Feed aggregator

BLM Releases Solar Energy Monitoring Strategy

MuirNet - Thu, 05/26/2016 - 12:43

The Bureau of Land Management released today the final strategy for monitoring the impacts of solar energy development in eastern Riverside County. Public comments from the October draft strategy were considered into this final strategy which is part of the implementation of the Western Solar Plan.

The Riverside East Long Term Monitoring Strategy will help the BLM understand solar energy development's broad-scale effects on resources such as vegetation, hydrology, and air quality. The information generated through the strategy will help the BLM permit future solar energy projects.

Read More ...

Categories: Legislation

Cherry-Picked Science and Non-Transparent Tactics used to Justify Overreaching Agenda

MuirNet - Mon, 05/23/2016 - 10:10
Panel: Obama Administration Relies on Cherry-Picked Science and Non-Transparent Tactics to Justify Overreaching Agenda

Washington, D.C. -- Today (May 19, 2016), the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held an oversight hearing to examine deficiencies in regulatory transparency at the Department of the Interior (DOI).

Transparency is the cornerstone of a participatory democracy, but there are glaring failures from the increasing use of executive orders and questionable science from the self-proclaimed “most transparent Administration.” Regulations have insufficient public comment periods, lack independently verifiable supporting data and the cumulative impacts are never assessed.  Time after time, access to supporting scientific studies and agency data are unavailable to the public.

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Categories: Legislation

Forest Service and Partners Gear Up for Significant 2016 Wildfire Season

MuirNet - Tue, 05/17/2016 - 16:12
Current Outlook Underscores Need to Reform Wildfire Funding

WASHINGTON, May 17, 2016 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell met today with Forest Service Regional Foresters to discuss preparations for anticipated significant wildland fire potential in 2016. The briefing comes as the 2016 fire season has begun with five times more acres already burned than this time last year, following 2015's record-setting fire season.

"The 2016 wildfire season is off to a worrisome start. Southern California, the Great Basin in Nevada, portions of the southwest, and even Florida and Hawaii are particularly vulnerable this year. In California, more than 40 million trees have died, becoming dry fuel for wildfire," said Vilsack. "Congress must take action now to ensure that we, and, ultimately the firefighters we ask so much of, have the resources to do the restoration and wildfire prevention work necessary to keep our forests healthy."

Read More ...

Categories: Legislation

Safe Departure Point and Other End Trip Stuff

4x4 Wire - Mon, 05/16/2016 - 11:56

Last month we reviewed the 10 qualities of a great trail leader. That article took us from the planning and preparations stages to the conclusion of a 4WD trip. This month’s article discusses what you as a Trail Leader need to do once everyone has reached the departure point. Even though the ride is over, several additional steps are needed to bring that enjoyable event to a successful conclusion. This is riveting information if you are a trail guide!

Categories: Legislation

Safe Departure Point

Badlands Off Road Adventures - Sun, 05/15/2016 - 00:00
Safe Departure Point & Other End Trip Stuff
(Click picture for a larger image.) Last month we reviewed the 10 qualities of a great trail leader. That article took us from the planning and preparations stages to the conclusion of a 4WD trip. This month’s article discusses what you as a Trail Leader need to do once everyone has reached the departure point. Even though the ride is over, several additional steps are needed to bring that enjoyable event to a successful conclusion. This is riveting information if you are a trail guide! 1. Departure Point Selection But before we arrive at the departure place, let's review the selection of the departure point and the time-of-day goal to end the trip.

Can you have them back on pavement early enough, to drive home that day? 2:30 or 3:00 p.m. is OK when the return trip is 200 – 300 miles. It will be a late arrival for them but still gives a very full day on the trail. If it is the last day of a long holiday weekend, you can be sure most guests will be anxious about getting out ahead of the traffic. You should plan to have them on pavement by noon.

