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Jeep Wrangler - 2007 Moab Easter Jeep Safari

The Ultimate 4x4 Haven

Christian LeeWriter4WD & SU StaffPhotographer

The annual pilgrimage to Moab, Utah, - the Easter Jeep Safari - is hosted by the Red Rock 4-Wheelers and has been since the early '80s when the club was formed. The event was initially established by the Moab Chamber of Commerce in 1967 as a one-day trail run and has since blossomed into a nine-day event. However, although the number of visitors to Moab has steadily increased during the week of the Safari since the first event, less of these four-wheel-drive enthusiasts are signing up for official trail runs. This sometimes creates issues such as trails clogging with vehicles going both directions and long waits for those stuck behind a mile of vehicles after a nonofficial (nonpaying) group of 15 jumps ahead of an official group of 20.

What got us thinking on this subject was an encounter with John and Ray Currie of Currie Enterprises. They had been hitting official trail runs everyday they'd been there, and they were also having some of the best times they'd ever known in Moab, meeting individuals they may have never otherwise come across. Even we had been guilty of ignoring the official runs the last few years, too eager to chase down potential feature vehicles and explore on our own. And sure enough, we weren't the only ones.

With mounting pressures from anti-4WD organizations, it's important that we not let the Moab Safari turn into a spring break scene from MTV. The disorganization abounding around such popular obstacles as Potato Salad Hill fosters irresponsibility of the worst kind. The game of one-upping the next guy can get downright dangerous, and the destruction upon the drive-up obstacles that tolerate repeated unsuccessful attempts by drivers with poorly equipped vehicles so their drinking buddies can holler from the sidelines is, to say the least, disappointing.

This, to us, is not four-wheeling, but it's exactly what anti-4WD groups are looking at when they devise their attacks, labeling our activities as irresponsible behavior by an irresponsible co-culture. What can we as enthusiasts do to help change this image of unscrupulous drive-up-obstacle destroyers who have no interest in exploring the many official trail runs? We can attend scheduled four-wheel-drive events as registered participants, not just as hangers-on who burn rubber around town all day, ruining it for everyone else.

Though we may come across a bit stern, this isn't a plea to stop exploring Moab trails on your own. But it is a plea to either be part of the scheduled event or stay home. Moab is open year-round, and the trails are often even better when you're not the hundredth 4x4 driver to cover the same ground that day. Do your part next year and take the time to sign up for a few official trail runs. You might be led across a few new obstacles and travel more than 10 miles from town during the adventure, and you'll certainly be offering a better image of our sport to those who would happily see it disappear.