Longtime four-wheel-drive enthusiasts will have been thrilled at the pristine wilderness of remote locations - and despaired as local tracks become the dumping ground of those without care or appreciation of the privilege of having recreational areas close to Perth for use as an off-road playground.
As the litter builds up and the tracks are eroded by those who prefer to bash their way along rather than deflate their tyres, slow down and drive sustainably; it's little wonder that the number of temporary and permanent track closures continues to increase.
A praiseworthy number of volunteers are deciding to step up to the mark and help with track maintenance. Track Care WA (TCWA) supports organisations and government bodies in the sustainable management and environment protection of vehicle tracks so future generations can enjoy the privileges that we have today.
The WA Four Wheel Drive Association (WA4WDA) facilitates the involvement of member clubs, drawing on more than 1000 4WD owners and their families to take part in important track-care activities.
On September 9, TCWA co-ordinated with Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC), the Wilbinga Shacks 4x4 Crew and Grace Outdoor Club, plus sundry helpers recruited from the WA4WDA and internet forums to undertake a third clean-up of Wilbinga, a coastal area between Two Rocks and Guilderton.
More than 70 volunteers in 50 4WDs towed 12 trailers through the area for a full spring clean.
Those who had taken part in the earlier clean-ups were heartened to find the amount of rubbish was less than previously found, although caged heavy-duty box trailers on loan from DEC were filled with enough rubbish to fill several big skip bins.
On September 23, it was the turn of the Powerline Track. This 24km stretch of dirt road shadows the Great Eastern and Southern highways from Mundaring Weir Road to York.
WA4WDA chairman Craig Perry said the association's land manager, Guy Lehmann, had worked tirelessly with DEC to co-ordinate the involvement of some 16 affiliated clubs in an event that attracted about 90 vehicles and more than 110 enthusiastic volunteers and TCWA members.
It was great to see both events were supported by so many organisations. The Shire of Gingin removed the Wilbinga refuse without charge for the clean-up.
Up at the Powerlines Track, the Shire of Mundaring waived tipping fees and offered ranger support. Water Corp provided assistance and refreshments and Western Power representatives were on hand to help.
Keep Australia Beautiful WA contributed a limitless supply of sturdy rubbish bags while DEC thanked the volunteers at each event with a barbecue lunch after a hard morning's work.
DEC was pleased to see that the 4WD community is serious about working with the department to help in managing areas to ensure sustainable access.
Swan Coastal District co-ordinator Shawn Debono and Perth Hills District senior ranger Paul Udinga said they were amazed and impressed by the number of volunteers who helped.From all those involved, a reminder to drivers who want to continue to access these areas for years to come - "If you take it in, take it out".
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