Pick a safe place to allow the vehicles to be aired up, anti-sway bars to be reconnected and people to say goodbye. It should be near a major road home. The departure point need not be right when the dirt ends. Continue to lead the group until it is a simple matter to head home. A great location has a trash bins nearby. Everyone wants to unload their trash as soon as possible. Access to fuel is a plus after a long off-road trip. An ideal location has available flush toilets (or at least pit toilets). You need to identify the closest car wash for situations when it is imperative the mud comes off as soon as possible. 2. Get your guests back on the road Your fellow four wheelers will be eager to get going. But you need to ensure that each driver and vehicle is ready to go. Drivers should inspect their vehicles to make sure they are road worthy. Visit each driver and ask, “Everything all right?” If anyone needs assistance, either lend a hand or ask others to help. If not obvious by their comments, make sure every driver is clear about the route home. Retrieve any gear or equipment (radios, shovels, etc.) you lent out.

You should always be the last to leave the departure area. You never want to leave anyone behind. Be especially patient with newer four wheelers. They often take a little longer to get prepared.

This is a good time to collect the evaluation forms. Incidentally, those should be handed out just prior to arriving at the departure point. Stop about a half-mile out and distribute the forms. If you wait until the departure point, drivers will be too distracted and anxious to get going.

You could mail them later, but don’t expect much of a response. It’s better to approach the drivers while they’re still on the trail.

3. Clean your 4WD vehicle and restock your equipment This is an important step. Even though you’re probably tired and eager to put your feet up, take time to properly deal with your vehicle, equipment and supplies. If you put it off for more than a day you will forget the issues you had with the vehicle and supplies that were used up. Clean and restock any fluids or gear (including medical supplies, spare parts, and fire extinguisher) you used or that became damaged (such as recovery straps). Create a list of repairs and other actions action items during the trip or on the way home while it is still fresh in your mind. Make sure you put back all the essential items, and that your vehicle is tidy and prepared for your next trip. We covered these and others in 10 Important Tasks After Driving Off-Road.

4. Update your notes, records With the four wheeling experience still fresh in your mind, update your trip notes, journal/log or other document. (In fact, I recommend taking notes during the trip. Sometimes it’s possible; other times not.) Record what worked and what could be improved upon. Refer to the evaluation forms for valuable insight.

In addition to your main journal, you should have an equipment list, emergency packet, tour narratives and other resources. Update and replenish as needed. Use mapping software to save your GPS tracks. Edit those files to remove any wayward turns you made. Once cleaned up, that information will be invaluable the next time.

If you had to get a permit to access the area, you may need to send a post-trip report to the appropriate agency. Note any issues or problems you encountered that officials could remedy (broken signs, vandalized rest area, landslide and such).

Now that you’re accumulating notes and related stuff, you need a filing system.

5. Set up a filing system A filing system is really handy. Containing both electronic and paper documents, it helps you make sense of all the information you’ve collected and generated.

Store your maps, notes, checklists, brochures and other paper items to help with the next trip.

Think through your electronic storage, too. This contains navigation information, emergency number(s), handouts, tour narrative and other documents. Simply print out what you need next time. Take advantage of what you’ve learned to make your next trip more enjoyable

Trail Leader duties don’t end at the departure point. There are several more steps you need to take to wrap up that four wheeling experience. Doing so ensures that your guests get on their way properly and that you’re prepared for your next 4WD adventure.

##########################
Related Articles from Badlands Off-road Adventures Did you miss the previous article?

May 5, 2016 - ALL COLORS BACK in STOCK
Click for higher resolution image We now have all six colors of our winch bandana back in stock!

The Orange and Red went fast last time with blue not far behind so if you want a specific color order now while we have them all available.

The Bandana layout follows the “Vehicle Recovery Plan” with pathways to more detail. A unique section of the Bandana, gives the steps for a “Winch Rigging Check: Walk through” so that you verify every element of the rigging before you commit to the pull.

Stuff this in your recovery kit and you will always be ready.

Warning – the Bandana is not a substitute for proper training and use of quality equipment used within the bounds of their safe working load. We advise you to use the information provided in the Winching Recovery Bandana at your own risk. We cannot control the quality and specifications of the equipment used and the methods actually employed.

