Rec Room

Squeezed out by developers and environmentalists, recreational users gird for a rumble in the desert.

A rollover wasn't the goal of today's ride, but never to have one is sort of like a career soldier who never gets to see combat. And even as all the fluids from the overturned Land Cruiser empty into a shallow stream, making this the Exxon Valdez of four-by-fours, and even as the occupants of the rollover rub sore necks, this was still the coolest part of the day.

It's not everyone's idea of a good time, but for the off-road enthusiasts, this kind of difficult, back country trail ride is where it's at.

"Most people look at a road and see ugly. I see history, blood and sweat from humans -- the romanticism of man's hand on the environment. I see beauty in a road," explains Steele.

Carla, executive director of the McDowell Sonoran Land Trust, wants the vehicles off the land. "It's not a park, it's a preserve," she says.
Paolo Vescia
Carla, executive director of the McDowell Sonoran Land Trust, wants the vehicles off the land. "It's not a park, it's a preserve," she says.

Not everyone here is as eloquently philosophical about the four-by-four experience. Tee shirts and bumper stickers read statements like: "It's a Jeep, you wouldn't understand," or "Get In, Sit Down, Shut Up and Hang On," and "No crying, whining, bitching wimps allowed." Other slogans ask those age-old fundamental questions about humanity like "When Don't Women Have PMS?"

No, for some this is simply the most logical, more powerful extension of themselves. For others, it's about community, family and a passionate form of recreation they feel environmentalists want to steal from them for no good reason.

"In my opinion, Mother Nature has a resilience. Man will change the planet, but I don't think we have the power to destroy it."

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