Do You Practice TREAD Lightly! Principles?

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4xFar Adventures

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As a TREAD Lightly! Tread Trainer, one of my goals is to help spread the word of what this program is all about. There are a lot of people out there who roll their eyes whenever those words are mentioned and it makes me sad to see that. The goal isn't to ruin anyone's fun. In fact, it's the complete opposite. We all go out for our own reasons, but enjoying the outdoors is what it really comes down to.

Travel responsibly by staying on designated trails. This is one of the fastest ways to get a trail closed.
Respect the rights of others and private land owners. Everyone is there for the same reason.
Educate yourself before going out. Plan and prepare for your trip in advance, check for restrictions.
Avoid sensitive areas like meadows, and streams. Don't take items from historical sites.
Do your part. Model appropriate behavior, leave an area better than you found it.

For those who don't know what TL is, let me give you a quick explanation and history. Back in the 80's when environmental concerns were becoming a thing for a lot of people, the US Forest Service saw the need for a program to help educate people who like to recreate outdoors. There are millions of people who do this annually and the numbers increase every year. Whether it's horse back riding, using motorized equipment like ATV's, Jeeps (the broad term for off road vehicles), or dirt bikes, the principles apply equally. Even out on the water with PWC like a boat or jet ski.

The first time TREAD Lightly! was seen by the public was on the Great Divide Expedition trip led by Camel Trophy legend, Tom Collins in 1989. He planned a north south route through Colorado and using Range Rover Classics donated by Land Rover, drove the entire trip without hitting pavement. It was a huge success on all fronts and people started taking notice.

Eventually TREAD Lightly! became a non profit and has even become part of Boy Scouts Outdoor Ethics Award program in the past few years.

So, what does this mean to people who want to take the rig overlanding? Well, it means being a steward of the land on which we like to travel. "Respected access is open access." as they say. By following these basic principles you can help keep your favorite trails open for future generations.
 

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I also want to add that I'm not the preachy type when it comes to this. If someone is genuinely interested in TREAD Lightly! I'm more than happy to talk about it, but it doesn't get thrown in anyone's face. A lot of people are receptive to a "follow by example" approach, and that's what I like to do. Something simple like picking up old trash and taking it home. Sometimes there's a comment from someone, and I'll use that opportunity to mention D, and that I'm just Doing my part.
 
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Crispy

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I can't tell you how many times I stopped while on the trail in Oregon to pick up random garbage. It's actually worse in California. I could fill a dump truck with some of the trash I've seen in the Mendocino National Forest. Some people just don't have a clue or any respect for our wilderness.
 

chris90

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I agree, treading lightly on trails is very important, you should always make an effort to leave an area better than you found it. This comes down to everything like taking your own rubbish out and picking up others, picking lines carefully and not just digging up the track with your tyres, taking the time to remove obstacles from the track rather than making new tracks around them, etc...
It is the few who are irresponsible who ruin it for the rest of us and make what was once a beautiful bit of bush look like a tip. Lately around my area heaps of areas on both private and public land have been closed off to everyone because of the few irresponsible individuals and I don't blame the land owners/council for doing it the way they were treated.
 

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I was volunteering with painting fences and general cleanup at Cow Mountain last year. The BLM person working with us said they found a couch in a tree once. She also said the wooden shade structures are always getting chained up and pulled down. SMH

After the Land Rover National Rally last year, a friend of mine stayed to do some cleanup with a bunch of other attendees. There was an entire living room setup out in the middle of the desert. Couch, rug, lamp, tv on a little rolly cart. The amount of trash they loaded into the haulers was insane. It made the local news because of the number of people out lending a hand. And the sheer variety of crap found made for good tv. That so rarely happens.
 
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4xFar Adventures

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I agree, treading lightly on trails is very important, you should always make an effort to leave an area better than you found it. This comes down to everything like taking your own rubbish out and picking up others, picking lines carefully and not just digging up the track with your tyres, taking the time to remove obstacles from the track rather than making new tracks around them, etc...
It is the few who are irresponsible who ruin it for the rest of us and make what was once a beautiful bit of bush look like a tip. Lately around my area heaps of areas on both private and public land have been closed off to everyone because of the few irresponsible individuals and I don't blame the land owners/council for doing it the way they were treated.
There was a recent off trail incident at Hollister Hills and they shut down Hudner Ranch until the damage is repaired.

 

4xFar Adventures

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I was going to mention removing obstacles as well:)

Here's a fallen tree after last winter's storms up in Mendo. The trail was not only getting wider, it was getting dangerous. Someone asked "Why not just drive around it like everyone else?" and I explained what happens in situations like this. Plus, you might get to use the fun equipment you packed, like @BEAR going at the tree with a chainsaw!

Here's a narrated version of the trail clearing. Enjoy!

 
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escadventure

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Good idea for a post. I firmly support and practice TL principles.
For the sake of discussion, I'd like to raise some comments that, hopefully we can discuss like adults and without drama.
1- Is 'leave no trace' a valid, useful, necessary goal? (assuming we are practicing 'treading lightly') example - you want a campfire in a secluded area. There are no nearby sites to use. The govt now recommends you don't make a stone fire ring. When done you ensure you wet down any sub-surface coals. Some would say you should completely disperse any visual evidence of the fire. I think that's ridiculous.

