Off-roading

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A Land Rover Defender 90 off-roading

Off-roading is the recreation of driving or riding a vehicle on unsurfaced roads or tracks, made of materials such as sand, gravel, riverbeds, mud, snow, rocks, and other natural terrain.

Contents

Off-road vehicle

One example of an off-road SUV, in this case a Jeep Grand Cherokee, in action

In most cases off-road terrains can only be traveled by vehicles designed specifically for off-road driving such as ATVs, heavy-duty pickup trucks, trucks and equipment, sport utility vehicles (SUVs), snowmobiles, motorcycles or mountain bicycles. These types of vehicles often have extra ground clearance, sturdy tires, and front and rear locking differentials, and low gearing. Many manufacturers make specialized vehicles for off roading, like trucks and 4x4 vehicles.

Recreational off-roading

Some major categories of recreational off-roading include the following:

Dune bashing

Ford Bronco dune bashing
An organized desert safari dune bashing in Dubai

Dune bashing is a form of off roading, using a vehicle appropriate for off roading on sand dunes. Whilst in some parts of the world, such as the fragile coastal dunes of Australia, it is illegal; in others such as the Middle East, it is a booming attraction for tourists. In the United States, there are areas as well, most notably the Silver Lake area in Mears, Michigan and portions of the Glamis Dunes in California.

Although most four-wheel drive vehicles are capable of dune bashing, the smaller, lower vehicles like most mini SUVs and compact SUVs are not used because they have a higher risk of getting stuck. Larger sport utility vehicles such as the Toyota Land Cruiser are more common. The vehicles used for this activity are usually equipped with a roll cage to prevent the roof from caving in on passengers in the case of an overturn; dune buggies, and sandrails are examples of these types. A specialized type of Dune-bashing is Tatees which uses highly modified vehicles with modified engines and sand-tires to climb a single slipface of a Star dune or so which usually are a hundred meters high or more. Similar to auto-racing, experience and skill is required to maneuver the car and prevent accidents. Before entering the desert in an everyday-use SUV, it is essential to reduce the tire pressure. This is done to gain more traction by increasing the footprint of the tire and, therefore, reducing the downward pressure of the 4wd on the sand as there is a greater surface area (much like the head of an axe, the axe must be sharp in order to split the wood). For example, tires with a recommended pressure of 35 psi would be reduced to approximately 12-14 PSI. Upon entering the desert, it is common to meet with a pack of vehicles and a group leader before proceeding. The group leader then leads the pack through the stunts in single file. The main reason for this technique is to prevent vehicles from losing track of direction and getting lost. Also as many people as there are seat belts in the vehicle are able to go dune bashing.

Cross-country

Unlike stationary dune bashing that tends to revolve around a single star dune or one obstacle, cross-country off-roading is a safari that lasts several days over scenic routes with desert or other biomes and crosses one obstacle after another through largely uninhabited and uncharted terrain (specially in Africa). Such expedition-like safaris require very high navigation skills rather than extremely modified vehicles and involve a circuit route of a distances of 50 km or more of pure off-roading (and maybe some on-roads) but usually is around 300 km.[citation needed] It's the most suited type of off-roading in the vast uninhabited expanses of the North African Sahara desert and therefore is the most common form of recreational off-roading there.

Some terrains such as sand dunes require technical driving. As an example: in Egypt, most experienced off-roaders design their routes to interesting POIs (desert lakes, scarps, vacant sea-shores, etc.) and through scenic trails. As the Egyptian off-roading community has grown in numbers and capacity, they, very often now, add long legs of pure sand-dune fields (locally referred to as 'ghoroud'. Arabic: ِغرود) which requires technical driving and special recovery tools and team-work (sand-mats, good maps to avoid quicksands (referred to as 'Sabkha' locally. Arabic: ٍسبخة), air-compressors, etc.). Cross-country vehicles in those types usually require plenty of wheels-torque which may get better with lower gear ratios. This torque provides better capacity for payloads including Gas Jerrycans which require sometimes enhanced suspension, and sturdy roofracks. Caravan rules are of utmost importance so that not to lose some of the 4x4s on the trail. Local codes of safety and ethical access are starting to emerge. Although remains very few (2 or 3 centralized in Cairo), local off-roading clubs are already well organized and have introduced few thousands of 4x4ers to the hobby in the last couple of years.