The original press release with larger graphics is on the website Some Upcoming Events

(click on the link for details)

Serpent Crossing the road - Borrego Springs, CA
(Click picture for a larger image.) With just about 3 months before the Rubicon Trail trip, now is the time to sign up and make the commitment that this is the year you will "do the Con". 3 months will give you time to, schedule vacation, make those upgrades you need, get in a Rocks Clinic or two and prepare for an epic trip. Check the schedule below to sign up for Rock clinics and the Rubicon.

Summary of upcoming events. ########################## Rock Clinic June 18 and July 09

Rocks

If you are planning on doing the Rubicon, this is a good "shake down" or if you prefer a "warm up" clinic. It is great introduction to rocks even if you don't plan to do the Rubicon. The Class will be in Johnson Valley. It is an introduction to Rock crawling but it is not on "baby" rocks. We take our time and stress careful wheel placement. We use spotters for difficult sections. You learn by inspecting the obstacle and predicting the line; by watching others try their line; by experiencing it yourself; and by the coaching. We recommend you repeat the training several times. You will be much more relaxed the second time over the same obstacles and you will pick up on little details missed the first time. More Details...


You can register directly at http://www.4x4training.com/calendar/calendar.php#Rocks


Rubicon Trail Adventure August 15- 18, 2016

The Rubicon Trail is the stuff of legends. It is considered the Grand Daddy of trails. If your vehicle has a weakness, it will find it. Any serious four-wheeler needs to "Do the 'Con" at least once. There is no guarantee of avoiding vehicle damage. Even the most skilled driver can succumb to the fatigue of 12 unrelenting miles of rocks. Just bring a good attitude and the best prepared vehicle you can. This could be a once in a lifetime trip but a lifelong of bragging rights. More Details


You need to register now so you have time to prepare. Register directly at http://4x4training.com/calendar/calendar.php#Rubicon


It comes in many colors.
(Click picture for a larger image.) Jack Covers Have you ever broken a tire bead while 4- wheeling and found that the hi-lift jack was barely operational due to dust, dirt and mud packed into the operating mechanism? Not only is it frustrating but dangerous as well. Since most of us bolt our hi-lift on the outside of the vehicle, it is not uncommon to find the mechanism less than functional.

A simple boot over the working parts of the jack to protect it and keep it clean is an idea that has been around for a while. The current offerings have not been very successful. At TDS this week, I discovered a new product for the hi-lift jack cover that looks promising.

Adam Woods has built a better “mouse trap” which he market under the name www.jackcovers.com The new cover marries a neoprene inner liner with a marine grade vinyl shell on the outside. It has a heavy duty - #10 Marine grade zipper, treated for mildew and antimicrobial, and available in 20 + colors. Since the product covers a number of holes on the jack upright, Adam explained to me he analyzed which holes most of us use to mount a hi-lift and offers two sizes of the cover - 11" and 15”- to allow several mounting combinations.

73
KI6FHA
I hope to see you on the trails!
Tom Severin, President
Badlands Off Road Adventures, Inc.
4-Wheel Drive School
310-613-5473
http://www.4x4training.com
Make it Fun. Keep it Safe.
#####
If you find this information valuable, please pass it on to a friend. You can forward them the email. If you received a forwarded copy of this newsletter and would like to subscribe for yourself, go to: www.4x4training.com/contacts.html and follow the instructions to join our mail list.
Want To Use This Article In Your Magazine, E-Zine, Club Newsletter Or Web Site? You are welcome to use it anytime, just be sure to include the following author/copyright information: Tom Severin, 4x4 Coach, teaches 4WD owners how to confidently and safely use their vehicles to the fullest extent in difficult terrain and adverse driving conditions. Visit www.4x4training.com to develop or improve your driving skill.

Copyright 2016, Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Inc.

Life with a Jeep - Just another mod...

4x4 Wire - Sat, 05/14/2016 - 14:34

Okay, it started with a gasket replacement and escalated from there. Gasket replaced, thermostat housing replaced, fan belt replaced and manual throttle control installed.  And, everything works.