2- The same folks who say we are nothing more than animals, say we shouldn't relieve ourselves in the remote wilderness. I think that's ridiculous. As responsible animals we can be smart and discreet about our choice of location without damaging the environment.

There are many examples of 'leave no trace' extremism. We are part of the ecosystem, not above it. The govt now considers anything over 50 years old to be historical. Example - That means if you're picking up trash responsibly, you should study the identification of food cans. If you carry off rusty cans older than 50 years, you're destroying a historical site.
 

RyanC

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I TREAD lightly (the few times I can get off road anyways). I would love to put a sticker for it on my rig but I have not found one I like. The ATV is the closest one I've seen but an ATV is not an overland rig.
 

chris90

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Good idea for a post. I firmly support and practice TL principles.
For the sake of discussion, I'd like to raise some comments that, hopefully we can discuss like adults and without drama.
1- Is 'leave no trace' a valid, useful, necessary goal? (assuming we are practicing 'treading lightly') example - you want a campfire in a secluded area. There are no nearby sites to use. The govt now recommends you don't make a stone fire ring. When done you ensure you wet down any sub-surface coals. Some would say you should completely disperse any visual evidence of the fire. I think that's ridiculous.

2- The same folks who say we are nothing more than animals, say we shouldn't relieve ourselves in the remote wilderness. I think that's ridiculous. As responsible animals we can be smart and discreet about our choice of location without damaging the environment.

There are many examples of 'leave no trace' extremism. We are part of the ecosystem, not above it. The govt now considers anything over 50 years old to be historical. Example - That means if you're picking up trash responsibly, you should study the identification of food cans. If you carry off rusty cans older than 50 years, you're destroying a historical site.
I thing that applies more to those out hiking in areas that are considered "untouched wilderness" than those travelling in a vehicle. Anywhere we camp already has to have a track leading to it and a clearing big enough to park a vehicle, set a tent etc.. so our job is taking care of that area rather than pretending nobody was ever there. For example, if there is already a fire pit there use it rather than making your own new one. I don't get the idea of dispersing the evidence of a fire, better to leave it there so the next people use the same spot rather than making a new one.
Also for your second point yes we definitely can be however I have seen a few times evidence of people not burying their crap. Unfortunately it's like everything else, 99% of us do the right thing but that 1% give us all a bad name and ultimately ruin it.
 
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expeditionnorth

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what used to irritate me was to be in the middle of no where & find someones refuse they threw on the ground
I pack out what we pack in ,and carry out those slobs trash too
used to never hike until after spring melt to give the ground time to heal per se
its those 1% who will ruin it...
 
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MOAK

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Interesting topics.
We always carry in, carry out, leave no trace.
If there is no fire ring at a site, then we don't build a fire, we use the Coleman or our Volcano grill. We also carry three shovels, one on the trailer for basecamp use, one in the cruiser, and one for hiking, and a poo bucket with ziplock bags. We also have, and always use our Trasharoo. Here, I believe are a couple of things we came across at Big Bend that would be considered archeological in and of themselves. It is not difficult to understand why we shouldn't disturb them, not much different than coming across arrow heads, or pottery pieces . You see something old, leave it alone. I don't understand people that don't get that. IMG_0018.jpg DSC02850.jpg
 

escadventure

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Interesting topics.
We always carry in, carry out, leave no trace.
If there is no fire ring at a site, then we don't build a fire, we use the Coleman or our Volcano grill. We also carry three shovels, one on the trailer for basecamp use, one in the cruiser, and one for hiking, and a poo bucket with ziplock bags. We also have, and always use our Trasharoo. Here, I believe are a couple of things we came across at Big Bend that would be considered archeological in and of themselves. It is not difficult to understand why we shouldn't disturb them, not much different than coming across arrow heads, or pottery pieces . You see something old, leave it alone. I don't understand people that don't get that. View attachment 6104 View attachment 6105

If you are using a poo bucket and ziplock bags, you might consider using the PETT kits. They're a bit more expensive but the more you buy, the cheaper they are. The good thing about them is that the bags are biodegradable. Each kit also comes with TP and a handy wipe to make things a bit more comfortable.
 
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Maxterra

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I always take my trashsroo, and my goal is to always come back with more than I went out with.
I always carry a pole mounted magnet in the vehicle to clean up after the a$$hats who take pallets out to burn [emoji35][emoji109]!
You can clean up a ton of nails and staples and screws in no time with one of those, so I usually do since I've been on the receiving end of them in my tires a couple of times.

The bright point of that is I'm starting to see signs posted on FS land about NO pallets or wood with fasteners allowed now. About time!

Oh, and magnet pics up the cheap import steel-cased cartridges that the shooters leave all over too.
Now if there was just a brass magnet....
 

4xFar Adventures

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Other advantages using the Wag Bags (vs. just a ziplock) is that the powder gels your pee and can be used a couple times. It also helps reduce some of the smell. The bag with the powder then goes into another heavy doodie ;) large double ziplock bag. Both are OD green so you don't have to see the contents of them. The powder bag is big enough to fit in a 5 gallon bucket so you don't have to do squats.
 
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