Unlike in Europe, Cross-country off-roading trips in Africa and Middle-east is quite legal if not the only means of navigation for some local groups such as Bedouins and nomadic tribes of Beja and from which Egyptian community learns a lot of technical techniques and 4x4 modifications. Moreover, it is the only type of off-roading that has been adopted by the FIA for World Cup. It draws on ancient traditions of desert travelling and exploration which has turned from logistical calculations of water for beast of burdens (camels) to gas stations and gas capacity for 4x4s. One of its earliest pioneers was the famous Bagnold of the Long Range Desert Group working during World War II who has recorded some of his earliest trials of desert crossing by vehicles in his book Libyan Sands: travels in a dead world (1935).

Raid

This is a type of travel undertaken with a 4x4 that mostly goes over tracks and contains some bits of off-roading. Traditionally these trips are going through relatively uninhabited areas. Popular are the deserts in Tunisia, Morocco and other North African countries, continent crossing trips through Africa, trips through Mongolia or Northern Scandinavia. Typical modifications to vehicles for this kind of travel are the addition of extra fuel tanks, roof rack tents, and elaborate storage systems in the back for food, water/drinking, spare parts, tools and other cargo. Due to the extra weight the suspension is often reinforced with stronger springs, shock absorbers etc...[citation needed]

Greenlaning

Ford F-150 two-tracking

Greenlaning (or two-tracking) is generally suitable for any four-wheel-drive vehicle, even with factory tires and equipment. The term greenlane refers to the fact that the routes are predominantly along unsurfaced tracks, forest tracks, or older roadways that may have fallen into disuse.

Greenlaning is popular among All Wheel Drive (AWD) SUVs with limited off-road capabilities, being designed for only light off-roading in normal use.[citation needed]

Mudding

Land Rover Series III mud plugging

Mudding involves finding a large area of wet mud or clay and attempting to drive as far through it as possible without becoming stuck. There are many types of tires that are recommended for this activity. Some tires are balloon tires, mud-terrain tires and paddle tires. Also, as with all off-roading, momentum is essential to not becoming stuck. The best driving is presented when you drive at a steady pace, without spinning the tires. Keep the pace fast so that the vehicle does not get bogged down, and the mud is thrown from the treads of the tires, also known as "cleaning the tires". Strongly attached recovery points are also recommended to enable the vehicle to be towed out if it becomes bogged down. Traction and momentum are important factors in success.[1] This activity has a competitive form known as mud bogging.

Rock crawling

Jeep Rubicon rock crawling

Rock crawling is a highly technical category of off-roading. Vehicles are typically modified with larger than the original factory tires, suspension components that allow greater axle articulation, and changes in the differential gear ratio in order to provide the ideal high torque/low speed operation for traversing obstacles. It is common for a rock crawler to have a "spotter – an assistant who will go on foot alongside of or in front of the vehicle to provide information to the driver on obstacles or areas of terrain that the driver may be unable to see.[citation needed]

Rock racing

Rock Racing is very similar to rock crawling in the fact that the vehicles are driven over rocks, the difference is that there are no penalties for hitting cones, backing up or winching as is done in rock crawling. Rock racing also involves a degree of high-speed racing not seen in typical rock crawling.[citation needed]

Competitive trials

Trials are probably the safest form of motorsport.[citation needed] All progress is made at low speed and the emphasis is on skill, rather than finishing first although trialing can be highly competitive. There are three traditional forms of off-road trialing.

RTV trialing

RTV (Road Taxed Vehicle) trialing is the most common form of trialing. As the name suggests, it is for vehicles that are road-legal (and thus required to pay vehicle excise duty). This excludes vehicles that are highly modified or specially built. RTV-class vehicles can carry a wide range of suspension modifications, as well as off-road tires (provided they are road-legal), recovery winches, raised air intakes etc. Vehicles on RTV trials are usually best described as "modified from standard"—they use the standard chassis, drive-train and body that the vehicle was built with. Whilst modification is not necessarily required for an RTV trial, at the very least the vehicle would be expected to have some under-body protection such as a sump guard, differential guard and solid sills. RTV courses are intended to be non-damaging and driven at little more than a walking pace and a course properly laid out would be drivable without damage. However, the terrain usually includes steep slopes, water, side-slopes, deep ruts and other obstacles that could potentially damage a vehicle if mistakes are made or poor driving technique is used, and vehicle modifications increase the chance of success.[citation needed]

