I have been riding in Jeeps since 1966 when my Dad bought a Wagoneer. It was the perfect choice for a Scout master. We had that vehicle in the family at least through 5th grade back in the 70s. We are on our 4th Jeep now and still love going out and riding through Florida’s vast wilderness.
One of the comments we get are in regard to Jeep clubs destroying the habitat. On trail rides we frequently see small side trails off Forrest roads. Though they look fun, it’s a area that needs to be left alone. The natural habitat is full of wildlife and plant life that all hangs in a delicate balance. It angers me when I see trash thrown out on the side of a trail. Often beer bottles are smattered in the woods along with shotgun shells. Somehow drinking, shooting, and 4wheeling have been a thing as long as I can remember. Here is a big tip: Keep it simple while wheeling, don’t throw trash in the woods, and don’t use trails that are marked no vehicles. The concept is simple but out of grasp to the impetuous 4 wheeler.
What is the difference? Glad you asked. There was a big place to wheel near I drive but over the years idiots trashed the place so bad that it is all marked no trespassing now. Stone hill was a big place to wheel in the 70s and 80s, now it’s all homes. Developers are destroying land and packing houses within feet of each other. The run off of storm water is flooding out creeks and local ponds. In this area they rip out every tree and clear cut the land all for money. Jeep clubs are not the issue. Jeeping will bring people out to see what a great state we live in. Most Jeep clubs have clean up events to pick up waste left behind by others.
If your off road club rides off trails tearing up the ground, throwing trash out, and has no respect for the land, then find another club. We share the wildlife management areas and need to not infringe on others, like hunters. There is plenty of time to ride when it’s not hunting season. There good places to ride all over the area and we do have some off road parks near by. Imagine going out and finding the perfect spot and then spending the better part of the morning in a tree stand. Now along comes a 4 wheeler crashing through the brush making a bunch of noise, you would not be too happy. To the hunters out there, remember that most WMAs don’t allow off road vehicles. There are plenty of hunt clubs, lease lands, and private areas to hunt. There you can hunt undisturbed by anyone else who might want to use public land.
Does it seem like I am a bit passionate about this? Well for good reason. I have been hunting, documenting, and catching reptiles for over 45 years in the Florida area. Snakes are my specialty. When the area is disturbed, the snakes leave. What’s left is common species like black racers, and water snakes. Some species require large areas of land to survive. Most Indigo snakes need 200 acres of land. Take care of the land or we will see more endangered wildlife disappear forever. The land is a symbiotic environment that depends on many parts to thrive. Stop over developing the woods, stop rutting up the environment, STOP throwing trash out of your vehicles.
We all need to be responsible for the land we use. The first job given to mankind was to keep and tend the land way back in Genesis. We still need to do that today. Tend to the land like it’s a gift from God, because it is.
For more info on treading lightly, visit the site at https://www.treadlightly.org/
Matt N Randy
Jeep Enthusiast, Pastor, Photographer, Artist, A husband and wife team that loves going out and seeing God's Creations.