The creeping loss of the 4x4 offroad experience

Discussion in 'The Coffee Shop ~ Chit Chat' started by Jamm3r, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. Jamm3r

    Jamm3r New Member

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    I don't know how it is out there in the rest of the U.S., but here in Minnesota there's been enough governmental chipping away at the 4x4 community that there isn't as much interest in building up mud trucks as there used to was.

    Offroading on public roads is now confined to marked trails, and nearly all trails are open to ATVs, most to motorcycles, and only a handful to trucks. There have been some high-profile prosecutions for "malicious damage to wetlands" of people offroading on their own private land. You can't really play in the mud unless you are in a really remote area or can claim that what you're doing is farming-related, since that's one of the few safe harbors.

    The gov isn't entirely to blame since many people who used to drive Jeeps or built-up trucks have moved to ATVs.

    I don't know when the heyday of the 4x4 pickup was exactly but it now seems like it's in the past.
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  2. Pikey

    Pikey Moderator

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    I have noticed that trend in Michigan. There are plenty of places to go offroad and not be concerned about negative ramifications. Obviously, the farther you get from Detroit the more opportunity there is to hit the mud. There are a few gravel pits that the owners will let you in near my home. We have the state owned silver lake sand dunes. I know of at least two privately owned "offroad parks". Both consist of heavily wooded areas, steep rocky hills, and large open fields with mud pits. While I do notice many more atvs out there than in the past. I chalk this up to cost. You can buy a pretty nice atv for what it cost to buy your lift, tires, and gears. That is assuming that you already have a truck to put them on. I have also seen a trend lately of younger guys building some pretty large and capable mud trucks using mid 90's model trucks. My cousins live right in between Detroit and Lansing. During the summer there is at least one farmer hosting a mud bog in his fields on the weekends. Some of the trucks you see out there are absolutely crazy. I have seen a few blown trucks running 54" Super swamper Boggers. The law enforcement does show up occasionally (To Watch!!). They basically leave the guys alone. Even when they run their trucks on the road to get them home. (They are way over the lift law height) I am sure that at some point the environmentalists will make their way here and start the same trend the you are seeing in your home state. As of now it is alive and well here.
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  3. SurrealOne

    SurrealOne Former Member

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    Pardon my ignorance but this makes no sense to me. If it's my land and I pay the taxes on it, I should darn well be able to engage in or permit any legal activity upon it and, as far as I know, driving a truck is perfectly legal. In fact, driving a truck does not require any license or insurance as long as it is done exclusively on private land.

    If my properly is wetlands and I feel like driving my truck on my wetland property I should darn well be able to do so. Can you show me (complete with statute citation) a law that would prevent this? I can understand public land ... but private land is just that ... private.
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  4. Kady

    Kady New Member

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    In MA its illegal to do anything on Wetlands whether its private property or not. Some kind of conservation act orsomething.
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  5. FrigginNoodles

    FrigginNoodles Member

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    I can second that. We definitely have some of the toughest wetland regulations. I know of people who back in the early 2000s were almost stopped (2 year delay) from building their home because of a species of salamanders found on the property in 1988. Crazy right.

    Now to get to the OPs topic. We don't have much around here as far as off road parks. Actually I haven't even ever seen one myself. There are a couple mountains to drive. I do however hear PSAs on the radio pretty often about the topic. They say "Off Road?, On Trail"
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  6. Conlan Rose

    Conlan Rose Super Moderator

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    I live in CT right on the coast and we have really tough wetlands laws. My dad is an architect so he is well versed in the laws and just getting near wetlands with heavy equipment is a legal hassle. In CT it is illegal to build on any wetlands even if privately owned. You can get special permits to build if you want, but it takes years going between the state and the city.

    On topic, in CT there are a couple places to off road. You used to be able to ATV in state parks, but environmental concerns stopped that.
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  7. SurrealOne

    SurrealOne Former Member

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    I'd like to read one of these laws. Can anyone cite one? I'm curious how it would limit a 4x4 owner on his/her property.

    I can understand restrictions on municipal lands, but I'm floored by the private property thing.
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  8. Conlan Rose

    Conlan Rose Super Moderator

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    I'm not sure if it says it explicitly, but with other laws they can get you. There is a lot of testing of water and such allowing them to know if you are off roading if your truck drips a little oil in the water and it wasn't there before. I will ask my dad about the laws tho.
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  9. Jamm3r

    Jamm3r New Member

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    SurrealOne, if you search for the MN DNR ORV rules book they explain it in there although there are no cites.