RTV trials usually take place on farmland, a quarry site or at a dedicated off-road driving center, and are usually organized by a dedicated trialing body (such as the All Wheel Drive Club or The Association of Land Rover clubs in the UK), or by a vehicle owner's club.[citation needed] The course consists of 10 to 12 "gates" marked by two garden canes, vertically placed. The gates are just wide enough to get a standard vehicle through. One vehicle attempts the course at a time, and is deemed to have cleared a gate if at least one of the front wheel hub passes between the canes. The vehicle's attempt ends when it comes to a stop (depending on the exact level of skill the trial is aimed at, any stopping may end the attempt, or a few seconds may be allowed). Long-wheelbase vehicles are usually allowed to perform a three-point turn if needed, providing the driver declares where the turn is going to be made before they attempt the course (this puts a strong emphasis on ground-reading ability). This can also be called a "shunt" where the driver has to attempt a gate and then shout shunt. they are then allowed a space of 1 and a half car lengths to reverse and line the car better to enter through the gate

The course between the gates is a "section": between the start line and the first gate is "Section 1", the part between the first and second gates is "Section 2" and so on. An RTV course is often laid out so that each section is progressively more difficult, although this is not always the case. If a driver fails to complete Section 1 they are given 10 points. If the attempt ends in Section 2, 9 points are awarded etc. A clear round results in gaining only 1 point. A day's event will consist of many different courses and the driver with the lowest score is the winner.

Since the terrain covered in RTV trials should be well within the capabilities of any reasonably capable vehicle (even in standard form), these trials place the emphasis on driver skill and ground-reading abilities. A good driver in a standard specification vehicle can easily win over a modified, highly equipped vehicle driven by a less competent driver.[citation needed]

CCV trialing

Cross Country Vehicle (CCV) trialing is the next step up from RTV trialing and is open to non-road-legal vehicles, which greatly increases the scope for modification. The terrain covered will be of greater difficulty than that found on an RTV trial, and will usually require more judicious use of speed to get the vehicle across certain obstacles, so increasing the risk of vehicle damage. Whilst no trial is intended to be vehicle-damaging mistakes and accidents are inevitable. A standard-specification vehicle would not be expected to be able to complete a CCV course.

The event is run along the same lines as RTV, with a course made up of cane-marked gates. The rules are also the same as an RTV trial.[citation needed]

CCV trialing differs greatly from RTV trials in the vehicles used.[citation needed] Since "anything goes", CCV trials rely on having the correct vehicle to a much greater extent than in an RTV trial. Competitors are able to design and build vehicles that are much more optimized for off-road use than in the lower ranks of trialing. CCV vehicles have powerful engines, high ground clearance, light, minimalist bodywork and good approach and departure angles. For many years, in the UK, the ultimate CCV vehicle could be built by taking the chassis of a Range Rover, removing the body, cutting the chassis down to an 80-inch wheelbase and mating it to the body of a Series I Land Rover, retaining the Range Rover's V8 engine and coil-spring suspension in a light, easy to maneuvre body. In recent years the value of early Land Rovers and Range Rovers has risen to the extent that this is no longer practical. CCV triallers now usually base their vehicles around Land Rover 90s or a standard 100-inch chassis from a Range Rover or Series I Discovery. The Suzuki SJ series of vehicles also make good bases for CCV-spec vehicles. Some vehicles are specially built, taking the form of light "buggies" with tractor tires and "fiddle" brakes for the best performance.[citation needed]

Vehicles are required to meet certain safety regulations. Roll-cages must be fitted and be built to a suitable standard, recovery points must be fitted front and rear and fuel tanks must meet certain standards.[citation needed] A 4-point harness for all occupants is required and a fire extinguisher is recommended.

Punch & winch challenge

This is the most recent, and usually the most difficult, form of course trialing.[citation needed] A course is laid out with either a series of punches or gates and vehicles must collect as many punches[clarification needed] as possible or complete as many gates in a course as possible. These challenges often include a small number of special stages.

