Overlanding is the Key to Keeping Public Lands Public

Overlanding in my eyes happens to be the missing link to connect environmentalist and what is attempting to shut down our public lands. If you wish to help keep our lands open, check out this article. It's in our hands to educate.

By: Douglas Hall + Save to a List

Keeping our Public Lands Public

How often do you use a trail or off-road area that’s currently public land? Whether it be your favorite overlanding route or just your daily mountain biking 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 harvesting resources. Now add this into current issues and the nightmare is slowly becoming reality. Selling these lands will eliminate our use to our favorite outdoors locations. I happen to find that overlanding is the medium between environmentalists and outdoor enthusiasts 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 public lands available to public access.

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. Do you think about what the long-term consequences are? I find that I often think of what our country was 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 enthusiasts and environmentalists 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. 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. It's the same idea that sets off hikers and backpackers. 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 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 for our enjoyment and responsible use.

Being an outdoor enthusiast of all kinds and an overlander at heart I believe it’s important for us to keep core values we possess. 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 overall community. Packing out all of your trash and any belongings you brought with you will only help keep the outdoors trash free. Nothing’s worse than coming across a campsite or your favorite trail cluttered with trash. My favorite thing to practice on overland trips happens to be cleaning up everything I possibly can, and if that means I’m stopping often to pick up trash left behind from others, then so be it. I don’t leave an area until I’ve done what I can to clean up.

Let’s do this, 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 environmentalists and outdoor enthusiasts 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 we are the only ones that can push back against what is trying to overcome us. Lets lead by example, only we can take action against what is being passed within our government.

By the way every picture I have posted in this article was taken in some sort of a land that is currently held public to us, imagine if people were no longer able to access these beautiful areas. Pictures from others will be the only source available to have access to these sights.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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