Where will we be wheeling and exploring in this new year of 2021? Allow me to give you some insight.
The mess we call 2020 is now hindsight and 2021 is off to a rough, but better start. But our jeeping, overlanding and adventures for this year are tenuous at best.
Chloride Cliff, Chloride City, Death Valley, enjoying the views from a great Jeeping trail.
New Administrations and policy changes will flood the world we live in. Federal and state agencies will be adapting to the “new” normal just like they did four years ago with other agency/administration changes.
Land closures and restrictions will get headlines in most all states, especially in the west. New Monuments, new Wilderness, new Areas of Critical Environmental Concern, new this and new that. I predict we will not be able to keep up with the pages of reading to review and comment.
Every minute spent doing something “landuse” means more of this in the future.
Then we can throw in the mix the many things that distract normal, four-wheeling, Jeeping Americans. Gun rights will be highlighted and in the news a lot. How our kids are taught in school (or should I say brainwashed) will bug parents daily. The war over “American-made” or foreign-made will hit the top of the charts. Insurance, bills, trying to recover from 2020 and many other financial bites will nibble at us all year.
So, what does this mean? It means you probably aren’t thinking much about keeping trails open or saving our sports? And it might suggest that this trend of not joining clubs and associations is the easier way to do things – virtually, if at all.
WRONG! I can’t say that strong enough. If we do not unite, speak up, stay engaged, and FIGHT BACK, we will end up parking our rigs in the garage to look at a few times a year.
Yea, OK, maybe I’m giving you a little “the sky is falling,” but I really, sincerely see serious setbacks to the progress we’ve made over the last 20 years to our access to trails and outdoor motorized adventure.
I based my “seeing” on 50+ years of off-roading/jeeping and over 35 years of landuse and saving trails.
Exactly what do we do?
JOIN: Get your joining back on! Get in your state and regional associations/organizations. They need our membership dues in order to make a difference and do the things that MUST be done by dedicated, knowledgeable Jeepers/four-wheelers.
Sure, if you want to stay with your virtual group, ok. But do not make that your go-to. Virtual groups do not go to state capitals or Washington DC to fight for us (unless I missed something). Brick and mortar groups do.
Now I will say, I am a proud member of NAXJA.org, a virtual group, but one that GIVES BACK to landuse and access. Their members make donations that go to brick-and-mortar outfits. This helps. However, I am an active member of several membership-based clubs/groups/associations because that is where the rubber meets the road.
DONATE: Send somebody some gas money! Donate to a group so they can send someone to those meetings where decisions are made about YOUR trails. If we are not at the tables, ALL of them, the head of the table will make decisions without us and not necessarily in our favor.
Be part of real clubs and real events whenever you can.
VOLUNTEER: Put a shovel to the ground on your trail! Donate your time and volunteer to help keep a trail open. Help your association/groups on a project that needs time and effort (strong backs). Show up! Yes, I’ll be trite – the world is run by those who show up.
Club projects such as installing trail signage is a great way to volunteer to help keep trails open
Join, donate, and volunteer. If you start doing those three things with all your heart and ability, right now, we can turn the tide of 2021 into a year we can be proud of.