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Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017

Maximum Impact

Posted Tuesday, January 22, 2008, at 7:38 AM

We've done a lot of 4x4 exploring throughout the western USA on public lands managed by the USDA Forest Service, National Park Service, and Bureau of Land Management. Part of using public lands in our opinion is helping protect it by operating our vehicles so as to cause the least amount of impact possible.

A group that we believe every back country motorized recreationist should be aware of and follow their principals is Tread Lightly! This organization offers training programs and information to help preserve our access to public lands, and you can learn about Tread Lightly! at http://www.treadlightly.org.

Since we've been living Tread Lightly! for years by trying to inflict the minimum amount of impact on the land, using our Jeep for cross country travel on the farm is a foreign concept to us. The thought of knocking down vegetation on purpose is contrary to our normal operating procedure, but the weeds are tall on the farm, so something has to give.

Blackie took a spin around the farm with a home brew device designed to inflict maximum impact on the vegetation that came in contact with it. Now I won't begin to say that my "invention" is even slightly efficient, but it works pretty good, and for someone without farming equipment, I'm pretty happy with the result so far.

I hooked a length of hog fencing with several hundred pounds of weight on it and dragged it around about 2 acres on the farm. Diving headfirst into a weeds 10 to 12 feet tall makes for an interesting trip, but I had help in the form of a "scout" breaking trail to make sure I didn't hit a pipe, roll of fence, or who knows what else might be in the way. Brother in law Gary got a good workout! After several passes over the same area going a different direction each time, the tall weeds gave up and are laying flat on the ground.

I don't suppose I'd recommend this type "mower" for anybody that wants to keep from scratching their vehicles paint. Blackie hasn't had good paint in years however as narrow Jeep trails often have encroaching brush, and the resulting scratches have been hidden by scratch cover wax, so adding more character lines from the tall weeds to the paint never crossed my mind.

I've got more weeds to "mow", and I'm building quite a burn pile of brush from tree cutting activities. Big changes to the farms appearance are well underway, and we're excited that we think we'll have all the major cleanup activities completed by Spring. We're only now starting to fully appreciate how tough farming this property was for prior residents based on what has been left behind.

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Thanks for the tip! I wrapped up my dead weed knowkdown project, but I'll keep it in mind when I've got a fresh crop to deal with.

-- Posted by Brian Hoag on Tue, Jan 22, 2008, at 4:02 PM

Brian, there is a lady from Brewster that offers land clearing using goats. The woman and her daughter started a business using goats to provide an ecological means of getting rid of unnecessary weeds. The business is called G.O.A.T.S. About a year ago she did a job for the community of Bartley that was covered in the McCook paper. You might give it a try.

-- Posted by Pickletown58 on Tue, Jan 22, 2008, at 8:34 AM

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