The paint dried and I reinstalled the floor panel over the transmission. That lead to another small item - new transmission shifter boot covering. The original was barely big enough and it was showing signs of stress - the rubber boot was in three pieces. Luckily, the local Pep Boys has the next larger size of universal covering in stock.  Perfect fit.

Categories: Legislation

Wild Horse and Burro Populations Increase

MuirNet - Fri, 05/13/2016 - 11:06
Wild Horses and Burros on Public Rangelands Now 2.5 Times Greater than 1971 when Protection Law Was Passed

BLM seeks to expand initiatives to address problems with new legislative authority

  • 46,000 Horses Already Being Cared for Off-Range
  • Off-Range Care of Unadopted Horses Would Exceed $1 Billion
  • Necessary Horse Gathers Exceed Available Space and Funding

The Bureau of Land Management announced today that as of March 1, 2016, more than 67,000 wild horses and burros are roaming Western public rangelands – a 15 percent increase over the estimated 2015 population.

Read More ...

Categories: Legislation

My Pajero "Evolution" - Finding a Unicorn

4x4 Wire - Fri, 05/13/2016 - 09:09

My decision to begin a search for the rare and unique Pajero Evolution was fraught with peril. Being a limited production homologation model, with only 2500 ever produced, were there actually any parts that crossed over to the mass-market Pajero, beyond the obvious things like sheetmetal and glass? Beyond this pressing question, could I still find one in decent shape, 18 years on, that was ready for export? Finally, would I have to pay a king's ransom to actually ensnare the beast?

Some of the parts compatibilities have still yet to be answered, but, in a virtual sense, I was able to cross over some part numbers to the "normal" Pajero/Montero, such as maintenance items on the MIVEC 3.5L. I also found out that the front brakes were the same ones that the third generation model used. A few hits like this convinced me that my search wasn't entirely irresponsible, and I began my search in earnest, anxious to discover answers to my last two questions - availability and affordability.

After watching the JDM auctions for six months or so, several things became crystal clear: 

A. I wasn't going to have the pick of the litter. Of the 80 to 100 pajeros available in a given week, there might be ONE PajEvo, or none, depending on the moon cycle and the shape of the clouds hovering over Mount Fuji. 

B. Procuring a manual transmission model (my secret yearning) was going to be almost impossible. If the slushbox was rare, it was downright ubiquitous alongside its three-pedalled sister, of which I saw exactly two in all the time I was looking.

...
Categories: Legislation

Life with a Jeep

4x4 Wire - Wed, 05/11/2016 - 12:32

While cycling through vehicles to check fluid levels, hoses, and belt condition, I noted seepage from the thermostat housing on my YJ. No problem, I had a couple gaskets and it was time to swap the stock housing for the hi-flow thermostat housing that has been taking up shelf space for several years. And, while I'm at it, a new fan belt as the one on is cracking and showing signs of wear.

Categories: Legislation

Historic Drought Helps Predict How Climate Change Might Affect an Endangered Species

MuirNet - Wed, 05/11/2016 - 10:09
Extreme 2012-2014 drought a "crystal ball" into future climate change

The Bureau of Land Management, the University of California at Santa Cruz, and The Nature Conservancy announce the release of a new study documenting the negative effects of the 2012-2014 drought, the most severe multi-year drought in southwestern North America in the past 1200 years, on an endangered lizard in the San Joaquin Desert of California. The results provide a unique glimpse into the potential effects of future droughts expected in California as a result of climate change, and provide guidance on how to buffer these negative effects to avoid species extinction.

Read More ...

Categories: Legislation

Tourism to Mojave National Preserve Creates Nearly 43 million in Economic Benefits in 2015

MuirNet - Wed, 05/11/2016 - 09:34

A new National Park Service (NPS) reports shows that 589,156 visitors to Mojave National Preserve spent $33,720,400 in communities near the park in 2015. That spending supported 486 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $42,746,200.

