By Del Albright, BlueRibbon Ambassador
(Re-posted from BlueRibbon Coalition Magazine, Issue #4, 2016)
I don’t want you to frown at the title of this article and think that I am going to suggest you recycle your toilet paper or any other extremist radical-enviro malarkey, because that’s not the case. What I do suggest is that we all love four-wheeling and going the places we go, seeing the things we see. But we don’t enjoy seeing a pile of trash left behind or some idiot getting off trail and tearing up the countryside. “Green” wheeling is actually an acronym as well as a concept that help solve these problems.
Admittedly, I have some “green” concepts that make full sense to me and what I leave behind for younger folks, such as 1) conserving and using our resources wisely; 2) keeping our outdoors clean; 3) cutting back on waste a bit; 4) using common sense to reduce air and water pollution; 5) making America more energy self-sufficient; and 6) curtailing illegal and outlaw behavior on public lands and water ways.
So when it comes to four-wheeling, here’s my suggestion for “GREEN.”
G = Get serious about land use.
R = Read the riot act to outlaws. (or Read from the Good Book?)
E = Educate yourself and others.
E = Eradicate trail trash.Whee
N = Never be the drip.
Getting serious about land use means three things: JOIN, DONATE and VOLUNTEER. Join everything you can afford to join, including national, regional, state and local clubs/associations that make sense to what you believe in. Donate (beyond membership) at tax return time or when you have some extra cash. And volunteer your time and energy at least a few times a year to those causes/groups doing what you know makes a difference.
Read the riot act to outlaws means not letting someone tear up your recreational opportunities and trails. Ask them to stop; show them the error of their ways; or just report them (with pictures) to the nearest law enforcement authority. If there is a trail patrol or trail watch program, be a part of that. STOP the outlaws, AND the ill-informed from ruining our future.
Educate yourself and others on good trail behavior such as the BlueRibbon Coalition Recreation Code of Ethics and Tread Lightly principles. Carry handouts and freely offer ideas to others on how we can keep our trails open by “doing it right.”
Eradicate trail trash is just that – carry a trash bag and pack out more than you brought in. Set the example for others and stop and pick up that can alongside the trail when so many others may have driven by it. Proudly display your trash bag and fill it up as often as you can! Clean up messy left-behind camp fire rings, even those you did not create.
Never be the drip and set the example for having a rig that does not leave a fluid trail or sit and drip in camp. Maintain and fix your 4x4 so it doesn’t pollute the trail. Fix your muffler; tighten up hoses; replace seals; and stop any fluid leaks on the trail.
If we all practice this idea of Green Wheeling, our trails will be in better shape than ever, our image will improve immensely with those who watch us (or even don’t like us), and our future will be brighter.