While I have been witness to the club issues to which you refer, not all clubs are like that. Not all club members are "sheep". A conscientious club leadership will put rig limits on trail runs to attempt to avoid the typical "too many Jeeps" issue. I think once the majority of your members are beyond a certain experience level, both wheeling and in the community in general, those things become less of an issue.
That being said, I disagree with what Rich said; that wheelers "should" be in a club. You don't have to be in a club to wheel legally. It's perfectly acceptable. Honestly, if you are wheeling on private property that you have permission to be on, and you are not on the trails that everybody else is overrunning, kudos to you.
Obviously, Rich sees it as a black and white issue. Club (in the NEA): Good wheelers. No club affiliation: Bad wheeler, renegade.
Field & Forest Recreation Area www.nea4wd.org
I don't know many trails at all in this tiny little state of ours. I can tell you to stay away from the Hanton City Trial, in Smithfield RI near Bryant U. This was my crew's favorite spot but one of the last times we came out there were a couple cops waiting. Luckily my buddy's bro is a Providence cop and he knows a lot of Smithfield guys so we got out of it. But he let us know that it's a 500 dollar fine for anyone caught back there and they tow your rig. Which I don't understand because this is a legit hiking trial (hence the no wheeling) but 500 bills just to be back there? I thinks that's some bull****. Sorry for the novel, but just a word of caution.
-Not to step on any toes but clubs are a waste of time. Who wants to be told what to do and have limits on their rig? Grab a hold of a few of your closest friends, start a crew, and have a good time.
Clubs are not a waste of time. rules are for safety and there is safety in numbers.
We know what is legal and what is not.CB's tow hooks, fire ex.
Your buddy's may bag out on you last minute. But a club runs once a month.
They can get you there and back. Clubs are the way to go. Northeast Association of 4WD Clubs
I agree with Rich 100%. Clubs are the future of four wheeling; arrangements with private land owners to legally wheel on some awesome trails, tech days to work on rigs, world class regional events (such as the Fall Crawl), parts discounts with many vendors, and perhaps most importantly strength in numbers that will (hopefully) gain us legal access to public lands.
Not trying to knock on anyone really. If you're part of a club and that works that's all good, I'm not and find it easier to just have a good time wheeling with my boys. I do understand the perks of it though. Maybe someday I will look further into joining, actually I have looked into Ocean State Jeepers, but till then I'll stick with the Triple 6 crew.
Quesiton here, when you guys go on runs is it strictly club members or is anyone allowed to join in on the fun? Also, do you limit the number of rigs heading out? One of the older guys I work with was part of an offroad club back in the 70's and early 80's he showed me pictures of them going through the powerlines in Smithfield and as far as you could see there was truck after truck. Not any extreme wheeling but just a Sunday afternoon trail run.
The problem is that except for a few class IV roads which are not particularly challenging there are no legal places to wheel.
Club runs are open only to club members (or members of other clubs affilliated through the NEA4WD). The main reason for this is that a good majority of the runs are on private land that the owners have specifically opened up to clubs. Clubs volunteer time to the owners, owners open up land for wheeling. You have to give in order to get. Runs are typically limited to 15-20 vehicles but it depends on the land.
I'd like nothing more than to see a fair share of public land opened up to wheeling. But it ain't going to happen unless wheelers band together to a) demonstrate responsibility and b) become a political force.