(BPT) - Everyone who lives life with a sense of adventure needs a way to get out into the world and enjoy it. Whether you’re an off-roading veteran or a beginner looking for a new kind of thrill, traversing off-road can be exciting. It also comes with big responsibility.

Every time you head out into the great outdoors, aim to “Tread Lightly!” in order to conserve and protect the environment you enjoy exploring. Tread Lightly! is a nonprofit organization that aims to protect and enhance recreation access, taking opportunities to balance the needs of people who enjoy outdoor recreation.

In partnership with BFGoodrich, Tread Lightly! encourages every adventure seeker to follow the T.R.E.A.D. principles when off-roading, to protect and preserve the great outdoors.

1. Travel responsibly by staying on designated roads and trails, and going over — not around — obstacles to avoid widening existing trails. In soft terrain, you can avoid wheel spin and rutting by doing these three things:

  • balancing your load
  • lowering tire pressure
  • going easy on the gas

2. Respect the rights of others, including private property owners, all recreational trail users, campers and others so they can also enjoy their recreational activities undisturbed. When encountering horses and pack animals, proceed with caution. Sudden, unfamiliar activity may spook animals — possibly causing injury to animals, handlers and others on the trail.

3. Educate yourself prior to your trip by obtaining travel maps and regulations from public agencies, taking recreation skills classes and knowing how to operate your equipment responsibly to protect yourself and the environment. For example, knowing the lowest point on your vehicle will help in negotiating terrain and prevent vehicle damage which could result in oil and fluid spills on the trail.

4. Avoid sensitive areas such as meadows, lake shores, wetlands and streams, as well as seasonal nesting and breeding areas. You can check national and state park websites to help identify these areas ahead of your trip.

5. Do your part by modeling appropriate behavior, leaving the area better than you found it, properly disposing of waste, minimizing the use of fire, avoiding the spread of invasive species by washing your vehicle before and after a ride — and by joining dedicated groups to help restore degraded areas.

“Everyone who loves spending time in the great outdoors can be part of the movement to help protect and preserve the lands for today, and for generations to come,” said Harold Phillips, global general manager for BFGoodrich Tires and Tread Lightly! board chairman. “All it takes is the commitment to leave any area you visit better than you found it, and at BFGoodrich, we are proud to be a key partner with Tread Lightly! to further that effort.”

Know a trail that can use a little TLC? BFGoodrich and Tread Lightly's Outstanding Trails program provides grants to organize clean ups, trail maintenance workdays and other small stewardship projects. Apply for a grant or nominate a trail at TreadLightly.org/bfg-ot.

To find more tips for responsible off-roading, how to gear up on your next adventure or to learn more about how BFGoodrich and Tread Lightly! are working together to protect off-road trails, visit BFGoodrichTires.com and TreadLightly.org.

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