There’s hope for 4WD’ers

Last week, Pat Callinan posted a video to Facebook (see it here) about plans for the Wombat state forest being turned into a National Park, and the negative impact that would have on 4WD’ers.  In itself, that was the same old story right?  A few hoons ruining it for the majority.  Another thing to shake your head at?

Despite the issue raised being very real, and the rate at which 4WD trails are being closed across the country very worrying, I have to tell you that I was impressed by two things that happened next.  As you might expect, Pat’s post got a lot of likes, clicks, and comments.  But the first thing to please me was who shared it. The Offroad Adventure Show, a ‘competitor’ of Pat’s had shared the post!

While I’m not aware of animosity between key personalities in the 4WD industry, from the limited glimpses I’ve seen behind the scenes, there is definitely a strong rivalry.  So to see a competitor of Pat’s come out and share that post is fantastic.  These guys have put aside their business interests for a minute and decided to get behind an industry wide issue, and while that may seem like common sense, I can tell you that in many other industries, it simply doesn’t happen.  So thank you to the team at the Offroad Adventure Show – its very pleasing to see you focus on the issue rather than allow politics (or personalities) to get in the way!

The second thing that pleased me, was that there was some respectful discussion that occurred on the post.  I didn’t read every comment, but at one point a person identifying themselves as a 4WDer stated that the only way to truly ensure the protection of the park and wildlife was to close it.  And while the harsh reality is that is a potential solution, that comment is far from the outcome we want as 4WDers.  Instead of a heap of disgusting and angry comments though, there was some respectful discussion about the issue and no-one resorted to abuse, which was also very pleasing – it is too rare that people from opposing viewpoints can have a respectful intellectual discussion in this day and age.

I’m not sure what impact Pat’s video will have in the big scheme of things, but seeing these two things this week gave me a ray of hope that together we can make a difference.  If we unite as a collective on these issues and encourage robust discussion, then maybe we’ll get to a point where those that can 4WD respectfully are not punished by the sins of the few.

However, for this to happen, we all need to take some responsibility.  I once heard a saying which rings very true here.  ‘The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.’  It means that if you see something wrong and don’t do something about it, then through inaction or indifference, effectively you are condoning it.  It means that we all have the power to take action, and if our words are to be more than rhetoric, we must.

Imagine if all the responsible 4WD’ers out there started sharing content showing them being responsible – for example, picking up Rubbish that others have left behind, or clearing trees down across roads? And if they started with something as simple as using the hashtag #responsible4wder? There’s a lot of us in this country, and it maybe, just maybe it might help turn the perception in our favour.

So instead of 4WD posts feeding the perception that we are all dangerous rubbish dumping hoons, lets start filling feeds with posts showing us being responsible!


Would love to hear your thoughts on this!


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Comments 17

  1. right on 100% with you. I always clean up when i arrive at a spot that has rubbish and leave with my own.
    Its just not that had to do.

  2. A couple of things confuse me, firstly why the interest to change from a Sate Forest to a National park? And secondly why are the called national Parks when they are State managed? So why not call them State parks? Not that it would make that much difference I suppose.
    I have owned 4wds for nearly 40 years now and many different types. Always disappointed when I see the scars, that other non caring or simply uneducated drivers have left behind. Many years ago it was mooted that to enter any crown land with an Off road vehicle, then formal training was required and proof of it carried. This was proposed by the 4WD clubs of Australia. But as always, good ideas fail to reach fruition. As the article quite rightly said, we need to show that we are a responsible bunch as a whole. And not the riff raff, that is mostly portrayed. Take the time to always select 4wd when off road, leave that camp site cleaner than when you arrived, have smaller fires and above all, tread lightly as often as possible. Do this and we might just halt this massive train of desire to close all tracks?

  3. Im a 65 year old who loves driving offroad, nothing dangerous , just like the adventure and the aussie bush!

  4. Recently travelled to the hills behind Benambra. In addition to our rubbish which was comparatively little we took out loads of stuff including bottles, cans, plastic, car parts and disposable nappies (yuck). Dropped it all off at the Omeo transfer station where we advised an appreciative tip manager of the content of our load. Even though I honestly don’t think the tide of crap can ever be stopped, we’ll continue to push against it.

  5. I spend a lot of time in the bush 4wdriving to find my prospecting spots and never leave one bit of rubbish or destroy tracks in the wet weather

  6. The smartest way to fix this problem and still have the tracks open, is to put video cameras in all the trouble spots and issue fines to the few that do the wrong, instead of punishing all.

