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Beware! The Wilderness Train is Rolling Your Way Beware! The Wilderness Train is Rolling Your Way
SIZE DOES MATTER AND BEWARE OF TURTLES Imagine a huge diesel-powered locomotive lumbering steadily down the railroad tracks with that big headlight beam pointed... Beware! The Wilderness Train is Rolling Your Way


Imagine a huge diesel-powered locomotive lumbering steadily down the railroad tracks with that big headlight beam pointed right in your eyes as you watch it coming closer and closer. You can feel the ground shaking from the sheer weight of this behemoth.

This monster is the “Wilderness Train” and it’s coming to a town near you.


Stacie can’t possibly stop this train by her lonesome; but by golly, she will try if it means saving more trails!

The designation of unnecessary and inappropriate Wilderness (by Congress ) is one of our biggest issues facing motorized and mechanized recreation in the next several years.
This “train” is coming if we don’t take some steps to stop it and it’s a big one!

The Wilderness Train is rolling, and we have to ask, are we getting on board? Are we jumping off? Are we stuck on the tracks waiting to get run over? Are we getting out of the way?
Did we even buy a ticket for this ride? And hey, how do we divert this train to some other tracks?

Simple Jeeping pleasures like enjoying spring wildflowers like Chuck Brinkley here are in jeopardy with unnecessary Wilderness designations.

Metaphors aside, we DO need to do some saving – and stopping of this train. If you don’t want to get run over or “railroaded,” then you’d best be doing some specific things to help stop this train.
Realize that the anti-access radical preservationists are trying to conjure up Wilderness designations wherever they can get them, from the oceans to the highest mountains. They could care less about the original 1964 Wilderness Act that made some sense.



Congress worded the 1964 Act to include some common sense and a real sense of wilderness. It talked about huge expanses of land (5000 acres or more), untrammeled by man, where the imprint of man’s work is unnoticeable. That is not the case now.

Today’s eco-wackos are talking about Wilderness in your town, in your backyard, and in your recreation area for sure. If you look at such things as The Wildlands Project (explained here at ), you will read how they want to set aside half our country as Wilderness.

They even go so far as to call this Turtle Island based on ancient Native American folklore and the great turtle or serpent-of-eternity (Snyder, 1969, Turtle Island).
Many Wilderness advocates and supporters of the Wildlands Project are using the turtle as their symbol of choice. So, beware of bumper stickers showing turtles with our entire continent emblazoned on their shell.

This “turtle” represents a return to the concept of Turtle Island. These people are funded with millions of dollars from anti-access foundations and all they want to do is to lay claim to earth for its animals and not its people.


And now the turtles are riding on trains. 

This train is huge and moving fast – and with this big train and its inertia, size does matter because this one isn’t easy to stop. So what do we do?

Just What Do We Do?

First, get in the right organizations that are doing something for land use and access like your state association for jeeping/four-wheeling, and your favorite sport-specific group, like United 4Wheel Drive Association.

Don’t waste your money on groups or politicians that aren’t helping us stop this train. Remember that “quacking like a duck ain’t the same thing as flying like one” (says Del).
So, join up and get in the game. Join everything you can afford to join after that (as long as they are helping us in the access struggles). Use the Internet or your trusted friends for advice on which clubs/groups to join.

Second, buy from businesses that are helping us. Skip the guys that are just out to make a buck off our recreation while not supporting the access battles. Ask them before you buy if they are members or supporters of land use/access organizations and trails.  (More on how to buy from the right businesses here.)

Check the web sites of your favorite club/group to see what businesses are helping out. Then buy from them.

Third, learn more about the access fight so you can be better prepared to help stop the train. Take a training course from Tread Lightly or NOHVCC or Del’s RLTC course ( Read web sites that offer information to help you better understand just how serious are the turtles and trains.

Lastly, if you are not in a position to attend meetings and get involved with clubs and organizations, then realize you can do your part by donating to the cause – donate to someone who has the time. Give to an organization that can fight for you such as Cal4wheel if you’re in California.


Large trains do not stop on a dime, so we need to start doing everything we can, now, to eventually stop this Wilderness Train!

(Staged, consensual, only for fun photo by Del of the wife, Stacie Albright)


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.

  • Michael J McAlister

    May 21, 2019 #1 Author

    Great article Del. I can’t believe that this president or Senate will be receptive to these moves but certainly if the liberal side of the equation gains more control there is real concern for the future.


  • Harry Palmer

    May 23, 2019 #2 Author

    One of the challenges is to convince the Democrats and Democratic office holders of the requirement to support ALL users of lands to include the off road community. Jeeper’s, ATV & UTV users spend large dollar amounts for their vehicles as well as the trips they make to see the back areas of our country. If they only hear from the “wilderness” types, then our country will lose in the short term and the long term.

    New Jeeps, for example, cost anywhere from $45,000 up to $80,000. Pointing out to the office holders that the loss of four wheel access will result in the loss of the business’s which provide these high dollar vehicles will adversely impact their districts. If they doubt this, then have them talk with a Jeep dealership or a ATV dealership to find out what the impact on the business would be if the trails in the area are closed off.

    In my area, I’m surrounded by two National Monuments managed by the BLM. Recently, with very little notice, two wilderness areas were designated within one of the Monuments. These new “wilderness” areas are within ten miles of a major interstate (I-10) and between the cities of El Paso TX and Las Cruces, NM. Not far from civilization, especially since one is adjacent to a homestead from the late 1800’s. Neither of the new “Wilderness” areas comply with the original Wilderness Act, but they were established by Congress –so now we are stuck with them.

    Thanks for your efforts to alert us to the Train and its danger for our communities as well as the danger for our pastime of off-roading. Also thanks for the nice pictures of your wife, who “volunteered” to lie on the railroad tracks. At least she knew she wouldn’t get run over!


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