"Mojave National Preserve welcomes visitors from across the country and around the world," Superintendent Todd Suess said. "We are delighted to share the story of this place and the experiences it provides. We feature the park as a way to introduce our visitors to this part of the country and all that it offers."

Superintendent Suess said the report shows that national park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service, and that this spending is a big factor in the local economy as well. "We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors, and we are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities," he said.

Read More ...

Categories: Legislation

My Pajero "Evolution"

4x4 Wire - Thu, 05/05/2016 - 20:17

I began my Mitsubishi 4x4 obsession in 1995 with a 4 cylinder, 1988 Dodge Raider (a badge-engineered Mitsubishi Montero SWB). This was after years of admiring its unique, boxy form, in a country (Canada) where they were a virtual unknown. Over the next 20 years I would own many variants of this theme: an 89 V6 Raider, followed by a long wheelbase Montero of the same year, and then two JDM import diesels. The first was a second generation SWB Pajero 2.5 diesel, and then a 93 2.8 LWB diesel. My sixth one took me upmarket to a North American 3rd generation Montero, which my wife promptly claimed as "her truck". Additionally, my satisfaction with Mitsubishi reliability lead me to branch out into cars as well, having six cars in this time.

  

All these vehicles ticked different boxes, from bushwackers, to tow vehicles, to rock crawlers to daily drivers, as well as people, bike and kayak haulers. 

I was ready to tick another box.

Categories: Legislation

Bears Follow their Noses, so You Should Follow these Tips

4x4 Wire - Wed, 05/04/2016 - 10:09

May 3, 2016 - With an estimated 35,000 bears, California has a healthy and growing black bear population. In spring hibernating bears emerge from their winter slumber and begin an almost perpetual search for food. It is not uncommon for a black bear to consume up to 20,000 calories a day. Unfortunately, this search can sometimes lead bears into populated areas and conflicts with humans.

Categories: Legislation

Win a Complete Wrangler Overhaul worth $15,000 in Fully Installed Modifications

4x4 Wire - Mon, 05/02/2016 - 11:18

ExtemeTerrain is giving one lucky winner the ability to completely overhauling their rig by providing both game-changing parts and a complete installation

MALVERN, Pa. (April 26, 2016) – ExtremetTerrain.com, a leading aftermarket Jeep Wrangler parts supplier, is celebrating the change of seasons with their biggest overhaul prize pack ever. They are giving one lucky winner the ability to reinvent their Wrangler from the ground up, creating a dream build. Participants can enter weekly at http://www.extremeterrain.com/custom-jeep-wrangler-build-sweepstakes.html now through the end of August, 2016.

Categories: Legislation

Yamaha Volunteers Return to Rehabilitate San Bernardino National Forest

4x4 Wire - Mon, 05/02/2016 - 10:44

Eighth Year of Yamaha Employee Volunteer Project to Improve Outdoor Areas and Access

CYPRESS, Calif. – May 2, 2016 – Yamaha Motor Corp., USA, employees returned to the San Bernardino National Forest this past weekend to volunteer their time in support of projects aiding the popular Summit OHV Staging Area. Working with members of the Southern California Mountains Foundation (SCMF) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), the effort represented the eighth year of Yamaha Outdoor Access Initiative volunteer projects in one of the nation’s busiest forests.

Categories: Legislation

Flake, McCain Call for Revised Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Plan

MuirNet - Sun, 05/01/2016 - 12:04

Washington, DC– U.S. Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) today introduced the Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Plan Act to direct the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to publish the first revised recovery plan for the Mexican gray wolf in Arizona and New Mexico in 34 years. As a result of the 1982 Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Plan, an experimental population of wolves were placed in Arizona and New Mexico and since that time, land owners and public officials have voiced concern about the program.

This legislation would require that the USFWS work with state and local entities to ensure they have input in the drafting of a new recovery plan. In addition, if the USFWS does not comply with the plan, then Arizona and New Mexico are able to supplement or assume management of the recovery process. This bill also includes a provision that would require automatic delisting of the Mexican gray wolf as an endangered species once conservation goals have been reached.

Read More ...

