Driving “off the road”

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Mark D

Rank V
Member

Pathfinder I

1,798
Whittier CA
Member #

2100

I am torn about an Overland post of one of our members helping someone who got stuck. The stuck person looked like (from the photos) that they were off the trail in a grassy marsh. I thought it was nice of the OB member to help the person out but it appeared he also drove off into to bog to help out. I would never pass someone who needed help but what do you do when someone is trashing nature? What do you think? Am I overreacting? Should I point out that he should have strung cables and stapes together so he remanded on the trail?
 

Dock Rocker

Rank IV

Pathfinder I

Recovery is always a fluid situation (no pun intended).

No matter who went in for the recovery, be it a concerned citizen, tow company or ranger, more than likely they would have to do the very same thing to recover someone in a bad spot. So the damage done would be the same, and leaving the truck stuck isn’t an option either.

If someone gets off the trail the damage created by the recovery is in them. That’s not to say they wouldn’t both get a ticket or fine if they got caught.

I have had to go into situations for recoveries that I certainly would not have gone into if my own free will but it was the right thing to do.

Are you over reacting, yea a little, but I get what you are saying. If we all did better about staying in the trails we would definitely have more trails.
 

Ripley1046

Rank V
Member

Pathfinder I

2,616
Manitowoc, WI
Member #

10046

I get what you are saying, and in some respects agree. I would say that I would help recover the vehicle however necessary, trying to stay on trail first, and moving off if needed. But it would be a teachable moment for the one who drove off trail (not going to do that again are you?). As Dock Rocker said above, the situation may have called for those circumstances regardless of who did the recovery.
 
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Arailt

Rank V
Member

Advocate I

1,978
Western Pennsylvania
Member #

1723

Without knowing the exact circumstances, it’s hard to judge. I’ve been in and helped recover in some sticky situations and sometimes driving off a trail is unavoidable.
 
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CR-Venturer

Rank V
Member

Traveler I

2,309
Chilliwack, BC, Canada
Member #

16340

Yeah, I would say there's too many variables at play to Monday morning quarterback a recovery by a member. What we definitely should be doing is giving that member props for helping someone out of a jam - it reflects well on the community and shows people outside of it that OB is a good organization that has a positive impact. We don't even know if the person who got stuck was driving there deliberately or if it happened because of factors outside their control. Maybe it was icy and they slid off the road through no fault of their own, who knows.

In general, obviously, OB promotes a "tread lightly" mindset and encourages members to always stay on existing tracks and respect wild places. Having said that, there's also such a thing as overreacting - nature isn't going to massively implode because of a few wheel ruts out in the boonies due to a necessary recovery.
 

billum v2.0

Rank V
Member

Enthusiast I

1,556
Flyover Country
Member #

7855

So, I'll take a different tact.

Being from the Midwest where our biggest obstacle is mud, the ratio of folks stuck going about their business on a trail vs. yahoos tearing up everything in sight runs about 1 to 10. Even if you've never driven on muddy trails or offroaded a day in your life, you recognize who is who the second you come upon them. Zero hesitation to help the former. They typically get cause and effect, recognize the learning moment and don't need/want anyone to point out their mistake. They usually quit making things worse quickly, so a tow strap and a quick tug is all that's needed.

After multiple experiences with the latter (who wouldn't recognize a learning moment if it hit them between the eyes), unless someone is hurt, I offer to speak with landowner for help (you're almost always on private land here) or call a wrecker service when I have cell coverage. Otherwise, they can walk out. You can often recognize these folks by their knack for burying both axles up to the differentials and high centering for good measure. Teachable/smeachable, let 'em walk.
 
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Arailt

Rank V
Member

Advocate I

1,978
Western Pennsylvania
Member #

1723

I was the yahoo more times than I can count when I was younger (15+ years ago). Also in the Midwest, sort of (SW Pennsylvania), and always private land (knowing the owner) or 4x4 parks with mud bogs, rock crawling, etc. We used to run our Jeeps until someone broke something, tow them out (with CHAINS), fix it, and do it all over again. That was strictly 4-wheeling though and nothing like “overlanding.” Being young/dumb and pushing vehicles to their limits time and time again definitely helped me become a better off road driver. So sometimes the yahoos are learning from their experiences. Haha

Public land and camping/overlanding is a different story. Always have respect for the land and others using the land.
 

billum v2.0

Rank V
Member

Enthusiast I

1,556
Flyover Country
Member #

7855

I was the yahoo more times than I can count when I was younger (15+ years ago). Also in the Midwest, sort of (SW Pennsylvania), and always private land (knowing the owner) or 4x4 parks with mud bogs, rock crawling, etc. We used to run our Jeeps until someone broke something, tow them out (with CHAINS), fix it, and do it all over again. That was strictly 4-wheeling though and nothing like “overlanding.” Being young/dumb and pushing vehicles to their limits time and time again definitely helped me become a better off road driver. So sometimes the yahoos are learning from their experiences. Haha

Public land and camping/overlanding is a different story. Always have respect for the land and others using the land.
Yep, me too (40+ years ago.....male teenage stupidity is universal/timeless).

BUT, I always knew the landowner, he knew I was on the property and knew my age to smarts quotient. They made it clear where could/could not go (livestock) and you respected the boundaries. Period. You fudged even a little, you spent nights after school/weekends making it right. Or baled hay for two weeks straight gratis. The learning curve was a 90° angle because there were consequences that exceeded "a time out". Or so I've heard.

The yahoos I'm referring to are blatantly trespassing (why I always call the landowner in front of them, "John, your guests in the black Silverado have buried it a few hundred feet from the creek"), give a rat's rump as to boundaries, are militant in the boldness of their disregard and generally screw it up for everyone else. You want to be a dumbass on your own time, have at it. You urinate on the petunia's and the consequence is everyone loses 20+ years access to prime hunting/fishing spots.............the appropriate "teaching activity" is frowned upon publicly these days............ but privately few disagree. Offenders know what they're doing is wrong, could care less. And no, they aren't learning from their experience, unless getting better at not getting caught falls under learning.

The same thing is going on on public land, just takes longer for committees to be formed, hearings to be held, access to be closed than a private owner to lock gates and unapologetically tell everyone no.
 
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ArmyofMike

Rank V
Member

Pathfinder I

2,271
fresno, ca
Member #

7890

Ham Callsign
KM6YFE
If it's an emergency situation, I would help immediately.

If it's someone goofing around and gets stuck, first thing I would do before helping is take pictures of the stuck rig, thier location, license plate, driver/passengers etc. Last thing I would want would be to help someone and hten I suffer fines, litigation and slander for marring a trail. Just a CYA, but I don't want to get in trouble for someone else's mistakes. Although it is in my nature to help them out.

Just my .02.
M
 

khorsa

Rank I

Enthusiast I

239
michigan
I'm not the offroad police. I'll help them out because they are stuck. I'm not going to leave anyone sitting there in nature.
 
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HOT-ROD

Rank V
Member

Advocate III

1,364
Sanford, ME, USA
Member #

15128

In the club I was in, in Ct, who ever is stuck assumes all liability for recovery and any damage associated. But with that said, we all trusted each other and knew each others capabilities. In our travels, we had permission everywhere we went and never alone.
 

Mark D

Rank V
Member

Pathfinder I

1,798
Whittier CA
Member #

2100

It is interesting to see the different perspectives from the different regions. Where this took place is in an area that people are just waiting for an excuse to close down to vehicle travel. Hundreds of “foot traffic only” and “closed area” signs dot the sides of the roads. Obviously helping others is a shared OB member trait. I just hate seeing us lose areas because people are dumb.