Hey guys, I'm thinking about taking a trip over to Nepaug State Forest (in West Hartford, CT) two weekends or so from now (October 10th maybe) but have never been out there before, and was looking to go with a few other people, especially some people with experience with Nepaug. I know it's sort of tricky with a few off-the-path trails that are illegal to ride on, and I am NOT looking to do any illegal wheeling, just some Fall sight-seeing, and I'm hoping it'll be kinda messy there, as I've heard it's fun towards the Fall/Winter seasons. I'd love to just joing a club, but I don't meet all of the requirements of most clubs just yet, mostly as far as recovery points go, but I still like taking it to simple trails, which is why I want to make a run up to Nepaug, but with ultimately no good maps other than the main path (Access Road) Google Maps shows, I have no experience of the place. So any other local jeepers interested, especially those of you who have made the ride before, let me know, so we can arrange something. It's only 45 mins or less from here, so should make for a fun saturday, and I can meet up with anyone pretty much anywhere. Let me know!
Last I knew, gates were open. BUT... and this is a big BUT... Only the main roads are open for driving 4WD trucks... Those roads can usually be driven in a Honda Civic... so, if you're looking to tool down some dirt roads, in the woods, with the top off the Jeep, you should have a great time.. if you're looking to actually need 4WD, its not going to happen at Nepaug.
Venture off of the main roads and you run the very real probability of getting a ticket.. which will run you in the $110 range +/- depending on how you act in response to getting "pulled over". The thing to note is that many of the side trails/offshoots that are illegal, are NOT marked.. so, its difficult to really know if you are where its OK to be or not... That does not matter to some EPOs... "Ignorance of the law is no excuse" tends to be their motto.
Not sure how far you are from Nepaug, but it may not be worth the cost in fuel to go there if you're looking to actually need/use 4WD. Its too easy to find yourself where you shouldn't be and then getting ticketed.
If you do plan on heading out, you should call the main office/ranger station at Nepaug to find out if the gates are indeed open. Would really be a pisser to drive all the way there only to find the gates closed and locked.
I'm really glad you chimed in here, been wanting to talk to you about Jeep Clubs too.
On a side note, that's all I'm looking for in Nepaug, just heard it was a nice scenic area to ride through, as well as shenipsit state forest in stafford, might just spend a saturday driving and hit both of them given I have some nice weather, just for fun.
But anyways, I'm curious about joining a Jeep Club soon, I don't think I'm ready yet, because I believe the clubs have certain requirements my Jeep must be equipped with to join, or something correct? Things like I currently have no recovery points, although I'm working on getting a hitch and front tow hooks, I just ordered a 2" BB kit and shocks, and the spending money is limited right now, so it's one thing at a time for me, step by step, and with winter approaching, I don't imagine many Jeep clubs are as active in the winter, are they? Granted I don't mind playing in the snow, haha. The main reason why I want to join a Jeep Club though is for the access to areas I couldn't normally gain access to. I have a few areas I have private permission to ride, but since I'm the only person around my area considerate enough to ask, I wind up wheeling by myself a lot, since my land owners request I don't bring other vehicles with me, and I respect that. But my spots are getting boring, and wheeling by yourself just doesn't cut it, I want to get out and meet some people and find some nice trails to ride. I am a easy to moderate wheeler, especially only running a '98 grand cherokee at stock height, but with the BB coming, I'll soon be getting a little riskier. So obviously, I'm curious to know, what kind of clubs are around my area (I'm basically in the Enfield, CT area, btw), what do membership fees cost, when do clubs meet/ride, what does my Jeep have to be equipped with to participate, and please include any other information I should know about a Jeep club. I'm also open with the clubs, if there are even general 4 wheeler clubs, I'd be interested (yotas, 4runners, xterras, etc). Let me know, thanks!
In terms of clubs, I'll generalize first.
