There are actually three P’s that impact on the off-road fraternity, they are the three P’s of sustainability against which an activity is measured in namely people, profit and the planet. In balance they would give you sustainable eco-tourism in that the environment and the local population benefit and the activity has a beneficial economic impact. But over the last few years it is clear that one P has always enjoyed more attention than the other two, namely that of profit.
I have never seen so many money making schemes developed and put forward through various bodies and I think it’s high time that the fraternity woke up, you make money through hard work, ill conceived schemes veiled in secrecy to control sectors through regulation will not work. Wake up and smell the coffee gents, yes there are people that make money in the industry such as successful trail owners, instructors and tour operators, but the secret to their success is passion, hard work and dedication.
The months to come are going to see some interesting times, does the NOW (National Off-Road Workgroup) still have a legal mandate to take the work originally proposed to the then Minister van Schalkwyk forward? Will the AAWDCSA (Association of All Wheel Drive Clubs of South Africa) shake itself out of the doldrums and get the much-needed unity it so desperately requires? Or will it all simply implode?
Interesting questions as they affect each and every off-roader, the DEA (Department of Environmental Affairs) is looking for simple sustainable solutions that will see a set of guidelines available for landowners and users of recreational vehicles which will result in a self regulatory framework, yet since the NOW process was halted late last year we have seen nothing, the good work done in the Western Cape in the Atlantis dunes by the group known as ADORE has just about solved the problem yet they are not acknowledged, neither was an approach ( other than a cursory letter) from SAROD to the NOW ( SAROD represent you and I –the individual recreational driver who is not a club member).
Gents and ladies, the writing is on the wall, we need to stop the secret society “cloak and dagger” approach and work together towards a common goal of a united 4×4 community that is totally transparent and does not set out to enrich little groups.
We need to arrive at the simple solutions and guidelines that will shape our behavior in the bush and benefit the local people! And yes there are good examples for us to draw on and develop. The next few months are going to be interesting and I hope we will arrive at a solid framework for sustainable off-road vehicle utilisation that benefits all role players.