What About "Idiots" on Our Trails? | OVERLAND BOUND COMMUNITY

What About "Idiots" on Our Trails?

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Del Albright

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VOLUNTEER HELP needed. :(smile). If someone has a few minutes to follow, analize and summarize some of the key comments here, I would sure appreciate the help (on my brag in the first post about summarizing the comments). Then we can make it "pretty" and post it up as suggested (New Members Start Here). I am blazing away trying to catch up on all the posts and info here; while still doing my bRC job. If you can help; that would be awesome.
 
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smritte

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Hi Del. Good to see you here.
Looks like every one covered this topic well so, Ill just add what I have encountered.

I have helped maintain the Holcomb Creek trail in Big Bear from 1987 till a few years ago. This is a black diamond 4wd trail that until the area burned some years back was a nice moderately hard drive in the woods. To keep this route open, we had run the trail monthly and report on the findings. Mostly we picked up trash, scatter fire rings but some times we had to repair damage done by idiots. On two occasions we caught people tearing up the area off the route.

The first one I took pictures of the guys driving up through a water crossing and tearing up the side of the hill. Got a clear picture of the drivers and passengers. The guys in my club wanted to confront them. It took a lot of restraint on our part. When I gave the pictures over to the ranger in charge, I was told, he was able to get them fined and they had to come and repair the damage.

The second one didn't go as easily. We came upon a large group taking turns tearing up the hill side. Some of the guys tried asking them to stop and pointed out that we put hundreds of hours keeping this trail open and what they were doing would get it closed. The response was "this is public land and we can do what we want", "what are you going to do about it?" Unfortunately we didn't get picture's. If I remember right, nothing came of it.

Bottom line is, its frustrating when you see your hard work get torn up. We were always told not to confront the idiots. Get info, take pictures and turn it in. You don't need a law suit because you confronted someone.

Most people are not idiots. We only notice the idiots though. Most of the time people would stop and talk to us while we were repairing part of the trail. They would ask questions and some would respond with "I never knew that". Educating does actually work for most people.

@1Louder, Damn that was horrible. Hat off to you for cleaning it up.

Scott
 

BCBrian

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Great thread Del! Also, thank you for all your hard work to keep trails open for us.... it is much appreciated! Glad to have you as part of the OB community.

Unfortunately, idiots are everywhere and when in the back country they think they can do whatever they want. I have seen this so many times it makes me sick. I always have garbage bags with me to pick up the stuff they leave behind.

One time we pulled into Buckhorn Camp at Cow Mountain near Ukiah and found a huge mess. There was a Cherokee with 4 local kids about 18 or 19 in it in camp. They actually apologized at how trashed the camp was. When I told them we were going to clean up the mess, they immediately offered to help. 20 minutes later and the 6 of us had the place cleaned up. This netted me about $20 of recyclables which I hauled home. We also filled up the 2 cans in camp with garbage we picked up.

Lets all lead by example and do our part to keep public lands open for off road recreation!
 

MOAK

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I have run into the, "it's public land, I own it and I'll do what I want" attitude only one time. I quietly left the area, sure to take down license numbers, makes and models. I went back to camp, himmed and hawwed a bit and decided to take action, got in the rig and drove the 20 or so miles to the nearest sheriff's station and made the report. The young deputy knew who the offenders were by local reputation and I was assured punitive action would be taken. I have also witnessed self described "outback educated" drivers go a bit too wide, or a bit too short on two tracks and kindly mentioned their trespass to them. I usually try to communicate one of my favorite analogies that I used on my grandsons when they wanted to take a piece of petrified wood from the petrified forest. "Boys, there are about a million visitors here every year. I Imagine if everyone took a piece of petrified wood there wouldn't be any left after a couple of years." So, it may not seem like much when you drive a foot or so off the established two track, but imagine what would be left of the trail if everyone did that? That very simple explanation gives most folks pause, they think a bit, and realize the common sense of it all. The other folks with the "attitude"? The hell with them, I'll take all info I can garner, report to the proper authorities, then see it through.
 

MrCoffee

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This is a great thread, and very educational. I have been in the situation where I have come across people trashing the trail ahead, even had to turn around and head back down the trail because I couldn't get my lifted, Jeep with 35's on it through.

