Cal4wheel) hat on. I have been President of Cal4wheel since 2013 and have been on the Board of Directors of Cal4wheel for many years prior to that. Cal4wheel is a great organization that works to keep trails and public lands open while also providing fun events to bring the 4x4 community together. Cal4wheel is going to be 60 years old next year and we will celebrate that milestone at our annual convention in Rancho Cordova (Sacramento Area) February 2019. Cal4wheel has many advantages as an organization; the most important is our volunteer base. We have two paid consultants, John Stewart and Jeff Blewett who do the heavy lifting on land use issues. We are so very lucky to have them work on behalf of our members and those who have yet to join us. We could not have this wonderful representation without the hundreds of volunteers who work hard to make it possible for them to do what they do. The volunteers put on the events, recruit / develop new members, work on other fund-raising projects that make it possible to fund Jeff and John. The volunteers are also all members, the members can be individuals or in affiliated clubs. The clubs also work hard on the ground with the local land managers to do trail work and other projects. It is a big team effort of volunteerism. Even the 13-members who serve on the Board of Directors are all volunteers. The volunteers are often very passionate about the part they have with Cal4wheel. Due to this passion, conflicts can arise, but this passion is so important. Passion for the organization, for fellow four wheelers and the passion for the adventure that our vehicles give us while out on our OHV excursions. So why am I bringing up this history story about Cal4wheel? Well for the past two years I have
CMRC is comprised of many of the OHV groups in California. As we worked together, we often struggled to pay our lobbyist in Washington DC. Funding the lobbyist was key to victory. There were key people and groups in the background that made the funding happen and make Johnson Valley a congressional designated OHV area. This was a big learning experience that showed many had to work together at all levels to make something big happen; especially when it was on a national level. I started working in the very beginning of the “One Voice Effort” to bring the 4x4 community together to work on issues in Washington DC. As we progressed, I often thought that this was a good fit for United Four Wheel Drive Associations (UFWDA) to work on. The “One Voice” effort was being led by industry and the Off-Road Business Association (ORBA). ORBA had been key when finding funding for the Johnson Valley fight. The picture I had in my head of lots of people and groups coming together as one driving voice. Two years ago, ORBA and United partnered together to move forward and complement each other. It has been a slow process partly because the passionate volunteers of UFWDA are just that; volunteers working on other things while trying to do the best job they can for UFWDA. A national volunteer-based organization is much harder to run than a state or local effort. Since I was new to UFWDA two years ago; I did not know all that worked hard over the years to build UFWDA. I do know a few that have been key to United’s survival and I would like to call them out now and tell you why they have been key to the survival and mission of UFWDA. Tom Mandera, President forged the new alliance with ORBA looking to the future of what UFWDA could be. As we struggled, he was always there to remind us of the UFWDA mission and point out that while we were having issues, we were still following
the mission and brighter times were still ahead. I was always impressed how Tom could answer the questions and ask for help even though complains were coming in left and right; however, volunteers to fix them were not. When the Membership Director could no longer keep up, Tom stepped up to get all the membership data into a more manageable program.
Manager. Ray is a busy guy, he is the President of the Southern Four-Wheel Drive Association. Southern covers multiple states and it is amazing the leadership Ray has brought to Southern. Ray takes over as Vice President. Rounding out our team is Craig Feusse and Milt Webb, I have not had much interaction with either of these members but look forward to working with them in the future.
Bob Devore, our Treasurer always seemed to have all the administrative stuff under control. I don’t know how long Bob had been around, but he kept things organized and running smoothly. Bob has recently stepped back and has been replaced by Fred Wiley. Bob continues to help in the background till next year. I am glad I got to know him even if it was just a little.
I am excited to be working with the board moving forward, I see a bright future through collaboration and working together. Getting back to my vision and desire to be able to have representation for Cal4wheel in Washington DC, the goal is realized through partnerships, new contacts and UFWDA. I represent UFWDA every other week on a national conference call to Washington DC. Through this effort UFWDA has signed on to many letters and been involved in several efforts. As a member association UFWDA is representing Cal4wheel along with many others.
Jerry Smith our Director of Environmental Affairs is one of our most public faces as his Facebook page keeps the information flowing. Jerry was recently honored with the Jack Edwards Memorial Award for his continued work on behalf of UFWDA. Jerry has also worked very hard in Colorado with the Colorado Association of Four Wheel Drive Clubs. I am glad to know him. The other key player lives clear around the world and has shown so much dedication to UFWDA, Peter Vahry. Peter works so hard on our behalf even though the international part of UFWDA is hard to live up to. Peter is the ‘Voice” Editor and does the eNews. We are so lucky to have him, and I honor him for his work and dedication. Peter also brings forward a lot of our history and encourages everyone that we can still do good things. At our last annual meeting, we used GoToMeeting. We completed elections and I was elected the new President. I did not think about having to write more articles when I was nominated for the position. Tom Mandera will stay with us in a limited capacity as Membership Director, he will manage the data base which is so important. Others including myself will work to get all the paperwork part caught up and out to the members. I am so happy Tom will still be with us in this important role. Peter will remain as International VP and Voice Editorial Manager, although he had talked of retirement previously. Jerry Smith also remains in his role as Director of Environmental Affairs. Fred Wiley is just starting to get some of the financial stuff transferred to Bank of America and start working with a new accountant. Alexis Nelson replaced Fred as the ORBA representative last year. I will continue as the UFWDA representative to the ORBA BOD. I have not mentioned Ray Stanley. Ray Stanley joined the UFWDA board at the same time I did two years ago as the Business Development
When I started as Cal4wheel president I wondered how, or if I would need to contact or work with other similar organizations, the answer is yes, but I did not know how to do this. Through hard work and building bridges with others I now have an answer and it is yes. Though we are not done, and we are just really in the beginning... still we are building on a long history to a bright future for the 4x4 community. Through our partnerships more volunteers can be brought it to make the work load less and the outcomes better. We have a group of great mentors that I outlined earlier and we just need to grow a new passion. When we each hand all this off to a new generation, I hope we can look back with great pride on the steps we took to make it happen. Kind regards, Steve Egbert President, United Four Wheel Drive Associations, Inc. President, California Four Wheel Drive Association, Inc.
getting them off the ground and running smoothly, I worked for the government as a GS-11 in the KC-135 Program Office out of Tinker AFB, OK ensuring avionics support and upgrades to an aging fleet. Six years ago, my husband Shaffer and I decided to start a family. Since then I have focused all of my time on raising a family and becoming a stay at home mother to our son Brooks (6), and our daughter Joie (4). This has been (by far) the most rewarding of jobs in my life! Now that they are off to Kindergarten and first grade I felt it a perfect time to get back to working, and what better way than to get involved with ORBA, and now UFWDA doing something that I love. My husband has owned many Jeeps in the past and recently took on a project of building an amazing Jeep we call “Frank”. Short for Frankenstein as he is composed of many different vehicle systems.