The events take place on very difficult terrain and vehicles are not expected to be able to complete the course without the use of a recovery winch. Winching is a definite skill in itself, aside from off-road driving, and brings elements of team-play into the trial, as a successful (and safe) vehicle recovery needs at least 2 people to complete. Some trials are for teams of two or three vehicles, each helping to recover the others through obstacles. A Winch Challenge may extend to other off-road driving skills, such as building a log bridge to cross a river.[citation needed]

At its most basic a winch challenge vehicle will be a CCV-spec machine with a front-mounted recovery winch. However, a distinct breed of vehicles adapted for Winch Challenges has evolved. The small, open-topped CCV vehicles are not well suited to carrying the often large range of equipment needed for winch recovery in difficult terrain. A larger vehicle with some form of protection from the elements is desired (the short-wheelbase Land Rover Defender, especially in "Hard Top" guise, is a typical and common basis for a Winch Challenge vehicle).

Vehicles often require extensive modification. Under-body protection is needed, given the severity of the terrain involved, enhanced suspension travel and reinforced drive train upgrades are used to get vehicles as far as possible before winching is needed. Roll-cages and "snorkel" air intakes are required to prevent vehicle damage. The vehicle's electrical system often needs upgrading with multiple battery banks and high-output alternators needed to cope with the large currents drawn by a winch. Hydraulic Winches are replacing electric winches in the most competitive vehicles. Vehicles increasingly sport winches mounted at the front and rear and often in the center to right a vehicle that has toppled over to greatly increase the options available for recovery.[citation needed] The extreme demands on the vehicles have led to the evolution of hybrid trayback[clarification needed] vehicles.

Other forms

There are other forms of trialing, usually based around one of the above types but with a slight difference. These are often used as more "fun" events within a vehicle club, rather than as a part of a formal championship. Examples include:

Winch events

Winch events often involve attempting to access areas that would be impassable without the use of a winch – this can include traversing deep gullies, steep slopes and so on. Most off-road vehicles that have been prepared for this type of event will typically have two winches, one at the front and one at the rear of the vehicle, each with a rated pull of over 9,000 lb (4,100 kg).

Off-roading events

In some countries off-road activities are strictly regulated, while others promote cross country off-road endurance events like the Dakar Rally, Baja 500 & 1000, Spanish Baja and the Russian Baja Northern Forest which are a test of navigation skills and machine durability.[citation needed] off road parks and motocross tracks also host a number of events and may be the only legal place to off-road in the area. Events include jamborees, rock crawling competitions, Mud Bog races, Top Truck Challenges and sand racing as well as many other events, such as the Tank Trap.

Russia has very busy off-roading championship 5-7 starts every year. Also every club has it is own events, in Tambov off-road club Сhernozem has 4 traditional races and the most popular off-road race in Russia is Ladoga-race in Karelia.

Off-roading organizations

Organizations and associations have been formed and many show a united front in the battle to keep public lands open to off-roaders.[citation needed] Some organizations, such as the Blue Ribbon Coalition and Tread Lightly!, are not off-road clubs at all and are solely set up to fight land closures and to promote environmentally friendly off-roading.[citation needed]

Vehicle modification

While many off-road vehicles can Greenlane or "two track" most unsurfaced roads, the desire of many off-roading enthusiasts is to attempt much more challenging terrain. The following listings show the modifications that are done and why:

Vehicle lifts

A vehicle lift is when the normal height of a vehicle is lifted to increase the amount of clearance between the ground and the bottom of the body or frame of the vehicle. There are numerous types of vehicle lifts:

Body lift

A simple and cheap way to lift a vehicle that has a body on frame design such as a pickup truck or some SUVs. A body lift consists of spacers placed in between the normal mounting points of the vehicle's chassis and body. These typically are between 1–4 inches. Any more than four inches (102 mm) will create a less sturdy set up.[citation needed] Body lifts are not possible on vehicles with a "Uni-body" construction. Uni-body vehicles have the frame formed into the body, such as on a late model Jeep Grand Cherokee. Body lifts permit the fitting of oversized tires, but do not otherwise contribute to ground clearance. But because they increase the space between the ground and the bodywork they have the benefit to make bodywork damage less likely.