One more thing to think about, and add to the none confrontational theme, often with larger groups, there is a lot of alcohol involved. And this does not even remotely go with logical, rational thinking. Trying to win that kind of an argument ain't gonna happen.

VOLUNTEER HELP needed. :(smile). If someone has a few minutes to follow, analyze and summarize some of the key comments here, I would sure appreciate the help (on my brag in the first post about summarizing the comments). Then we can make it "pretty" and post it up as suggested (New Members Start Here). I am blazing away trying to catch up on all the posts and info here; while still doing my bRC job. If you can help; that would be awesome.
I'm on this :) Will put it all together, have Mrs. Coffee edit/proofread it for spelling/grammar and post it up for approval.
 

Road

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This is a great thread, and very educational. I have been in the situation where I have come across people trashing the trail ahead, even had to turn around and head back down the trail because I couldn't get my lifted, Jeep with 35's on it through.

One more thing to think about, and add to the none confrontational theme, often with larger groups, there is a lot of alcohol involved. And this does not even remotely go with logical, rational thinking. Trying to win that kind of an argument ain't gonna happen.


I'm on this :) Will put it all together, have Mrs. Coffee edit/proofread it for spelling/grammar and post it up for approval.
Awesome, @MrCoffee - I'm glad I asked if you'd like to be involved here!
 

nickburt

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One trick we've employed to get photo or video evidence is the use of a screen mounted GoPro or dash cam and just quietly make a maneuver that results in the wide angle of the camera picking up what's going on.
I tried once, and only once, to (non confrontational) educate a couple of lads playing off piste and making a right mess of the land. I beat a hasty retreat and left due to their aggressive attitude, unfortunately without much evidence that was usable.

Unfortunately, those who don't give a monkeys about rights of way, land ownership and sustainability are also the sort of people who don't give a monkeys about who they are willing to get confrontational with.
 

Road

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One trick we've employed to get photo or video evidence is the use of a screen mounted GoPro or dash cam and just quietly make a maneuver that results in the wide angle of the camera picking up what's going on.
I tried once, and only once, to (non confrontational) educate a couple of lads playing off piste and making a right mess of the land. I beat a hasty retreat and left due to their aggressive attitude, unfortunately without much evidence that was usable.

Unfortunately, those who don't give a monkeys about rights of way, land ownership and sustainability are also the sort of people who don't give a monkeys about who they are willing to get confrontational with.
Good tip on maneuvering one's vehicle to get best angle with gopro or dash cam.
 

Kent R

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We just had our annually meeting this morning of groups that have adopted single track equestrian and OHV trails for the El Dorado National Forest. The main thing the LEO's advised was if you are in a confrontational situation get whatever description you can and leave the area, then call dispatch and give a full report.
 
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Willmh3

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Drove by a large group of camp last Friday. Sadly on Sunday when we made our exit I saw that these disgusting pigs left 100% of their trash everywhere. They even had kids in their group. Great people! I was so outraged we stopped and picked everything up. It filled 4 full trash bags. They also left a card table. I also hauled it out. I drove with it for over 100 miles until I found a national forest dumpster.

Just useless human beings. I will be sending pictures to the forest service in case they talked to them prior to leaving the spot looking like a landfill. Unlikely.

Bottom line: Many Many Many people suck. Those that don't have to babysit these idiots and pick up the slack. They never will. They are useless. Do not confront people like this. As others have mentioned observe and report. It is not your job to be a hero, a teacher, a lesson giver. You never know what might happen.



What a bunch of asshats...
 
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MOAK

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OK, I'm guilty of posting this up elsewhere in our forums. I should have posted it up here, as this issue greatly concerns me, and obviously many others as well. However I do have some reservations about, dare I say, political organizations, that may, or may not be, shooting themselves in the proverbial foot. Working hard to keep trails open is and has become a necessary part of what we do as a community. However, it seems that we must sometimes align ourselves with factions that will eventually, over the very long term, close everything down. Please ponder my query and reply. I responded to a post concerning reclamation projects and clean ups.

