#Responsible4wder

Last week we launched our new lobbying and advocacy campaign, #responsible4WDer.

The notion of encouraging and promoting responsible four wheel driving has been one that I’ve been passionate about over the years. This passion is driven off the back of a need to support our hobby and passion with the reach Club 4X4 now enjoys, but also utilising the credibility that seems to be automatically bestowed on a business in the financial service sector, whether that be right or wrong. Our business is to make a promise, then actually dive in to support people at their time of need. We do that every single day at a singular customer level; repairing windscreens, replacing cars, repairing damaged bars and paying recovery bills. I am proud of what we do, and we do it well, every single day.

But I am also a realist to the core; and as I watched another video of a Triton tearing up a farmers paddock earlier this week, it cemented my desire to have our team and brand work with the rest of the industry and community to find a way to combat the profile that this activity and exposure tars us with. I’m not saying I’m one who doesn’t like circle-work – but not on someone else’s and certainly not on public property; there is a time and a place for everything.

I’m confident that the intent with that video I mentioned earlier, was to “name and shame”. I think as a community we do a great job of this – and I did note that it was also sent to the local police who hopefully acted on it whole-heartedly. But I wonder if it really helped? I think anyone who took the time to read the comments will see that everyone who took the time out was there to note their displeasure, not support of the activity. But is that what the people who are opposed to giving us access to land do? Or do they just share the video?

Someone much wiser than me once said that “the best defence is a good offence”. I think that the various bodies involved in our industry currently do a fantastic job of lobbying and working with governments to bring to the fore the size and importance of the 4WD industry. The people who form part of such organisations usually do it as volunteers with day jobs, but they do it for the love of the community and passion.

What if we could arm these volunteers for their interactions with those who make decisions on track closures, erection of gates and imposition of laws that restrict our way of life? How can we help them to demonstrate the size and nature of four wheel drivers and what we actually do? I know how much time I spend each day flicking through social media in my downtime – I’m sure most people reading this are the same. How about if we started to post, or share recognition of people doing the right thing in the 4WD world? In a world where a viral post can make or break someone, why don’t we focus on ways to create a groundswell for the positive?

Imagine we had 500,000 people watching and contributing to a hashtag. Imagine we had hundreds of posts everyday with the hashtag from enthusiasts who are out doing the right thing. Pictures of rubbish packed in a bag, a pristine campsite before and after, responsible clearing of a tree across a track, a responsible recovery, your local club giving back to the community somehow? The opportunities to create a positive post with the hashtag are endless. If you were to present evidence of responsible four wheel drive activities to a MP who has the power to keep tracks open – what would you show them? You can do so by posting with the hashtag.

What typifies successful communities is a common goal that drives everyone – #responsible4WDer is bigger than all of us, but gives us an opportunity to try to bring together and give more exposure to the positive actions each of us undertake every day.

We will do our bit to find opportunities to share positive activities. If you post one yourself or see one, tag us in it and we will schedule it across our channels too.

Let’s get on a front foot folks. One post a week from everyone reading this can make a massive difference!

Remember, #responsible4WDer

Happy Touring,

Kalen

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Comments 19

  1. I believe some of the responsibility for this stupid behaviour falls on a certain “Action” magazine that seems to revel in tearing up tracks, damaging vehicles and promoting illegally modified 4WDs as “customs”.

    Unfortunately, in every type of activity there is a minority that are easily influenced and believe that they are entitled to act the way they do.

  2. Hi Kalen, I think personally that the people responsible for any kind of track or property damage should have their 4×4 impounded just like the hoon laws on our roads for 28 days and third offence crush the vehicle, I’m a caring 4×4 club member myself, I don’t understand why anyone would want to damage such a beautiful country like our’s………Rick

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  3. I am in almost total agreement with the sentiment of your comments regarding the need for responsible 4WD’ing.

    Almost.

    The part I struggle with is the implied ‘them & us’. 4WD’ers vs those who would close tracks.

    As long as the stated goal is to keep gates unlocked & tracks open the ‘them& us’ will be nurtured & little will change.

