Let’s do something different this quarter, perhaps it’s something that should have been done in the past. We all hear about the concerns of the four wheel drive community and it’s easy to pick out the things being done wrong – whether by our own community or those who oppose our choice for how we recreate or compete.
But let’s take a minute to look at the other side of the coin – let’s look at what people are doing around the country that benefit the sport and more importantly the communities around us. Here are a few prime examples (please don’t be upset if you have one that I missed, just let me know and I will be sure it gets in the next issue of the Voice):
• The Walapai 4 Wheelers in Kingman Arizona support the Kingman Police Dept’s “shop with a cop” program which supplies Christmas presents for those who can’t afford them. They support the Kingman Fire Department and the Sparky the Fireplug Fire Safety Program. And they even helped the Mohave Museum of History & Arts with a recent expansion of their Library.
• In April of 2005 the Arizona Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs helped with a massive Clean-up of Lower Sycamore Creek in an all discipline effort of working together.
• The Anglicare Blanket Run which provides food and clothing to the less fortunate is put on each year in Perth, Australia by the Western Australia 4 Wheel Drive Associations and the Toyota Land Cruiser Club of Western Australia.
• The Bush Fire Relief Program provided assistance to remote areas of Australia after their devastating fires. This on-going effort has been supported by a large number of clubs in the Four Wheel Drive Victoria region.
• The California Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs South District is working hard on an Earth Day project in the San Bernardino National Forest.
• The Colorado Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs organizes an annual Toys For Tots run that coincides with the Giveaway of their annual Raffle 4x4 – the only requirement for participating in the Christmas Caravan and Show are new toys donated to the US Marines Toys-For-Tots Campaign.
• The Mid-Michigan 4 Wheelers hold their annual Silver Lake Sand Dune cleanup in June. This is helping to support an area frequented by all types of motorized recreation.
• The Southern High Rollers support a number of community charities which include an annual paper products drive for Windridge Therapeutic Equestrian Center and an effort with the Christian Motorcycle Club of Texas to provide funding for personal gifts, donations and wheeling / riding opportunities to the children of Buckner’s Children’s Home annually in December each year.
• Fort Worth Dallas Four Wheel Drive has helped to fund Police Radios (and other equipment) and Library improvements in the town of Clayton, OK a prime location used as an outdoor recreation area by many types of enthusiasts.
• RALLY! Families for Outdoor Recreation is supported by the Montana 4x4 Association in an effort to keep “Road Closed” signs of entry points and trails.
• Workshops held by the New Zealand Four Wheel Drive Association include Health and Safety as well as the good old standard Land Access. With the success shown by these workshops they intend to repeat them for years to come.
In addition to these type of community involvement events there are also a vast stockpile of simple trail maintenance and clean-ups around the country including (but of course not limited to); the Sand Mountain Spring Clean and Work Party (California Off Highway Vehicle Association), Black Bridge Clean-up (Walapai 4 Wheelers and Bullhead 4 Wheelers of the Arizona Association), Lefthand Canyon OHV Area Clean-up (TrailRidge Runners 4 Wheel Drive Club), Silver Lake Sand Dune (Mid Michigan 4 Wheelers), Atlanta MI DNR ORV Trail Maintenance (Great Lakes Four Wheel Drive Association), Combs Road Clean-Up (Indiana 4 Wheel Drive Association), Lava Mountain Conservation Project (Frontier 4x4 Club), Earth Day Clean (Northeast Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs), Little Rattle Snake Work Party Pacific Northwest Four Wheel Drive Association), Tellico River Clean-up Day (Southern 4 Wheel Drive Association), Shoe Creek Trail Clean-up (Seven Hill Jeep Club) and Pipeline Workday (Wisconsin 4 Wheel Drive Association).
And let’s not forget the Adopt-A-Road (aka Adopt-A-Trail), Volunteer Trail Patrol (aka USFS Volunteer Ranger Program) and planning efforts being held and reviewed by many Associations, Club and individual entities. These programs are making people around the country sit up and take notice that wheeling is a viable recreation and that wheelers are willing to work to keep the areas they love open.
And last but certainly not the least in fact probably one of the most important things being done are the many training programs being offered up by the Associations and Clubs; whether they are being called MORE (Maximum Off Road Enjoyment), Wheelin’ 101, Basic Training or Awareness - what they are doing it bringing new wheelers safely into the sport and planting the seeds of the proper, safe way to do things.
If I had room I could have named a dozen more activities and another 100 clubs; obviously I can’t list every activity here as the Editor would have my hide. I think this short list clearly states that as a group of people we are a force to be reckoned with. We must continue to work together to achieve the freedom to do continue to do the activities we enjoy.
None of these events/activities would take place without the hard work of many dedicated individuals and I personally want to take this time to say thank you to those individuals, those clubs and all the participants who make the effort to understand that a small sacrifice now will have high benefits later.
And more specifically to the individuals themselves that sacrifice time from their families, jobs and the hobby that they love to make these opportunities possible. These individuals (and each Association and club know who they are) are by far and away the people I consider to be heroes of this sport because what they do is sometimes a thankless job but it has to be done. Somebody has to fight to make the members of the clubs and associations aware of the issues. I know that many times it may seem to fall on deaf ears, but in reality each of you is making a difference and if you don’t believe me just read through the list above and see what is happening around the world.