Offroading Subarus of Colorado is very passionate about keeping our local trails open. As a group we host multiple trail clean ups a year on our adopted trails; Switzerland Trail near Boulder, CO, and Rollins Pass East, near Rollinsville CO.
Using public lands for off-highway motorized use is a privilege that is threatened every year by people who believe offroaders cause harm to the environment and to the land. It is our responsibility as users to do our best to minimize impacts so that future generations have the same opportunities we do.
Fortunately, there are rules, guidelines, and laws regarding offroading. Multiple organizations have been formed over the years to help spread awareness of some common misconceptions and mistakes people often make when offroading. In general, we as a community need to do our best to preserve and protect the land we use.
These guidelines include: sticking to designated and marked trails (or areas for OHV parks), not bypassing obstacles that are too hard, abiding by seasonal trail and area closures, NOT bypassing closed gates, obtaining Off-Highway Vehicle Permits where necessary, camping only where allowed.
Other “unspoken” rules such as using only as much momentum as necessary to get through water crossings, mud, etc. to minimize splashing and rutting, which widens and deepens the trail, disturbes surrounding vegetation, and eventually creates a wide, deep, and long mud hole. Pulling off the trail only to allow traffic to pass is an unfortunate reality that is sometimes unavoidable, by pulling off a maximum distance of one vehicle length on strong surfaces is best practice but is not always possible.
Yes, it is true that simply using the land for off-highway vehicle use does cause an environmental impact. Trails and areas are designated by the local regulating agency for use by offroaders, they understand the impact, and put in place regulations, signage, and other means of trying to minimize the potential for more impact than desired.
Failure to follow these guidelines and laws does nothing but give more ammunition to the “anti-offroaders” to shut down your local trails, national forests, and OHV parks for offroad use.
It is everyone’s own responsibility to educate themselves. There are also groups and individuals who strive to educate others as best they can about these guidelines, in order to help people understand why it is so important for the future of the offroading sport, and our access to use public lands in a responsible manner.