Spring Cleaning at AOAA with TREAD Lightly!

I’m to the point now where I’m less concerned with my own self-promotion and more interested in paying it forward. Some of that is due to the wisdom that comes with age. Now that I’m in my mid-40’s I just don’t see the point in playing the social-media game and trying to “keep up with the Joneses.” My goal for 2024, and the future of ECOA, is to keep paying it forward. So, with that in mind, let’s kick off 2024 with another TREAD Lightly! cleanup project.

Pre-project volunteer meeting. Solid crowd of about 100 total volunteers for the day.

Unlike past projects I’ve helped out with which happen on public land like National Forests, this cleanup was at one of our local off-road parks: Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area. This is former anthracite coal mining property that isn’t good for much of anything these days. This is also a very popular area for outdoor/off-road enthusiasts — hence the creation of AOAA. Formed in 2013, AOAA took over roughly 7,500 acres of neglected mining land that has become a mess from abuse and dumping. Working with local government and mining companies AOAA was able to create a network of trails giving motor vehicle recreationalists a place to go. This land is open for use not just by full-size 4×4’s, but side-by-sides, ATV’s, and dirt-bikes. My own feelings on mixed-use areas aside (not fan) AOAA does a really good job of providing dedicated/exclusive trails for each vehicle type to play on. The downside to the AOAA property is that for decades it was dumping ground for local rednecks too lazy — and too cheap — to dump their trash legally. This is not a problem unique to this area, but a systemic problem plaguing public, and private, lands all across the country. Enter TREAD Lightly!.

Introducing Scott Ammerman of TREAD Lightly!

The best part about TREAD Lightly! is that membership fees go straight toward remediation projects all across the country. From the executive leadership at the top all the way to the local boots on the ground the TREAD Lightly! team is focus on a very clear mission to not only leave things better than they found it, but educate and promote responsible land use to outdoor recreationalists of all kinds. More often that naught these projects occur on public lands like federal properties like National Forests and BLM land. However even private and state land can receive support from TREAD Lightly!. Since AOAA is a joint project with local government and mining property owners it’s a perfect candidate for some spring cleaning.

Loaded up and heading out to our cleanup location.
At least three different groups headed out to hit multiple locations during the day.

The project was a relatively short one. Starting at 0830 with a volunteer meeting we quickly broke into multiple smaller teams. With 100+ people working on multiple sites it was the very embodiment of, “Work hard; play hard” because as soon as we were done cleaning around 12-noon, and after a bite to eat, most everyone turned around and headed back out on the trails.

Good mix of volunteers in our group.
Still mostly Jeeps, but we let a Tacoma and a few ATV’s into the seven slot grill group.
Do better humans. Do better.
Doing our part!
Peep that Quadratec 4xe 2dr JT build
Filling Jonathan’s Canadian M101 military trailer with a literal ton of trash.

All in all volunteers pulled out more than 200 tires and managed to fill a 20 cubic yard dumpster. Huge thanks to AOAA for providing lunch and to TREAD Lightly! for providing trash bags & gloves. Not a bad day!

Not a bad haul in the Quad 4xe JT
Added a few tires, a tv, and some other junk to Jonathan’s trailer before we unloaded it.

Our group went to check off a Jeep Badge of Honor Trail called “Barney Rubble” which was a glacial moraine nestled in a narrow hollow. My driver for the day, my buddy Jonathan, walked his JKU on 33’s up the trail. Luckily this was a multi-line trail with an easier path (the one we took) to the left, a moderate line up the middle, and a harder line that weaved its way up the hollow. I will say that “easy” was relative and it was still a moderate trail even on 33’s. However, we hit the trail, got the badge, and then called it a day.

Work Hard; Play Hard
Got a little sketchy, and with my bad foot I wasn’t able to do any photos from outside. Maybe next time.

For more information on helping with future TREAD Lightly! projects please consider becoming a member. Member fees are what support projects like this and those member fees go toward supplies, dumpers, permit fees, and other project necessities. No matter where you are there is a project in your area and if there’s not, let TREAD Lighly! know and they’ll come out to help!

Become a TREAD Lightly! member today!