Rural System, Inc.
 Sustained rural lands; sustained profits






The Four x Four Group





The Four x Four Group is for people with Off-Road (ORV) or Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) interests. It is a profitable enterprise but has secondary objectives of contributing to the Rural System objectives, motivating learning, developing meaningful student projects, increasing employment opportunities, developing related land-use guides and techniques, and conducting research on vehicles and their effects in the open terrain. Reducing conflicts and stresses and gaining improved land management are clear objectives. Many of the activities are already well developed in several groups. Opportunities for affiliations exist throughout the region. The selection of a "personality," activities, and outreach will determine the local group and its lasting influence and benefits to its members.

Profit oriented, the Group is likely to be engaged in activities and services selected from:

  1. Developing a procedure for scoring trails and routes
  2. Developing a software unit (GIS) for locating and selecting areas within large parts of Virginia and West Virginia for desirable use of 4-wheel drive vehicles
  3. Developing a GPS related activity or use with vehicles
  4. Developing an open organization with newsletter and meetings for 4-wheel drive enthusiasts
  5. Developing a tagging program, offering a tag for vehicles based on special inspections (at reduced rates for members)
  6. Arranging for a special insurance with reduced rates for members or those who have taken a course
  7. Conducting a course for fees (safety, first aid, repairs, emergency work, driver safety, driver health)
  8. Developing trails or routes with maps and advice for members.
  9. Conducting trail rides (for fees) with educational stops, and catered meals at destinations (winter and fall rides are highlights)
  10. Balance over the management surface is neededConducting night rides (in connection with Owls Group and Coyote)
  11. Conducting shows (for fees and with advertising opportunities)
  12. Conducting contests (entrant fees)
  13. Encouraging the Belles and Whistles Group
  14. Developing affiliation with The Jellico Rock Obstacle Challenge Course
  15. Developing affiliation with The Eastern Rock Crawling Contest
  16. Being available for rescue missions
  17. Conducting random (planned) safety and security citizen checkup routes
  18. Being ready for fire-fighting assistance
  19. Developing a unit of The Wildland Crew
  20. Conducting reduced maintenance and care costs programs with 1-2 garages under contract (with discounts for members)
  21. Conducting instruction in road layout, erosion control, care and maintenance for bulldozer operators, loggers, land owners
  22. Selling parts
  23. Selling maps and related services
  24. Selling special paint products and services
  25. Creating and selling software
  26. Selling publications
  27. Creating and managing a web site with sales of memberships, books, supplies, trips, tours with other groups, vehicle parts, videos of driving, safety, insurance, vehicles themselves (the e-auction).
  28. Forming partnerships with off-road manufacturers such as Range Rover, Jeep, and Honda to educate drivers, riders, event observers, and land owners.
  29. Inspecting road sections and filing reports on the Internet on conditions for members…and security or searching/emergency forces.
  30. Lobbying (supported by vehicle sales groups, parts retailers, etc.)
  31. Research grants (overhead) in connection with Virginia Tech, with results plowed back into the enterprise.
  32. Commissions on parts sales inspired by the Group.
  33. Becoming a transportation unit for Rural System, Inc. within System Central

There are Forest Service and BLM plans (1999 message) to prevent motorized cross-country travel on federal lands (with a few exceptions, e.g., handicapped access and firewood cutting with a permit). Cross-country travel, it has been claimed, can spread noxious weeds, cause erosion, damage cultural sites, disrupt wildlife, and create conflicts among land users. There have been difficulties and most can be eliminated, or tradeoff realized, especially with the combination of strategies suggested above. The potentials on federal lands, if closed, regrettably, open new private-land opportunities.

Links:

http://www.4wdonline.com/Clubs/US/
http://cnc.4x4.org

United Four Wheel Drive Association http://www.ufwda.org - Dedicated to Promoting the Great Outdoors

Baltimore 4 Wheelers/OHV
21000 York Road
Parkton, MD 21120
http://www.4x4review.com/clubs/page.asp?state=MD&sort=club

http://www.ec4wda.org/landuse.asp


The concepts for management of related lands and practices are available in The Trevey.

A revised version of this unit, suggestions for a Virginia Tech Student group, are also available.

See Belles and Whistles.

See Tread Lightly! at www.treadlightly.org and www.ShareTrails.org the web site of the Blue Ribbon Coalition, "working hard to keep public lands open.", and The Wilderness Society.

Recent article:

EDITORIAL: Designated trails in our national forests the best solution

The Lufkin Daily News

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

In most cases, anybody who cares about the environment is not going to endorse a recreational activity that, by its very nature, tears up our national forests.

We care about the environment. That's why we support a proposal by the U.S. Forest Service to create 55-60 miles of off-road trails in the Angelina National Forest, on the north side of Sam Rayburn Reservoir.

As it is now, off-roaders pretty much have their way in clearing unauthorized trails throughout much of our national forest. The USFS proposal would limit off-road activity in the Angelina to that one section of the forest.

Off-road enthusiasts in this part of East Texas are lucky. They have an advocate in Karen Tinkle, district manager of the Angelina National Forest, who loves to ride off-road herself.

"But even if it seems that I'm the only one out here," she said, "there will be thousands behind me. To be able to control what is happening here, we need to change our philosophy."

The forest service has labeled off-roading in the national forest as both the fastest growing recreational activity in the past two decades and one of the top threats to the nation's forests and grasslands.

We recognize how fun it is to turn a 4x4 loose where nobody has gone before. That's one of the reasons we're shelling out so much money for sports utility vehicles these days. But we can also see the potential for massive damage to our forests if off-roading continues unabated.

Here's another reason we like the idea to build a new set of trails for off-roaders in our neck of the woods: It would be a great tourism draw. Local tourist councils and conventions could market the trails statewide; people who come here would need a place to stay and places to eat. Surely that would be a boon to our local economy.

The forest service is asking for comment on the proposal, but indications are that construction on the new trails could begin as early as 2006.

The sooner the better, we say.

Comments or concerns about the off-road proposal can be sent to Ranger Karen Tinkle, Angelina National Forest, 111 Walnut Ridge Road, Zavalla, TX 75980, or e-mailed to: comments-southern-texas-angelina@fs.fed.us.

The deadline is Aug. 15.

For more information on the proposal, visit www.fs.fed.us/r8/texas or call Vicki Rogers at (936) 897-1068, ext. 249.

Estimates

Development costs, as with other units, are primarily for staff, then affiliation with local dealers, shops, and garages. The net gains will relate to the expansion and region over which the group can develop.

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Perhaps you will share ideas with me
about some of the topic(s) above at

RHGiles@RuralSystem.com.

Maybe we can work together
... for the good of us all
... for a long time.

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