Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Let’s say you’re on a trail ride with your club/friends, and someone throws a cigarette butt out the window. Or how about “that guy” you see who keeps driving by trail trash leaving it for you to pick up?
It’s so easy to pretend you didn’t see it and just drive by…
What do you do?
What if you’re camping with your fam/friends and the neighbors turn up the tunes until the wee hours of the morning?
Would you do or say something?
So, what if you’re on a big organized run and the convoy pulls over to let faster drivers go by and the guy in front of you parks on green vegetation?
Do you do something about it?
Let’s talk turkey…
I could go on forever with examples of what NOT to do if we want motorized recreation to survive, or about how to minimize turkey behavior. But more importantly, here is what you CAN do about it to let out your inner land use and help save trails.
1. Always set the example.
Carry your trash bag and pick up trash, even if it’s not yours. Stay on the trail and follow the rules. Be that guy who stops for the little trail trash that others by the dozen have driven past. Park only where legal or appropriate and certainly not off the trail. Just do what is right, and always do it!
Rules are part of enjoying our public lands. Be that person who follows them.
2. Be a mentor.
Help newbies get into our sport the right way. Show them how to be righteous on a trail ride or convoy. Teach them. Show them. Help them set the same example you are setting. Mentor someone to help keep our sport alive. (More from ModernJeeper on being a mentor here.)
3. Say something.
This step is the hard one. Do you say something when bad juju is happening? Sure, yes, you do. Do you say something when it’s only sorta bad? Well, now, that is where you let your inner land use out. YES! Mention how even little things add up to a bad big picture.
Now let me add this caution. Don’t make someone “lose face” in front of friends and fam. Do it quietly if you can – off to the side. Be nice but firm. Explain how their behavior could ruin it for us all. Do it face to face and away from other ears. Let them have some room to recover with dignity if possible. You’ll end up recruiting them to be more on the team.
4. Report it.
All those other steps didn’t work? Well, then, report it to the cops. Let the Sheriff or federal Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) know. Be able to identify the culprit. Get license plates and pics; record GPS reading. And make an effort to get to a phone/radio and report what you saw with reliable data. (More from ModernJeeper on motorized outlaws here.)
It should be our last resort, but law enforcement is something necessary to keep our trails open.
5. Post about it.
Leaving out names and license plates, post up about your inner land use helping to save a trail. Show folks the bad behavior in your social feed and explain how it was corrected, especially if the cops were called.
Or just use the example to talk about land use and how we ALL must do our part. Picking up trail trash is always an easy way to show that YOU are setting the example and doing YOUR part. Actually saying something to someone not dialed in is a huge leap up the ladder of landuse. Let out your inner landuse and be that person.
More on getting involved in land use here.