03 Jan Announcing Tread Lightly!’s 2021 Ambassador of the Year!
Earlier this year, we asked the community to submit nominations to help us choose our first-ever Tread Lightly! Ambassador of the Year Presented by Corbeau Seats. We want to honor an individual who went above and beyond to protect off-road trail access and who embodies the Tread Lightly! ethic when they’re out on the trails.
We are excited to announce Don Cox of Wesley Chapel, Florida as our 2021 Ambassador of the Year! Don has been a longtime teacher of the T.R.E.A.D. Principles, volunteering to teach off-road ethics at festivals and events across the state. He was also instrumental in the re-opening and re-mapping of the Ocala National Forest and was instrumental in laying the groundwork for our project on Tread Lightly! Way in November 2021. Don received many submissions from off-road club members throughout Florida.
Don will receive a custom office chair made by Corbeau Seats, a $500 grant from Tread Lightly! and a custom plaque honoring Don as our 2021 recipient! Thank you, Don, for your hard work and dedication to Leaving It Better!
We’d also like to honor our runner-up, Bo Rosa, a longtime supporter of Tread Lightly! who is a great steward of the Uwharrie National Forest in North Carolina. Bo spends a lot of free time volunteering to improve the trails in the Uwharrie and organizes projects in the area along with being an advocate for responsible off-roading and the T.R.E.A.D. Principles! Bo was recently named President of the Southern Four-Wheel Drive Association.
Finally, we would like to honor Al Sweeney with the Tread Lightly! Legacy Award for his longtime advocacy and passion for off-road ethics. Al does some critical work with the Southern Four-Wheel Drive Association and has organized numerous educational opportunities and events in the area to help bring the Tread Lightly! ethic to the south. Thank you, Al, for your hard work and dedication!
On Don Cox:
“Don and I have been working to get the Tread Lightly! Four Wheel Drive Way trail open and maintained for almost two years now. It’s in the Ocala National Forest and became inaccessible after hurricane Irma. We also noticed that the Jeep Badge of Honor had its path misrepresented on its badge. He was instrumental in helping to get the trail back to operational standards again. He immediately recognized the importance of educating folks on the importance of the reason this is a Tread Lightly! trail and passionately became a Tread Lightly! teacher! He now teaches the Tread Lightly! classes to many folks in the Central Florida area and beyond!”-Ron Rogers
“Don has been Instrumental in the re-opening and re-mapping of Ocala National Forest the Badge of Honor Trail. Don spends his weekends attending events and leading rides educating the public on Tread Lightly principles and has truly taken on this role with passion, respect and a willingness to share his knowledge with others. He has diligently worked to strengthen the Florida Jeep Coalition’s partnership with USDA in the Forest and develop additional educational programs. Don is the epitome of an Ambassador!”-Steven Mueller
“He has been everywhere. Every festival and doing several presentations every week. Always promoting the organization. You would be hard pressed to find someone who fits the word ambassador of the brand better.” Gary Passardi
“Don has tirelessly worked to spread the word for the Tread Lightly! program throughout several off-road clubs here in Florida including Florida Trail Stompers and Seven Slot United. Even before he became a trainer, he and some others close to him, always took the care to respect our trails and do the right thing on our trail rides. He’s had Tread Lightly! booths at Jeepin with Judd, Jeep Beach and others that I’m sure I’ve forgotten and I’m sure there will be many more. This month he is organizing his second Badge of Honor trail cleanup and maintenance day in our Ocala National Forest with the cooperation of the forest rangers. He’s held regular training seminars and strives to be a “master trainer”, which I have no doubt he will achieve. He’s a great guy and friend that I believe many will agree deserves the Tread Lightly! Ambassador of the year award.”-Dan Myers
“Don is singularly brought the Tread Lightly! program to Tampa Bay!!!! Without Don, the program would still be an unknown in this area. He holds free seminars in various parts of Central Florida to reach as many people as possible. I am proud to call him my friend!”-Joelle Metacarpa
“All over West Florida – Ocala, Hard Rock, Citrus, Crooms, Richloam. He offers classes weekly and always offers to help lead rides. When meeting him, he is knowledgeable and talks about safety on the trails. We wanted to go out for a ride one day and he and his wife took us so we would be safe, as it was our first time. He’s a great leader.”-Stephanie
“Don is really caring about our natural resources. He makes sure to educate those new to off-roading as well as those who have been doing it for years. Don doesn’t approach in a negative way. If he sees something he encourages a driver to look at resources or tells them. He teaches classes on his own time. He holds other types of educational events. As Founder of Florida Trail Stompers, I am honored and blessed to have Don on my team. He takes the distribution of this information serious and he presents it in a very professional manner. I HIGHLY recommend Don Cox.”-Brian K Dery
“Don has organized trail clean up for the Ocala National Forest Badge of Honor trail. He has provided Tread Lightly presentations at dinner meetups, Jeeping with Judd, Jeep Beach, local Tampa Jeep Krewe appreciation party, and other events. Don was one of the first people I met when I bought my Jeep two years ago. He lives the principles of Tread Lightly. Should he be Ambassador of the Year… Heck Yeah!”-Ed Martin
“Don cox is a huge advocate of the tread lightly principles. He is the perfect ambassador as he is always on point and telling others of the virtues and benefits of treading lightly. I always see him volunteering his time to spread the word and have visited his tread lightly table at many off road events”-Randy Vargas
“Bo Rosa has been a prominent leader in the Triad area and has helped coordinate work days in the Uwharrie National Forest for several years. Everything from clearing trails, to installing guard rail over illegal bypasses, to simple trash pick up, he’s done it all and with a smile on his face. He inspires his team to respect the land appreciate the work of the forestry service and its volunteers.” -Nicole Dickens
“Uwharrie National Forest and Fort Fisher has helped clean up, perform maintenance and educate people about how to be better stewards of these resources and others that they may visit. His interaction with young kids to get them interested in helping their parents do the right thing is amazing. He makes each individual feel special. He leads by example. Helping bring guard rails up the trails in Uwharrie when we were setting up protective barriers for sites needing to not be accessed. Hard work and always smiling.”-Craig Newcomb
“Al has been instrumental in promoting Tread Lightly! through Tread Trainer class development as well as the SFWDA Facebook live events.” -Bo Rosa
“Al Sweeny is the Tread Lightly guru for Southern Four Wheel Drive Association! He helps organize our bi-weekly tech nets where all aspects of tread lightly are discussed. He helped do our training class at all of our major off-road events (Trailfest and Dixie Run). He has worked closely with help keep the Daniel Boone Back Country Byway open. As of right now Al I’d going through some major help problems right now and he hates not being more active at this time. Al is very passionate about all aspects of Tread Lightly and is a wonderful teacher.”-Pam Dollar
“Al has been instrumental in the forward progression of Tread Lightly! throughout the east coast for a number of years! He works with SFWDA as director of education promoting Tread Lightly! through social media and events. He has hosted numerous trainings and helped facilitate a number of projects all over the east coast.”-Mike Morrison