Ashlynn Smith UFWDA Public Relations Director
New Addition to the UFWDA team! Ashlynn Smith joins us from Oklahoma City to take on the PR position. I’m so thrilled to be a part of the UFWDA team and look forward to partnering with local OHV clubs as well as industry who will benefit from an alliance with UFWDA. I also have come in as an outsider and looked at our social media and web presence to see how we can improve, and ensure that the entire country is aware of the amazing things we are doing, and how they can get involved! I currently provide marketing and social media support to the Off Road Business Association (ORBA). I have been snowmobiling and riding dirt bikes since the age of four, as well as a being a BMXer all throughout my childhood. We travelled up and down California every weekend as one of the few girl riders at the time. After an 11-year career in the Air Force where I was lucky to be stationed in CA, FL, D.C., and also travelled to Guam and Japan, I was hired by a non-profit Health Center headquartered out of Nipomo, CA to develop a purchasing department for over 20 health clinics. After
With that we became involved in, and have found much enjoyment in a few local Jeep Clubs. Many great things are being done in these local clubs such as cancer crawls, support of first responders, Back the Blue, firefighter memorials, outreach to parents experiencing the loss of a child, and many other fundraising activities that support the community. This past weekend we were asked to bring Frank to two local events. The morning started early at the Edmond, OK “Touch-A Truck” fundraiser that showcased fire trucks, ambulances, police helicopters and motorcycles, as well as various custom Jeeps from our group. From there we headed to a foster kid event in which Shaffer transported foster kids to an amazing church camp. Their little eyes lit up when they saw Frank pull up. Even more excited to ride through an off-road course set up by the church. We have found so many ways to connect our passion for Off Road to benefit charities and are excited to bring UFWDA to this region and get the word out. Happy Trails, Ashlynn Smith UFWDA PR (405) 513-2283 Oklahoma City, OK
Peter Vahry International VP Editor
UFWDA is still an active component of the four wheeling scene and as you’ll see further in, have been supporting letters to government as we try to improve recreation opportunities. We contributed $5,000 to the SFWDA Daniel Boone Byway project during September. As Editor for UFWDA, I have to again apologize for the lapses in communication, including those monthly eNews bulletins. There are several factors at play, one being that I took the month of October off to have a holiday and others include simply finding it damn hard to source content to publish.
I have to rely largely on members of our four wheeling world to provide content as the costs and time to attend the wide array of events is untenable for a volunteer based organization like UFWDA. For that reason I need your help to find those photos and stories of adventures and projects. They may be on your club website or Facebook pages, places where I may never find time to research, and if I do find them, I need to get permission to publish. Please don’t be shy, simply email me links if you can or contact me with an offer to provide a story or photos of your adventures. Wd do have contraints on some images that might portray activities that UFWDA consider environmentally insensitive as we hate giving opponents material that might be used against our recreation. Not only have UFWDA been tardy with communication, we’ve slipped up on encouraging memberships. That should all change in 2019. Happy New Year and please support UFWDA.
Wildfires vs. Using Renewable Resources; Which Makes More Sense? By Jerry Smith
Why have wildfires been making the lead news stories for quite some time? Does the fact that large numbers of people have been forced to leave their homes with only minutes notice have something to do with it? Or maybe it’s because thousands of those same people will return to a pile of ashes where their homes and lives were only days before. Where their dreams and hopes once flourished… but now are literally up in smoke. Many more of us will suffer from breathing all the pollutants in that smoke. Everything in
those houses and garages is being breathed in with every breath, and that doesn’t include all the debris and materials from the surrounding forests. The homes where those people lived and dreamed of better times to come and where their children would grow up and one day leave, are no longer… they don’t exist. Think of all the hassles the owners are about to go through to replace that home. Dealing with insurance they may or may not have. Then there will be government assistance that will occupy their hours.
Contractors will be pressured to quickly rebuild that home, but will have dozens of other people clamoring for the same attention.
swiftly run off the mountainside, after all, we don’t use water just one or two months per year.
The possessions lost will need replacing (those that can be replaced). Until the home can be replaced, the family will be DIS-placed in some other neighborhood or city. Chaos is a good description of their lives for some time.
That water is cycled and recycled to and from the watershed by weather actions. Without any of the actions, a drought occurs and we suffer from lack of sufficient water.
We question for the reason this occurs so regularly. Why must people be devastated by wildfire when there are alternatives in many cases. Those alternatives are often just a common-sense change in how we manage public lands. Not all of the following applies to some areas, but where they do, WHY are we not making those changes?? Let’s look at some of the RENEWABLE RESOURCES on many of those public lands. First might be the timber or wood resources. Those tall trees are a renewable source, the raw materials of many products we use. Of course, there is the potential lumber for building homes, furniture, and all the other things wood. That is only the beginning of the list of products those trees produce. Paper products from wood pulp… often a “waste” product of timber harvesting is made from saw dust and small chips created in lumber production. The limbs and other “waste” that once were left behind to either be burned in a pile or to decay over time to add to the top soil of the forest may be utilized in other ways. Those same “waste” products may also be pressed into sheets of wood for building or into wood pellets that burn in stoves for cooking or heating. Next, we have the entire watershed. We all know that water is necessary for life. We all use water in so many ways it would take a year just to name them all. We grow our crops with water. We drink water in many forms. We recreate in water. Watersheds make water available over long periods of time rather than allowing it all to
The next renewable resource is “view shed” or scenery. Every time we see an area, there will be slight nuances of change, yet no matter how many times we see it, the beauty remains. Photography and the simple being with Nature are gained from these views. Then there is grazing. Grazing is more beneficial to the forest than most people realize. By cropping the low growth down, any wildfire will generally stay at a low intensity and burn only the lower growth. That kind of burn is how Nature does it when left to its own devices. Those fires actually fertilize the ground and cause seeds that have lain dormant for long periods to open and germinate. This allows new growth to emerge and bring all of the insects and wildlife a new source of habitat. A healthy forest has new growth, middle age growth, and old growth intermingled for the best of all worlds for ALL forest visitors and residents. Maybe last is recreation. Recreation is a renewable use of our forestlands. We don’t use it once and it’s gone. There are times when our uses may degrade the area if we are not cognizant of what we do, but for the most part, recreation can continue indefinitely. Recreation has two basic ways of being. Motorized or mechanical means and/or nonmotorized/mechanical means. Generally speaking, motorized uses require a road or trail with one exception being over snow vehicles. Motorized recreation takes place in many forms. Some might include: Jeeps ATVs UTVs Motorcycles
Snowmobiles Sunday drives Exploring old mine sites, cabins, ghost towns, overlooks, and access to many of the trailheads for non-motorized recreation. Non-motorized recreation might include: Camping - developed and dispersed Picnicking Hunting Fishing Hiking Biking Berry picking Mushroom harvesting Photography Unfortunately, there is a certain animosity between the motorized and non-motorized user groups. In many ways, the animosity is a silly issue as the overwhelming numbers of non-motorized users arrive at their trailheads in a motor vehicle. Without motorized access, the favorite areas and trails of non-motorized users would be inaccessible. Add to that the fact that most of the nonmotorized users stay on motorized routes while doing their particular activity as they grouse about motorized traffic being on a designated motorized route… but that’s for another day. Now we know something about what constitutes “renewable resources” and why they are important to all user groups. So, let’s take a look at some of the causes of EXTREME wildfires and the good and bad they may do to our National Forests. We have already discussed the loss of homes and the devastation to human families, but what about the wildlife and their families and the relationships between the species. As stated above, a healthy forest contains intermingled ages of growth. That diverse growth supports everything from molds, bacteria, insects, invertebrates, and vertebrates. One species lives because the other is a food source that allows the first one to flourish. The more prey, the more predators that can be supported.