Categories: Legislation

Off-highway vehicle rollover a reminder to practice OHV safety

4x4 Wire - Wed, 04/27/2016 - 16:25

April 27, 2016 – The Arizona Game and Fish Department reminds all off-highway vehicle (OHV) drivers and passengers to ensure they are riding safely by carrying only the number of passengers for which their vehicle is designed.

The reminder comes after a Mohave County couple was injured when their single-rider all-terrain vehicle (ATV) flipped recently while on a difficult roadway in the Hualapai Mountains, according to the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office. Most ATVs are only designed to carry a single rider.

Categories: Legislation

10 Qualities of a Great Trail Leader

4x4 Wire - Sat, 04/16/2016 - 15:14

You’ve driven the trails numerous times. Have hundreds of hours of 4WD experience under your belt (some of which, of course, is spent outside of the vehicle). You’re good with people, and feel your managerial skills are top notch. You’d like to be Trail Leader for an upcoming excursion. What’s next? 

First, I commend you for wanting to take on a leadership role. As a certified professional 4WD Trainer with more than 40 years of off-road experience, I know the value of a good Trail Leader. Our hobby could use more people willing to step forward and fulfill this role. 

Categories: Legislation

10 Qualities of a great Trail Leader

Badlands Off Road Adventures - Sat, 04/16/2016 - 00:00
10 Qualities of a great Trail Leader Pointing out our location on the map.
(Click picture for a larger image.) You’ve driven the trails numerous times. Have hundreds of hours of 4WD experience under your belt (some of which, of course, is spent outside of the vehicle). You’re good with people, and feel your managerial skills are top notch. You’d like to be Trail Leader for an upcoming excursion. What’s next?

First, I commend you for wanting to take on a leadership role. As a certified professional 4WD Trainer with more than 40 years of off-road experience, I know the value of a good Trail Leader. Our hobby could use more people willing to step forward and fulfill this role.

Being a Trail Leader is not an easy task. It involves skills, personality and patience. Here are my Top 10 qualities of a great Trail Leader.

1. You must have good 4WD skills. This is a huge category, and includes reading the terrain, picking lines, spotting, recovery, vehicle repair and the Tread Lightly philosophy, to name a few.

2. Know the trail. Drive it at least one time. Get familiar with the terrain and trail. Learn the difficulty level of the obstacles. Know the location of campsites, gas stations, parts store(s) and rest areas. Pick out back up campsites and a safe spot to air up at the end. Contact the responsible agency (BLM, parks department, state DNR) for the latest information. Is there a fire ban? Any trail closure? Does the group need permits? A phone call can minimize the surprises.

3. Keep the gang together, especially at difficult obstacles. Don’t let the drivers split up or spread out. A driver can peel off in the wrong direction. Others follow him, and pretty soon several drivers are lost. Have you heard of the accordion concept? Everyone keeps an eye on the vehicle behind and slows down as needed so as not to lose him. Don’t rely on that as it doesn’t work well. Keep an eye on three vehicles behind you. Stop and let the group close up frequently.

Schedule your stops for 10-100 and photo ops. (More on communications later.) Then make sure you don’t leave anyone behind. I could be still looking for several vehicles that left the lunch stop going the wrong way! Thanks to a sharp Tail End, who chased them down! Don’t split the group unless absolutely necessary. The most common reason is due to a breakdown that can’t be repaired on the spot. Make sure everyone knows what they are to do, where and when you’ll meet up again. Try to stay in radio or phone contact. Follow the buddy system: No vehicle goes off by itself.

4. Start on time, and keep the team on time. You can adjust trail time by adding or deleting stops. Don’t cajole or push the team, but don’t linger at stop more them necessary. Maintain a good pace throughout so you end on time. It’s always better to arrive at the campsite earlier than later.

5. Develop a good communications plan. This includes written instructions before the trip, as well as briefings and radio gear. Include spotting hand signals too. Your tail gate briefing at the trailhead is an important part of your communications package. Do a radio check before leaving. Know some history of the area and names of geography features you can communicate during the trip.