    The problem is that within our 4wd community there are significant numbers of folk who are quite happy to put their desires for fun above the needs of the bush. They proclaim their love for the bush, but are the first to cry foul if told their activities are resulting in damage putting tracks at risk of closure. These cries of foul typically attack those caring for country using terms of abuse like ‘greenies’. Even this ‘responsible 4wd’er article ‘shows a need not to get this sector of the 4wd mob offside, they are significant customer segment. Circle work has nothing to do with 4wd’ing.

    Additionally many love to watch videos, many professionally made, of 4wd’ing which makes 4wd’ing look exciting by promoting irresponsible & unsustainable practices. Those who view 4wd’ing as being about ‘conquering’ the country they drive *over* (& many do) need to understand that driving *through* country gently is the way to go, taking the easy route to experience country rather than the hard way to prove something to themselves, to bolster their self esteem. That sort of driving is best restricted to purpose built tracks & country that can sustain it.

    When the ‘them & us’ becomes a bush loving ‘Us’, accepting that protection measures should take priority over our collective need for ‘fun’ we will be ensuring a future which allows continued exploration of our bush for future generations, as past generations have enjoyed.

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      Hi Ian,

      Thanks for the sentiment. You are right – it is all about finding the right balance. It shouldn’t be a them and us mentality – we should all be able to work together on this, and be comfortable that the rights of 4WDers are balanced with the needs for sustainability.

  4. What a great idea. I have seen many examples of Responsible 4WDER over the years . I have also witnessed idiots doing all sorts of damage to both the environment and their own vehicles. It always seems to be these bad examples that get all the social media coverage. Excellent stuff Club 4×4 . I will be posting all that I can in the future.

    Regards. Jim.

  5. Hi Kalen
    Great idea
    Regrettably people tend to focus ion the negative aspect of things rather than the positives
    To the responsible 4 x 4 ers out there I take my hat off to you please continue
    To the fools Leave your $x$ in the Garage or better still sell it.
    if you can not be responsible you do not deserve to have one
    This country is for everyone,
    selfish fools force closures and by ensuring we are all tarred with the same brush.

    Kim Beeson

  6. Concur with Jim and all previous comments.

    This is a brilliant initiative and one I am going to do my best to promote to friends and clients who also 4WD / go bush etc. Promoting positive examples is a good “offensive” PRO-ACTIVE strategy that will auger well for future arguments. Seeing proof of a: 1,000 good people to ONE idiot ratio might put the one idiot who gets all the “Shares” and bad media into perspective to the decision makers.

    Great idea and it has my full support. Do you guys have some sort of social media thing we can share to friends / clients / other GOOD 4wders to increase awareness.

    Can I also suggest you consider approaching guys with good YouTube channels like Ronny Dahl (4 Wheeling Australia) who also promotes good bush ethics and clean ups when he finds grubby camp sites – to help promote awareness of this campaign and see if he’ll be happy to give it a plug (who has a very good subscription base of 4wders). 4WD Action who got a bit of a stick in the eye by one commentator do nonetheless hate campers leaving their rubbish behind etc so would be good ambassadors to promote your idea and the #responsible4wders idea. Making more people aware of this campaign and opportunity sooner rather than later ought to be a primary short term goal for the campaign organisers.

    Good work. Paul

  7. I have followed that action mob and the damage they do is horrendous at best . One particular track up here in FNQ they pushed tracks through the bush tore up what was once passable sections. Shows showing this sort of driving should be banned and promoting breaking gear as normal is grossly irresponsible. I am disabled and if idiots like this keep saying it’s ok to rear up tracks it will stop me enjoying some fantastic parts of FNQ

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      Hi Peter,

      Thanks for contributing. We all need to start being responsible and considerate for others, and unfortunately you are right – some of the ‘icons’ of the industry set a very poor example…

  8. Well here’s a go ! I am a member of Trackcare W.A. The stated aim for this volunteer body is ‘Access for the Future’. Track Care is a not-for-profit organisation and all work and admin is carried out by volunteers. If you are in W.A. and want to do something about maintaining 4WD tracks and areas you like to visit now in your 4×4 so your kids have somewhere to go in the future, check out the website and facebook. Pretty much started with the Canning Stock route, but now has projects ranging from beach track erosion maintenance to restoration of old station buildings . I am a relatively new member. If you want up to date data, check out the on line forums, or better still come along to a monthly meeting and see if it fits with your ideals.