When even one of these entities becomes out of balance with the rest, the food chain is disrupted and all forms of life above the unbalanced one will suffer. It is Nature’s way. Throughout most of history (recorded and unrecorded), fire was a tool that Nature used to clear an area of old and diseased growth and making room for new growth to begin again. Along comes man with big ideas about how to improve Nature. As his population grew, the strain on local resources became a major issue. Man adapted somewhat by cultivating much of his food source rather than the gathering of wild growing food. Many years later, man decides that these fires are a bad thing and demands that the fires be suppressed ASAP. This, of course, unbalances the natural order of Nature. Little new growth is allowed in the forests because no clearing of the old and diseased growth is taking place. Along about this time, man’s need for shelter begins out growing his ability to supply it until he sees a new use for the trees in the forest beside firewood to cook and warm his lodge. The need for lumber creates a replacement of the wildfires that once cleared areas of the forest. Loggers, in their pursuit of marketable timber, constructed access roads and went through the forests cutting down mature trees and opened the areas around those fallen trees much like the fires once did. In the next evolution of man, concern for individual “endangered species” and the “protection and preservation” of the land overcame the need for the lumber, so they curtailed the majority of logging. Now the forests began growing old all at the same rate. Old growth trees began dropping dead limbs and leaves deepening those flammable materials at the base of the trees. Brush grew up through that flammable material for years because no grazing animals could access the areas. The larger animals moved on to areas where food was still accessible.
Over population of the smaller animals follows the retreat of the large predators and soon there is sickness and over use of the available resources. Now many of the smaller life forms move to suitable habitat. The entire forest is out of balance. With nothing to open up the ground for new growth, the health of the forests began a decline. This happens at such a slow rate, few even notice. When some do begin noticing, land managers make all kinds of excuses (that don’t include faulty management practices). Of course, you can’t take blame for mismanaging entire forests!! In man’s pursuit of “protection and preservation” of “Wilderness”, many lost focus of the fact that their passions were detrimental to the health of the land they fought to “preserve and protect”. Yet they remained steadfast in their pursuits and would not listen to reason when told they were wrong. While all this was going on, as man’s population increased, his desire for “room to expand” his living quarters also increased. He built fine homes in the woods loving the peace and quiet they provided. All was well… except man kept ignoring the warnings of the conditions surrounding him. Those beautiful woods were becoming a tinderbox of intense fire producing fuels. Any ignited wildfires would explode into extreme conflagrations that incinerated everything in their path… even burning so hot that the very earth was sterilized. So now we come to present day America. We KNOW what we need to do to return the forests to good health, but so far, we lack the fortitude to implement the necessary changes. Fire is no longer a good option in timbered forestlands. Wildfires are uncontrollable and far too devastating to benefit anything. The correct option is to begin a systematic logging program that can be sustained by the forests and maintain the industry. This is the only option that can regenerate the forests
while providing other benefits that will ride the coattails of it. Some of those benefits will be upgraded roads built to today’s standards. Those roads will eventually provide access for the loggers, fire suppression, forest monitoring, and recreation. Taking all this information into account, which management style now makes the most sense? Do we continue the “Protect and Preserve” method or do we re-establish a “Multiple Use and Sustained Yield” way of managing the forests?? By the way, the Multiple Use and Sustained Yield Act was made law in 1960… long before Congress and the federal land management agencies lost their way. It will take Congress to begin this process in a timely manner. Passing LAW(s) that will demand the federal land management agencies make the necessary changes will be required. The federal land management agencies are too endeared to their old ways and desires to be left on their own. Congress must address outdated and abused laws such as the Wilderness Act, the Antiquities Act, the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and others to give the management agencies direction with certainty that they follow the new laws. The old laws have been abused by “rules” and “policies” created by agency bureaucrats with personal agendas to circumvent the intent of the laws. Extreme pressure from the public will be necessary to demand that Congress act and act swiftly. The opposition WILL BE LOUD and completely crazed with the changes needed. Will the right side be willing to equal or exceed the forthcoming rhetoric??
Trailridge th Runners 11 annualÂ preThanksgiving trip
Words and photos by Elaine Gray
We had the best attended pre-Thanksgiving trip for Trailridge Runners. If you love 4 wheeling. One place you have to go is Moab, UT. The scenery is absolutely incredible, the red dirt and the beautiful LaSal mountain in the background. Every morning we started the day with breakfast and fueling up before getting to our meeting place at the Visitors Center. Our Trip leader would go over our daily trips. The one thing I loved is how they believe in “Always look in your rear view mirror and make sure your fellow member is in sight” If not, we have to stop and make sure they get over the obstacle or if they need help. Our very 1st day we had about 20 Jeeps. We all went on Cameo Cliffs & Jax trax. While the scenery is absolutely incredible, we also encountered a cattle drive. The cows were just as confused, as they looked at all of us passing through. The trails vary from easy to hard within a few feet. You could be level and next thing you know you’re doing a 3ft climb up a staircase of rocks. Time to downshift and start climbing. Next thing you know you are heading down a steep drop off. A very exhilarating feeling.
Day 2: the members split into two groups. Some of us took the Looking Glass road / Boxcar loop and Kamikaze Hill; which was also breathtaking. Kamikaze Hill was the best 32 degree climb we did. It was short but, when you’re at angle and only seeing the sky... that was just the best feeling. The other group took the Flatiron Mesa trail. Day 3: The most exciting trail was “Hells Revenge” a roller coaster ride over slick rocks. A white-knuckle drive that also had some extreme obstacles. “Hells Gate “ is an iconic obstacle. A few of the Wheeler’s took the challenge, tires screeching and the cheers of success. Or a broken U joint for one fellow 4 wheeler. Day 4: The group again split into two groups. The two trails were the Pole Canyon Rim and Metal Masher. Day 5 : Most of us had to leave to go back home for Thanksgivings. The remaining group did the Fins & Things trail. Over all we all had a great time. Enjoyed the company of others, having lunch along the trails & dinners at different restaurants ( Moab brewery, Blu Pig, Broken Oar, Zax & Fiesta Mexicana). Laughing and going over stories of the day.
