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janders
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PostMon Feb 11, 2002 2:22 pm 
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Hey all,

I'm interested in some earnest discussion of the impact of 4x4'ing on the environment.  Before any volleys are let loose, let me give some context to this discussion.

I'm not pushing multi-use policy. I'm not any more interested in getting hit by a snowmobile/ATV/Ford when I'm out hiking/snowshoeing/backpacking than anyone else in this forum. My primary interest in 4/x4'ing is just another way to get out into the woods (albeit a bit more comfortably <g>), and doing it responsibly.

I want to better understand what sort of issues surround driving in the backwoods and what this communities' thoughts are on the subject.

If this is a subject you feel strongly against (as I'm sure many of you do...) please tell me why.

Jason

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MtnGoat
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PostMon Feb 11, 2002 2:26 pm 
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For me, it depends on what context you are discussing. Is it keeping jeep roads open for access, or are you talking actual off road through the woods kind of action?

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Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock. - Will Rogers
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janders
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PostMon Feb 11, 2002 3:03 pm 
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I'm talking about jeep roads, not totally offroad. I'm pretty convinced of the problems of just driving a truck/ATV through the forest.

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Lazyboy
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PostMon Feb 11, 2002 3:08 pm 
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I have a couple of 4X4's but I use them for work as I have a horse ranch. We have mud around here.  I also will take them to access some trails, BUT, I'm not into grinding up the forest with them.  Besides doing damage to the forest it's rough on the trucks too.  

I'm not even into the horse packing at all.  I can walk faster than a lazy horse.  I found if I take one horse I have to take a second one to haul food for both of them.  Not that enjoyable.

So I'm not opposed at all to 4X4 use.  If you do it right you can have zero impact.  It's grinding up hillsides with them that bothers me.
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MtnGoat
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PostMon Feb 11, 2002 3:16 pm 
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I guess I'm in lazyboys camp. I don't cotton to grinding around doing truly off road off road, but rough roads and jeep tracks are A OK and can be quite entertaining.

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Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock. - Will Rogers
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catwoman
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PostMon Feb 11, 2002 4:48 pm 
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Yeah, me too.  Not at all for just joyriding through the woods.  But if the purpose is to get from point a to point b so you can access a trailhead, then you're fortunate for having the option.  I, on the other hand, don't have that kind of transportation and would love to know you people who do so we can go hit the trails together sometime!  agree.gif
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PostMon Feb 11, 2002 5:20 pm 
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MCaver
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PostMon Feb 11, 2002 5:28 pm 
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I thought BackPacker Joe would have a field day with this subject, complete with an arsenal of photos, no pun intended! Where are ya, Tom??  smile.gif
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Ernest W.
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PostMon Feb 11, 2002 5:42 pm 
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The W. Fork Miller River Road defines a jeep road pretty well.

Flame suit on!
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PostMon Feb 11, 2002 5:46 pm 
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MtnGoat
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PostMon Feb 11, 2002 6:35 pm 
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The "road" to Gallagher Head Lake isn't quite as bad as the W Fk Miller, but it's pretty bad and a lot of fun.  That's what I'd consider a jeep track.

The W Fk even more so, but I see someone gearing up for a grind over that, so I'll lay low! I've only walked that one.

Some of the roads we use to access Saddle Mtn for sloping are pretty interesting as well, lots of sharp basalt rubble in nasty places.

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Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock. - Will Rogers
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PostMon Feb 11, 2002 7:50 pm 
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polarbear
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PostMon Feb 11, 2002 11:20 pm 
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I went 4-wheeling once on an established jeep trail up near Liberty.  It's not something I'd want to do alot of, but it's more fun than I though it would be (my neck had a slightly reddish hue to it after the trip).  I like traveling any kind of road that gives you different vistas and takes you to different places you haven't been before. If that requires a 4x4, so be it.  Alot of the 4x4 people do road maintenance just like hikers do trail maintenance.

