A really fun thing about off-roading is how it can take you far from the beaten path to places where it’s only you and nature.
Driving down beautiful trails and coming across various critters throughout your day can be awe-inspiring; however, it’s important to remember all of nature is a privilege that shouldn't be taken for granted.
Is your off-roading environmentally friendly?
Unless it is, you could be inadvertently contributing to the destruction of those beautiful lands or harming wildlife without realizing it.
Follow these simple guidelines to ensure any adventures in your off-road truck or Jeep are environmentally sound!
Learn About Local Inhabitants
Before you head out for some off-roading fun in a new area, do some research on what kind of wildlife might be encountered during your excursion, asking specifically about the trails you’ll be traveling with your off-road truck while talking with park staff about local wildlife.
Learn about wildlife habits such as where different species live, what their active periods are, and what they eat.
It is helpful to learn whether you might disturb any animals with your activities or even be approached by them; most importantly, learn what to do or not do about any encounters.
Stay On The Trail
Always stay on the marked trails wherever you go with your truck or Jeep, as these are usually the safest passages through the backwoods as well as the places where you’re less likely to do any damage.
Even going on the grass with your truck or Jeep to drive around someone can damage the ground if the soil is soft from recent rains.
Besides, it’s impossible to tell what animals could be hiding or nesting in those areas around the trails.
Cross streams only at designated crossing spots, don’t make new ruts or churn up grass, and avoid anything that could result in dead spots, soil erosion, and other destruction of the grounds.
In the rare event you need to temporarily go off the trail, drive slowly and be watchful for startled animals jumping from hidden spots.
Tread Softly On Open-Use Land
If yearning to get out in the open and satisfy an urge to do more exploring off-roading, there are some places where you can drive off the trails in your truck or Jeep on designated open lands.
These are specific lands in certain designated locations, so find out exactly where they are and only go there.
Stay alert to all local wildlife and tread lightly to do as little damage to the vegetation and animal habitats with your truck or Jeep as is possible.
Don’t Interact Directly
Though it should go without saying, here’s a little reminder just in case - never ever interact directly with the wildlife.
Don’t feed animals, don’t approach them, don’t pet them if you happen to get close enough although you shouldn’t be that close to begin with.
There is always the risk of danger from however that animal might react to seeing you as well as possibly endangering them as well.
Leave No Trace
Always live by the golden rule of driving off-road which is to leave no trace.
When you leave the trail, there should be no evidence that you were there.
Clean up campsites of any waste, clean up spilled vehicle fluids, and cover over any ground you inadvertently damaged so the local wildlife and flora are not affected.
Leave the area in good condition for the next person driving through there.
If you run across something that needs additional attention, alert land administrators so they can take care of it.
Practice Environmentally-Friendly Off-Roading
No matter what kind of off-roading you do with your weekend warrior, whether trekking and camping or live for the rougher trails and obstacles, protecting the environment should be a top priority.
Without the asset of all those beautiful open spaces, none of us would have the chance to experience the beauty of Mother Nature including her amazing wildlife.
Do your part to protect the land and its inhabitants so those trails will be there for years to come for everyone to experience!