Usually, when someone thinks about the hazards of off-roading, it's things like rollovers, modded-up off-road trucks that get stuck, and the potential for getting hurt or those new steel bumpers getting damaged that comes to mind.
Well, the truth is that you and I are not the only ones endangered by off-roading, even in its mildest form.
Trail riding is loads of fun for those who want to get out into the backwoods or parklands for some off-roading fun; however, it can be hazardous to the environment.
Appreciate the various ways your truck or Jeep can cause damage so you know to exercise the methods necessary to reduce it.
Off-Road Trail Riding is More Popular Than Ever
Today, there are more than 40 million enthusiasts who enjoy off-roading in its various forms every year using trucks, Jeeps, dirt bikes, and ATVs.
In addition, more than 1 million off-road vehicles are purchased every year and modified with aftermarket bumpers as off-road activities continue to grow in popularity.
This equates to millions of sets of tires driving down the thousands of miles of trails all over the country each year that are designated for off-road use.
For as long as some of those trails have been around, it’s easy to expect them to always be there when the urge hits to head out and have some fun.
To make sure that they are, drivers of off-roaders with aftermarket bumpers need to have some respect for the land to keep it accessible to all.
How Off-Roading is Hazardous to the Environment
It’s easy to head on down that trail in your prized off-road truck looking straight ahead as you enjoy the bumps, hills, streams, and everything you come across.
Every new roadway you drive along means a new adventure. What about all you leave behind as you go along those trails?
===>Ground Damage - Off-roading by its very nature is damaging to the land simply by the way motorized vehicles can disturb and displace the soil, create ruts in the ground, and change the landscape.
This may not seem significant as you're driving down the trail; yet over time, that very trail you are driving on could end up eroded away due to destructive driving practices.
Erosion and runoff can also affect nearby waterways.
===>Destruction of Vegetation - Along with hazards to the land itself, off-roading is equally hazardous to the natural vegetation.
Of course some vegetation must be sacrificed to create the trails; however, when drivers and riders leave or damage the trails, more destruction occurs.
Root systems get damaged, plants are crushed and destroyed, and vehicles spread the seeds of weeds and other invasive species further than they would normally grow, creating lasting effects on the natural flora along the trails.
===>Interference with Wildlife - When activities disrupt the natural habitat, wildlife ends up at risk.
Weeds choke out essential grasslands, waterways become muddied by erosion, and animals can be affected by the noise and pollution that come from motor vehicles.
Trash and other pollution left behind can threaten wildlife in additional ways.
Trail Riding Is A Privilege
The point in all of this is that the hazards of off-road trail riding in your truck with its new steel bumpers should be taken seriously so you can do your part to reduce them.
When you go trail riding out into the backwoods, consider it a privilege and pay full respect to those trails.
Stay on the trail and avoid any moves that could damage it or the foliage around you; avoid interacting with nature or wildlife and always CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELF.
Keep Trail Riding Environmentally Safe
Remember the two mantras of off-roading: tread lightly down the trails and leave no trace that you were ever there.
Preserve the trails you ride in your special off-roader so they remain for your future use and the use of those traveling the same paths in the years to come!