Your communication responsibility extends outside your own group. Talk to other Leaders you meet on the trail. Ask how many vehicles, where they are going, tell him the trail condition you just came over, ask what's ahead of you, if there are any other groups, etc. If they pulled over, tell him which is your last vehicle. I also like to thank each vehicle (if I can) as I go by for stopping for us. I want my tail end to do the same thing.

6. Know how to sequence the vehicles. High difficulty - alternate those with winches. Place ham radio guys in back. They have the power to ask for a repeat of information that was difficult to hear on the less powerful radios. Have any newbies right behind you. They will follow your cues. Lay down an easy line so the newer driver can follow you. Once identified, put the slowest driver behind you to pace yourself.

7. Be a people person. Any number of issues can crop up during a ride. Your guests come first; do everything you can to deliver a quality experience. Patience and understanding are a necessity in any Trail Leader. You’ll encounter a wide variety of skill sets and personalities while enduring a whole range of circumstances.

8. Handle pressure well. You cannot relax and follow the vehicle in front. This can be a nerve-wracking position, especially during inclement weather, vehicle breakdowns, very slow drivers, bad behavior and other challenging situations. If the risk is too high, be willing to change plans.

9. Be considerate of others you encounter, and encourage the same in your group. Slow down when approaching vehicles, pedestrians, campsites and cabins. This will minimize dust. When passing, don’t insist on right of way even if it’s normally yours. If you have only two or three vehicles, pull over and let the larger group pass. Adjust to the situation, and be polite.

Generally speaking, four wheelers are a nice bunch. So are other types of trail users. No need to think or act competitively. Always be friendly, and encourage that in your team. Be willing to share gear or a campsite with someone in need outside your group. The good deed will be repaid someday.

10. Treat your position as Trail Leader with respect. Since you reach a rest area or campsite first, hold back and let others grab the prime spots.

Being a Trail Leader carries with it much responsibility. You are expected to know the route, coach others through difficult obstacles, deal with bad behavior, have a backup plan for many unknowns, and keep a cheerful attitude throughout. But the rewards are tremendous.

A note to clubs: Everyone needs to start somewhere. Let a willing member be the Trail Leader even if uncertain of his skills and ability (don’t stick the new guy just cause no one wants it!) Pair him up with an experienced Trail Leader who will not let him fail! The same goes for spotting. Get some new blood out there learning to spot and building the trust of the group. Have your normal go-to-spotting-guy stand behind him coaching but not giving the drive instruction himself.

##########################
Related Articles from Badlands Off-road Adventures Did you miss the previous article? Some Upcoming Events

(click on the link for details)

Serpent Crossing the road - Borrego Springs, CA
(Click picture for a larger image.) With just about 3 1/2 months before the Rubicon Trail trip, now is the time to sign up and make the commitment that this is the year you will "do the Con". 3.5 months will give you time to, schedule vacation, make those upgrades you need, get in a Rocks Clinic or two and prepare for an epic trip. Check the schedule below to sign up for Rock clinics and the Rubicon.

Summary of upcoming events. ########################## Rock Clinic June 18 and July 09

Rocks

If you are planning on doing the Rubicon, this is a good "shake down" or if you prefer a "warm up" clinic. It is great introduction to rocks even if you don't plan to do the Rubicon. The Class will be in Johnson Valley. It is an introduction to Rock crawling but it is not on "baby" rocks. We take our time and stress careful wheel placement. We use spotters for difficult sections. You learn by inspecting the obstacle and predicting the line; by watching others try their line; by experiencing it yourself; and by the coaching. We recommend you repeat the training several times. You will be much more relaxed the second time over the same obstacles and you will pick up on little details missed the first time. More Details...


