Responsible 4-wheeling is critical, both for our own enjoyment and safety, as well as to help ensure the continued use of our trails. Public land managers face increasing pressure every day to limit or eliminate our privilege to use our vehicles on public land.
We can all help to keep our trails open by following some common sense guidelines as listed below. All it takes is one inconsiderate person to shut down access to everyone. Please do your part to help preserve our awesome trails for all of us to enjoy!
Practice “Minimum Impact” 4-wheeling
• Always stay on the designated route!
• Never create new obstacles. If the trail is not challenging enough for you, find a different trail or area that is!
• Never create new bypasses. If a trail or obstacle is too difficult for your rig or abilities, then use a strap or winch, or turn around and find an easier trail.
• Use common sense. Just because there is one or two sets of tracks around a difficult spot or over a new obstacle, it doesn’t mean that it is legal. If it doesn’t look like part of the trail, stay off it!
• Don’t turn around on narrow roads, steep hills, or unstable ground. Backup until you find a suitable and safe place to turn around.
• If you must winch to a tree, use a tree-saver strap attached as low as possible. Be sure the tree is healthy, and strong enough to support your vehicle.
• Cross streams only at designated points.
• Never walk or drive on cryptobiotic soils (the black “crusty” stuff seen all around Moab!)
• Always pack out what you packed in, plus any other litter you might find along the trail.
• Carry and use oil-absorbent materials to clean up any accidental oil or coolant spills while on the trail.
Respect the environment and the rights of others
• Always be considerate of others on the trail. This includes mountain bikers, hikers, and equestrians, as well as other motorized users.
• Always yield the right of way to bikers, hikers, and horses.
• Leave gates open or closed as you found them.
• Avoid spooking wildlife or livestock.
• Drive on trails that are appropriate for you and your vehicle’s ability. Under-equipped vehicles are at increased risk for vehicle damage on very challenging trails, and are often tempted to create bypasses around tough spots.
• Do not “alter” challenging trails. If you need to stack rocks to get over an obstacle, remove what you stacked so the next person can experience the same challenge.
• Do not hold up faster groups. If a faster group catches you from behind, allow them the opportunity to pass.
• Don’t hold up an entire group by being an “obstacle hog”. If you can’t make an obstacle in three tries, then take a strap or winch, or move out of the way and let the next person have their turn. You can always come back another time when the trail is less crowded and try again.
Always practice safety
• Never mix alcohol or drugs with 4-wheeling.
• Always wear your seatbelt, and make sure everyone else in your vehicle is also belted in.
• Use extreme caution on difficult obstacles, or while winching or strapping. Know where everyone is, both in and out of the vehicle. Our trails are often very remote, and emergency help can be a long ways away!
• Always carry plenty of water. One gallon per person per day is the minimum in hot weather!
• Always carry a first aid kit and applicable emergency gear, such as food, matches, a flashlight, and an extra blanket or warm jacket.
• Make sure your vehicle is always properly maintained and prepared. Carry tools, supplies, and spares as needed for trailside repairs. Always be prepared for emergencies or the unexpected.
• Always tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return, and travel with a group of at least two vehicles.
Support those who support us
You can help keep our trails open by joining and supporting your local 4-wheel drive club. Also please consider joining the following organizations that are fighting to preserve 4-wheel drive recreation. (Click here for links.)
For more tips on responsible 4-wheeling, please visit Tread Lightly! at www.treadlightly.org .