    I believe the underlying law isn't about off-road trucks specifically but any kind of "malicious destruction" of wetlands. It is most typically used to prosecute farmers, loggers, and developers who drain small areas without proper permits and hope to escape notice.

    We also have regulations from the DNR that you can't drive below the ordinary high-water level of any lake or stream. These aren't laws per se but have the same effect; the DNR has broad powers to regulate lakes and streams, including shoreline, no matter who owns it. The two main changes this has created are that it is now unlawful to ford a stream in a 4x4, and it is now unlawful to launch a boat from a boat trailer except at an improved launching site constructed under a DNR permit.

    There was a story about two years ago of someone hosting a "mud hole" type event who was prosecuted. Neighbors were upset about the noise and as is so often the case the environmental laws provided the biggest stick, and they complained to friends in the DNR.

    - - - Updated - - -

    In Minnesota:

    1) You can be charged with DUI for driving your own truck (or much of anything else) on your own land. Prosecutions of people operating lawn mowers, golf carts, and backhoes happen every year. A couple years ago there was a guy who was busted for driving a la-z-boy recliner while drunk (the running gear from a lawn mower had been added to it to make it mobile).

    2) You can be charged with reckless driving on your own land away from any roads (and prosecutions are common though charges are usually reduced to something trivial unless someone got hurt)

    3) You must have a drivers license to drive a car or truck even on your own private land (comes up occasionally when someone has had their driver's license suspended due to DUIs and the cops can't prove they were behind the wheel on a public road)

    4) You need five permits to put in or repair a culvert or bridge across a little stream even if you own the land on both sides. Township board, DNR fisheries division, soil and water conservation district, army corps of engineers, county planning and zoning. They require aerial photos and a hydraulic analysis. Ask me how I know.
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  10. SurrealOne

    SurrealOne Former Member

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    The term 'malicious destruction' requires malicious intent. It's very easy to argue a lack of malicious intent when 4x4'ing on your own turf, so if I lived in MN I wouldn't sweat that.

    As for the other items you mention, that's ridiculous.
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  11. jsmith4816

    jsmith4816 New Member

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    I would agree with the sport dieing. Here is west Michigan, you can't offroad on state land, but you can on private. The best trails are state land though lol. You also cannot ride a atv or dirt bike on the public snowmobile trails. My dad and I were pulled over by a conservation officer and he said that "it destroys wildlife". Told us too get them in the truck or he will take them. So if I want to ride, I've gotta go to the track or go a few hours north where there are trails that you can ride.

    With all the new side by sides coming out, I don't see the sport picking back up
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  12. Jamm3r

    Jamm3r New Member

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    I agree that the more extreme side of the sport is doing just fine -- people show their trucks and compete in organized events, which is all great.

    What seems to have disappeared, here at least, is the street legal trail riding rig with a modest lift, suitable tires, lights, and maybe a winch. They used to be common.
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  13. mfleetwood

    mfleetwood Moderator

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    I haven't noticed anything changing in Colorado. I mostly off-road on National Forest property (public), which covers a significant amount of land and old mining trails, ghost towns, areas around the Continental Divide, etc. There are many off-road organizations that help repair, restore, and modify trails, so it really keeps a lot of the environmentalist happy for the most part. They also provide services on private property for those that are kind enough to let us drive through.
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  14. ahmitchell1

    ahmitchell1 New Member

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    In Georgia and Alabama I have actually seen a lot more mud Boggs showing up. I doubt the huge truck scene will every die around here. And if your ever in north ga n think your truck can go thru anything, stop by. I got a giant pit of Georgia red clay and a Deere to get you out of it
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  15. bowaddict13

    bowaddict13 New Member

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    ya im in michigan also and abou 2 mile from my home there is a mudd bogg almost every other weekend it seems also i have always driven on my property ,, in some places so much that iv had to take the cat out there and fill in some spots ..between my truck and the wifes lifted jeep we are never at a lose of spot to play she also belongs to her own jep club and they do wekkend trips all over michigan seems every other week they are always playing in a new mudd hole .
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  16. Enkeiavalanche

    Enkeiavalanche Moderator

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    Well as some of you know I am very involved with SEMA and get emails and letter and Mags all the time and when I do have the time I read them.. Here is some News you might want to read..

