Author Topic: Tread lightly  (Read 1099 times)


  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3
    • View Profile
Tread lightly
« on: March 13, 2015, 04:33:43 PM »
I have previously reached out to tread lightly seeking additional info on the subject. The gentleman told me that I could be an instructor but would have to travel to attend classes as they have no significant representation in Arkansas. I would like to become more educated on the subject as I get pretty pissed when a trail is closed for reasons I am not aware of. I'd love to be a part of the solution and hope that my appreciation for the outdoors would prevent me from being a part of the problem. I'm a member of a jeep club that would support educating the public but need factual info to offer. I believe education can be the answer for most.


  • Follow Me,
  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: I am a geek!!
    • View Profile
Re: Tread lightly
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2015, 07:37:05 AM »
Glad to see a post like this!

I tend to have a hybrid view on tread lightly  as I have some formal education in natural resource management.

It's more information than I have time to type on my phone, so expect this post to evolve as I have time...

Some of the biggest issues I've seen first hand stem from the group mentality you see with large groups. In example - a group of Jeeps driving up a waterfall that isn't part of the trail. Most people wouldn't touch it on their own but when a group goes through... every single person wants to have a try. I haven't grasped this one yet.

Another example is parking or unecessarily driving in water. There is a designated ford at each legal crossing. Use it and only it. Instead of this it seems large groups will park 15 vehicles in a river, which shouldn't see anything more than the four tires that cross it to begin with. When a vehicle parks in it the amount of oil, gas and antifreeze that seeps into our drinking water is extreme.

Social trails are another big issue. Sometimes I'm okay with them, in the case of a 40" mud hole it's just fine for a social trail. It seems that most of them stem from a small tree that someone was too lazy to get out and clear.

More later...

I would recommend taking a Leave No Trace course before a tread lightly one.


  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 116
    • View Profile
Re: Tread lightly
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2015, 10:15:32 AM »
Those same things really bother us as well, Jayston.  We're always trying to minimize our impact on the areas we travel through.  Here are some things we do to minimize our impact...  I speak on the behalf of myself and the other 4 people in my "group".

1. Stay on the trail and be nice to the trail...  the only time we don't stay on the trail is when we come across an extremely deep mud hole that is sure to swamp our vehicle, in that case we take a bypass, IF and ONLY if there is a clearly designated, pre-existing bypass.  If no bypass and the mud hole is too deep, we turn around and find another trail to take.  Same thing with downed trees...  If we can clear it with the tools we have, we do.  If it's too big to clear and there is no clearly designated, pre-existing bypass, then we turn around and find another route.  We also try to minimize wheel spin in order to minimize the creation on deep ruts, or new mud holes.  All of this will help slow down the creation and usage of social trails.

2. Make water-crossings at legal, pre-existing fords...  We ONLY make our crossings at legal, pre-existing fords, and we make them as quickly as possible.  We never park in a creek/river, never cross a creek/river multiple times for the hell of it. We always make sure to check depths before entering and we always have recovery gear prepared before entering to make the extraction happen as quickly as possible, just in case a recovery is necessary, so the time a vehicle is in the water is reduced as much as possible.

3. Only cut/clear/run over foliage if it's blocking, or fallen across a trail...  We never cut, clear, or drive over anything unless it's blocking a legal, pre-existing trail and we have the tools to do so.  We never cut/clear foliage in order to make a new trail or bypass.

4. Secure your trash and pick up other peoples trash...  We always make sure to NEVER litter, no matter what it is.  If you packed it in, you pack it out.  It's sad, you should never have to pick up other peoples trash because they should never throw it down in the first place, but in the event that you come across some trash, pick it up and pack it out, you'll have done your good deed for the day!

5. Leave it better than you found it...  No matter where we go, or what we're doing, we always try to leave the places we visit better than we found them, whether that means clearing a fallen tree off a trail, or even simply picking up a single beer can someone else irresponsibly left behind.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2015, 11:47:26 AM by forunnin »


  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 26
    • View Profile
Re: Tread lightly
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2015, 10:14:45 PM »
These term are relatively new to me, but the practice is not. I grew up in the North West corner of Montana and have always carried out more stuff than I packed in. Have always carried approved (or unapproved) tools for clearing the road way or trail and only left the roadway or trail when the road was gone (river bank washed away and suchlike). Today's times are a bit different with population growing and the education of "Respect the Land You Walk On" lessens as our world turns to concrete and asphalt around us.
I truly respect the Overland group and what they teach, just by doing what they do.
Being a kid again is fun!!