OHV Riders: Follow Five T.R.E.A.D. Principles

This week, Richard Gummersall, Off-Highway Vehicle Education Coordinator for the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, provides some quick reminders for all motorized trail users about the five T.R.E.A.D. principles endorsed by the National Tread Lightly campaign. This piece is part of a Resource Stewardship Series that IDPR is producing for OHV riders.

Tread Lightly and IDPR are two of our partners in spreading the good word about how to Recreate Responsibly in Idaho, and specifically, how to be a good trail ambassador, how to use your trail machine wisely and responsibly on our public lands, and take steps to ensure that you have a safe and fun outing.

  1. Travel Responsibly – Stay on designated trails and ride in the trail bed. Go over, not around, obstacles to avoid widening the trails. Cross streams only at designated fords. Avoid wet, muddy trails.
  2. Respect the Rights of Others – Respect private property, leave gates as you found them, show respect for other trail users, slow down on blind corners and yield to other trail users, communicate with other trail users, and stop and say hello! Be a good steward of the land and follow proper trail ethics – a little courtesy to others goes a long way.
  3. Educate Yourself – Invest time preparing for your trip and do advance research on the travel routes/trails you plan to use. Motor vehicle use maps provided by Idaho national forests are considered “the Bible” to understand rules and regulations that apply to multiple use trails. Practice safe riding. Take an OHV skills class and know how to operate your trail machine safely. If you’re operating a UTV, spend a moment to go over safety and crash protocols with your guests.

    4. Avoid Sensitive Areas –
    Stay on designated trails and avoid sensitive areas such as meadows, lake shores, wetlands and streams. If the trail crosses a stream, slow down when approaching the creek-crossing, keep your momentum traveling across the creek in a controlled manner, and then slowly ride up the trail tread on the other side.

    5. Do Your Part – Leave the area better than you found it. Pack out your garbage. Pack extra trash bags for picking up after others. Minimize the use of fire, and avoid the spread of invasive species (clean the under carriage of your OHV after riding through noxious weeds).

Gummersall concluded his Tread Lightly talk by saying that since 1978, OHV users have lost access to 40 percent of the trails/areas previously open to them. By practicing good trail etiquette and being a good steward of the land, OHV users can prevent further closures by Recreating Responsibly in Idaho.

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