You can register directly at http://www.4x4training.com/calendar/calendar.php#Rocks


Rubicon Trail Adventure August 15- 18, 2016

The Rubicon Trail is the stuff of legends. It is considered the Grand Daddy of trails. If your vehicle has a weakness, it will find it. Any serious four-wheeler needs to "Do the 'Con" at least once. There is no guarantee of avoiding vehicle damage. Even the most skilled driver can succumb to the fatigue of 12 unrelenting miles of rocks. Just bring a good attitude and the best prepared vehicle you can. This could be a once in a lifetime trip but a lifelong of bragging rights. More Details


You need to register now so you have time to prepare. Register directly at http://4x4training.com/calendar/calendar.php#Rubicon


It comes in many colors.
(Click picture for a larger image.) Jack Covers Have you ever broken a tire bead while 4- wheeling and found that the hi-lift jack was barely operational due to dust, dirt and mud packed into the operating mechanism? Not only is it frustrating but dangerous as well. Since most of us bolt our hi-lift on the outside of the vehicle, it is not uncommon to find the mechanism less than functional.

A simple boot over the working parts of the jack to protect it and keep it clean is an idea that has been around for a while. The current offerings have not been very successful. At TDS this week, I discovered a new product for the hi-lift jack cover that looks promising.

Adam Woods has built a better “mouse trap” which he market under the name www.jackcovers.com The new cover marries a neoprene inner liner with a marine grade vinyl shell on the outside. It has a heavy duty - #10 Marine grade zipper, treated for mildew and antimicrobial, and available in 20 + colors. Since the product covers a number of holes on the jack upright, Adam explained to me he analyzed which holes most of us use to mount a hi-lift and offers two sizes of the cover - 11" and 15”- to allow several mounting combinations.

Winch Recovery Bandana & Winching DVD
Click for higher resolution image We have our new stock with many new colors (Red, Orange, Green, and Blue) on hand. The Bandana is packed full of useful information and is a quick reference in the field when no DVD player is available."

The Bandana layout follows the “Vehicle Recovery Plan” with pathways to more detail. A unique section of the Bandana, gives the steps for a “Winch Rigging Check: Walk through” so that you verify every element of the rigging before you commit to the pull. Stuff this in your recovery kit and you will always be ready!

Pick up or order the Winching DVD too! There is no substitute for hands on training. If you can, sign up for one of Badlands Off-Road Adventure’s Winching Clinics.

Warning – the Bandana and DVD are not a substitute for proper training and use of quality equipment that is used within the bounds of their safe working load. We advise you to use the information provided in both the Winching Recovery Bandana and the "Basic to Advanced Winching and Recovery DVD" at your own risk. We cannot control the quality and specifications of the equipment used and the methods actually employed.

Winch Recovery Bandana Order Button
Colors Orange Red Blue Natural Green Natural

Order a Basic to Advanced Winching & Recovery DVD too!


(Click picture for more details)

73
KI6FHA
I hope to see you on the trails!
Tom Severin, President
Badlands Off Road Adventures, Inc.
4-Wheel Drive School
310-613-5473
http://www.4x4training.com
Make it Fun. Keep it Safe.
#####
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Want To Use This Article In Your Magazine, E-Zine, Club Newsletter Or Web Site? You are welcome to use it anytime, just be sure to include the following author/copyright information: Tom Severin, 4x4 Coach, teaches 4WD owners how to confidently and safely use their vehicles to the fullest extent in difficult terrain and adverse driving conditions. Visit www.4x4training.com to develop or improve your driving skill.

Copyright 2016, Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Inc.

US Forest Service to begin annual aerial surveys in early summer

MuirNet - Fri, 04/15/2016 - 11:57

Tree mortality expected to climb from 2015

VALLEJO, California – With tree mortality rising to an estimated record-high 27.6 million trees in California in 2015, the U.S. Forest Service Aerial Survey team’s role in generating data for the agency and state and local partners is more critical than ever.

The U.S. Forest Service began doing aerial survey detection in the Pacific Northwest Region in the 1950s, with a small program in the Pacific Southwest Region (California) established in the 1990s. A dedicated team was assigned to the regional office in the early 2000s when Sudden Oak Death became more prevalent. In addition to detecting the Sudden Oak Death and conifer mortality, aerial survey flights first detected the Gold Spotted Oak Borer infestation in 2004. 

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