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      1. Hi Aiden, The article below is a direct lift from the website, and gives you a good idea of the history etc. If you intend showing this email under replies , you may want to edit first, or wait until you have more detail from Trackcare in a more suitable form for publishing or reproduction.

        History

        TCWA commenced in November 1996 when a group (Nick Underwood, Ian Elliott, Doug McKenzie, Scott Kinninment, Wayne Schmidt, Graham Higgins, Eric Gard, Ronele Gard, Kim Barker, Jan Scudamore and Ivan Scudamore) met to discuss forming a volunteer organisation to ensure access to 4WD tracks into the future.

        Initially the focus was on the Canning Stock Route (CSR). The CSR is a premier four wheel drive destination for both Australian and international tourists. Its increasing popularity has led to a marked increase in numbers of tourists travelling the CSR, and with it, environmental damage caused by a lack of appropriate facilities. They wanted to ensure there was economically sustainable tourism along the CSR through the restoration and enhancement of facilities (campsites, toilets, good potable water and information). Projects were developed and completed in conjunction with the Wiluna Shire, the East Pilbara Shire, the Indigenous communities of Birriliburu, Billiluna, Kunawaritji, Jigalong and Purrngurr, and the leaseholders on Cunyu, Glen Ayle and Granite Peak Stations. The support and involvement of these groups continue to this day, including the involvement of Aboriginal people to assist in the projects in terms of training and real work experience.

        The facilities installed include:

        Install information shelters concerning the CSR at Wiluna and Newman town sites Wakunpu (Well 3) – restore well, construct campsite and toilet, replace well top with recycled plastic sleepers
        Windich Springs – construct campsite, toilet, Indigenous and European history information shelter, fencing to protect the springs, an interpretive walk trail and install interpretive signs
        Well 4b – construct a 6km electric fence to control feral animals around a billabong and erect erosion control structures
        Milyinirri (Pierre Springs or Well 6) – restore well, construct campsite, toilet (significant work undertaken by Geraldton Four Wheel Drive Club with assistance from the Subaru Four
        Wheel Drive Club) and install interpretive signs
        Katjarra (Carnarvon Ranges) – construct two campsites, two toilets and two water collection shelters (significant work undertaken and funded by Telstra at one site)
        Palatji (Weld Springs or Well 9) – construct Indigenous and European history information shelter and install interpretive signs
        Well 12 – restore well, construct campsite, toilet and in 2015 replaced all well timbers with recycled plastic sleepers
        Durba Springs – construct campsite and 2 toilets
        Georgia Bore – construct campsite and toilet
        Tiwa (Well 26) – restore well, construct campsite and toilet
        Mungkalu – construct a campsite, toilet and a water collection shelter

        The work of TCWA has expanded to include working with the Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW) to maintain public access to 4WD tracks and other DPaW estate such as ex-Pastoral Stations in the Kimberley, Gascoyne, Midwest, Goldfields-Esperance and Great Southern regions. TCWA has restored (with on-going maintenance) Warriedar Station homestead and shearers quarters, Woolgorong Outcamp building and Narloo homestead. Facilities also include a toilet and hand water pump. TCWA also works with DPaW and affiliated 4WD clubs to ‘adopt’ 4WD tracks to ensure the heritage and environment is preserved, and the tracks remain accessible into the future.

        In addition, TCWA has worked with DPaW to install a hand pump at Geraldton Bore (Gunbarrel Highway), tank, shelter, toilet and BBQ at Neale Junction (junction of Connie Sue & Anne Beadell Hwy’s), and repaired the Wool Shed and installed a new toilet at Wanjarri Nature Reserve (near Mt Keith) in the Goldfields.

