Keeping our Public Lands Public
How often do you use a trail or off-road area that is currently public land? Whether it be your favorite overlanding route or just your daily mountain bike trails, we all use them very often. Our government recently passed, in the last couple years, an amendment to sell our public lands off for drilling, mining or logging. Selling these lands will eliminate our use to our favorite trails and outdoor bliss. Overlanding is the medium between environmentalist and outdoor enthusiast of all kinds. We share the passion for using the backcountry of many of our national forests and other public lands for exploring. If we practice exploring with certain guidelines it may help us keep those trails and areas we love available to the public.
Many people don’t pay attention to what the government is doing with our lands. You may hear about an oil company having a large oil spill or maybe a mining accident, a lot of people will think of how horrible that must be for the area or maybe how gross and annoying it is, but do you think about what the long-term consequences are? I find that I often think of what our country could be like with no paved roads and no infrastructure populating most of our lands. I think of how much wildlife that used to roam different areas, they are all killed off, and if they aren’t killed off they are forced to leave that area. Living in Southern California you find many areas are building more and more homes which saddens most of our outdoor enthusiast and environmentalist out there. The land is not being used for our responsible enjoyment, nor is it used for protecting wildlife that once called that place home. If we lost our local Cleveland National Forest here in Southern California I, along with many others, would be devastated. To stop this we must all make a move to keep what is rightfully ours to use responsibly and carefully, overlanding is the answer.
Overlanding, what is it? I always have people ask me what my hobbies are and when I tell them overlanding, they always ask me what it is. Well the real definition is: self-reliant overland travel to remote destinations where the journey is the principal goal, I like that definition but there is something that sets us “overlanders” out from the general population. Being in a completely remote destination where you must carry everything you will need to survive brings a completely different mindset to the outdoors. We generally appreciate the land for what it is, when you stay on the beaten path of others, traversing through forests and plains with nothing around for miles and miles you begin to really see what our country once was. We appreciate the land for the land itself and learn to preserve it for other overlanders and adventurers. Losing these lands to more development or more resource gathering, we will lose our use of the land and never allow others to experience what bliss we were once able to experience. With the overlanding population increasing rapidly it is important to keep the values we possess close. By doing so, these gorgeous places can stay afloat and continue to be open to our enjoyment and responsible use.
Being an outdoor enthusiast of all kinds and an overlander at heart I believe it is important for us to keep core values we generally possess close at heart. Now, many people don’t consider to have core values that apply to adventuring, but I do. Treading lightly may be one of the most important, staying on designated trails and not ripping up new territory will help us keep respect within the overland community. Packing out all of your trash and any belongings you brought with you will only help keep the outdoors feeling like the outdoors and not Downtown LA, nothing’s worse than coming across a campsite or your favorite trail cluttered with trash. My favorite thing to keep practicing on overland trips happens to be cleaning up everything I can possibly clean, if that means I’m stopping often to pick up trash left behind from others then so be it.
Let’s do this fellow adventurers, let’s show how overlanding can come to the top to push this mess back. Let’s keep our public lands open for public use, let’s bring environmentalist and outdoor enthusiast of all kinds together to keep these lands for what we love. Whether it be protecting a certain species of an animal or maintaining your favorite overland route. I highly encourage and push every reader to pick up trash, tread lightly and practice pack it in, pack it out. No matter who you are and what you enjoy doing in the public lands of the United States we are the only ones that can push back against what is trying to overcome us.