I Really Hope Preservation Becomes A Trend In The Off-Road World

(Image: Mint 400)
(Image: Mint 400)

The American southwest is heaven on Earth for off-road enthusiasts. There are big tracts of different terrain types you can legally run 4x4s and motorbikes across, which is awesome. To help keep things that way, people running the Mint 400 are being proactive about preserving these kinds of places.


The 2018 Mint 400 Desert Clean-Up Presented By Republic Services is basically just an organized gathering of folks willing to donate their time to take care of the land they play on. Republic Services is a waste management company, so, the sponsorship makes sense. The outfit that runs the Mint is also tied into the off-road forums Race-Dezert and UTVUnderground, so the reach and influence of those sites is being leveraged to hopefully mobilize an army of desert drivers to help maintain open lands.

Come out to the wide open wasteland west of Las Vegas, buzz around the sand, make some friends, and make the space a better place by picking up illegally dumped trash. In the words of the orchestrators:

“The goal of the event is to unite the off-road community and clean up waste dumped illegally in the Jean area as well as promote sustainable habits and responsible public land use to improve Southern Nevada’s pristine desert landscape.”

This dash for trash around Jean, Nevada is scheduled to take place on Mar. 3, the weekend before the historic 50th anniversary of the Mint 400. The race, of course, is run in the same region.

It’s no secret that off-road racing is not exactly excellent for the environmental health of the planet. It’s something I struggle to reconcile myself as a huge fan of both driving lifted trucks and breathing clean air.

But I do believe it’s possible to compromise by off-roading responsibly, not tearing up sensitive terrain, and picking up after yourself and others. This event seems like a great way to encourage positive social behavior in the off-road community and I’m all about it.

If you’re anywhere near Las Vegas in March and are looking for a chance to help the desert driving community while meeting some other off-roaders, let the Mint 400 organizers know you’re coming and head out to Jean on Mar. 3. Oh, and you might want to bring a tent if you’re coming from far away.

Jalopnik Staffer from 2013 to 2020, now Editor-In-Chief at Car Bibles


1968 Falcon - 270,400 miles and still rusting

I think it depends on what off road community you have in mind too. Here in Colorado at least it seems like there are two: people who off-road as a way to get places and see amazing sights with some fun along the way, and people who off-road pretty much entirely for the adrenaline rush. The latter type are the ones that usually leave camp sites and trails covered in beer cans, plastic wrappers, and bullet casings, and tear up trails by flooring their lifted f-150s through anything resembling soft ground. The former type are usually the ones who pick up the trash and pack it out for the people too lazy to. I’ve definitely noticed the amount of trash in the backcountry getting MUCH worse with the massive influx of people moving to the state recently from places that perhaps have less of a culture of “leave no trace,” or who are just inexperienced with being outdoors and what being on unmaintained public land means. It only takes one person out of 100 to make a backcountry campsite look like a trash heap.