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JuJu Mountain Clean Up

By Rich Banfield
JuJu Mountain Clean UpThe Baystate Jeepers, Inc. is a family-oriented 4WD Jeep club formed in 1998 to promote the sport of off-roading while driving stock to slightly-modified Jeeps on primitive roads requiring high-clearance 4 wheel drive vehicles. We are a spin-off of the New England 4 Wheelers, Inc., which was formed in 1988 and are members of United 4WD Association, Tread Lightly!, Blue Ribbon Coalition and The North East Association Of 4WD Clubs.

We ride once a month, and incorporate camping into our summer trips. We rate the difficulty of our trips on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the hardest. Most trips are rated 4-6. Our club works together with the State Forest Service and local towns to help keep access to old roads open. For example, in 1993 we did a cleanup on Juju Mountain in western Massachusetts, which included pulling out an old Dodge Dart.

I've been involved in cleanups since the early '90s. I hate to see trash and junked cars in the woods. People think they can just dump their junk anywhere. We have the equipment such as winches, Hi-Lift jacks, on-board air, chains, tow straps, Jeep trailers and anything else we might need, like a car trailer. It's not about money - we don't get paid. We do this as part of a local community's service project. We also like to drive our Jeeps on these wooded roads that we clean up. We pull, drag and do whatever it takes to place these abandoned, rusted vehicles in their new home - the local junk yard.

JuJu Mountain Clean UpWhen we find abandoned vehicles, we work with the local selectmen and Police to look for VIN numbers, checking to see if they have been reported stolen.

We drive these old Jeep roads to see the beauty of nature, not junk cars. Waterfalls, mountain-top views, old foundations, and stone walls mark these roads. We hope to keep them available for generations to come and enjoy.

We returned to Juju Mountain November 21, 2001 to clean up whatever we could find. I used my wannabe Jeep trailer with high ground clearance, a Jeep tailgate and Jeep wheels. We don't get a lot of people to help. I'm sure most would rather be out Jeepin'. But I feel we need to do this and why? Because we can! We had seven Jeeps in our crew. We headed up Juju Mountain to our first junk vehicle, a burnt out Jeep Cherokee rolled over on its roof. Rather than drag it, we decided to winch it back over, Hi-Lift jack the Jeep and put our spare tires on it. Since the steering wheel was gone, club member Paul Dockery suggested I use my tire T-wrench to keep the wheels straight. It was only fitting that Paul be the tow rig, since he drives a Cherokee, as well.

JuJu Mountain Clean UpWe spun the Cherokee around and headed down to the dirt road to drop it off. Next was a Buick Riviera. Club member Joe Ostrenga had found the car a couple of weeks ago, and luckily it was still intact, including the tires. After a couple of hard pulls, it was free. Paul aired up a tire, and I got in behind the wheel, putting on sunglasses and gloves due to lots of broken glass. As I put on the car's seatbelt, I said "buckle up for safety." Chris started to pull the Buick off the power line trail with me steering the car and hitting many rocks as we headed out to the main dirt road.

By now, it was lunch time, so we decided to drop off the car and eat on top of a lookout just around the bend. What a view of the town below! After lunch we headed back to grab the Buick. We pulled the car through a deep puddle on the main dirt road, and then started heading downhill. At this point, I decided to coast the rest of the way to the paved road, where it was to be picked up by the junkyard. As I started down on my own, something made me look to my left. I saw a little field mouse up on the door panel, looking at me as if to say "where are you taking my house?" My apologies to the little fellow, but the car needed to go to the junkyard.

Meanwhile, Russ and the others were hooking up to a 2WD Ford pickup frame with no tires, just rims. Russ pulled the Ford frame down next to the Jeep. The day was drawing to a close, so we decided to leave the Cherokee and the Ford and return on the twenty-third. But we did get the Buick to the junk yard before sundown.

JuJu Mountain Clean UpOn the twenty-third our group met again, this time with five of us. We headed up the gravel road towards the wrecks that we left on the main dirt road last week. We put spare tires on the Jeep and made it to the trailer donated by Lou Kiklis of Elias 4WD Center. The Jeep was also unloaded at the junkyard, followed by the Ford pickup. We also removed two trailer-loads of metal goods, including two clothes dryers and a snowmobile. There were still two more cars and junk, but due to the cold we decided to wait until spring. Many thanks to all the club members who participated in the cleanup.

For more information:
Baystate Jeepers, Inc
54 Edgemere Blvd
Shrewsbury, MA 01545
(508)757-3134
Baystatejeepers@msn.com
www.BaystateJeepers.com