    Sounds simple and it really is that simple, and to make sure that this is not abused, set up a tribunal to keep it away from the courts, and allow the person responsible to have a say on what is happening also,

    making the fines large enough to fit the situation and also be a deterrent will be the key with good advertising will also help rather than be covert make it obvious, the problem there is they wouldn’t make any money


    1. No, make it covert, that way the mongrels don’t know where or when, and may do the right thing.
      The fines need to be massive though, even surrender of vehicle and demolition. It won’t be effective enough otherwise.

  7. I do not want to lose my access to anywhere, but if grubs and vandals are polluting and destroying this beautiful country, then close those affected areas and allow only hikers.
    We are destroying this world and need to get really tough to stop it.
    I think Noosa North Shore needs to be closed, as one area. The place is overflowing at holidays, and it is too much for the area. The amount of poo and toilet paper, discarded rubbish, and yobbos along this coast is unbelievable. Recently, people were also driving along the sand dunes, and more than likely destroying turtle nests; and these were families and people who should have known better.
    By the way, I am a 4wder , adventure-bike rider, fisherman, shooter, hiker, photographer and camper. I have just had a gutful of nature being abused. Oh, and I have reported incidents and have had no action taken because Police, Fisheries or Wardens have been unavailable, too busy, or just couldn’t be bothered.

  8. I would hate to see more tracks closed but there really are some drivers who don’t deserve the privilege. Leaving rubbish, tearing up tracks, and destroying surrounding bush. I recently witnessed a flock of 4×4’s at a creek crossing. It was an easy crossing but they roared through the water and tore up the far bank. Unnecessary speed meant that deep muddy ruts were formed making the crossing much harder

  9. I totally agree. A small minority is spoiling it for all. Maybe if they brought a registration of some sort in to allow you to go 4WDing then would that help stop some of the idiots. At least the Park rangers might be able to do something. I mean if you are prepared to pay for the privilege then your less likely to rubbish or abuse the bush. Not my preference but an idea.

  10. I suggest that two things from above have merit.

    1. Why not institute 4WD Licences issued on production of training verification. I have been doing it for many years, but would attend training again if it would make a difference.

    2. Make the guilty people pay. Why should the responsible users lose access because of a few (and sometimes more that a few)? Covert surveilance and hefty fines as a minimum. Don’t want to pay the fine, don’t mess up, simple.

  11. Its all good that off road adventure show may not be a rival at all to pat mc callum seeings tho they advertise club 4×4 insurance which pat started up years ago

  12. May be we should take matter into our own hands and dob in these irresponsible 4wders. We all have dash cameras. Why not film them and send them off to the authorities? a few widely published convictions with hefty fines would surely make these offroad hoons think twice about their irresponsible actions to the environment and the impact on their fellow 4wders!!

    1. Agreed Don,

      I’m not so sure putting it up on a social is a good idea though as it continues to share bad examples of what we do – directly to the police is the go. For every bad example we need 3 good examples with the hashtag #responsible4WDer


  13. We have a local state forest in which is constantly locked up. We tried for years to access to drive the forest and teach 4wding through our 4wd club. The ranger was a real “Ranger Stacey” and would never open the gates. When we finally came to an agreement with him to do a clean up, we were disgusted by the amount of rubbish scattered through the forest tracks from walkers, mountain bikers and horse riders. We removed over 14 trailer loads of junk that day and after we were finished, we were politely told “Thanks, but he would never let us have access to drive the tracks.” (Nice community liaison work)

    Individual 4wd licencing will never work, it would be overseen by some government dept, prices are already ludicrous to gain accreditation (which I have), states would never agree on a common training course, and as you know, increasing fees linked to the CPI, is a favourite of govt to feed the coffers of an ineptly run dept. I think it would just amount to another money grab by the relevant authorities to fleece the 4wd community. I was talking to the Kyogle NPWS office a week ago regarding a track warning I was about to drive, and I was told they only have 3 people to check and repair the forest tracks in that entire northern rivers area. They asked me if I saw any fallen trees on the track, could I please remove them if it was safe to do so, which shows they are grossly understaffed.
    We had a bunch of red necks removed from Inskip Point a few years ago for breaking glass bottles in the sand, they were reported to the rangers and they were kicked out. Yes they threatened us, but 9/10 these cowards are full of hot air, especially when there are a lot of families and responsible 4wd’ers around that wont put up with this sort of behaviour.
    I think the only way to get rid of these grubs that wreck our forests and parks is to keep vigilant, report them, and let authorities know that we want these morons made to clean up their own mess, their vehicles confiscated and then locked up.

    1. Post

      Don’t give up – what we are talking about is amplifying the good things responsible 4WDers like you are already doing…

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