Who is this Jerry Smith? Director of Environmental Affairs United Four Wheel Drive Associations Most of my life has been spent in the outdoors. It is where I want and need to be. I began loving the open lands well before I was 6-years old and that has only increased as I age. My introduction to Jeeping came in 1966, but it wasn’t until 1973 that I got involved in organized 4-wheeling by joining the Five Valley Four Wheelers of Missoula, MT. Not long after that, I became editor of the Montana 4x4 Association newsletter and in 1979 their President. Land use issues became a passion of mine in 1974 at a BLM meeting that I attended in Missoula. This was during the RARE II Wilderness studies and even back then there were strange things being allowed that put my blood to boiling. The temperature has only increased since then. In over 40-years of involvement, I have written well over 2000 letters and comments regarding land use. There have been hundreds of meetings with BLM, USFS, Congressmen, Senators, County Commissioners, and others. Many trips to places like Denver, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Sacramento, Moab, Ouray, and others to represent 4-wheeling and open motorized access. Since moving to Grand Junction, CO in 1985, I have instigated the reopening of 7-area trails
totaling about 90-miles of excellent 4-wheeling that had been lost. As the Director of Environmental Affairs for the United Four Wheel Drive Associations, I have submitted comments on Forest Plans and Resource Management Plans in most of the nations National Forests and BLM managed lands. It has been a huge responsibility to learn the various related laws, the rules of the agencies, and the proper way to write “substantive” comments that REQUIRE the agencies to act. Many weeks are spent reading Environmental Impact Statements, Forest Planning documents, BLM documents, and other land use related things. The passion still burns like the extreme wildfires devastating our forests today. Having grown up around old loggers and foresters and worked in the logging industry, I have a layman’s education in forest management practices. That education allows me to converse with public land managers at levels most can’t. I find that most of the professional land managers KNOW what they need to do, but the political process interferes with their work in ways that stifle the work. Having worked in a 4-wheel drive shop, I have experience building Jeeps to perform better. Having raced a Jeep throughout Montana, Alberta, Canada, and Idaho, I know some about driving one. Add many days on the trails to the mix, and you’ll find that I have experienced a considerable part of Montana, Idaho, Colorado, and Utah. I am crazy in love with this country as a whole, but the backcountry has a very special place in my heart. Accessing that backcountry is extremely important to me and to others, so I gladly work hard to maintain that access.
In Defense of Off-Roading
Dirt bikes and 4x4s aren’t nearly as bad for the environment as you might think. (Hear me out).
Author: Wes Siler from OUTSIDE
Every time we publish an article about a truck, dirt bike, or off-road vehicle, some of our readers protest. Off-roading just doesn’t square with a lot of people’s vision of responsible outdoor recreation. I think those people have it wrong. Allow me to explain.
Off-Roaders Don’t Actually Go Off-Road Probably the biggest misconception about “offroading” is that people just go out and drive wherever they please. This simply isn’t true. Virtually all off-road driving takes place on designated dirt roads, trails, or in special offhighway vehicle (OHV) areas. In fact, “offhighway” (as in off-pavement) is a much more accurate name for the collection of sports that make up off-roading—it just doesn’t have the same ring to it. I spoke with Sam Logan and Molly Chiappetta of Stay the Trail Colorado, a nonprofit that promotes responsible, ethical off-highway vehicle use in that state. They spend their time visiting OHV trailheads and events and informing trail users of environmentally responsible ways to enjoy their vehicles. They say that staying on-trail is the most important thing off-roaders can do to minimize their impact—and that the vast majority of participants are good about doing that. Exact statistics on how many off-roaders leave designated trails are impossible to calculate, but Chiappetta describes them as “the one percent who give us all a bad name.”
“Many roads or trails have been in place for decades,” Chiapetta says. Some even started as wagon tracks in the 1800s. The soil is compacted and stable, making it able to stand up to the weight of vehicles passing over it. On such routes, offroaders can safely travel into or through fragile ecosystems without further damaging them, she says. “If a hiker starts a devastating fire, the world at large doesn’t get the idea that hiking is a negative activity,” says Duane Taylor, executive director of the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council, referring specifically to last year’s Eagle Creek Fire, which was started when a teenage day hiker threw fireworks into dry brush in Mount Hood National Forest. Yet readers don’t complain about our hiking coverage.
Just like other forms of outdoor recreation, offroading is a self-policing community. Flyers like this one are posted at trailheads and OHV parks and distributed to participants. Violations incur fines. (Stay the Trail)
The Environmental Footprint Isn’t as Bad as You Think So we’ve established that most off-roaders aren’t tearing up fragile landscapes. But what about the deleterious effects of the fuel the vehicles burn, you might ask? Sure, I do burn a lot of fuel in my old Land Rover, which averages about 11 miles per gallon when I take it off-road. During a typical camping trip in the Land Rover, I’ll do roughly 100 miles on dirt. According to the calculator on CarbonFootprint. com, the off-road portion of that trip (I’m not including highway miles here, since I assume we all drive somewhere occasionally to pursue our hobbies) nets .08 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. The thing is, I don’t actually take the Land Rover off-roading all that often. More often, I’ll fly, visiting family, going on work trips, taking vacations, or this year, buying our first house with my girlfriend in Montana. To do that, we’ve flown from Los Angeles to Bozeman five times this year, a trip that nets .44 tons of CO2 for each round-trip. One of the main reasons for that move is to enable us to spend more time outdoors without the need to get on an airplane or log tons of highway miles. We will actually be reducing our carbon footprint substantially by off-roading more and flying less. Hands down my favorite thing to use the Land Rover for is hunting, which replaces store- or restaurant-bought meat in our diet with a healthier, wild-caught alternative. It also helps reduce our carbon footprint even further: 2.2 pounds of beef creates .027 metric tons of carbon pollution. The average American eats 79.3 pounds of beef every year. If I replace that beef in our diet with elk and venison, it offsets 2,200 miles of off-roading. I will do far less than that this fall by netting far more wild game. My point here is that it’s the regular cycle of consumption that accounts for the majority of pollution we create, not any hobby that we’re only able to enjoy infrequently.
You Go Off-Road, Too According to the U.S. Forest Service, I’m not alone in using its system of OHV trails to hunt and fish. In fact, 74 percent of people who off-road in our national forests are doing the same at some point in the year. And it’s not just those activities, which also suffer from inaccurate perceptions: 11.4 percent of people using those OHV trails are going backpacking, 22 percent are going mountain biking, 38 percent are birding, and 76 percent are enjoying time with their families. “As a whole, OHV users are more active in every single recreation activity relative to the general U.S. population,” states the USFS. “For some activities, OHV users participate at more than twice the national rate.” “The people who participate are not who you think they are,” says Taylor, of the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council. “They’re families. They’re people who are visiting remote areas that are virtually inaccessible by any other means. And just like you, they’re people enjoying nature.” The point of this article isn’t to convince you that off-roading somehow has less impact on the environment than going for a hike—it doesn’t. It’s simply to argue that the hobby doesn’t deserve its reputation as a villainous scourge on the planet. Our larger community of outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers is too often guilty of denigrating otherwise like-minded people who look different from them or enjoy nature in different ways. We shouldn’t do that. Especially right now with our public lands under threat, us outdoorsy types need to stick together and find common ground from which we can defend the natural world we all love.
Letâ€™s be Frank in Oklahoma Words and photos, Ashlynn Smith
Crossbar Ranch in Davis Oklahoma. It is a 6500 acre offroad Park with every terrain you can imagine. Ultra 4 comes out a few times a year for their race. We as a Jeep group “ Red Dirt Jeeps” go out in groups depending on level of capability. We have 5000 members and each meet up separately depending on the kind of wheeling they like to do. Some very difficult to cross streams of water and some who are just getting started try the easy trails. We as a group take newbies out and show them the ropes and how to do recovery if needed (almost always is) ? This was a particularly rainy weekend which made for a ton of mud. Next photo has the Jeep pulling g out a truck and trailer that had been stuck for an hour. “Frank” the Jeep pulled them out in seconds !
