February '19

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12 THE SHOP FEBRUARY 2019 to be the most generous that I have experi- enced. When you explain to people, 'We're trying to keep this open for everyone so watch the signs, do the right thing'—they listen. The whole community is really united behind our efforts." That shows in the number of off-road volunteers who turn out for conservation and related efforts. "Off-roaders make up about 80 percent of the forest service volunteer workforce in the state of California, and they do a lot of volunteer work for federal agencies that simply don't have the money or manpower to do it anymore (themselves). It all comes back to wanting to protect the land that we love, and that includes participating in volunteer efforts." TRAIL PS As published in Off-Road Plus, here's a comprehensive collection of suggestions from Tread Lightly!, The Ontario Federation of 4 Wheel Drive (OF4WD), Central Ontario Off Road Jeep Club and Manitoba Public Insurance on how to protect our trails: • Be respectful to everyone and everything you come across and remember to use marked trails, keep right, slow down when passing people or animals, yield to uphill traffic, etc. • Properly equipping a vehicle and practicing responsible driving techniques are important to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience, as well as protect the area(s) being explored • Be mindful of natural habitats—avoid environmentally sensitive areas such as wetlands and nesting grounds, and be sure to yield to any wildlife on the trail • Never trespass on private property to wheel, and when doing so on public lands always ensure you're on an approved, marked trail • Remain on the trail and away from areas that are easily damaged by churning wheels • Travel at speeds appropriate for the terrain and always maintain visibility • Constantly scan the path ahead to pick the safest route around large holes, ruts, bumps, guy wires, railway tracks, culverts, fences, posts, debris, and other obstacles or hazards • Avoid dangerous terrain such as steep slopes, marshes and swamps • Drive over, not around, obstacles to avoid widening the trail • Straddle ruts, gullies and washouts, even if they are wider than your vehicle • Cross streams only at designated fording points, where the road crosses the stream • When conditions are dry in areas where you're riding, use caution because sparks from your off-road vehicle can ignite grass, branches or other combustible materials • In soft terrain, go easy on the gas to avoid wheel spin, which can cause rutting and disturb the surrounding area • Stop frequently to check areas around the engine and exhaust for debris, and carefully dispose of any debris found • Practice minimum impact camping by using established sites and camping 200 feet from water resources and trails • Carry out what you bring in—observe proper sanitary waste disposal or pack your waste out and bring a trash bag on your vehicle to pick up any litter (left by you or others) • Protect the sound-scape by preventing unnecessary noise created by a poorly tuned vehicle or revving the engine • Before and after a ride, wash your vehicle to reduce the spread of invasive species. Whether someone's ideal off-road experi- ence is more about the journey or the destination, the lure of the trail just can't be ignored. RESPONSIBLE F-ROADG

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