In the not-so-distant past, Fort Hood allowed off-road capable vehicles to enjoy specific training areas on the installation for recreational "wheeling." Even though Fort Hood contains an incredible source of terrain for off-road enthusiasts, it is currently off limits for this type of use according to Fort Hood regulation 210-3; ATV's and dirtbikes, however, have been given a brand new dedicated facility to ride in.
We believe that Fort Hood stands only to gain from implementing an off-road program once again on the installation.
Why Allow Off-Roading in the first place?
There are many reasons why Fort Hood should open its training area to recreational off-roading. Here are some of the most prominent reasons.
1. Off-roading at Fort Hood will provide a convenient, affordable area for Soldiers to enjoy their recreational vehicles. The more options that Soldiers have locally, the fewer reasons they have to occupy themselves in other areas that are illegal or unsafe.
2. A new venue for off-roading gives Soldiers more choices for recreation, which is incredibly important for morale, cohesion, and successful completion of the mission. It is also a fantastic
3. Fort Hood can utilize off-roaders as a source of information regarding critical fauna populations on the reservation, as well as the general environmental state of the training areas in which they are allowed. Crowd-sourcing is an exceptional method of obtaining information that would otherwise take a great deal of money to collect by conventional means.
4. An off-roading area at Fort Hood would undoubtedly bring in wheelers from all over the state due to the lack of locations to legally enjoy their vehicles. This influx of wheelers could generate substantial revenue for the entire local community as established groups and clubs make organized trips to Fort Hood and most likely end up staying for an entire weekend. Fort Hood would generate revenue from annual membership fees, and there is also potential for income via camping fees at BLORA. Local restaurants, automotive shops, shopping areas, and other businesses would enjoy the new tourism as well.
5. Activities on Fort Hood that are open to the public help to cement the important relationship between the Army units here and the surrounding community that supports them. It is necessary that the local citizens of surrounding towns view Fort Hood positively.
6. Organizations like Wheelers for the Wounded would have an easily accessible venue to utilize for their charitable work for our soldiers and veterans. This is incredibly important for the health of our Army, and nation.
How to Successfully Implement an Off-Road Program at Fort Hood
1. An annual fee of $100 for each individual membership. An age requirement of 18 years or older unless accompanied by legal guardian.
2. Check-in procedures that would require all first time drivers to view a safety video.
3. Check-out procedures that would include filling out an “Environmental Report,” supplying important information to relevant personnel involved in conservation.
4. Buddy System required. No single vehicles allowed, and at least one vehicle should have recovery tools.
5. Volunteers who are willing to ensure maintenance of trails. Several people have already offered to donate their time to making sure the trails stay trash free. Many others are also willing to act as “trail guides.”
6. Clearly mark all trails. The more obvious it is, the less likely anyone will venture off of them.
7. Hand out trail maps to all off-roaders. This also helps to discourage “wandering.”