    Forest Service Planning Rule
    The U.S. Forest Service updated its Planning Rule, which provides guidance and directives for managing the country’s 155 national forests and 20 grasslands encompassing 193 million acres. The courts have rejected previous versions of the Planning Rule in recent years. SEMA joined with a number of other organizations representing the off-road community in opposing the latest version on grounds that it does not adequately protect access for motorized recreation and will be a source of ongoing litigation. The issue is of importance to SEMA-member companies that market products to the off-road community based on the consumers’ ability to have access to Forest Service roads and trails. Forest managers will now begin applying the rule’s guidelines as they gradually update management rules for each individual forest and grassland.

    Bonneville Salt FlatsThe U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) approved a final Environmental Assessment (EA) for replenishing salt to the Bonneville Salt Flats (BSF). The BLM adopted the approach recommended by SEMA and other organizations that are members of the Save the Salt Coalition. The EA requires a permanent replenishment program that guarantees the same quantity and quality of salt is returned to the BSF as is removed under an existing potash mining lease agreement. The mining company has already exceeded the EA requirements, pumping nearly 1 million tons of salt onto the BSF over the past two years without removing any salt from the same area. SEMA and the coalition are now pursuing a public fundraising campaign to go beyond simple replenishment so that the BSF can be restored with millions of tons of additional salt necessary to achieve the goal. All contributions will be used to purchase salt and the equipment necessary to pump, transport and lay down the salt.

    Save Johnson Valley
    SEMA has recommended that the U.S. Marines Corps secure special-use permits from the BLM when conducting troop maneuvers within Johnson Valley, California, rather than take ownership of the land as part of an expanded Twentynine Palms base. The BLM land is a designated off-highway vehicle (OHV) recreation area and site of “King of the Hammers” and other OHV events throughout the year. The Marines need access to Johnson Valley for less than two months a year but are seeking ownership rights from the BLM for 56% of the land (147,000 acres). The Marines have proposed providing limited access to only 40,000 acres of that land for OHV activities during 10 months of the year. Any land transfer requires Congressional approval. Congress is considering legislation that will require the Marines to study alternative ways to share the land with the OHV community, potentially to include special permits. The Johnson Valley off-road area draws at least 200,000 visitors annually and may generate as much as $191 million annually into the economy.​
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  17. csltrains96

    csltrains96 New Member

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    Out here in Oregon we have issues with the "Protected Wetlands" issues as well. I work with a fellow whose father was told that he couldn't grow crops on one of his own pieces of farm land because it was determined that wetlands species of grasses and reeds were growing on it. If he tried to plow up the land they would have him arrested for destroying wetlands.

    It has gotten totally out of control.
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  18. The Heater

    The Heater New Member

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    Surrealone:

    Land use laws have been around for the entire history of this country. Yes, you can be told what to do on your own land if there is a dominant public interest like wetland preservation. Without going into the history or philosophy behind wetland regulations, suffice it to say that this is not the only area of regulation that can impact your use of your own property.

    To get back to the topic, around here people offroad on mainly privately held land, not public land. Some of it constitutes trespassing, as there are plenty of off road trails on remote property held by public utilities and timber companies. Sometimes people are caught and prosecuted.

    Back in the 1960's and 1970's (I graduated from high school in 1974) you saw people driving off road on lots of privately owned property that was so vast and undeveloped that the owner just did not care because they had no plans to develop the property. It has not been so much the government that has reduced off road vehicle areas in my opinion, it is the enforcement of trespassing laws by private property owners and the continued creep of urban development into areas previously considered "remote".

    Yes, wetlands use regulations sometimes are a bugger for the private property owner, but mostly due to restrictions that impact use of portions of land that the developer wants to build homes or buildings. On the other hand, preservation of wetlands, even on residential property, does have a very practical and beneficial purpose for the community as a whole and for mankind. It just depends on your ego. If your ego is so big that you feel you are the center of the universe and you want things to go your way all the time, then you don't like this type of law. If you are a team player and you look at the big picture, you may not like these laws, but you go along with them and maybe just cuss to your neighbors or family about it. Or you do something useful with your anger and spend time at the county or city council meetings and get up to the microphone and state your case.
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