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The Moab Experience - Moab Survival Guide

Posted in Events on May 1, 2007
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Welcome to Moab - the four-wheel land of enchantment. Your visit to Moab will leave you with a lifetime of exciting memories and experiences. This treasured and majestic public land is rivaled by very few places in the world for recreation. This southwestern area of Utah is perhaps one of the last great areas of the country four-wheel-drive enthusiasts can enjoy the timeless and unchanged beauty of Mother Nature's greatest works.

Each year, thousands of Easter Jeep Safari visitors descend upon Moab. The Safari economically impacts this small town with an exceptionally profitable windfall of revenue. Environmentally, the Safari impacts the town and surrounding areas very little despite the explosion of trumped-up controversy surrounding the event. This is not to say that we should hit the backcountry without concern. In some instances, environmental damage does occur. Great care needs to be taken in order to preserve this fragile ecosystem and our inherent rights to access these lands.

Every year new lawsuits are filed, which in turn can lead to exceedingly stringent off-highway regulations or complete trail and land closures. When we travel through the backcountry and trails around Moab, we should all be well aware of our surroundings, know where we can and cannot drive, and do our utmost to respect and care for the environment. We also need to be safe, respectful, and patient with other four-wheelers, hikers, mountain bikers, and anyone else who uses the trails.

The Red Rock 4-Wheelers do a great job marking trails and cleaning up after the Easter Jeep Safari. We need to help them out in any way we can and set an example as responsible four-wheel enthusiasts. If we are to continue using the trails around Moab, we should adhere to the following important rules and make the event enjoyable for all in attendance.

* Stay on the trail. Driving off-trail can lead to damage of a very fragile ecosystem.

* Do not litter. If you see trash on the trail, pick it up even though it may not be yours. There is absolutely no reason to throw anything on the ground - this includes cigarette butts.

* Carry additional trash bags in your vehicle for those people around you who may not have any.

* Carry plenty of rags or paper towels to clean up vehicle fluids that may have accidentally spilled on the trail or rocks. The blue disposable shop towels that are readily available at any auto parts store work great for trail spills. Simply throwing dirt on a fluid spill doesn't cut it. This problem is one of the environmentalists' greatest complaints. Fix all your vehicle's fluid leaks before you leave for Moab.

* Do not use any trees or foliage as a winching or recovery point. If possible, use another vehicle as an anchor in a safe manner. Make sure you follow all winching safety procedures suggested by winch manufacturers and professionals.

* Altering obstacles, driving through foliage, or making a new path to an obstacle to make it more challenging is a big problem. Don't do it. There are more than enough trails around Moab to challenge any vehicle.

* Cryptobiotic soil or crust is the black, moldy, lumpy substance you see on the ground around Moab. It plays an important role in the desert's ecosystem by reducing erosion. It's also a source of nitrogen, nutrients, and water for other plants and vegetation. Avoid driving or walking across areas where cryptobiotic soil is found.

* If you're taking a break from wheeling or having mechanical difficulties, pull off the trail in a safe or designated location. Do not block the trail so it is impassable to other four-wheelers, do not make or clear new parking areas, and most importantly, do not park on anything living!

* If you are an inexperienced driver, do not get yourself into a situation that could lead to possible injury or death. Some of these trails are extremely dangerous. Always check the trail rating, conditions, and warnings before heading out. Don't wheel alone if you can help it.

* Make sure your vehicle is in proper working condition.

* Carry enough food and water for the day. A quick trail run can become an extended excursion due to mechanical difficulties.

* Prepare for every type of weather condition - rain, snow, sleet, and freezing rain are not uncommon in Moab in the springtime.

* The official trails of the Easter Jeep Safari are designated as one-way-travel-only and are closed to enthusiasts not participating in the event. The closures will take place in the morning and run till about noon. These trails are highlighted in red on the trail map on page 22 and 23 of this guide. Please respect these closures. Due to the increased popularity and attendance of the Easter Jeep Safari, the heavy traffic on the trails makes it difficult for the official club runs to coexist with unofficial trail runs.

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