Suspension lift

A suspension lift is when modifications are made to the vehicle's springs, shock absorbers, controlling arms and steering linkage. In this case small or short pieces of the suspension are replaced with longer or larger items of similar construction. Lifting a vehicle changes its driving dynamics and a suspension lift adds to the vehicle's handling capabilities in relation to the increased height (see lifting concerns below). Some examples of this are:

Axle lift

Unlike a suspension lift, which only lifts the vehicle's body, an axle lift can either be achieved by fitting larger tires or mounting portal axles. The downside of fitting larger tires is the increased stress on the axle hubs, half shafts and the driveline. This always requires modifications to the latter, e.g. reinforcing drive shafts, differentials, etc. The more suitable option is a portal axle. By adding a gearing to the end of the axle the center of the wheel is lowered. There are currently a few different approaches to achieve this. Most often in the past portal axles from existing vehicles, e.g. Volvo C303, Unimog or other, have been modified to fit under the off-road vehicle of choice, e.g. Land Rover Defender, Jeep Wrangler.

An alternative is bolt-on portals which are fitted to the original axle flange. The advantages of this option are the limited work necessary, compared to modifying an axle to fit another vehicle.

Large tires

A quick and easy way to gain ground clearance is to increase the size of the tires on a vehicle. One advantage over body and suspension lifts is that larger tires will improve ground clearance under all parts of the vehicle, including the axles and differentials—typically the next lowest points after the tires.[citation needed] While some vehicles can have larger tires added without a lift kit, such as a Ford F-250/F-350 pick-up truck which can usually take 33-inch (840 mm) tires before lifting is required, most will require a lift kit in addition to larger tires and, in some cases, bodywork modification such as cut back wheel arches may also be necessary.[citation needed]

Many off-roaders will combine different aspects of each of these vehicle lifting techniques, with the more experienced combining all of these items for a vehicle that could be lifted over 12 inches (300 mm) from its normal ride height.

Traction control

One of the main aspects of off-roading is to be able to keep traction on different obstacles. This can be done with more aggressive tread on tires as well as with help from traction control devices in drivetrain.[citation needed]

Some traction control devices used are:

Dangers of vehicle lifting

While lifting a vehicle to gain ground clearance is helpful to off-roaders, it can also make a vehicle dangerous as, when a vehicle has been lifted, its center of gravity rises, which causes the vehicle to be more likely to tumble in certain situations.[citation needed] Other dangers include loss of visibility of smaller objects and bumper height as compared to other vehicles on the road. In the United States, bumper and frame height laws are effective in most states to ensure that the vehicles on the road are not too much higher than their average car counterparts.

Vehicle protection

A danger with off-roading is damage to the vehicle from hitting rocks or other hard surfaces on very uneven terrain. A typical solution would be to install skid plates (sometimes also called bash plates, which are thick metal plates protecting vulnerable parts (such as the transfer/gear box or engine oil sump). Some manufacturers install skid plates as standard equipment on some of their vehicles. For many others this additional protection is available as an after-market accessory. Skid plates may be simple flat plates, but they may also be formed (by stamping or by welding multiple pieces) to protect shaped items like differentials. Fuel tank skid plates are a common factory option.

Probably the most common improvement for off-road use is the grille or bull guard, which can be added with or without an improved bumper. These typically metal frameworks extend to protect the grille, and potentially the headlights as well. One common type used on off-road pickups and SUVs is the "prerunner" style, with an angular, protruding front designed to sweep vegetation away from the vehicle centerline, and to deflect the vehicle from less movable obstacles. The grille protection system can be assembled piecemeal, or a one-piece winch-mount bumper with a prerunner bar and grille guard can be fitted. Bumpers designed for off-road use typically have added eyes or D-rings to assist in vehicle recovery.

Another common off-roading accessory, "rock rails" or "rock sliders", are heavy metal rails or tubes which runs alongside the rocker panels and serves to protect the sides of the vehicle that are exposed on particularly rough terrain, or where there is a risk that lower edges of the vehicle between the wheels might come into contact with rocks below. This strategy can be extended to the entire vehicle, in which case it is referred to as an "external cage" or "exocage". External cages help protect the entire body of the vehicle in the case of a rollover or slide into an obstacle.

