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2023 Landuse and Access Outlook 2023 Landuse and Access Outlook
For Better or For Worse; We’re Still Jeepers! Where will we be wheeling and exploring this new year? After all, we are all jeepers... 2023 Landuse and Access Outlook

For Better or For Worse; We’re Still Jeepers!

Where will we be wheeling and exploring this new year? After all, we are all jeepers who want to explore, four-wheel, and just get outside.  But, what effect will our recent history have on our access to public lands? Allow me to give you some insight.

Jeepers enjoying the magical scenery of High Rock Canyon on the Lassen Applegate trail (NV-CA).

The mess we call 2020 is now mostly hindsight, with 2021 and 2022 rough but better years. But our jeeping, overlanding, and adventures for 2023 are not “rock” solid, shall we say?

The Administration’s policy changes, as is usual in a democracy, have flooded the world we live in. However, federal and state agencies are adapting to the “new” normal just like they did a few years ago with other agency/administration changes. Still, access to our public lands and jeeping trails is tenuous at best.

Land closures and restrictions will get headlines in almost all states, especially in the west. New Monuments, new Wilderness, new Areas of 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.

The good news about this road closed sign is that it is “temporary” until repairs can be made.  This means “we” are actively involved here.

In 2022 the environmental movement worked with the Administration to orchestrate the 30 x 30 America the Beautiful initiative – proposing to conserve (some say lock up) 30% of America by 2030. Right now, about 12% of our American lands and waterways are “conserved” or protected (locked up). Stay tuned here on ModernJeeper for more on what 30 x 30 means to our jeeping.

The 30 x 30 Plan strives to “protect” or “conserve” 30% of America by 2030, with rumors of 50% by 2050

Then we can throw in the many things that distract us daily. 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 the pandemic, and many other financial bites will nibble at us all year.

So what?

So, what does this mean? Does it mean you probably aren’t thinking much about keeping trails open or saving our sports? And does it 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 strongly enough. If we do not unite, speak up, stay engaged, stay tuned into what is happening with our trails, and FIGHT BACK, we will end up parking our rigs in the garage to look at a few times a year. We cannot just be virtual, and we cannot let daily distractions numb us into apathy.

Yea, OK, maybe I’m giving you a little “the sky is falling,” but I sincerely see severe 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 60+ years of off-roading/jeeping and 40 years of land use and saving trails.

Exactly what do we do?

JOIN: Get your joining back on! Join your state and regional associations/organizations. They need our membership dues to make a difference and do what dedicated, knowledgeable Jeepers/four-wheelers MUST do.

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). But, on the other hand, Brick-and-mortar groups do show up where it counts – in person, face to face.

“Brick-and-mortar” clubs and associations are crucial to our efforts to keep trails open — Join!

Now I will say I am a proud member of, a virtual group that GIVES BACK to land use and access. Their members make donations that go to brick-and-mortar outfits. This helps. But I am also a member of several non-virtual associations.

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.

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.

BUY SMART: Support our businesses that support our sport. Buy from those outfits who do something for land use, such as donating to raffles, joining associations as a business, and contributing in some way to keep trails open or helping a club doing just that. Metalcloak is just one great example of a company doing its part! Be wise in your purchases.

Join, donate, volunteer, and buy smart. If you start doing those things with all your heart and ability, we can turn the tide in 2023 into a year we can be proud of.

Del Albright Ambassador

Internationally published author; WorldWide ModernJeeper Abassador and 2014 Inductee of the Off Road Motorsports Hall of Fame. Del has been involved in the Jeeping Lifestyle for longer then most of us can count. His educational and mentorship programs have helped developed warfighters in the ongoing battle to keep Public Lands Open to the Public.

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