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Thread: Tread Lightly vs. Driving Like a Tool - see Ask an Officer for original question

  1. #1
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    Tread Lightly vs. Driving Like a Tool - see Ask an Officer for original question

    You may have seen "Tread Lightly vs. Driving Like a Tool" question post under Ask a SAVE Officer forum. I was asked to post any additional info I had. I mistakenly tried to post a response there but forum policy dictates I must repost elsewhere… here.

    SO please first see

    My answer :

    "There is very little legislation specifically in place at this time. This was an item that was noted and raised when the Province initiated a review of trails related legislation a few years ago. Members of the OF4WD will have seen my updates on the legislative review in past newsletters and AGMs. The bottom line is they were/are looking at a "damage" provision to be added to the Public Lands Act. There was also on and off discussion around the introduction of a Trails Act. Exactly when and how some form of provision will finally be incorporated I suspect may not have been finalized yet.

    Now you have raised this issue, I would like to share a philosophical thought or two on this and see what you think….

    Firstly, take legislation around very common things that the nearly all the population get involved in and result in problems, say, driving. There is a long list of do’s and don’t laws and it is constantly getting added to and amended. Yet, we still do not have a provision in there for how to deal with very busy intersections/on ramps etc. where at times the only way joining traffic can get access is when someone lets them in. It relies on the courtesy of a driver who has the right of way to yield their legal right and let them in. Do we need legislation to mandate a policy there ? The bottom line is you cannot rely on legislation to solve all your problems. In this case intersection design helps, but, we will always still rely on the awareness and actions of courteous drivers.

    Secondly, let’s look at what they could in theory do if they brought in a “damage provision”. What would it say ? We could all agree that deliberate damage to trees and structures etc. is fair game. What about leaving ruts ? If slappy “spins ‘em up” big time and leaves ruts we would call him a tool and it would be grounds for a talking to, but, what if Fred and 9 of his Jeep friends just happened to be out on a mapped/recognized trail after May 1st, driving sensibly and hit a wet spot… Would rutting be damage ? What dimensions of a rut constitute damage ? Could circumstances surrounding the creation of the rut even be considered ?

    The bottom line is a lot of this is not objective, it is subjective. You could write a broad form law that relied on the discretion of the Police or MNR officer, but given the highly subjective nature this would likely not be wise (unfair and contestable)… “When is a tool a tool ?” Give 10 people 5 scenarios say and ask them to answer Yes a tool, or, No not a tool to each, I’m sure you would get a range of answers.

    I would just like to re-iterate, you cannot rely on legislation to solve all your problems, especially on certain issues. With regard to 4x4 I believe folks generally want to do the right thing. Issues/sensitivities around 4x4 are not always obvious. There will always be idiots, but, if the majority act reasonably anrd are responsive to concerns then you are 90% of the way there. At the OF4WD we try to do our part to raise awareness over sensitive issues/areas and on things folks can do to minimize their impact."
    Last edited by pw; 06-02-2013 at 07:11 PM.
    President OF4WD

  2. #2
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    Thanks for the reply Peter.

    To give a bit of background information on the question, my inquiry was more "out of curiosity" and not something I felt was a concern. The topic was something that was brought up in the office between myself and a co-worker. We were discussing the use of "overly powerful buggies" for specific competitions in the states, and the statement was made that these things are so powerful, that they would be illegal here due to the likelihood of damaging trails. A friendly debate started and that eventually turned into the question I submitted. I'm happy to say that this question did not arise from a situation, but rather a theoretical idea.

    I'd say that a large majority of off-road enthusiasts in this province understand and abide by "Tread Lightly" principles (I'm sure to some extent, you would agree). Certainly those that I have gone off-road understand and respect the principles. The majority us, OF4WD members or not, understand that we can't abuse the trails which we are lucky to have. That being said, I'm a big proponent of the "don't give legislatures a reason to introduce legislation" so it's good to know that we're at a stage where this is something we should "self-police" and it's not too late to prevent additional legislation.
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  3. #3
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    Speaking of tools,

    These guys ended up getting some attention.

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