Tread Lightly! Announces John Deere as newest Sponsor of Restoration for Recreation

UWHARRIE NATIONAL FOREST, NC – Tread Lightly! proudly welcomes John Deere as its newest sponsor in Restoration for Recreation, an initiative established to create an ever-growing alliance of public and private sponsors donating funds to keep the great outdoors healthy, accessible and open to the public for the benefits and enjoyment of responsible recreation.

Originally launched by Tread Lightly! in 1997, the primary goal of Restoration for Recreation is to generate voluntary funding from the private sector to leverage with the limited resources of government agencies responsible for managing recreation on America’s public lands and waters.  Restoration for Recreation projects can range from a simple litter clean-up to restoring habitat or maintaining and making improvements to recreational assets like a network of trails or campgrounds, even new construction of a facility.

“What makes Restoration for Recreation unique is 100% of the projects facilitated by Tread Lightly! are intended to proactively protect public access and ensure sustainable outdoor recreation endures as part of America’s heritage,” said Lori McCullough, Tread Lightly!’s executive director.  “Critical to every project are components to help educate the public on the importance of outdoor ethics and provide volunteers an opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to being good resource stewards and help carry out a project in their local community.”

As a pilot Restoration for Recreation project, John Deere is donating cash and volunteers and the local John Deere Dealer, James River Equipment in Asheboro, NC is donating the use of heavy equipment, as well as volunteers to help offset some of the costs incurred by the U.S. Forest Service to manage the use of Off-Highway Vehicles (OHVs) on one of the country’s most heavily visited national forests – the Uwhfarrie National Forest.

Situated between North Carolina’s growing metropolises of Raleigh, Greensboro and Charlotte, the project will promote resource stewardship throughout the Badin Lake OHV Trail Complex by constructing three new informational trailhead kiosks, installing approximately 700 feet of wooden guiderail and mitigating impacts to water quality from the use of OHVs in the forest.

“This project gives us the opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to being a great global citizen and a chance to engage volunteers, get our hands dirty and do something great in our own backyard,” said Kevin Lund, product line marketing manager for utility vehicles at John Deere. “Safeguarding the environment is nothing new to John Deere. We know responsible resource management is vital to our company, employees, customers, neighbors and world.”

John Deere’s Cary, NC facility, just about an hour’s drive from the Uwharrie National Forest, is the primary location for the marketing and sales activity across the Eastern U.S. for a growing line of John Deere utility vehicles.

One of the fastest growing trends in outdoor recreation in America is the use of motorized vehicles like a John Deere Gator™, also referred to as an OHV.  The number of recreationists that utilize an OHV as part of their favorite recreational activity or to just access their favorite recreation destination has risen sevenfold in less than three decades.

With an increase in the use of OHVs by outdoor enthusiasts comes an increased need to heighten the public’s level of awareness for operating an OHV in a safe and responsible manner on public or private lands.  By helping America’s public agencies better manage sustainable outdoor recreationRestoration for Recreation provides corporations tangible opportunities to protect and positively impact their bottom line.

“America’s resource managers are stretched thin trying to balance multiple uses of our nation’s natural resources for everything from grazing and energy exploration to outdoor recreation,” said McCullough. “Nationwide, backlogged maintenance alone is an estimated $100 billion and the gap between needs and resources to manage recreation is huge and only growing.”

Join representatives from John Deere, Tread Lightly!, the U.S. Forest Service, James River Equipment, regional clubs and the 40-50 volunteers already anticipated to lend a helping hand during St. Patrick’s Day weekend, Mar. 16th and 17th.  Help protect recreation access and opportunities on the Uwharrie National Forest, the public’s number one destination to enjoy OHV recreation in North Carolina.

A special thanks to representatives from the Uwharrie Off Road Training Center for their dedication to ensuring this project’s success and the Southern Four Wheel Drive Association for engaging volunteers and also donating heavy equipment to be used to complete this vital stewardship project.

Tread Lightly! is a national nonprofit organization with a mission to promote responsible recreation through ethics education and stewardship programs. Tread Lightly!’s award-winning educational message, along with its training and restoration initiatives are strategically designed to instill an ethic of responsibility in outdoor enthusiasts and the industries that serve them.  The program is long-term in scope with a goal to balance the needs of the people who enjoy outdoor recreation with our need to maintain a healthy environment.  Tread Lightly! offers unique programs and services to help remedy current recreation issues. Individuals and businesses can commit to Tread Lightly! and protect outdoor access by becoming a member at www.treadlightly.org




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