The joys of off-roading include opportunities to commune with nature and bond with friends and family. Off-road clubs host clean-ups and help maintain existing trail systems, and the economies of many local communities depend on off-road activities. Despite the efforts by 4x4 recreationalists to responsibly access and use public lands, encountering a "road closed" sign is happening more and more around the country.
Can they close us down? Yes, but only if we let them. We are again at an election crossroads in which many voters are seeking "change." That's what this issue of 4 WHEEL DRIVE & SPORT UTILITY MAGAZINE is about - an opportunity to consider how actions being taken by federal and state lawmakers affect you, the 4x4 enthusiast. The need for the enthusiast community to stay informed and become involved is greater than ever. From equipment standards to "Wilderness" designations, the government is making decisions about your current and future cars, trucks, and 4x4s.
This topic is not limited to Washington. While the federal government issues national rules dictating vehicle safety and emissions equipment, most other issues are handled at the state and local levels. From suspension and vehicle height to inspection/maintenance, your 4x4 is subject to decisions made by state and local officials. States are seeking new avenues for generating revenue and new ways of dictating what you can and cannot do with your vehicles.
The future of our hobby depends on you. The ballot box is one venue for making your views known. We also urge you to work collectively with your fellow enthusiasts. How? Join the SEMA Action Network (SAN). The SAN is a partnership between enthusiasts, car clubs, and members of the specialty auto parts industry in the United States and Canada who have pledged to join forces in support of legislative solutions for the auto hobby. It's free to join and the SAN keeps you informed about pending legislation and regulations - both good and bad - that will affect your state or the entire country. It also provides you with action alerts, speaking points, lawmaker contact information if you want to support or oppose a bill, and the tools and information necessary for hobbyists to protect their passion.
The SAN has a professional government affairs staff in Washington, D.C., that works in all 50 states and at the federal level. Also in place is a full-time research staff that monitors every bill introduced in every state. In its 13-year history, the effect of the SAN on shaping government policy has been enormous. You can add your voice and vote to the fight by joining the SAN.