There are at least 40 clubs from here (CT) up into southern NH and central NY that you could join. Some are Jeep only many are open membership to any 4WD rig. The main requirement would be tow points front and rear. If you show up with a stock GC and have tow points but don't have a fire extinguisher (for example) there aren't too many clubs that I know of that are going to tell you to pound sand. The other major requirements.. like seatbelts, insurance and battery tie downs are most certainly on your stock truck. (Well, I would hope that you have insurance... )
Joining a club that is located near to you isn't really a necessary thing.. as most clubs have forum/email based communication and they all need to travel out of CT to go wheeling. There are a couple of pieces of private land available for club only events here in CT, but even some of the out of state clubs have access to those properties. So, if you join up with say JT4x4 out of Groton, their wheeling events will mostly be up in MA or points north.
Eastern 4 Wheelers is a long time CT club, I started and was president for many years. They have been around for nearly 25 years and would arguably have the access to the most land out there... We were one of the pioneering clubs in obtaining private land for wheeling use.
Dave Spence is the new club Pres and has been doing a great job of heading up the club. Our forum is seeing regular activity (not lots/heavy, but regular...) and we hold trail rides every month and two per month through three or four summer months. Dues (as they are for most/many New England clubs) are $50 a year. Check the site for what that exactly gets you... Home Page
www.NEA4WDC.org They are based out of NH and most clubs are centered up in that region but they do have a few clubs down in southern New England.
Hopefully that answers your questions.
Oh, another thing you can do... (but I'd buy those tow points first... ) Head over to Borders (or any of the big bookstores) and pick up a CT Gazetteer. Its a big map book with pretty much EVERY road in CT on it and they're overlaid on topos.. so you also can see terrain.
Book will run about $15 +/-. If you're into exploring, each weekend, take a map page or two and highlite the dirt/unmaintained roads, get a couple of fellow Jeepers together (best to do with small amount, usually no more than 4-5) and head out exploring. Most times you'll find gravel/dirt roads you can drive a car down.. sometimes, you'll find gates (road may have been closed/abandoned and reverted back abutting landowners) and sometimes, you'll find rutted, muddy dirt roads where you'll actually need 4WD. Thats why its important to always have another rig with you. You never know what a 6" rut can do to get you stuck.. and being alone, out in the woods, stuck, is NOT fun.. especially when you have to pay someone to come and tow you out... probably more than those tow points or yearly club dues..
If you have a GPS, bring it.. don't use it to direct yourself but have it to make sure you are where you think you are.. use the map first, the GPS as back up. It will also be helpful if you run into any enforcement officers and you find out you are somewhere you're not supposed to be. Armed with information and politeness, there is a 99% chance the officer will tell you that you aren't supposed to be there and have you turn around or continue on (etc) but with no ticket. If you see anyone while in your travels, always stop and be cordial/friendly. You may have just stumbled across the landowner who may have no issues with wheelers and end up allowing access to their property.. It HAS happened to me.. more than once! With no map/GPS to defend your position with and/or if you run, act an a$$, you will most certainly see the stiff end of a trespass ticket.
Babbled a lot here.. and need to head to work.
Have fun and any questions, don't be afraid to ask.
Burned out Land Use guru....
Last edited by ToxicTurtle; 09-29-2009 at 06:02 AM..
Reason: forgot something
David thanks for all of that information, sounds like I have some further researching into these clubs to do, but you hit and answered every question of mine. I think your Eastern 4 Wheelers club sounds like a good bit, I'm about to go check out the site now. Do you guys often get a lot of younger people that join the clubs? (I'm 18) But I think you touched upon every concern of mine, if any more questions arise, I'll be sure to get in touch,
You're quite welcome!
Most of the clubs I'm a member of (I'm a member of at least 4 different clubs throughout New England) have people ranging from 18 (and a few younger than that) up into their 60s or older... so, your age isn't an issue.
Oh, also don't be intimidated by the pictures you'll see on most sites. They often put the more exciting shots up as opposed to the stock rigs, because the big air shots grab attention more so.. doesn't mean that all the rigs are buggies or rigs on 37s.
Hahah thanks, I was starting to notice a lot of the action shots were largely built rigs, and a little intimidating, but I imagine there are probably quite a few stockers (hopefully!) haha, and hopefully, I'll be getting built up bigger pretty soon.