As the weather warms up, more and more people are heading outdoors. Off-roading is a popular hobby for many, and it’s one that can be enjoyed responsibly. If we want to ensure that our favorite off-roading areas stay pristine and enjoyable for others, then we need to follow these tips from the Tread Lightly organization!
It’s important to only travel in areas designated for four-wheel drive vehicles. This will ensure that you’re not damaging any sensitive plant life, wildlife habitats or cultural heritage sites.
Always travel in a group of two or more vehicles. Going solo greatly increases the risk of being stranded if you have an accident or break down.
Knowing where the lowest point on your vehicle is can help you get through rough terrain and prevent damage. You want to do all you can to prevent oil and fluid spills on the trail and damage to the environment.
It’s important to know the basics of trail etiquette. Yield to those who are passing us while they travel uphill. Yield the right of way to bikers, hikers and horses that pass by on trails or roads.
Drive slowly especially around crowds or campgrounds.
If you do encounter animals, proceed with caution. Any sudden movements or sounds can spook animals causing injury to the animals, handlers or others in the area.
Education and Preparation
A good way to avoid getting stuck on a four-wheel drive trail is by carrying maps or guides with you. They will indicate which trails are open and show what hours they’re available for use. They also provide information about the area’s terrain and help make sure that your driving plan has enough time allocated for exploring all of it!
Always share your travel plans with others in case you do experience difficulties. This will help should in case they need to search for you.
If you have never driven off-road, it’s a good idea to take an off-highway driver course or go with someone very experienced that can guide you.
Before striking out, you need to make sure our vehicle is mechanically ready. Be prepared if something does go wrong by bringing tools, supplies, spare parts, spill kits, and extra food and water.
Also, be aware of the weather. Check the weather forecast before you go and be prepared if unexpected weather pops up.
Leave No Trace
Always take trash bags and clean up after yourselves! There is a saying “Pack out what pack you in”. This includes proper sanitary waste disposal and packing out your waste.
If you see trash left by others, pick it up.
If camping, try to practice minimal impact by using sites already established. Be very careful with camp fires.
Check for any local fire bans, especially here in the West. We’ve seen unprecedented wildfires the last couple of years due to historic droughts. It doesn’t take much for a fire to spread!
A good rule of thumb is to rinse your vehicle before and after a ride to help prevent the spread of invasive species.
Remember we want to leave the environment better than we found it so it can be enjoyed by others and generations to come.
Whether you’re an experienced off-roader or just beginning to explore the world of four wheeling, it’s important to be aware and prepared for what might happen on your trip. We hope these tips will help you explore responsibly in a way that is respectful of others as well as Mother Nature.
Check out the Tread Lightly organization to learn more about their education programs.
If you need help in preparing for your adventure, give us a call or swing by the shop. Our experienced specialists will help answer your questions and get you ready to hit the trails.