        Trackcare has links to a few of the major 4WD clubs in W.A. and they also have quite a few high profile partners for the work they undertake. These partners include the Department of Parks and Wildlife and other Government and Indigenous bodies. Tourism operators and even the Royal Flying Doctor service work with and support Trackcare.

        This list will give you a good cross section of the 4WD and other organisations involved.

        Links in alphabetical order (only member and supportive organisations are listed here, those that are concerned about sustainable access)

        Conservation Meets With Four Wheel Driving
        Conservation Council of Western Australia
        Platinum Partners
        Department of Parks & Wildlife (DPaW)
        Ellenby Tree Farm
        Natural Resource Management in Western Australia
        Outback Spirit Tours
        Lottery West
        Silver Partners
        Global Gypsies
        Intergrated Recycling
        Royal Flying Doctor Service

        General Partners
        4wding Responsibly
        Adventure Off Road Training
        Armadale 4wd Club
        Benson Advertising
        Central Desert Native Title Services
        Cunyu Station (no website)
        Eureka 4wd Training
        Four Wheel Drive Club of WA Inc.
        Geraldton Four Wheel Drive Club Inc.
        Heritage Council of Western Australia
        Lochman Transparancies
        Mitsubishi 4WD Owners Club of South Australia
        Mitsubishi 4wd Club of WA Inc.
        Peel 4×4 Club
        Pemberton Discovery Tours
        Red Dog 4wd Club
        Robson Brothers 4wd Service and Repair
        Rockingham 4wd Club
        Scene Signs Pty Ltd
        Toyota Land Cruiser Club of WA
        WA 4wd Association (Clubs link page)
        Welington Region 4wd Care Group
        Western Patrol Club
        Wilbinga 4×4 Shacks Crew

        I think you should make contact with the Treasurer Graham Weber for more detail. Graham will be able to provide any information you wish, and can point you in the right direction if there is anything he cannot assist with.

        A point you should be aware of. Without offending anyone, Trackcare is not a ‘green’ body. It may have the same objectives on a lot of issues, ( as the greens have come to realise, even though we do drive the dreaded 4WD’s ) but there is no affiliation or association. Graham can provide clarity on this .
        Graham’s detail.

        Graham Weber, Treasurer
        Track Care WA Inc.
        0418914016
        E-mail: Treasurer@TrackCare.com.au
        Website: http://www.trackcare.com.au

  9. Of course there are also ‘those ads’ showing how exciting it is tearing down a beach at a hundred miles an hour etc. or in the case of one current ad, doing circle work around a tree. Maybe the rest of the RV industry need to try and put some pressure on manufacturers. No access, no sales for anyone.

  10. As a driving instructor team member of TLC for a number of years, I would like to say that having played hard for many years , I have always taken the path of least impact. But also instructed all drivers how best to traverse all obstacles. If it’s the only way out use it . If there are alternative of less damage then definately use them. But always drive as safely as possible.

  11. I am a member of the Pajero Club Of Victoria have been for nearly 10 years ,I have been doing off road driving for over fifty years ,and have permission to go on private land over that time ,I have seen a lot of this country and leave it clean and also remove other rubbish left by those that don’t care.
    If we don’t keep it clean we will not be able to travel in it ,the original owners look after it so we have to as well.

  12. I to once was a reader of that “Action” mag , but after Roothy left them they started tearing up the place and flogging “Cheap” accessories that the quality has been questionable
    In their early days there was much education by them
    We have all seen some doing the wrong thing and then posting it for the world (the look at me syndrome) same as some doing burn-outs on roads in V8’s …. Thinking everything is replaceable is the line of the younger generation so destroy it and somebody else will replace it (the result of everything being given to them as kids)
    People like me struggle to pay $5G for engine rebuild for my Pajero with only 426,000 ks so not to many trips for a while

  13. Thank you everyone for your comments here. It’s obvious that everyone is passionate about finding ways to encourage good behaviour and affecting our persona in the community.

    I encourage all of you to get behind it and start posting positive examples of behaviours and using the hashtag! Lets see how quickly we can build this profile.

    Happy Touring

    Kalen

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