Great info and thanks for this post. One of the best reclamation projects I have ever witnessed was the formation of the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area, (AOAA) here in central Pennsylvania. The entire project was done with state and federal grant money (ie, tax dollars). The 6,500 acre parcel is large by eastern standards. Unfortunately, the locals whom did not police themselves, were in the process of trashing the region. Fortunately, it has become a very nice reclaimed area for exploring on foot, horseback, ATV, Motorcycle, or full size vehicles.. I'm not much of a weekend warrior, so I've only been there once since it opened 2 or 3 years ago, but I did debate for it in the online forums that were formed to oppose it. One of the arguments I took straight to a county commissioner by telephone. He had stated his opposition based upon his unfounded belief that the AOAA would attract the wrong element of people. Whoa! says I!! I explained to him that my rig probably cost more money that the average home in his county and that while there, we would be opening our wallets to support businesses in the area. I educated him just a bit about who we are as a community. Surprisingly enough, after a short time, the commissioner was very open to my ideas. I don't know if I changed his mind, but I do know that I did plant a seed and sometimes planting a seed is all it takes to bring about change.



As you may percieve, this is a very important topic to me, keeping access and keeping house. As I'm sure some will agree becoming active in this leads to walking a political tightrope. Do we want Bears Ears or the Staircase to remain open for our motorized exploration? Of course we do. However, keeping it open for us, should not go hand in hand with the possibility of privatization or mineral mining developement, which ultimately leads to closures. Who would want to go there anyway after the land has been spoiled. At the same time, the creation of a wilderness area will also cause closures of our beloved two tracks. I find it nearly impossible to find any politician from either side of the isle, that is speaking about preservation and motorized access. Unfortunately, we as a society have become accustomed to seeing this issue, along with many other issues, as either one way or the other, for or against. I submit that middle ground must be achieved in order to preserve and have access. I'm curious how Del Albright thinks about these issues and how the coalition he represents deals with what sometimes appears to be contradictions. Personally I want to have access to public land with motorized vehicles for myself, my grandchildren and generations to come. However, keeping these lands open should not go hand in hand with politicians that are seeking to privatize these lands. In the political climate that exists today, the two do go hand in hand, and I think that is a dangerous course to follow.

Last edited: Saturday at 2:02 PM

BE GOOD, DO GOOD, LEAVE NO TRACE
 

GSDforLife

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Drove by a large group of camp last Friday. Sadly on Sunday when we made our exit I saw that these disgusting pigs left 100% of their trash everywhere. They even had kids in their group. Great people! I was so outraged we stopped and picked everything up. It filled 4 full trash bags. They also left a card table. I also hauled it out. I drove with it for over 100 miles until I found a national forest dumpster.

Just useless human beings. I will be sending pictures to the forest service in case they talked to them prior to leaving the spot looking like a landfill. Unlikely.

Bottom line: Many Many Many people suck. Those that don't have to babysit these idiots and pick up the slack. They never will. They are useless. Do not confront people like this. As others have mentioned observe and report. It is not your job to be a hero, a teacher, a lesson giver. You never know what might happen.



Savages
 

Del Albright

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@MOAK you and I should link up and have coffee/something some time. Your perspective and query is hugely on track with the delimma of dealing with our future. But overarching for me is our freedoms to have access to responsible recreation. I've wheeled the Iron Range of Minnesota, the Pole Line of Wisconsin, the uranium mines of Moab, the mining roads of Death Valley, and a lot more over the last 50 years. For me, I can separeate commercial development from overlanding access. I WANT the access; then if necessary, I'll go to work hand and back to help manage or curtail unwanted addtions to that access. But access is first. It is all about access. Without that, our kids and grandkids will be stuck with RC cars and video games.

Moab, if you don't know, is nothing but a bunch of uranium mine roads, leftover tailing piles, and commercial mining development. Yea, I know, it is now a place of beauty that many of us love to explore. But it didn't start that way. And Death Valley is nothing but mining roads -- 8 million acres of desert in the Desert Protection Act that were commercial development in those days. I LOVE those old mining roads. So here's the deal, again, I believe we GET our access first and whenever we can for responsible recreation. Then, we put on our citizen hat and make sure that the area we get, stays in the shape we want it to.