Criticism of ORV use

Environmental impact

Off-road vehicle use on public land has been criticized by the U.S. government[2] and prominent environmental organizations including the Sierra Club and The Wilderness Society.[3][4] They have noted several consequences of illegal ORV use such as pollution, trail damage, erosion, land degradation, possible species extinction,[5] and habitat destruction[6][7] which can leave hiking trails impassable.[8] ORV proponents argue that legal use taking place under planned access along with the multiple environment and trail conservation efforts by ORV groups is a solid step in avoiding these issues. Groups such as the Blueribbon Coalition advocate Treadlightly, which is the responsible use of public lands used for off-road activities.

According to the U.S. Forest Service the use of old-style two-stroke engines, previously common in vehicles designed for off-road use, also causes concerns about pollution. This is because "two-stroke engines emit about 20 to 33 percent of the consumed fuel through the exhaust" (as the engine lubricant is a "total loss system" and is emitted by design) and "discharge from two-stroke snowmobile engines can lead to indirect pollutant deposition into the top layer of snow and subsequently into the associated surface and ground water".[9]

Noise pollution is also a concern[10] and several scientific studies conducted by Montana State University, California State University, University of Florida and others have cited negative behavioral changes in wildlife as the result of some ORV use.[11]

Some U.S. states have laws to reduce noise pollution generated by off-road and non-highway vehicles. Washington is one example: "State law requires off-road and other non-highway vehicles to use specified noise-muffling devices (RCW 46.09.120(1) (e) maximum limits and test procedures). State agencies and local governments may adopt regulations governing the operation of non-highway vehicles on property, streets, or highways within their jurisdiction, provided they are not less stringent than state law (RCW 46.09.180 regulation by local political subdivisions)".[12]

Mojave desert controversy

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) supervises several large off-road vehicle areas in California's Mojave Desert.

In 2009, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston ruled against the BLM's proposed designation of additional off road use on designated open routes on public land. According to the ruling the BLM violated its own regulations[13] when it designated approximately 5,000 miles of off-road vehicle routes in 2006.[14] According to Judge Ilston the BLM's designation was "flawed because it does not contain a reasonable range of alternatives" to limit damage to sensitive habitat, as required under the National Environmental Policy Act.[15] Illston found that the bureau had inadequately analyzed the route's impact on air quality, soils, plant communities and sensitive species such as the endangered Mojave fringe-toed lizard, pointing out that the United States Congress has declared that the California Desert and its resources are "extremely fragile, easily scarred, and slowly healed".[15]

The court also found that the BLM failed to follow route restrictions established in the agency’s own conservation plan, resulting in the establishment of hundreds of illegal OHV routes during the previous three decades.[13] The plan violated the BLM's own regulations, specifically the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA) and the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA).[14] The ruling was considered a success for a coalition of conservation groups including the Friends of Juniper Flats, Community Off-road Vehicle Watch, California Native Plant Society, The Center for Biological Diversity, The Sierra Club, and The Wilderness Society who initiated the legal challenge in late 2006.[15]

Roadless area conservation

Many U.S. national parks have discussed or enacted roadless rules and partial or total bans on ORVs. To accommodate enthusiasts, some parks like Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida, were created specifically for ORVs and related purposes. However, such designations have not prevented damage or abuse of the policy.[16]

Public statements

In 2004, several environmental organizations sent a letter to Dale Bosworth, Chief of the United States Forest Service, and described the extent of damage caused by ORV use, including health threats to other people:

It is well-established that the proliferation of off-road vehicle and snowmobile use places soil, vegetation, air and water quality, and wildlife at risk through pollution, erosion, sedimentation of streams, habitat fragmentation and disturbance, and other adverse impacts to resources. These impacts cause severe and lasting damage to the natural environment on which human-powered and equestrian recreation depends and alter the remote and wild character of the backcountry. Motorized recreation monopolizes forest areas by denying other users the quiet, pristine, backcountry experience they seek. It also presents safety and health threats to other recreationists.[17]

In 2004 the Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia listed several problems that result from ORV use in natural areas. From the Environmental News Service article:

Scalia noted that off-road vehicle use on federal land has "negative environmental consequences including soil disruption and compaction, harassment of animals, and annoyance of wilderness lovers.[18]

A number of environmental organizations, including the Rangers for Responsible Recreation, are campaigning to draw attention to a growing threat posed by off-road vehicle misuse and to assist overmatched land managers in addressing ORV use impacts.[19] These campaigns in part have prompted congressional hearings about the growing impact of unmanaged off road vehicle use.