Helena’s Parade of Lights Every year, on the Friday after Thanksgiving, communities all over North America have a “Light up Night” celebration, or a “Parade of Lights”
and then placed a large stump under the left front tire for effect, a sheet of snow went under everything (remarkably only demonstrating a single small leak).
For the past few years I’ve taken my small children (now 12 and 9, so not nearly so small) down town to freeze in the snow (this is Montana) and watch the parade go by.
Clint then took it another step further with a Santa costume and his daughter dressed up as Santa’s elf.
About that time, I’d say something like “We should remember to get into the parade next year” This year turned out to finally be the year. I presented an idea to the club and the club agreed, with a few folks showing some absolute enthusiasm. Plans shifted a bit here and there and in the end, Mike Kelly offered his 30’ gooseneck and Ford diesel to pull it. Clint Fleming agreed to make his yellow TJ the center piece of our float, and Clint then proceeded to create some cut-out reindeer and rig them as if they were pulling his Jeep. Clint also invested heavily in lights, music, and everything else. We loaded his Jeep on the tail of the trailer,
We lined up an hour before the parade and finished setting things up, including the addition of our club’s banner. A day before, I bought 600 candy canes to hand out – which was far from adequate – and enlisted my youngest daughter and my niece to help out. They spent the parade walking forward and backwards and handing candy to every kid they could (you can’t throw the candy from the float any more) while I spent my time making sure neither got too far ahead or behind. At least one child was overheard exclaiming “There he is, that is the real Santa, and he drives a JEEP!” so score one for the Wrangler. It was a fun time, and generated a little publicity for the club. We needed to have another banner for the other side, perhaps
one for the hood of the truck, and my original intention was to advertise for our Christmas Tree Run which was 8 days later. Oh, and we need more candy. I know a few other clubs in Montana also participated in their town’s parades – one group uses tow-bars to flat-tow a Jeep train as
their float. Everyone gets to participate and they just link Jeep to Jeep to Jeep. -Tom Mandera President Frontier-4-Wheelers President Montana 4x4 Association Membership Director UFWDA
Horsepower? The time has come to ditch a beloved old anachronism of the Industrial Revolution: horsepower. With the mass-market introduction of electric vehicles, the term has outlived its usefulness and eventually it may even become a relic of a bygone era. Fundamentally, the unit is an expression of work performed over time, a quantity in physics that describes how much energy is needed to move a certain amount of mass a certain distance over a certain period. Now that electric vehicles are becoming a fixed quantity in the auto industry, it’s only a matter of when and not if the public becomes more familiar
with watts and specifically kilowatts, the standard used by automotive engineers. Take the EQC, the Mercedes-Benz electric SUV that debuted in September. Its two electric motors produce a combined output of 300 kilowatts, but only after they are fed the 80 kilowatts of power the battery supplies per hour. Once depleted, it can be replenished using a maximum of 110 kilowatts of direct current (DC) from a fast charging station. Referring instead to the vehicle’s 402 hp is both inelegant and pointless. It makes more sense to pick one single
unit of measurement. One could demand that battery capacity be expressed in horsepower-hours instead of kilowatt-hours -- that would at least be consistent. But there are some serious complications arising from the industry’s favored unit. First, the term horsepower is outright confusing since it means different things to different people. There’s the metric kind and the imperial. The latter is just another name for brake horsepower. This, however, measures an engine’s gross output that reaches the crankshaft, differentiating itself from the net result after adjusting for internal driveline friction, called wheel horsepower. Metric horsepower is also known alternatively by the initials from the word in German and French, PS and CV, respectively.
used in the International System of Units, better known by its French abbreviation SI. Ask them why horsepower still survives as a term today and what you often hear is as cynical as it is refreshingly honest: “It’s a bigger number, so it sounds better.” We could all, for example, buy lightbulbs measured in tenths of a horsepower if it was such a flexible unit of measurement. Fortunately, no one suggests we do.
Pferdestaerke (literally “horse strength” in German) and cheval-vapeur (“steam horse” in French) sound close enough that one can be forgiven for mistaking them as a direct translation of what British and American consumers know as horsepower, which would be great -- if it were true. The result is often odd and seemingly arbitrary numbers. For example, Volkswagen Group’s initial reason for developing the Bugatti Veyron first launched in 2005 was to build a car with 1,000 PS. But that goal flies out the window when converted to 987 bhp in the imperial system. At the very least that is a notable difference. When it comes to cars that mere mortals can afford, the difference is just a rounding error.
This story is from Automotive News Europe’s monthly magazine, which is also available to read on our iPhone and iPad apps.You can reach Christiaan Hetzner at christiaan.hetzner@gmail. com.
Somewhat frustratingly this means that the gap between metric and imperial horsepower -- or PS and bhp -- is just enough to be measurable, but not enough to be meaningful. The problem arose because Scottish inventor James Watt wanted to come up with a term to compare the effectiveness of his steam engine against the horses it was designed to replace. One unit of horsepower derived from his crude estimate that a horse can lift 330 pounds of coal out of a mine shaft at 100 feet per minute. Compare this antiquated definition with the simple elegance of a watt, which is the energy transferred when applying one newton of force over one meter of distance in one second. Speak to powertrain engineers, and they refer to their engine power in kilowatts. This is the easiest benchmark based on the approved measurement
Now that electric vehicles such as the EQC and many others are becoming a reality, why not make life easier by adopting one logical and consistent method for measuring output. That means it’s time to give horsepower -- in all its various forms -- a merciful death. Kilowatts are here to stay.
The Mercedes EQC electric SUV (shown) produces a total output of 300 kilowatts. Referring to the vehicle as having 402 hp is pointless.
Steve Egbert even finds time for four wheeling!
Frontier 4X4 Club Christmas tree run features friendship, unity, family and fun TOM KUGLIN email@example.com
“Our motto is friendship, unity, family, fun,” said club president Tom Mandera. “We are a family club and we’re about responsible four-wheeling. There’s no drinking when we’re on the trail and we stay on the trail.” Frontier started in 1974, advocating for vehicle access on public lands and providing a network of four-wheel drive enthusiasts. Click here for the full story
ELLISTON — For some Montanans, a Christmas tree hunt isn’t complete without a trail-ready fourwheel drive, a winch and a few friends to help get unstuck. Helena-based Frontier 4x4 Club held its annual Christmas tree run on Saturday in the mountains above Elliston. From heavily modified Jeeps tailored to mountain travel to bone-stock SUVs and trucks, they headed out through the soupy fog east of the Divide to the crystal clear skies of Telegraph Creek. Lumbering through the trees they found a spot to make a campfire, get the kids on a sledding hill and warm up a pot of chili to take the bite out of the air.