Over the last 50 years of exploration and adventure off-pavement, I have lost about 50% of the places and trails I used to explore. no more. Not for me. Thank you for asking and I hope we can dialogue over this topic more.
Del
 

MOAK

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@Del Albright,, Yep, knew that about Moab region, and many other regions as well. Out west I was exploring the Joshua Tree area before it was a park and Mohave before it was protected. Back in those days Big Tujunga was wide open as well as Silverado Canyon. Tomorrow I'll be exploring the AOAA with fellow TLCA members, in the old coal regions of central Pennsylvania. I do get a bit miffed whenever I come across a gate blocking a trail, only to be opened for hunters during season. I should have equal access. Many folks mistake me for a hypocritical tree hugger and others mistake me for a rip roarin, beer guzzling trail blazer. Of course, I am neither, but do remain as pragmatic as possible without latching onto the fringes. My question would be, who really is our enemy? Our own bad apples, or groups like SUWA? Thats my difficulty, I do agree with much of what groups like SUWA are attempting to do, HOWEVER, I completely DISAGREE with a major plank in their platform which is to strictly limit or completely ban motorized vehicles. Hoppin over to the pro-development/privatization side somehow makes me feel as if I am making a bargain with the devil. My pragmatism leaves me basically stuck in the middle, utilizing my own compass, finding my own way. I'm going to check out your website and see if I understand it differently now that we have made first contact..
 
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Del Albright

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Our "enemy" wears many suits. Like @MOAK asks, is it our own bad apples? Yes. Is it the radical side of those who just do not want motors in the backcountry? Yes. It is the ill-informed, ignorant, won't do their homework idiots who seem to want to ruin any sport? Yes. Is it us, for not doing more? Yes. Is it our lack of unity in off-pavement motorized recreation with a large dose of distrust for anyone who claims to be a land use expert? Most definitetly YES.
 
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MountainClimber

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Our "enemy" wears many suits. Like @MOAK asks, is it our own bad apples? Yes. Is it the radical side of those who just do not want motors in the backcountry? Yes. It is the ill-informed, ignorant, won't do their homework idiots who seem to want to ruin any sport? Yes. Is it us, for not doing more? Yes. Is it our lack of unity in off-pavement motorized recreation with a large dose of distrust for anyone who claims to be a land use expert? Most definitetly YES.
So with this in mind and the recent action of OB1235, three people dislodging a large boulder from a cliff face and kicking it to the valley below, what as a community is the right action? I believe that the removal of his membership was the correct thing to do but I also believe that there are probably more like him within OB, statistics and all that. Would mandating tread lightly certification be a good move? What about required qualifications for leadership positions? For example identify a core group as backcountry ambassadors who are advocates for access either through volunteer work or working with access groups. Maybe encourage volunteer work for certain levels of membership or privileges such as organizing larger group activities. Just a few thoughts from a new member concerned about increasing numbers in the backcountry and the problems that brings.
 

Kevin108

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Would mandating tread lightly certification be a good move? What about required qualifications for leadership positions?
That all sounds nice but if you make a bunch of requirements for membership, people will just leave or stop signing up. That closes out the opportunity to educate those new to this sport.
 
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MountainClimber

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That all sounds nice but if you make a bunch of requirements for membership, people will just leave or stop signing up. That closes out the opportunity to educate those new to this sport.
What I meant was to have those requirements for higher levels of membership, like a tiered system. Obviously keep basic membership open to all but offer a reward system for participating in trail clean ups or volunteer work with access organizations. It doesn’t have to be anything special, something as simple as upgraded badges, patches, etc would be motivation enough. Completion of online training for tread lightly takes just a short time but even if someone blazes through it, completion of the course just reinforces the message of leave it better than you found it. I’m equating this to a promotion system but instead of buying different levels of membership like what is available now, offer a separate, merit based promotion avenue. Obviously the site needs money to operate but just having that avenue available will encourage additional education.
 

slomatt

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I think that the best possible response from the community is to strongly condemn that kind of action. Hopefully both the guilty party and the community at large get the message that resource damage is unacceptable.

The best time to educate people is when they are just getting into the hobby and have not acquired any bad habits. And given the large number of people on this site who are new to offroad travel it is a good venue for getting the message out.