Originally Posted by stewartx
All I really got from the Tread Lightly online awareness course is that one shouldn't really drive or be off-road - avoid mud, avoid crossing water, avoid unique trails, avoid music, yield to everyone else, avoid hunting or fishing, avoid campfires, avoid camps, and just have no fun at all. You don't have a right to have fun.
Our wilderness and trails are slowly being turned into city parks, with the same long list of rules and restrictions listed - and darn few using the parks.
then you didn't get the intended message.
Treading lightly isn't about *not* treading (as the Sierra Club wants you to believe). Basically, within *reason* minimise your impact. Don't set up a massive camp sites where you dig out tent sites, bury your trash in a hole, etc... Don't make your own trails, don't drive/ride on trails during certain conditions (if possible) like rain, where loss of traction damages the trail for the next guy. Pack it in, pack it out. Treat it like you OWN it, because, really, do you (but so does everyone else). If you have a fire, don't do a bon-fire (it isn't really necessary, and increases the risk of the fire catching the rest of the land on fire, etc...
You don't have to act like a jack ass with loud music, doing donuts in a meadow, or throwing trash everywhere to have fun. Well, some do, but those are the douche nozzles this thread (and many like it) is chastising.
What people many times forget is just simply proper trail DESIGN. It's a catch 22 sometimes with trails. People make their own trails by just driving somewhere (see above douche nozzles), then other people follow those tracks, and that turns into a "trail". Guess what, that is not a proper trail, it just tracks through some land, and doesn't have proper drainage or erosion control. When it rains, many of those trails get rutted out and destroyed even withOUT people driving on them. I should be able to head to a trail after a rain storm and still get through it, but I've been to trails where the erosion
ruts (not even the wheel spin ruts) are so bad, it's impossible to get by. How freaking lame is that?!
If your "trail" crosses Salmon habitat or pristine grasslands, then yes, you probably shouldn't be there. If you're in the middle of summer in a dry grassland, then yeah, a camp fire is probably a bad idea. If the conditions are bad enough (read: rain/mud) that you're spinning your wheels the entire time and creating waist deep ruts, then yeah, you probably should be driving there *at that time*.