UFWDA Voice 2008 and the message is still valid
U.S. SENATORS INTRODUCE RTP FULL FUNDING ACT Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Washington, D.C. (November 1, 2018) – The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) has aided trail construction and maintenance projects and programs nationwide since 1991. Created through landmark surface transportation legislation, RTP reflected Congressional belief that federal gas taxes paid on motorfuel used in motorized nonhighway recreational activities should be used to benefit those paying the tax as well as other users of recreational trails. Tens of millions of hikers and bikers, equestrians and ATVers, snowmobilers and skiers, canoeists and others now enjoy better outdoor experiences because of this action. And RTP’s accomplishments unite the efforts in every state of federal agencies, state and local governments, volunteers and recreation businesses. Now, the bipartisan efforts of four United States Senators promise to dramatically increase the benefits of RTP’s proven formula. U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jim Risch (R-ID), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Richard S. 3604 – Burr (R-NC) recently introduced the RTP Full Funding Act of 2018 – to require a study to estimate the total amount of taxes collected on nonhighway recreational fuel, improve reporting on expenditures from the RTP, and streamline RTP funding distribution to the states by reducing unnecessary paperwork.
“Minnesota snowmobilers, hikers, ATV users, cyclists, and countless others who enjoy the outdoors rely on the Recreational Trails Program to explore our state’s natural wonders and support our local businesses,” said Senator Klobuchar. “This bipartisan legislation will help ensure states receive all of the resources they deserve to protect and improve these trails for generations to come.” “From our scenic trails and waterways to our mountains and canyons, outdoor recreation is a way of life in Idaho,” said Senator Risch. “In order to keep it that way, we have introduced legislation that will improve oversight and accountability of how our taxpayer dollars are spent on recreation management and infrastructure. Ensuring that recreational trails are properly cared for will help create strong economic opportunities and ensure future generations of Idahoans can continue to enjoy the natural beauty of our state and lands for many, many years to come.”
Over the last 27 years, the RTP has funded more than 23,000 projects. The program has attracted hundreds of millions of dollars of matching support from other private and public sources for trails and facilitated healthy outdoor recreation, as well as badly needed economic activity in countless communities.
RTP Full Funding Act (S. 3604) Since 1991, the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) has provided funding to states to develop and maintain trail infrastructure, allowing millions of Americans to enjoy activities such as hiking, bicycling, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and off-highway vehicle recreation. The RTP is funded by a federal tax on fuel used for motorized non-highway recreation. Each state administers its own program and eligible projects include development, maintenance, rehabilitation and new construction of trails. To ensure that federal taxes collected from non-highway recreation are appropriately returned to the states for RTP, Congress needs an accurate estimate of the total amount of non-highway fuel taxes collected. An accurate, current study on the total amount of non-highway recreational fuel taxes collected will help inform Congress as it considers future infrastructure legislation. Bill Summary: The RTP Full Funding Act will increase the accuracy and transparency of
funding by: Requiring a study to estimate the total amount of taxes collected on non-highway recreational fuel; Improving reporting on expenditures from the RTP to improve accountability and oversight; and streamlining RTP funding distribution to the states by reducing unnecessary paperwork. Support: The bill is supported by: Senators Amy Klobuchar, Jim Risch, Jeanne Shaheen and Richard Burr. For more information or to cosponsor please contact: Java Pillai@klobuchar.senate.gov or Charles_ Adams@Risch,senate.gov Coalition for Recreational Trails The Coalition for Recreational Trails (CRT) is a federation of all major national trail-related organizations. Its members work together to build awareness and understanding of the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) and to ensure that the RTP is responsive and accountable and receives adequate and equitable funding. For more information, contact crt@ funoutdoors.com.
The Camping of Old
By Jerry Smith Once upon a time, hunters, campers, and picnickers sat around a campfire every evening reliving past trips, tall tales, and old friends while enjoying the warmth and smells of a campfire. There is something about a campfire that can be hard to describe in words, but for those of us who have even just one experience, you’ll KNOW what I mean. One smell of that fire can make your taste buds salivate with the memory of that last BBQ or dinner cooked over an open fire. Maybe, if you’re still young enough, it’s those s’mores with the gooey marshmallow squishing out between the chocolate bar and graham crackers. If you’re not that young, those memories of that thick, smoky tasting, juicy burger with all the fresh veggies on top are likely creeping into your thoughts. Then there are friendships that have been made and the others that were cemented around the campfire. All those stories and adventures told and retold over the smoky warmth, and great food. I’m betting your thinking about your last campfire right now.
Can you still smell and taste the smoke?? In my youth, we didn’t do an abundant amount of camping until I moved back to Montana. Entire summers were spent camping at Seeley Lake and up in the Swan Valley. Those are great memories that I will take to the grave. Learning to fish, hunt deer, and riding horses were probably the highlights, but living amongst the many black bears and an occasional grizzly was quite a thrill too. Living outdoors in the woods with all the wildlife, the stars at night, and Nature all around was like being in heaven. Hooking a nice trout early in the morning and later eating it freshly fried for breakfast. The cold, clear running Montana streams and rivers keep the fish well fed, firm, and delicious. Sleeping in a wiki up at night in the Swan Valley back In the early 1960’s was like something few people ever experience. The stars are so bright and clear; you’d swear you could reach up and touch them. The occasional satellite passing through the dark night sky would draw your full attention for the few minutes it took to pass overhead.
Even when it rained (which was often), sitting around the cabin with the fire burning in the stove puffing just enough of the smoke into the air made you feel a bit more content than just being home in a house. The breakfasts of eggs, sausage, and hash browns tasted all the better for the added smoky taste. Even thinking of a smoky grilled cheese sandwich takes me back to those great days of my early teens. Spending days on the Swan River fishing or wading gave some inspiration of the love for the outdoors I would cherish all my life. Taking walks through the forests and observing all the critters in their native habitat could occupy many hours of my days. Learning to live WITH Nature rather than attempting to dominate it seemed to come naturally. Learning about how the various trees and plants grow and live their lives, how they provide food and shelter to the other creatures occupied much of my time as well. Nature’s classroom spoiled me with all the lessons and activities compared to the days sitting in a boring high school classroom. The teachers could not compete with my desire to return to the wild. It’s funny to think back on how bored I could be listening to a lecture on some subject that seemed irrelevant at the time compared to sitting quietly beside a bush observing two pine squirrels harvesting nuts for the coming winter. Even watching a caterpillar eating a leaf could keep my attention for what seemed like hours. As the world has progressed over my lifetime, I have seen many changes in how most families integrate… or not. Where we once spent a weekend or two each month camping out in the wilds, now many drag a long fancy trailer
to a “camping spot” where they have all the comforts of home including an easy chair, satellite TV, and an ATV. Many don’t sit around a campfire of an evening and listen to the sounds of Nature and tell stories of old hunting trips and such. All the camaraderie and intimacies of the old camping trips seems to have given way to the “creature comforts” of technology. Surely watching a rerun of some old sit-com or drama for the third time is’nt more interesting than spending time getting to know your family, your friends, or Nature. There are exceptions to this of course. People in my Jeep club try to do an overnight trip at least once a month in the summer and fall. The food we share, the stories we embellish, and the good times had around a campfire can be epic. Add to that the time spent exploring the Great American BackCountry during the day in our Jeeps, and there is nothing better. With all the public land management rules and regulations being added, these experiences are becoming more difficult to achieve. Dispersed camping is becoming a problem because certain people will not maintain the surrounding camp area in a civilized manner. They leave trash and mayhem behind. People must take responsibility for their own recreational pursuits AND some of the last campers who were not responsible. The land may be public, but that includes ANYONE who occupies them… even if only in passing through. Now, go out there and pursue some new adventures. Share those good times, good food, and good friends around a cozy campfire. You WILL never regret having those experiences.