The House Natural Resources Committee Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands held an oversight hearing on "The Impacts of Unmanaged Off-Road Vehicles on Federal Land" on March 13, 2008.[20] A second hearing on off-highway vehicle (OHV) management on public lands was held by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on June 5, 2008.[21] The Senate committee hearing was convened for the purpose of finding out why the agencies are failing to grapple with the negative impacts of off-road vehicle use on US public lands and what the agencies might need to start doing differently. For the first time in perhaps a decade, members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee grilled leaders of the Forest Service and the BLM about why off-road vehicle use is being allowed to damage America’s national treasures.

Taking center stage in the discussion was the "travel planning process", a complex analysis and decision-making procedure with the aim of designating appropriate roads and trails. Both the Forest Service and BLM have been engaged in somewhat similar travel planning processes now for years, but some of the committee members didn’t seem to think those processes were going along so well. "The BLM has identified travel management on its lands as ‘one of the greatest management challenges’ it faces," stated committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman, D-NM. "Likewise, the Forest Service has identified unmanaged recreation — including ORV use — as one of the top four threats to the management and health of the National Forest System. Despite these statements, it seems to me that neither agency has been able to successfully manage off-road use."

"Existing rules for managing off-road vehicles are not being enforced," Bingaman added, and the agencies are ignoring unregulated use "with significant consequences for the health of our public lands and communities, and adverse effects on other authorized public land uses."

See also

Further reading

References

  1. ^ Finley, Matt. "How to drive off road on sand, snow, dirt and mud". http://4wheeldrive.about.com/od/learntorideanatv/ht/How-To-Drive-Offroad-In-Sand-Snow-Dirt-And-Mud.htm. Retrieved April,23,2012.
  2. ^ http://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/programs/ohv/
  3. ^ http://www.sierraclub.org/policy/conservation/offroad.asp
  4. ^ http://www.wilderness.org/OurIssues/ORV/index.cfm?TopLevel=Home
  5. ^ Rice, Kathleen C.. "National Collection of Imperiled Plants - Pholisma sonorae". Center for Plant Conservation. http://centerforplantconservation.org/Collection/CPC_ViewProfile.asp?CPCNum=3407. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  6. ^ . http://www.latimes.com/news/science/environment/la-na-lizard12jan12,1,6234267.story?coll=la-news-environment&ctrack=1&cset=true.[dead link]
  7. ^ http://www.lvrj.com/news/13702907.html
  8. ^ http://www.mnresponsiblerec.org/Library/reports/Off-roadvehicledamageinDuluth.htm
  9. ^ http://www.fs.fed.us/r10/chugach/forest_plan/FEIS_VOLUME_1/chapter3_p1feis.pdf
  10. ^ http://wilderness.org/content/addressing-ecological-effects-road-vehicles
  11. ^ url=http://www.wildlandscpr.org/node/258
  12. ^ http://www.ecy.wa.gov/pubs/0401007.pdf
  13. ^ a b Mojave’s Off-Highway Roads Found Illegal
  14. ^ a b Judge rejects federal plan for SoCal desert routes
  15. ^ a b c Judge rejects U.S. management plan for California desert
  16. ^ http://fl.water.usgs.gov/cesi/rkg_publiclandindicator_proj.htm
  17. ^ http://www.naturaltrails.org/pressroom/releases/2004/bos-rec-final.pdf
  18. ^ http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/jun2004/2004-06-15-10.asp
  19. ^ http://www.peer.org/campaigns/publiclands/orv/index.php
  20. ^ http://resourcescommittee.house.gov/index.php?option=com_jcalpro&Itemid=27&extmode=view&extid=151
  21. ^ http://energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Hearings.Hearing&Hearing_ID=ca2e6111-befb-b64a-8a55-3945b88b484e

External links