When we hear about trail closures or new forms of legislation under consideration by groups of unhappy anti-'wheelers, we really start to worry. When our sport comes into question, we're lucky that there are groups and individuals passionate enough to take time out of their busy lives to fight for our right to enjoy four-wheeling on public lands. Jon Fund is one such New England off-road club, founded on the basis of family oriented four-wheeling, education and technical support, environmental, and 4x4 land-related issues.
Jon Fund's 2003 Cool Ride Event was held August 8-10 at Paragon Adventure Park in Hazelton, Pennsylvania. A portion of the proceeds collected were donated to the Save Florida Road Fund started by the North East Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs. The Florida Road is a trail that runs through the Massachusetts towns of Florida and Adams. Public access to this city-owned scenic trail is being threatened, and donations to the fund help with legal efforts, research, surveys, and in time, trail improvements.
Members of Jon Fund set about organizing and planning CoolRide 2003 with the usual intent it directs toward all of its other functions: family oriented fun, action, and adventure. As with past events, the club members couldn't find a more appropriate place to hold CoolRide then at Paragon Adventure Park. The park's 130 miles of trails wind through 15,000 acres of private land, offering adventurous 'wheeling for drivers of all skill levels. The terrain at Paragon alternates between technically challenging boulder-strewn trails and easily navigable logging roads.
Over a three-day period, Paragon's professional guides led participants throughout the expansive trail systems. Out on the trail, the most common statement we heard from the 'wheelers was, "This place is awesome." The event's trail runs were well organized by Jon Fund President Dan Stra and the hard-working club members. All the participants were there to support one another. This is where Jon Fund's education and assistance training comes in; its goal is to also help each member reach new levels of vehicle control and expertise while four-wheeling.
Each night, the participants settled in for a first-class buffet dinner and raffle giveaway at the Best Western conference center in Hazelton. The prizes were donated by the event's sponsors: Randy's Ring & Pinion, Aussie Locker, and Bill Burke's 4-Wheeling America. This is a truly tight-knit group of 'wheelers. On the last day of the event, club member Bob Siwinski destroyed the rear ring-and-pinion on his Jeep Cherokee. Two participants who had won gearsets and lockers in the raffle handed Bob their prizes to help put him back on the trail as quickly as possible. Now that's cool.
Jon Fund is making great progress in its quest to help support responsible care, management, and preservation of recreational land for the benefit of four-wheeling. To preserve the sport, the club has purchased land to be used for responsible four-wheeling. New England landowners interested in working with Jon Fund may contact it on the Web site.
CoolRide is the largest annual event Jon Fund organizes, but the club also holds numerous trail runs and family outings. For each upcoming CoolRide event, Jon Fund plans on supporting a different 4x4 land-related issue in the New England states. If you'd like an issue addressed in your area, visit the Jon Fund Web site.