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2018 Virginia Four Wheel Drive Association Trail Ride, October 2018.
The weather wasn’t kind to those planning this event. Hurricane Florence was forecast to pass near Oak Ridge Estate after it made landfall in SE Virginia and NE North Carolina. Not a good idea to have 500 of your friends out in nasty wind and rain. The team decided to postpone the event, and then the storm turned and headed well south of the area. But what can you do? Safety first! This event sells out quickly every year, and folks plan their vacation time well in advance. Rescheduling threw the proverbial wrench in the works, and many people could not rearrange their calendars. Those that could still make the event had another month to wait. As the rescheduled date approached, the remnants of Pacific Hurricane Willa helped impact the weather and brought rain to Oak Ridge Estate. Just what we were hoping to avoid! Spirits weren’t dampened though for the 150+ participants and trail guides who hit the trails to raise money for the Nelson County Food Pantry and the Virginia Four Wheel Drive Association.
Everyone got their fill of hills, creek crossings, rocks, and MUD! Oh, so much mud! Slick conditions made for slow going throughout the weekend. Plus, mud can be a great equalizer…sometimes every vehicle struggles. Fortunately, the rain stopped for some of the most important parts of the event - dinner and the raffle. Everyone had their fill of burgers and BBQ, as well as sides and dessert. The prize raffle goes on for hours, with all sorts of four wheeling goodies going to the winners. You can get things like small tool, gift certificates, and clothing. There were to several sets of tires and lots of winches, too! Remember to bring your friends up to the stage if you win those big, heavy prizes. You’ll need help carrying your loot back to your seat! A good time is always in store for those who attend. The facilitators of the Nelson County Food Pantry were most grateful to the attendees... in addition to a monetary donation of $1000, members of the VA4WDA donated over 562 pounds of food!
The Virginia Four Wheel Drive Association was formed in 1981. Member clubs host and participate in all kinds of events including trail rides, surf fishing tournaments, National Forest trail clean ups, food drives, toy drives, highway clean ups, mud bogs, severe weather transport, and beach clean ups. Photo Credit: Jaiden Routon (except the photo of the Wagoneer with the Gladiator grille, that photo is by Wade Smith)
Building a new trail link ‘Down-under’ Part Two Words Peter Vahry Photos Sarah Ivicevich
While I was away overseas during October, a team from Auckland 4WD Club organized themselves and a 5 ton digger on steel tracks, to spend a week building the trails and camp site that had earlier been scoped out. I’ve not managed to find out the number of hours that machine was running for, but they must have been some long days as the work achieved is remarkable. We’ve not yet been back to the area to see how the weather has treated the fresh earthworks but there are plans to make that check on the site in the next few weeks as our summer builds in. The foundations for a 10 square metre cabin will be laid out and a location for a toilet established to make overnight stays a bit more comfortable. The average annual rainfall on the Coromandel Ranges is 1850 mm (72 inches) with some areas getting as much as double that per year!
Another project for the summer months is to get a small machine in to address the water management of those trails that the bigger machine roughed out. There are quite a few places where plastic pipe ‘culverts’ need to be installed to shift water across the line of the trails. There’s still more footwork to be done to try to identify more potential routes that might link, including one that I’m hoping to map that could traverse an area of big boulders deposited by a stream that itself will be a challenge to find a way across. Along the main track the drains have been cleared out to allow the water to run off the track (above photos). Many of the drains across the track and on the side of the track had stumps and branches put in them to help vehicles to get through, although this had blocked the water runoff and stopped the drains from working optimally.
Campsite being cleared and a few hours later being used!
So, a loss of Access is a problem for others too!
Sheriff fears trespass conflicts will result in death IWF says it has proof gates are illegal https://www.kivitv.com/news/sheriff-fearstrespass-conflicts-will-result-in-death?fbclid=I wAR2LaDJu3pbFDZtMBwHpfy2Hei7-wmrJlwIxnntTZCDT7u74bnCu_36Qm4 BOISE COUNTY, IDAHO - People who love Idaho’s outdoors are outraged about what some are calling the theft of tens of thousands of acres of public land. Now the Idaho Wildlife Federation says they have proof that gates installed by the billionaire Wilks brothers are illegal... And one of Idaho’s top sheriffs says he thinks the growing conflict will result in people being killed.
Since the Wilks brothers started purchasing Idaho forest land, no trespassing signs and orange gates dot the landscape . Through painstaking research, Brian Brooks found deeds dating back to 1922 that say two sections of Boise Ridge road, now gated by the Wilks company DF Development, should legally be open to the public forever. Brooks says he’s very confident the road is public, but he still wouldn’t go there. “I would not go on that road right now,” Brooks said. “It is still signed, and the Wilks brothers still think they own it, and if I go there they could sue me, and even if I win I can’t recover my legal fees which could be upwards of twenty thousand bucks.” Brooks says Idaho’s laws against illegally blocking access to public land are nothing
more than a slap on the wrists of out of state billionaires like the Wilks brothers. “Say you get a fine for fifty or hundred bucks. Well, they just got exclusive access to ten thousand acres for a year, which would be a ten million dollar property. So it’s extremely lucrative to just block off land and wait to see if you get prosecuted.” Brooks says this is just one of dozens of examples of the Wilks brothers and others illegally blocking access to private property. “The road by Horsethief Reservoir, the road to Fish Lake up by New Meadows, the road to Corral Creek Reservoir by Cascade, there are roads up in the Cabartan, there’s roads over by Council, and these are just roads blocked by the Wilks’s.... it’s all over the place.” On a recent trip to Southeast Idaho we found signs and a fence blocking access to the Teton River, clearly on public land. We alerted the Teton County Sheriff, who investigated and sent Teton County Bridge and Road to remove the signs and the fence. But Brooks says most counties don’t have the resources to deal with the rapidly growing number of these cases, and the president of the Idaho Sheriffs Association says, under current law, the situation will just get worse. “I think it looks grim,” said Sheriff Kieran Donahue. “I think you’re setting a dangerous, dangerous precedent.” Donahue says this is not just a matter of public access, it’s a matter of life and death. “The fact that someone’s life could be taken over as simple a thing that you don’t know you’re on private property, that keeps us up at night.” Donahue is disturbed by scenes like this one, in which an armed security guard working for the Wilks brothers confronts a private citizen for simply stopping on a road that is legally open to the public. “What gives that private security officer the right to try to enforce something like that?” asked Donahue. They don’t have standing, and they’re armed, and they’re going to be talking to people in the state of Idaho who are armed; there are a lot of people in the state of Idaho who carry arms, and you’re just
building a crescendo that is going to come to a cataclysmic conclusion in my opinion.” Brooks’ organization the Idaho Wildlife Federation is pushing for legislation that would give citizens the right to sue people who illegally block access to public lands, but Donahue doesn’t think that’s the solution. “The people who are blocking those roads have a lot more money than the average citizen,” said Donahue. “So for the average citizen to go fight that in court civilly, they’re not going to have enough money to do that. But criminally is another matter.” While brooks will continue pushing for a civil remedy, he agrees criminal penalties for blocking access to public land should be at least as harsh as the new penalties for trespassing. “So on the third time you’re trespassing it’s a fifteen thousand dollar fine, and it’s a felony and you can go to jail. Maybe it’s time to start looking at those kind of solutions for people like the Wilks brothers. Both Brooks and Donahue say they will push for improved legislation during the next session. In a letter to the Forest Service, DF Development says it may be willing to remove the gates, if the Forest Service ensures protection of the private land where Boise Ridge Road runs. We have made repeated attempts to contact the Wilks brothers, but none of our calls have been returned.
