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Death Valley National Park Requests Grants to Cover Damages From Illegal Off-Roaders

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buggy offroad off-roading
Photo: Pixabay

Off-roading can be a thrilling pastime if you like to explore rough terrain and test your vehicle’s limits. But there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it.

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How not to off-road

Per The Drive, illegal off-roaders have been scarring Death Valley National Park’s geography for the past few months. The damaged area spans over 130 miles, as pictures from the National Park Service indicate. The 4×4 tracks have been discovered in protected areas in popular spots such as Badwater Basin, Panamint Valley, and Stovepipe Wells. These tire tracks could remain in the landscape for years, possibly even decades, according to the InsideHook.

Aside from the ethical argument against doing donuts in protected areas of national parks, you have to wonder why these recent vandals chose Death Valley for their misdemeanors. For one thing, California has an established network of state-approved off-road parks where they can go. And Death Valley’s remote location isn’t as accessible to major cities as some of these parks.

In addition, these stunts are making responsible off-roaders look bad, which might cause the state to start reducing the number of off-roading parks it has. At the very least, California might start considering increasing surveillance and security for current off-roading parks.

Currently, Death Valley National Park is pressuring the state’s Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division to lobby for grants that would cover the expense of repairing the park’s damages. It would also increase the protection of these areas to help prevent similar vandalism from occurring in the future.

How to off-road

DrivingLine’s Lori Carey shares some basic trail etiquette tips to observe when off-roading. That way, you can enjoy this pastime while also preserving and respecting the environment.

Observe rules and signs

Before you go off-roading in a designated off-roading park, research any rules, fees, and permits the place requires. And when you’re there, pay attention to signs to make sure your particular vehicle is permitted on a trail before traversing it.

Avoid littering

Adopt a “leave no trace” motto when off-roading. Carey recommends bringing along a trash bag so you can contain any litter and pick up any other litter you might see on the side of the trails.

Stick to marked trails

No matter where you’re off-roading, make sure to stay on marked trails. Say no to driving over shrubs and trees and ford streams only at designated crossing points.

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