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Jonathan
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PostTue Feb 12, 2002 7:07 pm 
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Interesting web site and I would have to say that 'most' people that recreate with ORV's or 4 Wheeling would be just as upset/mad at seeing pictures of trash and shot up tubbies as the rest of the world.  It reflects badly on all ORV user even the ones that spend there time fixing trails and cleaning up after the less responsible (usually younger don't give a dam type) users.  I know that many 4 Wheelers see traps and gates as a challenge or obstacles to get over or around and I can't stop them anymore than you can unless you take down plate numbers and file complaints.  I have seen guys 'caught behind gates' and they were ticketed for it.  

How many people each year go up into the Enchantments without a permit?  If they gated the trail entrance, ditched it and put up signs saying "trail closed do to human impact" would you just drive home or would you walk around the gate?  It's the same mentality, no ones going to stop me!!!!  I don’t want to give idiots that destroy private property a good argument and this doesn’t justify that kind of behavior, but I was young once and I can see and understand the temptation to do something I’m not supposed to.

I think you asked about impact on Jeep Trails and yes there are trails for Jeeps or in my case Samurai.  Most Jeep owners don’t like me calling my Japanese import a Jeep but I had a real Jeep for years and it is hard for me to remember the ‘PC’ term Wheeling.  In some of this states ORV areas there are Jeep only trails and Motorcycle only trails and some are for both but they often don't mix well as the bikes are much faster.  Anyone who tells you there is no impact is an idiot, there is plenty of impact.  You can't drive rigs with big lugged tires on soft soil and expect there not to be.  To some it looks terrible and to others wow what a challenge.  The sport (if you want to call it that) is growing and the biggest problem is there are very few placed to go 4 wheeling.  A few of the areas in Washington that had Jeep trails have closed them down only adding to the crowding at the only few places left.  I think this is why you see people in the Middle Fork digging up new ruts to 'play in', there is little place else to go.  Personally if you want to see less impact in places like the middle fork then the existing ORV areas need to be expanded to handle the need.  A private constructed Pay-to-Play Jeep course would probably be very profitable near the Seattle area as most places are pretty far to drive.  

I personally only get out a few times each year on a fun/poker run, it's blast to get dirty and see others struggling to climb up what you just did.  To me the impact is acceptable for the fun I get out of it, but to others I can see why they hate it so much.  If there were a 100 Jeep trails and ORV areas in this state I feel the impact would be too great.  I hate to see horses grind up trails I love to hike on, and I can't understand why they feel the need to drag large heavy animals along with them, but I respect the fact that is how they like to recreate.  If they were on every trail in the state I would be screaming the loudest but given they can't make it up most of our trails (due to steep design) I can live with their impact.  I often wonder what it would be like to travel through the ALW without trails and see it's lakes without campsites, but I do plenty of off trail hiking and after a good brush beat I'm often happy to finish up on a trail or road.  Hiking trails themselves are impact, probably less but I've seen some wide enough to drive my Samurai on and hundreds if not thousands of boots splashing through creek crossing stirs up sediment, mud and so on.  I've seen just as many candy wrappers and trash on popular hiking trails as I've seen beer cans on Jeep trails, there are just as many idiots that hike as there are Wheelers  The difference is you can tear up a lot more earth faster with boggers than you can with boots.  

The trails in most other states where Wheeling is big say like Utah is on rock for the most part and I think the impact is minimal, but we have few places in Washington like that and the impact is higher, but we have fewer trails than most other states.  With the rises in population we have seen in the Western part of our state the impacts on ALL outdoor activities is going to increase no matter your flavor of fun.
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MtnGoat
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PostWed Feb 13, 2002 2:03 am 
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What I'd do is open some dryside areas that have been closed and keep open existing ones. Just steep roads and places to go are good enough for most folks. Divide them into two units and open one unit for two (or one) years then close it and open the other.

If they're decent sized this should provide plenty of dispersal and reduce continuous impacts, and allow a different system of choices every so often. Overlapping areas might be OK in places where impact is truly minimal, maybe have core regions that are always open as well.

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Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock. - Will Rogers
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