The OHV Park With No Name…Yet Words: Paul Hittie
In the Spring of 2013, the Great Lakes Four Wheel Drive Association learned of a project being considered in a small community north of Detroit. The project was being developed by Oakland County Parks and Recreation, and was intended to capitalize on a directive from the Michigan state legislature to the Department of Natural Resources dating back to the 1970s to develop an off highway recreation facility somewhere in southeast Michigan in partnership with a local branch of government. No that was not a typo, this project has been on the “back burner” at the state level for 40 years. For those of you outside of our immediate are that may not know about Oakland County Parks, they have achieved a national reputation for building beautiful, wellmanaged attractions, including camping, hiking and biking trails, golf courses and water parks. The local community, as well as OHV enthusiasts, were invited to a series of informational meetings where we learned of a proposal to convert a sand & gravel mine in the area into a recreational facility. We (the OHV community) were much more enthusiastic about the project than the local community was, and the projects was turned down even before sound or dust control testing was conducted to satisfy concerns from the local residents. Oakland County planners continued to look at other options, and soon settled on another sand/gravel mine that was also nearing the end of its life cycle, but was located in an area further from high-end housing developments. In August 2014 GLFWDA assisted the county in setting up a test event near the proposed location for the park (an adjoining gravel pit), with a follow up event in November 2014. Our Land Use Committee representatives helped with the design of trails, obstacles and other 4x4
challenges, provided input for the overall layout of the small parcel of land, and were involved in a PR effort to get people out to the park. The park was even featured in a UFWDA Voice article back in 2014. Slowly the machinery of our state and local governments started working on a proposal to acquire several connected gravel mines in the shadow of a popular ski hill called Mt. Holly. Plans were started and changed several times, detailing the types of recreational facilities considered for the property, park management and business structure for the facility. Our team has worked to get 4x4 enthusiasts out to township planning meetings, parks and recreation commission hearings, state Natural Resource Commission meetings and Offroad Vehicle Advisory Workgroup meetings. The state has acquired the land with the intention of leasing it back to Oakland County to develop and run the park. …But the county has to honor existing mining contracts on the property, so only half of the
Photo Nick Delise
property will be available in the near future …And the county has to formalize an agreement with the MiDNR to manage the property and run the OHV park …But the county did not get anything in place for the current budget year, and will not until at least the fall of 2019 …Then the county will be able to dedicate resources and leverage state funding for park development Every time we meet with county officials, the projected opening date for the park keeps moving further and further out on the calendar. The latest information provided is projecting a park opening out as far as summer or fall of 2020. However, beginning last month the MiDNR has begun granting special use permits, which GLFWDA has utilized to start working with county planners and state officials to get property boundaries marked, safety signs installed, and other similar projects using volunteer labor and supplies. This has then allowed us to apply for special event permits to hold events at the future park; Ironman Offroad hosted a customer appreciation event at the facility this month, and GLFWDA will host an event at the property in February 2019. The state has put a procedure in place allowing other groups to apply for special event permits in the future, and GLFWDA will continue to work with state and county staff under special use permits to allow smaller projects to be completed by volunteers until
a larger budget allows for professional architects, designers and construction teams to begin work. One of the remaining challenges for the county officials tasked with developing this park seems like it should be the easiest. Many of the existing county parks include “Oaks” in the name – Addison Oaks, Independence Oaks, and Springfield Oaks to name a few. The county has floated a couple of proposed names, but several of the names included the names of the two townships that border or encompass the property – Groveland Township and Holly Township. Recently the township supervisors made a joint declaration to the county that they hoped the county would adopt a name that has more regional appeal and does not include either township name. The additional stumbling block in the naming process has been the assertion by several county officials that they do not intend to use the word “mine” in the name of the park, despite the fact that we in the OHV community have been calling it in one way or another “The Mines”. So as of today, we have a hole in the ground owned by the State of Michigan, in a community that did not show up with their torches and pitch forks when the project was proposed, with an assumption that the county will continue to move forward with plans to develop an OHV recreational facility at the property, and a plan from the 1970s slowly moving forward. All we need now is a name for the park.
Photo Aaron Osterman
Business Contacts 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/ ACES 4X4 Club (Michigan) www.aces4x4.com Arizona State Association of 4-Wheel Drive Clubs www.asa4wdc.org Badgerland 4×4 TNT Club http://www.badgerland4x4.org/ Baltimore Four Wheelers http://www.baltimore4wheelers.org/ Between the Hills Trailheaders 4×4 Club http://www.trailheaders.net California Four Wheel Drive Association http://www.cal4wheel.com/ 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/ Great Lakes Four Wheel Drive Association http://www.glfwda.org/ Hall of Fame 4×4 Trail Riders http://www.hof4x4.com/ Havasu 4-Wheelers, Inc. http://havasu4wheelers.org/
PA Jeeps www.pajeeps.org
Eagle Valley Off Roaders eaglevalleyoffroaders.com
Mid-Atlantic Jeep Club midatlanticjeepfestival.com
Midwest 4 Wheel Drive Association http://www.mw4wda.org/ MN Trailriders http://www.mntrailriders.org/ Montana 4×4 Association, Inc. http://www.m4x4a.org/ 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/ Scrambler Owners Association http://www.cj-8.org/ Seven Hills Jeep Club http://sevenhillsjeepclub.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/
http://www.iof.or.id Mesa 4 Wheelers http://www.mesa4wheelers.com/ Middle Atlantic Four Wheel Drive Association http://www.mafwda.org/ •
Capital Off Road Enthusiasts
Extreme Ridge Runners http://www.myspace.com/extreme_ridge_ runners
Georgia Bounty Runners 4WD Club http://www.gbr4wd.com/
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 email@example.com
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 Jeeps http://www.southernjeeps.org/
Southern Mini 4×4 www.myspace.com/443172858
Trick ‘n’ Traction 4WD Club http://www.tnt4wd.org/
Southwestern Virginia 4 Wheelers www.swva4w.org
Tidewater Fourwheelers www.tidewaterfourwheelers.org
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/ •
Bay to Blue Ridge Cruisers www.bbrcva.org
Blue Ridge Rock Mafia firstname.lastname@example.org • Capital City Fourwheelers www.capitalcityfourwheelerssva.com •
Hard Rock Crawlers
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 online magazine of United Four Wheel Drive Associations Inc. an international organization.